Sunday 22nd July (Letter 2nd July 1881)

GCC comes down from the mountains, and broils in the heat

This brief letter from my great grandfather George Charles Champion covers a short visit he made to the capital of the Province of Chiriquí, David, in order to send off a consignment of his insect captures to his employers Godman and Salvin in London. He clearly suffers greatly from the heat of the humid tropical lowlands.

Self at the entrance of Caldera, where GCC stayed with the Buergi family

July 2nd, 1881

My dear Mother,

I have just returned from the mountain slope to David, to pack up a collection to send off, spent a whole month with a very hospitable Swiss family, named Buergi, settled there planting coffee etc; here it is hot enough to melt one, 80-95 degrees, but up on the mountain it is much cooler; remain a week or two in David waiting for the steamer, then return to the higher ground. Climate not so bad, still raining however most of the time, but infinitely preferable to Panama (City), pretty well used to the heat now. It is very fortunate I have brought my able attendant (Leopoldo) with me; we are pretty well used to one another by this time, many people here would like to take him away from me.

Have obtained fairly good quarters here and made the acquaintance of nearly all the coffee planters on the mountain slope; on the whole have got on better in my first two months in Chiriquí than in Guatemala, of course owing to knowing a little of the language and ways of the people. Have already made a large collection in Chiriquí, enough to give them (employers Godman and Salvin) plenty of work for several months, the humid climate however is a great drawback; nothing will dry properly.

The town of David is very green, trees everywhere about the houses and most of the streets covered with grass, plenty of coconut, breadfruit and other trees, amongst which you see numerous small parrots and other birds, at night there is a continuous humming noise from the insects, frogs etc.; most of the houses have a verandah in front where the people sit in the evening to get a little cool, the rooms inside are too hot, fortunately there are very few mosquitoes and one can sleep without netting. There is a river near for bathing and good water to drink, things you do not find in dirty Panama. Though we are out of sight of the sea, and a few miles off, we hear the boom of the surf.

This is my 8th letter, so now must close,

I am etc.

A Cerambycid (Longicorn) beetle, Boquete, Panama