“So Nick, what did you do in Panama?”
“Oh, the usual. Surfing. Sightseeing. Petting a coati.”
“What’s a coati?”
“It’s the cutest thing that ever lived.”
“Really? What’s it look like?”
Yes, friends. I am finding new and exciting animals to snuggle. We’ve had a good run here, but have decided to head north tomorrow. We spent the bulk of the last two days hanging out with the monkeys, the coati, and even a rooster that wandered into the kitchen and started pecking at the dog food. It’s been kicks here. And I think one of the most important lesons we’ve learned at La Jungla is that, when you’re an adorable monkey, the world is your toilet.
Ah yes, the other part of hanging out with animals. Everything is cute and cuddly, and then it is not. Corrinne is leading me 2-1 in the total of how many times Riquita, the adorable little squirrel monkey, has used us as a bathroom. She has a habit of climbing up your arm, perching on your shoulder, and just hanging out for a while. Then she hops off onto a door or something and you feel really good because you just had a monkey on your shoulder, and that’s awesome. So you let her jump on you again. You even encourage this behavior. And then comes the time that you feel something on the back of your shirt. And suddenly, the sweetness of the moment comes to crashing halt.
Corrinne is smiling because she doesn’t know she’s about to get peed on.
To my surprise, I’ve found I really like hanging out with goats, although I am informed that Floyd could easily break my leg if he wanted to. As I mentioned before, he has a habit of flipping people over for fun. His fun, not the flipped person. But the she-goats are just lovely to hang out with. Today, however, Floyd got out of his pen, and guess who had to get him back in? This guy.
I actually had to get all of the goats into the pen that they share with Dorado. So, armed with a couple of bananas and a cardboard box that Floyd, for some reason, seems to think is the most fascinating thing in the world, I coaxed the goats into their area. All except Floyd. When I tossed the bananas into the trough for the goats to feast on, Floyd did not go around to the entrance of the pen, because that would have made sense. Instead, he walked up to the fence where the trough was and began butting his horns against it, because…I don’t know. Cause he’s a goat? And it makes a racket. I’m standing there telling him, “Floyd, you’re better than this.” But he keeps wailing away on the steel trough with those giant protruding horns and I suddenly realize that if he did that to my leg I would not be walking for a very long time. And here I am trying to talk him down. In English. Did I mention he’s a goat?
There are moments when my own stupidity baffles me.
Fortunately, I finally got him over to the gate (using bananas, he really likes those), and that’s when Dorado the horse got the idea to make break for it. Not just Dorado, but all the goats as well. So I had to back them up and close up the gate and I can just FEEL Floyd right behind me, waiting to flip my dumb ass over, leg broken, while he does his little goat victory dance on my face.
So I decide it’s time to feed the animals in the pen, so they are distracted while I get Floyd inside. Floyd decides that, rather than crush my leg, he’s going to go look for something to eat. Which takes about two seconds because goats eat EVERYTHING. Hay, oats, bananas, churches, dark matter. It matters not to the goat.
ME: Here, Floyd! The Parthenon!
FLOYD: Don’t mind if I do. (devours two millenia of Greek history)
Anyway, I got the other goats and Dorado distracted with their dinner, then had to run up to Floyd and, using the cardboard box and a piece of lettuce the size of my thumb (don’t ask), coax him into his pen. All the while I’m looking at those horns, but he finally follows me into the pen, takes a bite out of the box, then makes his way to the trough to get himself some dinner. He starts behaving at this point, because he is now in the pen with Dorado, who is three times Floyd’s size, and kind of looks the way Brad Pitt would if Brad Pitt was a horse.
I hung out in the pen with Dorado for a while, then came inside and started making plans to depart La Jungla.
Yes, it’s time to move on. We’ve had a blast here, but the money is beginning to run tight and I want to get to Nicaragua before it starts to run tighter. We can cover more ground for less up there, and after nearly three weeks in Panama, I’m anxious to scope out some new territory.
The next three days are going to involve a lot of movement. We’ll take the bus down to David tomorrow and stay the night, then take a morning bus to San Jose, Costa Rica the following day. On Thursday, we’ll take another bus to the Nicaraguan border, navigate the Kafka-esque (so I’m told) border crossing, then cut over to Isla de Ometepe, an island formed by two volcanoes and set like a jewel in the center of Lake Cocibolca (Lake Nicaragua).
It’s going to be an exciting run. I’ll try and keep the updates coming. La Jungla de Panama has been amazing. The highlight of our time in Panama, in fact. I’m anxious to see what comes next.