Posts Tagged With: Los Establos parrots

Day 414: P-words

I have now returned from Panama, people, and I am trying to process that — on my last vacation day before returning to work.

One thing I want to do, in this post, is show you photographs I took in Panama with my phone.  Also, because I have so many possible ways to present these pictures I need a perfect-enough structure*, to make this post potentially and primarily passable and understandable* for most people.

Hence …. P-words!!

(Before I begin, I’d like to write one preliminary, introductory paragraph where I am neither (1) trying hard to use words that begin with “P” nor (2) using the punctuation play I’ve already established in this post.  I’d like to announce that I have probably previously written about several of these P-word topics that appear in this post. Perhaps I shall link to previous posts, when applicable;  perhaps not.  I also want to mention that the punctuation play is … kind of a pain, because it’s difficult to pass back and forth between italic, bold, and plain text — the text styles seem to get “stuck”. So, this parenthetical paragraph is a nice little relief, here. Also, I would also like to let go of perfectionism with all things in this post, including punctuation, playful or otherwise.)

Phew! Now that I’ve completed that prologue of a disclaimer, shall we proceed?

(Pssssst, people! That punctuation play?  From now on in this post … I pass.)

P-Words: Phone Photos from Panama

Patient People

I’m really working on patience these days. And patience/impatience came up for me, big time, in Panama.

As is my proclivity, I project impatience onto other people, especially when I am feeling stress* and self-judgment*. And even though a vacation SHOULD be less stressful, the newness of the surroundings can increase that stress.

However, the people I encountered in Panama were, in general, particularly patient and kind.

My personal opinion is that this is the most patient person I had the pleasure to meet, in Panama:


That’s Jason. He was my personal tour guide, on the day I chose the “Hot Springs” activity. When I say “personal” I mean this: nobody else signed up for that tour, that day.

I’m kind of disappointed in myself that I didn’t get a better photo of Jason — that is, one that showed his warm smile.

Here’s another photo I took of Jason, with my iPhone, that day:


Notice all the P-words in the name of that park, people!  That was unplanned, post-wise …. I promise!

That photo, above, shows the entrance to a park that has Pre-Columbian  petroglyphs. Because I had previously heard from one of our prior Panamanian tour guides, Rolando, that the Hot Spring Tour could include a visit to see petroglyphs (and I’ve always been fascinated by ancient cultures), I asked Jason if we could stop there, before the Hot Springs.

Here are some other photos, from that park:


I asked Jason if he would pose in that photo, to get a sense of human scale (from his expression, I don’t know how he was feeling about that, at that point).   That is the short-side of a huge volcanic rock, the aftermath of an explosion of the nearby Volcano Baru, thousands of years ago. The volcanic rocks were everywhere, all around us. On the side of that rock, shown above, you can see petroglyphs mixed in with more modern types of rock-drawings.

Here’s a  photo of a perpendicular side of that same giant volcanic rock:


At this point, Jason and I were postulating about what the people who created these petroglyphs were trying to proclaim.  He told me they were carved when the rock was still soft — in other words, not too long after the eruption of the volcano. (Jason also pointed out that the petroglyphs were recently made more pronounced, for easier perception.) I can’t remember* everything we said about what the ancient Panamanians were trying to communicate, post-volcanic eruption, but I remember some punchlines about what the petroglyphs meant:



And less humorously –and perhaps more accurately pin-pointing possibly poignant, painful, personal, and panicky experiences, in that distant past:

“Why am I still here when so many other people I know died so horribly?”

But those would all be projections on my part, people, as to what I might be feeling, post trauma …. that is, after a major, unexpected devastating event like a volcanic explosion.

Jason then told me that there were more petroglyphs on top of the rock, and that these included … spirals!  And since spirals are an image and metaphor I use, a lot, in my work as a psychotherapist, I asked if I could see those, too:


I knew I was going to show those spirals in this blog, I just wasn’t sure when. There’s no time like the present, people!

Here are more photos of my time with Jason, as my guide:


Note that this terrain* is quite different* from that around Boquete, the prime location for Peggy and Ann’s Panamanian Adventures. That’s because of the lower elevation and, therefore, hotter climate. Also, note those omni-present black volcanic rocks.



I also snapped this photo of these Panamanian Pups ….


…. because I had noticed that the local dogs are unleashed, and pretty much do whatever they please. If any dogs read this blog:  you might want to ponder a move* to Panama.

More phone photos from that day:



I HAVE to comment* on that previous photo.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is Bartolo the Buffalo, preeminent for his many appearances at local festivals. Jason told me that Bartolo was an unusual buffalo, in that he allows people to ride him.

Bartolo sounds patient, to me.

I don’t have any photos to present, for the rest of that afternoon.  Why?  As I wrote about in this post, I was trying, on my vacation, to be more present in the moment, rather than primarily focusing on photography. I acted on that preference, that day, by leaving my camera behind.

There ARE other phone photos, from my afternoon tour of the Hot Springs, which I’m not going to show here. Why? Even though I was prepared to go photo-less, from that point on,   Jason was empathic, kind*, and considerate enough to ask me, several times, if he could take phone photos of me at the Caldera Hot Springs, which included (1) a spring that a local Panamanian person said was “muy caliente” (but which tough* and plucky Ann had NO PROBLEM tolerating) and (2) a hot spring that bubbles into a beautiful* brook!

And, in case you don’t know my photography rules, I don’t show photos of myself in this blog. At least, not yet.

But I do have more phone photos to show you, from Panama, that illustrate more P-words.

Patient people, continued*:

photo 1photo 2

Pssssst!  That’s Peggy!


Pssssst!  That’s Rolando!

photo (82)

Psssst! That’s Jyoti and Sanjay  (I’m pretty positive I’ve got their names right), who were also staying at Los Establos. I thought I had a photo of all four patient people in their group (including Anju and Alok who were present above but unaccounted for in that photo) … but I can’t find it right now.  In the foreground of the above photo? That’s the first* cup of coffee I’ve had for … forty years. How was it?  Primo!**

And the last, but not least, patient person appearing in a phone photo:


That’s, Irina, the patient, pleasant and phenomenal owner of Los Establos.  We ran into her at the Panama City airport yesterday, which I found quite propitious, since I hadn’t photographed her previously.

And, before I end* this post, some more phone photos, representing other P-words.



Planes and passengers:

photo 1 (1)

photo 2 (1)

photo 3

photo 4

Psssst!  That’s Connie Zielinski, who moved from the USA to Boquete, Panama, several years ago.  She gave us a preview of  coming attractions — the  upcoming February 13th parade — moments after I took that previous photo:

photo 5

And, Presto!  Here’s Connie, two days later, in that parade:


Geesh!  I really should finish this post. Is it procrastinating, that I want to post more photos of Panama?

Just one more “Plane” photo:


Pssst!  That’s snow, on the ground, right before we landed in Boston, last night. I don’t want to end this post there, people.  A few more photos from the past, using P-words, okay?




photo 1 (2)

photo 2 (2)

photo 3 (1)

photo 4 (1)

photo 5 (1)

And just one more P-word (with no photo, phone or otherwise).


Thanks to that beautiful country; to Los Establos; and to Jason, Peggy, Rolando, Irina, Connie, and every other patient person, parrot, or puppy appearing in — or reading! — this post.

* There’s no perfect-enough synonym starting with “P”  for this particular word.  Believe me, I checked (on

** That would be the Italian meaning of “primo,” not the Spanish (which primarily, according to my perception, means “cousin”).

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 412: Venturing

Another good morning, to my readers, from Boquete,1 Panama!Image


I’m not positive that both of those photos are new, but I’m venturing to post them today, anyway.

So, yes, today’s topic is “Venturing.”

Yesterday, I ventured, in many ways.

I ventured into a cage, with the three, long-time resident, (allegedly) happy parrots, here at Los Establos Hotel:


Wow!  Somebody thinks2  she (or he) is all High and Mighty! I use the word “somebody” because … I don’t know the name of that parrot.

When I first ventured into Parrot Territory,  I asked Sergio, who helped me inside, that particular parrot’s name.


If any of the three parrots DO have names, Sergio did not venture to guess. By the way, the whole time I was in the cage with the parrots, the door was wide open, with Sergio standing respectfully nearby.

I took one more photo of the extrovert of the three-parrot group, when I noticed somebody I knew, in the background…


Can you see her, in the distance, outside the cage?  That’s Yolanda, another guest at the hotel, to whom both Peggy and I felt connected, very quickly.  I had spoken to Yolanda about the parrots (including my intention to visit them yesterday morning) so when I saw her,  I called out to her. Yolanda immediately stated her intention to join me. In the meantime, I took a few more shots, venturing to get all the parrots (although one of them was EXTREMELY shy):


Actually, all three parrots are in that photo, above.  Can you spot them all?

More photos of the more extroverted members of the group, before Yolanda joined us:

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I had already started calling that one “The Poser.”   I venture to say that you can see why, especially as Yolanda joined the group:


I ventured to get a good shot of the whole group (including all humans and parrots) ….

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… but this proved impossible, because of (1) the shyness of some participants, (2) the skill of the photographer, and (3) this writer’s preference for candid over posed shots.

Anyway, here are some more photos from Ann (and Yolanda)’s Venture Into The Parrots’ Territory.  As I told Yolanda, the parrots seemed more comfortable2 after her arrival on the scene:

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Around this point, Yolanda had to leave. She showed me some photos she captured of these parrots, and they were quite stunning. Before we take our leave of Yolanda, I wanted to tell you some more things about her. Here she is with her boyfriend (Yolanda’s word, according to my friend, Peggy), Ken:


Ken and Yolanda knew each other in high school, were connected with other people for many years, and then met up again a few years ago.  They now live in Bocas, Panama, an island for which Yolanda is a kind of one-woman-chamber-of-commerce. She insisted that Peggy and I both visit Bocas, ASAP, and I’m thinking I probably WILL venture there, eventually. Yolanda is very convincing and a beautiful, vital, brave, and almost irresistible force of nature. Ken is a jazz musician — an electric bass player — by avocation, and was in Boquete for the Jazz and Blues Festival.

For now, let’s say “adieu” to Yolanda and Ken, as we venture back into Parrot Territory, for a few more shots, as I try to get all three parrots in one photo:



Well, fellow venturers, the above is the last photo I took with my camera, yesterday.  For the rest of the day, I spent some time with a wonderful guide named Jason, who showed me some local hot springs (as well as some kindness and wisdom).  Since my photos of those venturings are on my iPhone, you’ll have to wait a few days to meet Jason.

In the meantime, here’s the headline news, for today.  This afternoon, I am venturing to do the one thing that evokes my highest interest/fear, here in Boquete:


I found that image here.

I must confess: In googling images for “Boquete Zip Line,” I saw some photos that sky-rocketed my anxiety, momentarily. But, with some help, I’m letting go of future-oriented anxiety, right now.  I trust that I have all I need, to have a full last day, in beautiful Boquete.1

Would you venture to agree?

Thanks to Sergio, the parrots, the other denizens of Los Establos Hotel, Yolanda, Ken, Peggy, Jason, and all other creatures who are helping me let go of anxiety and venture as high as I can go. And thanks to you — of course! — for reading today.

1 Pronounced “Bo-kett-eh”, in case you venture to speak that aloud (and wish to impress, pronunciation-wise).

2 If you don’t recognize yet another example of my doing the cognitive distortion of mind-reading, please venture into my other blog, to check out this list.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 411: Captured

Reasons for the title of the post?  At least two, to begin with:

  1. While in Boquete, Panama, I’ve been trying to maintain a balance between (a) just being in the moment  and (b) capturing my experience on camera.
  2. My first day here at our hotel in Boquete, Los Establos, I encountered three parrots on the grounds, and my fear was that they had been captured in the wild, and were being kept prisoner. The second day, I got up the courage to ask about the parrots, and found that the story was just what I would have hoped for,  including the rescue of three baby parrots, still together, who can fly free, and who choose to return to their home.

I can hear those parrots right now, as I’m typing these words. Here are some of my earlier attempts to capture them:




I’ve already asked the owner of Los Establos, Irina, if I can get a closer look at the parrots, later today, so I’m assuming the parrots will show up in tomorrow’s blog post, too … but who knows?

The rest of today’s post will include images (and thoughts) that have captured me very recently (for the most part, yesterday).

Yesterday morning, Rolando Cossu, a tour guide for Beyond Adventure Tours1, took four of us — Peggy, me, and a couple from Texas also staying at Los Establos — on a “Panoramic Tour.”  We were happy when Rolando deviated from the usual four-hour car tour and took us on a trail into the rain forest/cloud forest/jungle/national park/whatever-the-hell-the-right-name is for where he took us.

But why focus on the correct name of where Rolando took us on an adventure?  I don’t want to be captured by Pesky Perfectionism. I want to show you what Rolando showed us ….


I took that photo, above, on a brief stop, as Rolando was driving us around the vicinity of Boquete, up further into the mountains.


This shot is taken from the car. Rolando showed us that castle, which some British guy in the 1960’s began building  and never finished (if my memory serves me correctly). Rolando said the property has been left abandoned since then, because people think it’s haunted. We found out something about Rolando’s bravery, at that point, because he said, “I’ve been there. I don’t think it’s haunted.”  Here’s another view of the castle:


More beauty, from the car:


Then, Rolando brought us to a hiking trail, and we spent a lot of time, walking, listening, and watching for what was all around is.  This was one of the first things I noticed, by the side of the trail:


Actually, right before I noticed that, I had seen somebody standing, on one of the rocks, in the middle of the brook to the left. I don’t have a shot of that, but just imagine my previous photo, with a slight figure standing, unmoving, on one of the rocks.  I was forming some sort of speculation as to what he was doing there, which was then replaced by attempts to make meaning of the hanging bottles. Rolando explained that these bottles were a new, on-going creation of the figure we had just seen. He said, “He is embarrassed. That’s why he is standing there.”  I immediately projected my own experience as a creator of pieces seen by the public, thinking: “He’s an artist. He’s not sure what people will think. He’s modest. He’s shy. ”

But letting go of THAT line of mind-reading, I moved towards the much-more-interesting possibility of meeting the artist. I walked down to the edge of the brook, and somehow communicated to him that I wanted to know more about his creation. He left the rock, came up to join us, and stood by his work:



He was okay with my taking those photos. As Rolando translated,  I found out his name — Eliaser — and told him I thought his work was beautiful. I didn’t ask him about his intention or vision (I think I tend not to go there, with artists), but I am grateful he joined us for this part of our adventure.

Onward and upward!

Rolando had this magical book, that showed and described all the creatures we might see, on our walk:


A lot of visitors to this area are birdwatchers, and the local Holy Grail — the bird of all birds is … the Quetzal!


I did NOT take that photo, people. It’s from the Wikipedia page I found when I searched for “quetzal bird Panama.” I assume that’s the bird we were looking for yesterday, although I’m not sure.  We looked for the Quetzal (among other things), with Rolando’s able and unhurried assistance.


And Rolando found a Quetzal for us!  We spent some unhurried time watching it, with binoculars that he provided.  I believe this is where we found it, although I’m honestly not sure (since I was captured by focusing on the beautiful Quetzal).


I am often captured by my assumptions about my own limitations, and I see myself as “not good” at birdwatching, using binoculars, following directions, and seeing what somebody else wants me to see.  For most of the time that the others seemed to be “getting it,” I felt like an outsider, as I had trouble capturing the Quetzal within my view. Mostly, I saw this:


… despairing of seeing more, despite the nearness of the Bird of Birds, which the others all saw, with excitement.  However, I took a breath, lost my investment in the outcome, had faith in myself and my instructor, and …

… I captured the Quetzal in  Rolando’s binoculars, right as it took wing and flew away!   That was beyond an adventure, for sure.

Here’s more of what we saw, as we ascended further and higher along the trail.



I noticed Rolando stopping and inspecting this flower:


When I asked him about it, he said, “I’ve never seen this flower before.”  I appreciated that he let me know that, and I took a close-up of it:


We walked for quite a while, always uphill. And I became captured by old memories, from having lived all my life with an unusual heart, of not being able to keep up with people, especially on inclines.  And I was captured by negative associations with this, including assumptions that the other people accompanying me, that day, were impatient and waiting for me to catch up.  And I was disappointed with how out of breath I felt, yesterday. So I stopped, paused, took a breath, recognized how my present was affected by my past, and tried to be in the moment, letting go of assumptions.

However, when I started moving again, and I found Peggy and Rolando, further up the trail, the old assumptions came rushing back, as strong as the brook by our trail. Those assumptions were:

  • Roland and Peggy had been waiting for me.
  • They had some impatience about that.
  • My pace and other behaviors were somehow weird and unacceptable, because they were different from what “normal” people do.

But I am old and wise enough to check out these assumptions, as soon as I can, these days. So when I joined up with Peggy, I told her I was feeling out of breath, disappointed with my endurance, and told her about my old memories of lagging behind “more normal” people, regarding physical exertion. And I knew I could trust Peggy, because we’ve known each other for about 35 years.  And as I knew, Peggy was accepting, kind, and logical, and helped me “reality test.” That is, she told me something I already knew: this was a leisurely hike with a guide who adjusted easily to the needs and wants of those in his care.

So I cried a little, with Peggy, and was no longer captured by those old memories, assumptions, and feelings of being “different” and “not as good.”

Onward and upward!

Rolando pointed out many interesting facts about about the beautiful surroundings on the way. He also allowed space for us to wander, at will, by ourselves.  I kept my own pace, and felt out of breath, for sure, but no longer captured by the doubts and self-judgment from before.  After a lot of time meandering among the beauty all around us, I came around a corner and saw Rolando and the others looking up, into the trees. Another Quetzal? I wondered.  Then Rolando said something that like “Ocelot” to me and I got REALLY excited. To see a big cat , un-captured, in the wild would be BEYOND adventure, to me.

However, I was incorrect. There are Jaguars in Panama and those were the creatures I was most longing to see. Hence my mental leap, to “Ocelot” when given half a chance. However, what Rolando really was saying was …..

… Sloth.  There was a sloth, hanging free, in the trees. With my lack of practice, I, again, was slower than the others in spotting it. But I did.  And Rolando kindly took my camera, and captured it for me:



Thanks, Rolando, for your photographic skill. And thanks to the sloth, for showing me that slowness is also beautiful.

Rolando showed us many other interesting and beautiful things, in the four hours we spent with him, including these sights …

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… as well as a delicious fresh strawberry slushie-type thing, which I was too captured by, to stop, for even a moment, to capture on camera.

After Rolando returned us to the hotel, I spent the afternoon wandering the grounds, taking photos. You have already seen, above, the pictures I took of the three parrots. Here are some more photos from yesterday afternoon:


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So what feels left unfinished before I publish this post?

  1. To make sure there aren’t any gross errors in this post, like including the same exact image twice.  Check!
  2. To tell you one more thing, about Rolando and the local fauna.

As I may have alluded to in my blog posts, one of my favorite animals is the Capybara. If you look at this previous post,  “Day 276: Radical Acceptance,”  you’ll see some evidence of that, people. (The capybara is the creature that — to me, has always looked exactly like a giant guinea pig, sharing the sofa with a regular guinea pig.) 2

Anyway, at one point when Rolando was consulting his magic book of local creatures, I spotted the capybara. I said, “ARE THERE CAPYBARAS AROUND HERE?”  I don’t think I actually yelled, but I was beyond excited. I asked if I could see one, and Rolando said, “Yes … in a zoo?” which I thought was funny, since that’s exactly where I’ve seen them, so far in my life. He did tell me more about the Capybaras, how they were shy and only came out at night (although Rolando has seen Un-captured Capybaras at times, living in the same local environment).

So even though it’s very unlikely that I will see an un-captured Capybara before I return home, in two days, it helps to know they’re out there, very close to me, right now.


My heartfelt thanks to Peggy,  Rolando, Eliaser, Irina,  artists everywhere, all creatures captured AND un-captured, and to you — of course! — for reading today.

1 I really like that title, “Beyond Adventure Tours.”  It reminds me of “To infinity …. and beyond!” from Toy Story. Whatever “beyond adventure” IS … it has to be pretty darn exciting.

2 If that description didn’t make you check out a link to a previous post, I give up.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

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