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  • Writer's pictureLindsey St Onge

Day 8 From Katie Smith's Move-Ex Experience: July 2012

Today we woke up early to leave by 8:30am and my buttered toast never tasted so good. We were off to the beach at Portobelo, Panamá. It is about two hours north of were we are staying in Casco Viejo. It is a gorgeous and charming community that is so laid back and relaxed, people are just chillin in the street, dancing in the plaza, djembe drumming (thanks BYU), and celebrating birthdays. The people were so nice!!!

Exhibit A: Mama T. needed to use the bathroom and some people let her use their home one. When we got to Portobelo we took a 15 minute boat ride to a private island that dropped us off for the day. It was a gorgeous middle point between the Caribbean and rain forest where palm trees shaded us just enough. That's right, be jealous.

We spent the day with our bus drive Tio René who let us all borrow his snorkel while he showed us some beautiful fish and sea urchins between the rocks and coral of the ocean. They were gorgeous; my favorite was a royal blue fish the length of my finger. So cute! It was hard to walk around the ocean because there were so many rocks right off the shore but then it turned into soft sand. We laid on the beach, ate lunch/snacks, followed a 25 foot ant trail carrying leaves and food to their home, AND saw some natives catch a boa constrictor! Eeek! We had walked right under the snake and never even saw that sucker! SCARY!

It was kind of an overcast day and sprinkled a little but was still perfect. After laying out, swimming, jumping off trees, and watching coconut drift in and out with the tide, we were worn out and decided to head back to Portobelo for our Passa Passa class with the natives. We were truly in for a treat with this class and had no idea what was coming. Seriously, this was the best class of the week for me. Honestly, I don't know how to describe the movement except for it originated in Jamaica and is a reggae/hip hop/ghetto style of dance down here.

Our teacher was this young kid that just killed it with his moves! He made his own music too and it is legit, I actually plan to by a Cd tomorrow from him. He taught us this Passa Passa dance to words (Now You See Me Now You Don't/Shoe Step/Shakira/Feel Yourself/Ever Fresh Ever Clean, Follow You) haha it was so hilarious, i'll post a video soon. Then we had to learn to battle with his crew. Luckily, they dispersed among us to help us white ladies out. Awesome class taught with so much confidence and theory by a guy who had never been educated on teaching technique. Truly talented.

We also taught the Portobelo kids some ballet and modern/contact improv and they thought we were hilarious and were laughing but were so willing to try everything! They all wanted to partner with us and would play jokes on us. It was automatic friendship.

That is one of my favorite parts of Panamá; once you meet someone they act like you are best friends and that they have known you forever. Just like last night at 'Tontolos', all the Dancing With The Stars cast came right up and hugged us and started talking like lifetime friends.

After our classes we walked around the city some, looked a vendors, conversed with the natives, checked out the ruins of the city forts, and watched the sun start to set over the ocean and boats docked at the shore. FTD (favorite time of day) for sure.

We all piled into our big yellow bus to head home for dinner and we all fell asleep on each other during the long and bumpy ride home. Sunshine and Passa Passa dancing sure take it out of you. We decided to go to dinner at 'René's Café' where I had some of the best chicken with yummy vegetable rice, ceviche, bread, salad, and brownies. We did our reflections of the last two days and talked about our VERY busy day tomorrow for the show. I also got some gifts for the fam (I know you're excited) and then walked home to Magnolia Inn hostel.

Our day is wrapping up with packing, organizing, blogging, story writing, uploading pictures, preparing costumes, cutting music, and taking showers to get ready for bed.

Hasta Luego!

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