Contributed by: Don Winner
By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Here's something completely different for 2009 - we're going to be highlighting different places of interest and destinations around Panama, and establishing a scale of "Panama Guide Experience Points" for each one. Our first example will be "Gatun Lake." There are all kinds of things you can do in, on, and around Gatun Lake. Go fishing for Peacock Bass, catch more than 100 fish (in one boat) for a day, catch an Oscar, catch a Tarpon, spot a Cayman or Crocodile swimming in the wild, feed the monkeys at "Monkey Island," search for bottles and ceramics, have a picnic at one of the bohios, go scuba diving in the lake, etc. We can also add and assign points for other activities readers come up with within each category. If you've completed all of the activities in a category you can assign yourself the "been there, done that" award. And, this might turn into a fun way to let people know about some of the off-the-beaten-path trips and destinations that are available, as well as a way for people to keep track of what they've missed. (more)
About Once A Week: Periodically, about once a week or so, we will be coming up with another destination or road-trip, and assigning the points schedule for each one. I expect the guys who have been in Panama a long time will quickly and easily "score" most of the points for themselves, just based on past experience. But I've been fishing on Gatun Lake myself literally hundreds of times, but I've never been scuba diving in the lake for example. You're going to have to be relatively adventurous to score 100% of the points within any one category.
Mostly Destinations: For the most part these will be fun places to go, stuff to do, and things to see. There are literally an unlimited number of potential destinations in Panama that many people either don't know about or have never taken the time to go and see. Have you ever been to the summit of Volcan Baru? Big points for that one...
Friendly Competition: One of the first pieces of information foreigners exchange when meeting is "how long have you been in Panama?" There are people who have lived here their entire lives who live within deep ruts, and while they might have a lot of chronological time accumulated, they really have not taken the time to go out and see the country side very much. Alternatively, there are tourists and travelers who can cover a whole lot of ground in a relatively short period of time and they might end up with more "Panama Guide Experience Points" than a long time resident.
Trust, But Verify: What? Of course not. This whole thing is going to be on the friendly honor system. If you say you've actually climbed to the peak of Volcan Baru naked and then repelled back down to your car upside down, then I believe you... (grin) Oh yeah, I forgot, you can get extra points for doing anything on the list naked. It's going to be a fun list. But for that we're going to need to see the pictures. Expect more on this soon. Comments? Ideas? Let's hear it...
Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.