52 Weeks of Life Seen Through My Eyes

Ida's Photo Theme Challenge


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34. Passage Ways

There really was no choice for me regarding “Passage Ways”. Surely being in Panama means I have to opt for the Panama Canal. This year marks the One Hundred Year Anniversary of the official opening of the Canal, a project started in January 1881 with Ferdinand de Lesseps in charge of construction. There were a myriad of problems which hounded the workforce, in particular the tropical diseases which killed off vast numbers of workers. Over 8 years more than 22,000 workers died and hundreds of millions of dollars had been spent.

In 1904 the USA took over control of the Canal zone from the French and ultimately completed the challenging construction in 1913. The Canal zone was in US hands until the end of 1999 when it was handed back to Panama who now control the zone.

History aside, my husband and I have been lucky enough to have completed a transit tour of the locks as well as visited the museum at the Miraflores Locks. My husband even attended the ceremony in 1999 during which the official handing over of the Canal to Panamanian authorities occurred.

There is a train that runs alongside the Canal, running through lush jungles and over Lake Gatun, from the Atlantic side of the isthmus of Panama to the Pacific side. If you ever happen to be in Panama, a transit tour through a set of locks, a visit to the museum to view the passage of the ships that are guided through by a Panama Canal Transit Authority Captain, and a ride on the train should definitely be on your “To Do” list.

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20. I Wish I Could/I’m Sorry I Did

Some years ago, I found a piece of driftwood on the beach that really appealed to me. I immediately knew how I wanted to use it. Out came the sealant and paintbrush and after several coats, my latest project was ready for the next stage.

I dragged my husband with me to a local store which carried pre-Colombian art adorning platters, roof tiles, T-shirts, coffee mugs and jewelry. Sadly, we had left it too late; there was only one tile remaining. However, we were assured another shipment of tiles would be arriving within a couple of weeks. I purchased their last tile, knowing we’d be back for another two so I could complete my project. A couple of weeks turned into a month…two months…three months. It became quite apparent there weren’t going to be any additional deliveries. I was sorry I had made the original purchase. After all, what was I going to do with only one tile? But as stubborn as I can be, I was determined to finish what had been started. If I couldn’t buy the artwork, surely I could attempt to create my own. And that is precisely what I did. A little research into pre-Colombian art, a little acrylic paint, a couple of tiles, and voila, my vision was complete.

So, what began as “I wish I could” became “I’m sorry I did”, only to revert to “I’m NOT sorry I did”!

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31. Out Of Control

During our 6 hour drive to the city a few months back, we encountered a very large group of motor cyclists traveling together. There must have been over a hundred of them, all riding abreast, making it extremely difficult to pass. At one stage we were deliberately boxed in to allow stragglers to pass us and join the others. What began as something quite interesting, turned into something somewhat out of control and very annoying, especially as we had to contend with the situation for many, many miles on a road that is winding, pot-holed in places and only one lane with an occasional passing lane.

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Not long after we caught up with the leading group, the rest of the cyclists moved in behind us, very close to our bumper which made it quite simple to box us in.

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33. Over The Hill

Having perused a vast collection of photographs taken over the past year, searching for a just-right-fit for the theme “Over The Hill”, I settled on this one. After all, over the hill is another hill, and over that hill is yet another hill, and on and on for miles of scenic beauty in the mountains of Chiriqui Province, Panama.

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21. In The Clouds

Every hour of every day is different. Sometimes there appear to be nothing but heavy clouds on the horizon. At other times most of it is clearly visible. Often there is just a smidgen peeking out from swirling clouds. Volcan Baru is a dormant…not extinct!…volcano here in the mountains of Chiriqui Province. I always look to see how Baru is dressed and usually admire the vast variety of light and colors it displays on sunny days and rainy days, from close up or from a distance.

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19. I Want One

What vivid colors and wonderful designs! How on earth do I choose just one? When I bought my first Mola from the Kuna Indians of Panama, I wanted just one. But one became two, then three, and now I have a small collection.

Molas are painstakingly made by women of the Kuna tribe from the San Blas Islands in Panama. They are reverse appliques sewn by hand and used as panels in the blouses worn by the women. Hundreds are now made for tourists, still handmade, using teeny tiny stitches and embroidery and multiple layers of fabric. The more layers and the finer the details, the more costly the Mola. The women make traditional Molas like the ones in my photos, but they also sew modern designs depicting flowers, plant life and local animals and birds. The designs come in all sizes, as large as tablecloths.

I have been buying Molas for more than seven years, a few each year to add to what is still to be a wall hanging. In the meantime, I decided to make a clutch from one my husband bought when he first started coming to Panama in the 1990’s. I am certain I will be unable to resist purchasing more and I know they will all eventually be used, whether for wall hangings, table runners, pillow cases, or single framed pieces. “I want one” became “I want more, many more”.

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One became three…

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Three became an entire collection…

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One became a clutch purse…

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22. In The Trees

I was absolutely certain I’d be able to recapture the antics of the Howler monkeys living in the canyon that runs alongside the community in which we live. Unfortunately, they refused to cooperate whenever I paid a visit to the canyon’s edge, managing to remain out of sight each time. As my time has basically run out, these are the monkeys playing in the trees, a picture taken way too long ago to qualify for the challenge. I just HAD to prove these monkeys do exist.

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In the meantime, I traipsed around another canyon in a development where my husband is general manager, and decided to use these photographs to fit this theme. As I gazed up at the looming trees and the sunlight filtering through the canopy above, the interesting bark of one tree was highlighted and caught my eye. There are no monkeys howling in the orchid canyon, but I definitely felt I was “In The Trees”.

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