Rather than going into great detail about all of the terrific birding today, please visit Henry's birdwatching blog. http://worldbirding.travellerspoint.com/
The answer to the question: The Panama Canal!
We spent our morning admiring the Miraflores Locks on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal and watching ships pass through on their 50-mile voyage toward the Atlantic Ocean. Dave and Sue were probably the most interested in the canal. After sitting through Mom's long (boring) explanation of how the locks work, Henry said with a far-off look in his eyes, "Look... it's a Brown Pelican." Pearl relished her role as junior family photographer. She is an expert at photos from her perspective. Prepare yourselves for tons of photos of Dave and Sue's butts.
Seriously though, the canal and the locks were a marvel to see in action. Dave enjoyed reminiscing about his parents' cruise through the Panama Canal circa 1975 and the endless family movies he was forced to sit through. Sue thought about her dad and how much he would have enjoyed joining us on this trip and seeing the locks in action.
In the afternoon Sue, Dave, and Henry presented a concert at an orphanage in Panama City. We performed for 50 elementary school age children from the "Hogar San José de Malambo." The kids were friendly, lovable, and well-cared for. They were extremely inquisitive about us and our instruments. Though our family doesn't speak much Spanish, we were able to communicate with them via a translator during our concert of dixieland, ragtime, folk, and classical music. Some of the brass instrument terminology was lost in translation, but all was made clear when Dave whipped out his garden hose horn and played a rousing "Pop Goes the Weasel" before segueing into a sleepy and restless-audience rendition of the Saint-Saens Romance on his recently neglected French horn. Henry is particularly wonderful with the kids. They look up to him, and they LOVED the fact that he played jazz trumpet.
At the end of the concert, the workers and nuns were so sweet. It was an honor to spend a few hours at the orphanage. Afterwards, we were led on a tour of the grounds. The orphanage houses 130 children through age 18--including some special needs and HIV positive kids. Hogar San José de Malambo is a place that none of us will easily forget. The smiling eager faces of the children. The lovely sisters. It was a meaningful afternoon. We were especially proud of Pearl who joined the kids in the audience without any encouragement from us, and for her bravery after the concert when she was literally mobbed by the children.
Watching ships go through the Panama Canal
Ship from Guangzhou, China goes through the Miraflores Locks
Henry, doing what he loves best
Practicing for the concert at the orphanage
At the orphanage gate