Panama is a beautiful little country, the last one in Central America..... with beautiful Rain Forests, volcanic mountains, and the most incredible beaches. Life as a child was idyllic. It was summer all year ... having only two seasons.... Rainy (9 mos.) and dry (3 mos.). My hometown was the Locks town of Gatun .... we had a super swimming pool, I started swimming lessons at 3 ... and a major portion of my early years centered around the Pool and swimming. Besides the pool, we also had Gatun Lake to swim in .... and always in the background of our lives, there were the ships of the world, transiting the Locks and silently passing over Gatun Lake heading for Gaillard Cut and the other two Locks, and eventually the Pacific Ocean... or ships entering the Lake comming in the other direction and heading for the Atlantic Ocean. It's a 24 hour operation, of comming and going. Then there were the beaches just a short ride in the car from home, and the old Spanish Fort San Lorenzo, to spark a childs imagination. Fishing was plentiful, the Chagres River flowed thru the Lake and down the Spillway where it reaches the Atlantic Ocean, where Ft. San Lorenzo still stands guard against Henry Morgan and those long gone Pirate ghosts.
And always there were the tropical birds, flying over head... large flocks of parakeets... leaving their roosts in the morning and returning in the evening. Sloths in the jungle trees surrounding the town. Blue Monarch butterflies in masses once a year. Land crab season ... an occasional snake in town. Mango trees to feast on, lime trees to raid. Banana stalks brought home and hung under the house to slowly ripen, for us kids to grab one as needed .... the avocado tree that my grandfather had planted, as well as a grapefruit tree in the back at the edge of the jungle, way before I was even a twinkle in my father's eye.Life as a child in the Canal Zone, was as close to living in Utopia, as I have ever been.
Since Panama is a Tropical Paradise, as kids we had to be ingenious to simulate certain aspects of winter fun, kids enjoyed in the states. Instead of snow sledding, we used palm fronds, or opened up cardboard boxes to slide down grassy hills! Every bit as much fun, barring the occasional stone, and we stayed warm and dry.
The Canal Zone version shown here.
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I would like to Thank my very Good Friend, Charlie Belden, for creating the Angel gif at the top of this page . . . especially for me! Friends are one of Life's real treasures. All other images contained on these pages, with the exception of the Mango clipart on the Mango Recipe page were created by me. I would like to thank Mike Norman for the super Ceviche and Panama Beer picture on the Ceviche Recipe page. I also give many thank you's to my friend Lance Terrell, for his sharing of his personal Gatun pictures, taken in 1967; and also to my friend Tom Green Moore, for the pictures he took of Gatun for me the Spring of 1998, also thanks to Eddy Will and CHSMike for sharing their pictures from their visits to Gatun, 1999... and last but NOT least, My heartfelt Thanks to my special friend, El Senor Jim, for the Gatun locks, lake, etc; pictures he has sent me while transiting thru Gatun Locks, 1997 to the present!