Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Panama Adventure - Update #4

Happy New Year!!

Well, it's true, I have finally hit my wall...I am very low on energy and pretty weak so I will keep this short - probably no more videos as it does take a lot of energy and I am conserving at this point!! I included a pick of my favorite creatures here - the laughing geckos and some of my fellow fasting peeps....amazing folks!

I have past my half way mark (today is day 14 with no food and only water) - and will likely spend the rest of my visit here relaxing in my bed - which probably sounds kind of dreamy to many of you with busy lives!!!

On a more serious note, fasting is an amazing way to clear the mind/body and get empty - and able to go deeper inside - a lot of people are here for spiritual reasons...some specifically to seek balance in a very unbalanced world, or so it seems. They are trying to get clear on their path in life - it is interesting to talk with them. Others are here just for the experience - and of course, a few just to lose some weight...whatever the reason, there is no escaping the introspection that occurs during a lengthy fast - it is pretty powerful - after a while you just have to let go to it as you 'got no' energy to do otherwise - we do a fine job in North America of keeping ourselves busy!

With all of that said, I won't tell a lie, I DO look forward to food!!!! May the New Year bring everyone much abundance and happiness!!

XOXO
Joy

Bodily Functions (that was for you, Greg O. ;-) !)
My hands and feet have become very clammy - which I was told is normal because the body shuts off areas it doesn't need when detoxing...as well, I feel most rumbling in my lower intestines...another sign of great work being done! ;-) Certain areas of my skin have become very dry - others perfectly supple and moist - go figure. My acid indigestion has gone away - so far, this fast has been pretty physically non-eventful - which is good.

My sleep is sporadic - I lay in bed most of the night with my eyes close but no sleep. Last night I had some fluttering of my heart - which Loren says is very, very common in a fast because your body just wants you to rest so if you move around much, this will happen (I describe myself as a rotisserie chicken at night!)

It is also common to have dreams about foods you no longer eat - my roomie, Rosemarie is a German and has had all of these dreams about German bakeries - fun to hear in the morning! All of us fasters tell our dreams of food - it is kind of fun to appreciate food in such a different light....I am getting to a point where that doesn't even sound interesting!

The one thing I have been experiencing for the past 5-7 days is a constant taste of fluoride pills from my youth - any of you that took them, know what I am talking about - that little purple pill...it sure makes water nasty after a while.

All in all, the fast is going well - I am going to decide after my weigh in on Saturday if I am going to break my fast early - my instincts tell me I will - probably Monday ish - after all, what's the difference between 18 and 21 days - not a whole heck of a lot!!

Stats:
2nd Week - W 107.6 (Normal to lose the most the first week and then less and less as time goes on - let's hope!), BP 87/64, HR 68, Fat 27% (apparently this number means I have a lot of water stored in my colon - I'll save you the additional details!), Hydration 52.3, Sugar 62

1st Week - weight 120.6, blood pressure 86/57, heart rate 69, fat 26%, hydration 49.9, blood sugar 52

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Panama Adventure - Update #3

Buena!

Today I was able to get my video working so enjoy - it is not very interesting because it is so early into my fast but at least those that worry will KNOW I am okay!! ;-)

Where I left off...Gamboa...the days just got more interesting...I found myself wandering up the stairs to a delightful, new B&B - and I got there in the most interesting of ways (of course!) - I was starving for food because the place I was staying basically gave me 3 pieces of pineapple for breakfast (I know, I know - I needed to get used to it!) Soooo, I decided to go into town and just tool around free of luggage with mission in hand = food!

I wander Gamboa looking for fruit - nobody understands me so I decide to start heading towards Panama (you know me and my weird ways - just walk in the direction and something MIGHT happen!) I see this American looking guy who happens to be the Pastor for the town church. He asks me where I am staying and I say the B&B - he says, which one - I stop because I thought there was only one! I told him the one - and he says, 'oh, I am sorry'! Ha - whoa?! I ask where the other one is and he directs me...I know that when I return from town I must go there - I am very clear about this...when I get back from town, I search for the B&B he spoke of - and I turn the corner knowing that I found it...a tranquil Japanese fountain welcomes me - and a lovely gentleman sitting downstairs in a rocking chair. I spoke with him and he tells me I have to ask the 'boss' if they have any space - I go upstairs and meet my angel, Sharon! She is amazing - long story short, I stayed there and helped her in the kitchen - and had the BEST time - felt like I found a family of my own in Panama - it was just what the doctor ordered. Not to mention, she kept calling me her angle because her right hand person had been out for 2 days and se was frantic to get things done - it was a perfect marriage of giving. It was hard to leave but her parting words to me were, 'if you need anything - if you want me to pick you up from your fast - if you want to fast here instead, just call me and I will come get you' - what a treat and gift!! I am ever so grateful - I will definitely be back to see them at some point - they would be worth a trip to Panama...just them alone.

So, now I am at Tanglewood and well into my fast - things are going well - my fast is progressing rapidly - I am having many more symptoms (which are good!) I did have a few dreams about food last night - that was rough.

The other people here are wonderful - all different backgrounds - I look forward to getting to know them as energy allows (there are 6 of us fasters here now and 2 more coming next week)....

What do I notice most? My dry throat - my breathing is shallow - I believe it is the last remnants of my cold...we shall see. I am also very weak - I can only do one thing at a time and then I must rest...what a treat!

My vitals for those that are interested....weight 120.6, blood pressure 86/57, heart rate 69, fat 26% (Danny Doo - how could you let this happen?!?!), hydration 49.9 (holy chimney!), blood sugar 52 (a little low but nothing to be worried about).

Pictures - one of them is of their version of a 'rat' here in Panama (tat I dare say they eat - but in Gamboa they are all protected so all is good!) - they are SOOO cute and fun to watch!!! And the other is of a flower that emits this AMAZING scent at night....it does this so it has no competition with the pollinators during the day...pretty clever - and beautiful, to boot!

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday seasons!! Much love to you all! Because fasting is slow as molasses - I won't be writing until next week...besides, I need my rest!! ;-)

XOXO
Joy

Friday, December 19, 2008

Panama Adventure - Update #2

Hola!

First off, a few things...one being that this will probably be the longest email of my trip (with the most pictures)...so, fear not! Tomorrow is day one of my fast - typing an email will not be high on my energy-consumption priority list! Secondly, my computer keyboard is acting up - my H, B, & N are sticky (likely persimmon juice! Haha!)...just giving you a heads up if I have a few typos - for instance, 'Thinking' could come out 'tinking'....just giggle 'cuz I am not going to spend time cleaning 'er up! Oh, and I will try and figure out my video once I am at the fasting center...till then, only stills.

Well, it has been a very interesting week - my whole plan was thrown out the door when I got a bad cold the first day I was in Panama (and after I got bumped from my original flight for a nice price!) My head felt like it weighed 100 pounds and my nose wouldn't stop running...ironic that I haven't been sick in so long only to get sick a few days before my fast (and on vaca)!! Good times...the surfing-go-go-go plans went out the door - and mellow nature rolled in.

Panama Canal - I describe this tourist stop as something similar to watching water boil (sorry Dad!!) Sure, it is good to see it once in your lifetime...or is it??? Anyway, I prefer monkeys, birds and fruit on trees to this thing but I have no doubt it was a feat beyond feats and does something amazing for the world!!! LOL For me, the little things made the trip delightful - I enjoyed the 'prevent pollution' sign on the tanker as the black billow of smoke pumped out it's top - as well as the 'little' yacht behind it full of Hawaiian shirt wearing men (probably on a fun boys-only fishing trip) running around the boat trying to throw their rope to the tug boat operators...they kept missing - chalk it up to one too many mojitoes before noon!

Luna's Castle - I stayed at a really cool hostel (and no, I wasn't the oldest person there - yeehaw!) - it is in the middle of a HUGE renovation-project area - Casco Viejo. Literally, every single block is under renovation. This hostel was quite the bustling place! I met some amazing peeps - most with travel plans between 3 months and 2 years - kid you not...it is really easy to have a travel buddy if you stay at a hostel! I couldn't keep up with all of the stories!! And the number one destination spot?!?!? COLUMBIA - EVERYONE either loved it or was headed there. If you ever want to get the lay of the land for any location, stay in a hostel (granted, I would recommend a private room if one is available!) At most hostels, all of the ground work has been done 100x over on what to see in a country....

Casco Viejo - this area is delightful - especially if you walk REALLY slow through it...you will see so many interesting things - the entire area was abandoned many years and years ago - and for the most part, has been infested with squatters - there are still some very 'sketch' areas within it (natives steered me and my friend away from the bad parts - we were heading RIGHT down a really bad street - unknowingly, of course - but everyone start whistling at us and running their fingers across their necks - aka DON'T GO!! Kind of cool to be watched out for, especially when you don't speak the language!) As you can see from the facade, it has a very 'New Orleans' look - i.e., French feel. People buying these buildings today are demo-ing the interior (if not already done by squatters) but are required to renovate the front as it was back in the day - so, everywhere you look you see empty shells...I really liked the one with the trees growing out of the building - I am hoping they keep the trees...that's my vote!

One of my favorite things to do in a new city (or country!) is to go where the locals shop - food, etc - you can really see the culture of the place, how they live and interact with each other. It is especially interesting this time of year because of Christmas - like most places in the world! I have enjoyed all of the wonderful fruit vendors - so much cheap produce - my pineapples were $.30-$.50/each - put that in your pipe and smoke it, Whole Foods! The other fun local experience is the private bus 'system' here (granted, taxis are cheap - but the buses are more fun!) There are no CapMetros or Tri-Mets - it is all private enterprise, baby - hoop it up! Some of these buses have so much character (note the fins on top!) - they even have marketers that try and get you on their bus - pretty fun. Oh, and these are all old US school buses - the one I was on today was from Virginia - Reuse, Recycle!!!

I am currently staying in a National forest (Gamboa is the town) - it is one of the top research locations for the Smithsonian - there are that many species here - in fact, a Japanese guy is filming a documentary a block away with a camera watching a flower 24/7 (reminds me of 'The Earth' documentary!) The green abounds, the critters thrive and the number of homes minimal. The homes were built 75+ years ago for researching (they are huge home - 6,000 sqft +)...and yet Gamboa is only 25 minutes from the city - best of all worlds - it also borders the canal. There are oodles of Smithsonian labs around here - and I gotta be honest, in some ways it feels like a scene Jack Bauer would encounter!

I didn't realize what it meant when a B&B says they are for 'birders'...I just assumed it was okay if you 'liked birds'. It has been soo entertaining and yet I clearly don't fit in! There are 3 other guests here - 2 from UK and 1 from Germany - and they are CRAZY birders! They have traveled the world all in search of the same thing...reminds me of a World Wide Treasure Hunt and they all speak of the 'treasure' with similar enthusiasm - the treasure is open for all and they all help each other find the treasure - pretty cool! I just about lost it when one of the guys pulled out (rapidly from his jean pockets - like a gun quick fire) 2 ipods attached to these compact disc looking speakers and started playing the 'call' sounds for some of the birds they were hoping to see....technology meets nature, I guess!!

Sooo, that has been my journey so far...the next email will come when I am well into my fast - I will wait until after the cravings go away as I don't want to be toooo cranky!! ;-)

Love to everyone for a happy and healthy holiday seasons!
XOXO
Joy

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Panama Adventure - The Journey Begins!

Hola!

I am in route - the adventure has official begun! Currently, I am sitting in the Miami airport - WOW, is this a fabulous display of a melting pot! Haha - it is quite the show here in Miami...the lines, the delightful lines - a plethora of people watching enjoyment.

My goal is to be bumped from this flight - with a free voucher for another trip (I am a sucka!) I asked the gal - she said they are overbooked by 12 so we have a good chance - but she specifically asked if I could go tomorrow instead - and I said, 'SURE!' An extra surprise - a free day in Miami c/o American Airlines...it is really nice having a flexible schedule - all good.

***continued***
Woohoo! I got bumped! It was quite a profitable bump...I received an $800 travel voucher for American and any of their partners - full meals paid for through tomorrow (of course, I will be tired of hotel bananas and oranges by tomorrow!) - and a hotel...AND, because I was the only patient, easy going, nice volunteer to be bumped (everyone else found something to argue about - oh my!), she booked me in business class on the trip tomorrow - I tell ya, it pays to be patient, easy going and nice to our fellow people! ;-)

Anyway, my flight yesterday...I have been so spoiled in 737's & MD80s - the sweet, dainty airplanes only to board a 757 - aka the BEAST - we were barreling down the run way and I had flashes of being in a HUGE tank trying to lift off the ground...eeeks! A little unnerving to be going 200+ in a TANK, not to mention, a tank trying to lift up, up, up into the air!! Of course, it was a great, easy flight -

I also realize when I got to the airport yesterday (BTW, thanks Jodi for the ride - you are awesome!)....that I did not bring my driver's license (with the thought of 'flying light'!). Well, that naturally shifted my plans...because I am not sure I can rent a car without a valid driver's license! But, it could be a blessing...I might just park it in Panama City for a few days and then fly to Boca's del Toro for a few days...rather than driving all over the country (and maybe 1 more bump tomorrow so I have all the flying $$ I need for the next year +!! Haha!)

More fun to come...that is the only certainty with this adventure!!

Pic attached - whew, the little guy fits!!

XOXO
Joy