What I Learned from a Boy and a Red Frog


Everyday, a seven-year-old native Panamanian boy catches a red frog on a large green leaf and sits near the beginning of the trail to Red Frog Beach. He holds the frog in the leaf, and then shows it to tourists as they make their way down the trail to the little island secretly known to only the most perceptive wanderlusts. Why does he do it?

The boy expects to exchange a picture of himself and red frog for a little American green. He doesn’t say anything or ask, unlike the camera people at most theme parks who give you a “free picture” with a teenager dressed as a cartoon character. Then they try and upsell when you go and retrieve the pic. He is either the youngest entrepreneur I’ve ever met, or his family has trained him to use his cuteness to extract money for his family to eat. Either way, the exchange in value is justified. After we promptly gave the boy a dollar and took a couple digital camera shots, we made our way through the mini-rainforest on our way to the pristine Red Frog Beach. Next to the regular beach is a topless beach where men can only gander from afar, because there was a sign, “No Men Allowed.”