I returned last night to Panama City after spending 10 days in the countryside. The truth is, after living in the United States, Australia, and then traveling a few months across Europe, the feeling of coming home is unmatchable, and my heart truly belongs in our little piece of paradise located in Central America. Lin Yutang said it best, “No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.”
On December 26th, we left the bustling, densely populated capital and stayed for a few days in Coronado. This coastal city is located only an hour away and it was Panama’s first beachside development. If it’s your first time visiting our country, Coronado is a safe bet since it has a variety of restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, and malls – facilities and services that you may not be able to find in more remote beaches.
Our usual routine is to go to the beach at dawn, followed by breakfast, and then either bath by the pool or visit my dad’s land, about 20 minutes from Coronado. Since acquiring his latest property, he has began a reforestation process and I’m truly proud of how many species of trees he has planted so far, despite the drought that haunts this area (unlike Panama City which is located in a rainforest, it’s really dry in the province of West Panama). Some include Mahogany, Oak, Mango, Lemon, Tamarind, Palm, and Papaya.
One evening at the beach, we were blessed with a spectacular, filterless sunset. It was a magical goodbye to 2016, and a bright welcome to the year to come.
During the next few days, we explored other beaches in Panama’s Pacific coast, mostly Riomar (River Sea) – the place where I spent all of my summers and weekends growing up. It is completely opposite from industrialized Coronado; there is only one residential project finished and a couple on their way. Yet, this is the place where all of my mother’s relatives have/had lands. My grandparents have a beach house there, which is far from new or luxurious, but can I really put a price on the memories with my cousins, the sound of the waves crashing, the sky changing colors…?
One day we stopped by my uncle’s apartment in a town called Corona (not the same as Coronado!) about 30 minutes from Riomar. The views from their apartment were captivating – you could see as far as the central mountain range, and I loved the contrast from green to the mighty Pacific blue. There, I meditated for a moment, and it felt really nice to escape the chaos and stress of the capital for peace and quiet time with nature. To feel the wind and watch the leaves of trees move almost rhythmically. To watch as the tide rises and lowers. To open my heart and reflect without technology and the noise. Just my thoughts, my camera, and me.