Adam stayed here for 10 days so… he deserves two shout outs. As Matt has wrote, there are times at the hotel when we’re not exactly busy. Now that’s not a good thing at all, but because it’s the middle of the low season, we take it with a grain of salt, tequila and some limes.
Luckily, Adam decided to visit during such a time period and we had multiple grains of salt, tequila and limes. With this in mind and bloodstream, we figured the best activity for us to experience with Adam was “Cave-hunting”. Similar to our “Waterfall-hunting” adventures, but this time, insert “Cave” for “Waterfall”.
I don’t know about you, but when I think about exploring caves a few things come to mind. Stalagmites, stalactites, rocks, Batman, Val Kilmer… the list goes on. More importantly though, sufficient lighting displaying a carefully constructed pathway meandering through the cave with a hand rail to provide stability, passable stone steps and signs pointing towards the nearest exits are also part of the equation. And for all the caves I’ve ever conquered, this is the reality. This is the standard and it is also my minimum requirements. No Val Kilmer, No cave, No me. However, in situations where you can’t fly Senor Kilmer in, any friend will do. And since Adam was here, we were golden.
Now I am not a nature person at all. I prefer to view animals on a television or at the zoo and experience the outdoors on a soccer pitch. And in preparing for “Cave-hunting”, I chose a long sleeve shirt, rubber pants, high socks, homing beacon and hiking boots. I am allergic to everything, so I prepare all outdoors activities accordingly. I was “listo” as we say in Spanish. Then I look at Matt and Adam. Both had chosen T-shirts and even worse, Adam was wearing Capri jeans. And so I laughed, laughed and pointed at Adam’s naked ankles.
When Ivan returned he gave us some equipment, things like a helmet, knee pads, masks, headlight, etc. These were great but we were one set of kneepads short and I drew the short straw. This wasn’t ideal but unlike Adam and Matt, I had a homing beacon.
Once ready, we were off. Our destination, a cave in Chagres National Park. Our guide, Ivan. The first descent was accomplished like a 2-yr old on stairs… “Turn around Keenan…” Then there was a wall and then there were bats. Definitely not a stroll in the park and not something I’ll bore you with. After the wall we congregated blooded knees and all, and huddled about like penguins protecting our eggs waiting for everyone else to catch up. Not sure how many of you have been in the company of Batman or bats, but it’s not all that great. No fun gadgets, no deep voices, nothing. You stand there and all you hear is a slight wisp and all you can feel is a subtle breeze. It’s pitch black and when you look up, your headlight catches a glimpse of something black barely missing your face. Not fun.
Finally, everyone caught up and Ivan instructed us to put on the SARS masks. Ivan then began explaining to us that Bat excrement should not be eaten, a legitimate concern. Thanks Ivan. Suddenly, we heard a “shhhp”. Followed by “Damnit Matt.” Heads immediately turn to Adam, the doctor, the pediatric gastroenterologist. His mask’s ripped, face rippled with concern. Turn to Matt. Bastards’ giggling.
Well we continued on and conquered the cave. Scaled some more walls, crawled through holes, and finally got out. I’m not sure I’d be willing to sign up for another Cave-Hunting extravaganza with Ivan anytime soon, but the novelty of adventuring through a cave before an “Exit” sign existed was worth it….maybe…..