Panama...Came and Went

Mike and I got back from Panama this last Tuesday, and as much as I wish I was still on vacation, I am very happy to be home. I'll just give a quick run through of our days, they were pretty much jam-packed full of fun things!
Wednesday August 6, Day 1: Traveled ALL day! Flew into Panama City around 7 PM and stayed in a hotel.
Thursday August 7, Day 2: Woke up early and took another flight out to an island called Achutupu. We got to our hotel had breakfast, layed in the hammocks, layed on the beach, lunch, layed in our hammocks, took a boat ride up a river and hiked a bit in the jungle, layed in our hammocks and had dinner and watched the Kuna Indians dance then bed.
Friday August 8, Day 3: Breakfast, layed in the hammocks, took a boat to another island to tour the Kuna Indian community, lunch, layed in the hammocks, snorkeling, layed in the hammocks, dinner, and watched the Kuna Indians dance and then to bed.
Saturday August 9, Day 4: Woke up early had breakfast and took a flight back to the city. Had our driver for the week, a Church member Mike knew from the mission, Bonet, pick us up from the airport. We went to the Panama Canal, then drove in horrible traffic to Colon, one of Mike's old areas, where we saw Portobelo (an old fort) and the Black Jesus statue. Drove back from Colon, in horrible traffic, went to the big celebration/show for the dedication of the temple that was happening the next day. Mike ran into a lot of the members that he knew from all his different areas and ran into quite a few missionaries he served with. We took a taxi to a restaurant, with one of Mike's old mission friends and his brother and had dinner. We stayed in a hotel in the city for the rest of the trip.
Sunday August 10, Day 5: Breakfast and then got ready for the dedication of the temple. We first went to Casco Viejo, another old fort in Panama City, then walked a little bit of the City then went to the mall to get out of the rain. It rained a lot this day. Hard Panama rain. Then went to the temple dedication. We were in the third session at 2 o'clock. The dedication was awesome, and I got to watch it English, which was fantastic! (It gets kind of frustrating not knowing anything that is being said around you ever.) Afterwards, we ran into Mike's Mission President, who told us about a small reunion they were having that night at one of the church's. We had dinner and then walked, in the pouring rain and getting lost TWICE, from our hotel to the church where the reunion was. I was soaked. Mike was giving me the "full mission experience", so he says. At the reunion, there were five past mission presidents there and probably over 100 past missionaries. The most were from Mike's same mission president. Then we walked home in the pouring rain. So fun.
Monday August 11, Day 6: We had breakfast and then met up with our driver again, Bonet, who took Mike and I and Mike's mission friend and his brother to a road to hike up a mountain with the Panama flag on the top. We saw some huge spiders. Gross. Went back to the hotel and picked up another mission friend and his wife, and went and got "Immigration HotDogs", which are some pretty good hotdogs that have all kinds of weird stuff on them including potato chips and pineapple sauce. Pretty good. Then Mike bought me a beautiful pink rose. Then we drove to Casco Antigua, were we saw some old cathedrals. Bonet took us to his house so we could put the shell on the truck and we met his adorable children. We saved a sloth on the side of the road. Then we drove to El Valle, basically just more jungle. Crossed some fun Indiana Jones bridges and saw a waterfall. Drove back to the city and ate at some Chinese restaurant. We were all exhausted and high on fumes from riding in the back of the truck. Lots of laughing at the dinner table. Then to bed!
Tuesday August 12, Day 7: Up early and traveled all day! We got home at about 10 PM.

Can I just say how grateful I am for carpet, not wearing flip flops in the shower, dry air (as opposed to humid, gross air) and sane driving. God bless America! We had an absolute blast though. Absolutely something every wife should get the opportunity to do with their husband, go back to the place where they served their mission. To be able to see them with these people that they love, and understand such a small portion of what they went through for 2 years, you gain a new respect for them, gain such a stronger bond between one another, and fall in love all over again.

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