|Paradise in Santa Clara, Panamá|
Such discourtesy, however, turned out to be a fortunate turn of events for us; destiny then took us past Gorgona, the site of the debacle, about 20 miles further west along the Pacific Coast to Santa Clara and a paradise called Las Sirenas.
Las Sirenas is a two-level compound of casitas for beach vacations: five up on the top of the hill overlooking the Pacific and six more in duplex style on the beach.
|Casita 3 on the right|
|Belén & Sirenacat|
|Kurt with new hat from El Valle|
Kurt and Linda were left to their own devices: besides the usual beach/sea activities, they made several visits to El Valle de Antón, a little mountain village about a 40-minute drive from Santa Clara. The town has a very pleasant central mercado with artesanias and fresh produce, where Kurt acquired his authentic Panamanian hat and where we had a chance to hear Marcelo playing his home-made violin.
|Marcelo & violin|
One morning we ventured along the trail leading past the Piedra Pintada, the most important of whose pictographs were interpreted for us by Jesús Segundo, who miraculously appeared as soon as we stopped in front of the stone. His pointing palo was waiting for us all. After paying Jesús Segundo the modest $1 fee he required, we followed the trail on up the mountainside past several waterfalls and pools set within a lush tropical background (photos here).
Then we made our way carefully back down for lunch at a nice cafe just across the main street from the public library. As we did on all our other visits to the cafe, we watched the stready stream of bikes going up and down the street, most with one rider on the seat and another on the frame. When it rained, which was fairly common, most people steered with one hand while holding an umbrella with the other.
|Ready for the grill|
Early the next morning, before heading back to the city of Panamá, we walked down our beach to watch the fishing nets being pulled in from the shore. Photos here. We left as the sea gulls and pelicans did battle for the spoils. Impressive, as is obvious from the photo below that Kurt took at great peril to himself and Linda's camera.
Click here for more photos of beautiful Playa Santa Clara and one of its sirenas.