Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Larue Barnes

February 5, 2012

Larue Barnes: Exotic trip

An eye-opening adventure to Panama

We just returned from a trip to the country of Panama — where Central and South America meet. I had read the tour information twice. There were strong warnings not to agitate the Capuchin monkeys: not to feed them, not to laugh at them because they consider that sound to be one of aggression. They bite.

So, a real Kodak moment came when one jumped from the trees into the motorboat at our feet. 

I was the only tourist who screamed.

We explored rainforests, sandy beaches and met friendly native Indians living in the jungle. The warm, humid weather remains the same year-round during the two seasons there: rainy and dry.

Old Panama City was founded by the Spanish in 1519, as a gateway for gold from the Inca Empire. The old city was burned by the pirate, Henry Morgan in 1671, but ruins remain. 

 Panama City was rebuilt, and is now the home of a million and a half people. It has more skyscrapers than all our Texas cities combined.

It is a poor choice of words to say that Vasco Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean. He was the first European explorer to view it. The Indians were already there.

Today, Panama’s official currency is named for the Spaniard.

The country is in the midst of continuous, massive public works projects made possible from the billions of dollars in fees generated each year by the Panama Canal.

When the Panama Canal was completed by the U.S. in 1914, it split the two American continents and completed the shipping circle around the globe.

Why are locks necessary to raise and lower ships? Why couldn’t a canal just be dug across the isthmus of Panama to connect the two oceans? 

That’s what the French thought they could do, as they had successfully completed the Suez Canal in 1869. 

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Larue Barnes
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    We just returned from a trip to the country of Panama — where Central and South America meet. I had read the tour information twice. There were strong warnings not to agitate the Capuchin monkeys: not to feed them, not to laugh at them because they consider that sound to be one of aggression. They bite.

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