Put a bird on it

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Tippecanoe and Tyler Too: a totally tired, totally cheating travelogue’

I picked the picture at the top of this post for two reasons. One, because it has a bird (actually, many birds) on it. (Hail, Portlandia!) And two, because it shows a bed.

We flew home very late last night from our latest birding adventure, and boy are my arms tired. (Sorry, fatigue has made me giddy and prone to awful puns.) Meanwhile, don’t you hate trendy gerunds like ‘birding’? Like ‘parenting’ and ‘mothering’. What’s next, ‘kidding’? Oh. There already is a ‘kidding’.

Anyway. Since I have a mountain of sweaty stinky birding duds to burn (er, wash) I’ve decided to take the easy way out and just show you all some pictures from our trip. (I know, I know. Shades of the Olden Days when vacationers would bore their friends with their slides. (Which were like photos, but were these things they’d put in a ‘projector’ and show on a ‘screen’.) But really. If you’d been on a post-holiday night flight full of screaming kids accompanied by adults sorely lacking in Basic Parenting Skills, you’d choose this option too.)

So on with the (not-slides-but-close) show!

Happy Trails. The Dude in his element. And I don’t mean mud

We were in Darien Province, which is where there is this big ole gap in the Pan-American Highway. I won’t get into the reason there is a gap here. (Yawn.) But you can read about it here if you are curious. 

The sign at the end of the road — er, the gap in the Pan-American Highway

It’s really muddy and really hot and sticky here. I know because I tried to wash our icky birding clothes in the sink after the first 90-plus degree-and-humidity day and it took three days for them to dry. I gave up after that. (Hmmm. Should have worn those clothes on the plane. We would have had the row to ourselves.)

The Graveyard Shift. It was hotter than hell in there. Which is probably where we’re going after tromping around on dead people

The birding was also hot. And heavy. We were all over the place chasing little (and big) avian critters. We birded on foot — lots of ‘on foot’ — by van, and by boat.

Our ‘boat’ was an actual dugout canoe. (Note hand-crafted evidence on the sides and bottom.) That’s The Dude, digging it. That’s me, or at least my squinty fear wrinkles, in the foreground

Where did we go in that dugout? To a remote island, to find the Dusky Whatnot. That’s the (very muddy, very slippery) Stairway to Birder Heaven. And no, that’s NOT me descending it

Another Roadside Attraction. Our guide would listen (while driving!) and stop whenever he heard anything interesting, birdwise

We also brake for cute monkeys. Look closely and you’ll see a critter poking his head out of that tree trunk

Tromping around on trails and splashing around in dugouts — or even pulling up by the side of the road — means forgetting all nods to fashion. One accessorizes one’s neck with binoculars. And no one leaves the tent for the day without a personal stock of TP. BTW, birding is one of the few occasions when I envy men. Squatting in chigger-infested bushes is not for the dainty.

This village allowed us Birding Gals the use of a real potty, complete with TP. It was padlocked securely when we were done

And when we were really done? As in, for the day? Well. We collapsed on our tent-side deck. Which I wish I had access to right now. Instead, I’ve gotta get back to business — and those muddy clothes.

Happy Canopy Camper. (It’s a good thing this picture is not scratch-and-sniff)

New York City. January 2018

Panamaman Memories

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‘Don’t sit under the Tourist Tree with anyone else but me’

Apologies for my tardiness in getting this post out, O Faithful Fans. But The Dude and I just flew in from Panama, and boy are our arms tired. (Not to mention our bottoms, after six hours of getting to the airport while bouncing in a van on quaintly winding Panamanian roads.)

Speaking of flying, we saw gazillions of new bird species. (Well, around 250, give or take a specie.) Plus lots of other animals like monkeys, and sloths (the non-human kind), and adorable just-hatched baby turtles. Here is The Dude bonding with one of the babies (turtles, not sloths — though we did see some baby sloths too):

Don’t worry Little Guy; Wayne likes turtles. And I don’t mean in soup

And here they are, hightailing it down to the water. The Child saw one bobbing next to her surfboard soon after its release. Maybe it wanted a ride. Continue reading

Walking on air

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‘Spending New Year’s Eve in a jungle. (No, not the one in Times Square.)’

When I was a kid I used to watch the Ball drop in Times Square on TV, and dream of being there on New Year’s Eve to see it in person. But now that I actually live in New York, somehow the idea of standing cheek by jowl with a bunch of inebriated strangers in the freezing cold doesn’t sound nearly so enticing.

I think that’s the case with a lot of things that you dream about being old enough to do: driving, wearing pajamas all day, eating dessert first. I’m sure you can think of your own examples.

But even if I’m not out there partying in Times Square (or partying anywhere, for that matter) I still insist on staying up till midnight to See The New Year In. Even if no one stays up with me, which happens more and more frequently with each passing Eve. Continue reading