June 7 2021
Students ask about things to do beyond churches and museums. Consider an island trip.
We boarded the catamaran which took us to the island. Birds flew close to the boat hunting for fish in the boat’s wake, seemingly oblivious to the rain. As we arrived, the rain stopped and we got our first views of Taboga, its lovely town perched on the hillside, the sandy beaches and the fishing boats in the harbor. The island´s name derives from “aboga” meaning “many fish” in the native language.
We purchased a full tour that included a lounge chair on the beach with umbrella, a guided town tour and a lunch. Our guide, Brian set up white plastic lounge chairs under a colorful beach umbrella. Danae and I relaxed for a while, watching some children playing in the water, a couple being romantic (newly weds?), and a trio of girls sunbathing.
Brian lead us on a walking tour through the steep and narrow town streets. We saw a statue of the first midwife on the island (she died here in 2005), the building where Paul Gauguin was treated for malaria, and the second oldest church in the western hemisphere, constructed in 1524 and many other places and scenic overlooks. Our guide was full of information. We looked at everything, taking many photos.
Then it was time for lunch. Our food was served on an open patio. Flies were annoying. The word for fly in Spanish is “la mosca.” The restaurant was located high enough to give a pleasant view of the harbor. “El postre” is Spanish for “dessert.” Vanilla ice cream ended our delicious, freshly cooked meal.
We returned to the beach and our chairs, leaving the flies to bother other diners. Our umbrella gave welcome shade. Children frolicked in the water oblivious to the heat. In the distance, ships waited for their turn to enter the Panama Canal.
The rest rooms (there is a small charge for use of the facilities) have space for changing. Bring whatever you need for sunbathing or swimming. Chairs and umbrellas can be rented if you are not on a tour.
After a while, we abandoned our chairs and walked to see the kiosks located on higher ground. After buying fruit smoothies, we sat under the trees enjoying our cold drinks, chatting and watching people and scenery until Brian reminded us it was time for the boat.
The clouds returned as we boarded the catamaran. It poured during our entire ride back to the mainland then abruptly stopped. The crew was experienced helping us landlubbers step safely from the wet deck onto a wet dock.
At a nearby ice cream shop, we talked over our impressions and what we learned. Then we began planning our next adventure.