Jungle Living

Living in Gamboa, Panama, is definitely different in a lot of ways than living in Boston… For example, there’s only one road into Gamboa. Actually, it’s an old wooden train bridge that has been converted into a single lane bridge of questionable structural integrity that crosses the Chagres River where it connects with the canal. Beyond Gamboa, the pavement becomes dirt and the road stretches into the jungle for a few kilometers. 

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Once you enter Gamboa, you’ll find a tiny police department, some canal buildings, a church, a school, a resort, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) lab and research greenhouses, a food truck (that serves delicious lunches, usually consisting of rice, beans, some kind of veggies, and a meat dish for only $2.75!), and some houses. Especially during the summer, many of the people living in Gamboa are affiliated with STRI. However, there are also locals and canal workers who commute from the city during the week. Here’s a view of the road leading into Gamboa right after the bridge and some of the canal buildings: 

There’s also a little “tienda,” or store, that sells the bare essentials, including plantains, rice, beans, and milk. The tienda is a life saver because we are only able to go into Panama City to a real grocery store every week or two. I miss having easy access to groceries at any time in Boston! 

Another one of the strangest adjustments for me was actually the timing of sunset. Coming from the late evening Boston summer sunsets, I was startled when the sun disappeared at 6:30 pm on my first night. But it also rises every day at 6 am, which is perfect for beautiful early morning runs! 

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