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A mile or so up the rio diablo . Kunas who live on nargana paddle up river to fill their water barrels . I think they could easily pipe water to the village , but they prefer paddling up river and bringing their water back . It is very nice paddling listening to the birds and enjoying the beauty of the river . I think it is the oropendola bird that nests in trees at a certain place along the river . Their nests hang from the ends of branches looking like bee hives . The reason why I write about them though is because they have the most melodious and resonant song of any bird I’ve ever heard . It sounds as if it is coming from a marimba with some reverb thrown in . Deep and rich and resonant . Percussive .They sing in 5 to 10 note long lines . Each one sounds about the same which only seems to make it more pleasing to the ear . The way music you like gets better the more you listen to it . If I’m not mistaken , and this is a pretty big if , they looked rather uniformly drabby brownish black when perched but when they flew a bright yellow band was revealed that went all the way around their body across their breast through the base of the wing across the back making a perfectly uniform banana yellow ring right around the entire bird . Jaw droppingly beautiful . It seemed like two
different species of birds . So I got the feeling that paddling up and down the river quenched more than a physical thirst for the Kunas . I think personally the Kunas are doing a pretty good job integrating technology and tourism with their traditional culture . But that’s a subject for an anthropology PhDs so I’ll just leave that be . If you want to read an entertaining blog about backpacker travel between Columbia and panama , where there are no roads , read twentysomething burnouts

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