Monday, November 25, 2013


The closer we got to the end of the trip, the more we felt we needed to spend a little more time on a beach. And Liz could spend more time with the fresh lobsters some passing divers delivered to the little island we were staying on. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


We never really thought we'd spend a weekend bowling in Panama City, Panama. Never say never. 

We were resting up after our daily afternoon stroll between the fish market and Casco Viejo, when we heard two people talking animatedly about an upcoming sporting event. We soon figured out they were discussing a bowling tournament, of all things.

Interest piqued (Kip's a closet bowler, for real), we leaned in closer and soon learned that the Panama Special Olympics would soon be hosting its national bowling championships. 

Yes, we introduced ourselves immediately. Then, of course, we asked if they could use some free help at the tourney. 

Lucky for us, the two were helping organize the event, and soon enough, we were signed on as "voluntarios" for the big games. As volunteers, we would be doing everything from serving as guides for the participants to keeping order during the games, coordinating scores, and generally doing whatever anyone deemed necessary during the event. 

Working at a bowling tournament may not seem like the funnest way to spend a weekend in Panama. 

But think about it -- when would you ever get to sit front row at a national championship of anything, AND get to hang out, slap high fives and generally just have a good time? And do it in Central America with the amazing athletes from Special Olympics?  

Yeah, we had the best time ever. That's us below in the center, hanging with 'our' team just behind us and getting a hug from Pedro. 

Between frames we got to talk with the athletes. They told us about all the work they'd done to get where they were. They taught us how to say "strike" and "turkey" in Spanish. One girl told Liz she was going on a date with a guy from an opposing team, but that we couldn't tell anyone or her teammates would get really mad. 

We learned a lot that day -- both about bowling and about life as a Special Olympian.

As the bowlers rolled their final frames and the medal ceremonies ended, we realized we had been a part of something very special indeed. 

And we owed it all to volunteering and to the amazing athletes and people we met with Special Olympics Panama

Friday, November 8, 2013


Liz poses against a wooden column of the four-centuries-old Customs House in Portobelo, but a curious little girl strolls by and steals the show.

Monday, November 4, 2013


The photo above is noteworthy, not only because of the speed at which we were traveling when the shot was taken, but also for the four words at the top center of the image: "No Distraigas Al Conductor."

Translated into English, this means, "Don't Distract the Driver."  

Based on the cornucopia of oddities in direct view of this determined driver, however, we must assume there is an alternate translation -- perhaps some sort of mantra to St. Christopher, the patron saint of bus drivers?

For good measure, let us count the potential distractions in view:
  1. Fuzzy dice (4)
  2. Feather boas (2)
  3. Air fresheners (2)
  4. Windshield wiper improperly stored
  5. Coin changer
  6. Odd mirror contraption on our left
  7. Hanging fan to the left of that
  8. Various decals
  9. Two little men holding signs that say "#1 Dad"
  10. One stuffed monkey above the two men
  11. One orange siren, lit
  12. Two electric stars
Guess we can't complain though, since the driver did get us safely to our journey.