A Travellerspoint blog

Rainbows over Boquete

January 19

This morning we went downtown to do some more exploring. As we were walking down the road, a car stopped to talk. It was a Canadian woman from Calgary, who was looking for some water, as their accommodation had run out. So while showing her the map and discussing options, Don asked for a ride into town. She took a road that we thought would take her to a hotel that might have water. But we didn't find the hotel and ended up following a loop road around and back down to the main road. Then she drove us into the centre of town and we exchanged cards, after she told me she was an artist.
Sunrise over the volcano

Sunrise over the volcano


Following Marie's advice, we went to the Movil store and got a prepaid cell phone. So we now have a phone to call cabs or in case of emergency. It was pretty cheap, $40 in total for the phone and $20 of airtime.
We had lunch at Sugar N Spice, a lovely bakery that does lunches as well. Very good food and we bought bread there to take home with us. We proceeded to cross the river and walked a little way along the riverside road until the hill got so steep I called a halt. Of course, just after I said I don't want to climb it cuz it's so steep, a little old man (probably 20 years older than me), passes us and continues uphill!! Yikes, do I feel out of shape!
We went and sat by the river and saw a few birds, but nothing very spectacular. Then we found the Italian Gelato store and had some yummy ice cream.
In bird watching mode

In bird watching mode


We visited the supermarket for a few groceries and bought fish from the back of the fish man's truck - mahi mahi or dorado. We got a cab home that wasn't crowded and with a nice young male passenger who spoke English and was quite informative about Boquete.
Just after we arrived home the afternoon rain arrived. It often rains a fine misty drizzle that hardly get anything wet. From our place you can see rainbows over the valley that Boquete is in. This drizzle and rainbow effect is called the bajareque. Beautiful!Double rainbow

Double rainbow

Posted by katdill 17:12 Archived in Panama Comments (1)

Cost of Living

January 18

Here is a photo of some of the groceries we bought yesterday.
Fresh fruit

Fresh fruit


The cost of the above fruit: Papaya 1.50, Mango 1.25, Avocados .75 each, Oranges (the whole lot) 1.00
Panama uses the American dollar, so you may convert as you like. The more expensive items we bought were 1 lb of butter 5.05 and 12 oz of white cheddar cheese 4.75. So you can see it doesn't cost a lot to keep us fed.
Today we decided to stay home instead of dealing with the crowds of people in town for the fair. Don did some weeding for our hostess, Lynn, and I did some house cleaning and organizing. After lunch we went for a walk around the neighbourhood, which means walking up a road until it turns into a trail and following some other little roads until they dead ended. In the mountains there are no blocks to walk around.
In the area right around us there are very nice houses.
Lovely house

Lovely house


As we walked up the track we passed a sheet metal shack which is obviously someone's home. I guess some of the workers/natives live there, but don't really know.
The contrasting house

The contrasting house


We also saw this nice dry stone wall. Most of the fences around here are dry stone walls - lots of rock to work with.
Dry stone wall with stone lined drainage ditch

Dry stone wall with stone lined drainage ditch


The last picture for today is the hummingbird's nest which is right outside the door of our neighbour, Marie. My finger is in the piccture so you can see how tiny it is. Marie said there were 3 eggs in the nest last year and 2 of the chicks survived to adulthood. Amazingly tiny!!
Hummingbird nest

Hummingbird nest

Posted by katdill 15:43 Archived in Panama Comments (0)

Crowded Boquete

January 17

We stayed at our place until mid-afternoon today. I did some washing, mostly shirts and blouses. It was so windy that the clothes dried on the line very quickly and with very few wrinkles. About 3 we left to go downtown, thinking we might stay downtown for supper, if there was some entertainment at the fair. Volcancito road, which runs past our place, is a loop road, which leaves town at one end and does a big loop around the mountain valley before getting back to town. We got into a taxi that was going past our place, but going the direction that we hadn't been yet. There were already people in the taxi, so Don got in the front and I sat in the back with a couple and their four kids. At one point, the cab driver wanted me to sit up in the front between the two seats, so he could jam some more people in, but I said no! Then part way around, he stopped for one man who climbed in the back and rode holding the door closed, as he could not close it completely. I was on the other side and I had locked my door! This did not last long, just around a couple of corners and then the family got out and the man continued with us into town. This road around the valley is quite narrow and steep in places, and could be quite scenic I think, if I weren't so distracted by the overcrowding. I don't know if taxis are in such short supply or if the drivers are just trying to make more money, but it's pretty crazy. And the Panamanians seem to all take it in stride as normal.
Beautiful wood and leather chairs being sold at the side of the street

Beautiful wood and leather chairs being sold at the side of the street


Once we were in town, we walked around part of the town we hadn't seen yet and then checked out the fair again. We didn't even go into the grounds, just walked in that direction. There were about 5 times as many people today as yesterday. Busloads of people must have come into town today just for the fair.
Crowds at the fair

Crowds at the fair


We did see some women in the traditional dress called a pollera, with their hair done up with amazing fancy combs and whatnots.
Performers in pollera with fancy hair

Performers in pollera with fancy hair


We gave up on having supper in town, as even if the entertainment was something we'd really like to see, we would have to stand in that huge crowd of people in order to see it. So we bought some groceries and caught a cab home. This one only had two other people in it and they got dropped off first, so we had quite a comfortable ride home, all for the same amount of money as the ride in!! Crazy, crazy!!
Van we had a ride home in yesterday

Van we had a ride home in yesterday


It was Don's turn to cook, so he got to experience the kind of camp cooking we do here. The stove is in the outdoor kitchen, where the kitchen sink is. We prepare the food inside, where the light is better, and then take it outside to cook it. We eat inside because we have been eating so late it is dark and quite cool. It takes alot of trips back and forth. I'm thinking we may have to try to eat earlier so its not dark. There are lights out there, but it's not ideal for night cooking.

Posted by katdill 17:53 Archived in Panama Comments (0)

Boquete Flower and Coffee Fair

January 16

Don started off the day with a little tour of our hostess' garden with her. She was inquiring if we had been awoken during the night, because our neighbour, Marie, was stung by a scorpion during the night. She was afraid the noise had bothered us. We hadn't been bothered enough to know anything had happened. After having breakfast, we set out for downtown. We thought we could catch a bus on Volcancito road, but we managed to walk the 5 km down to the main road, without having a bus pass us. It is mostly downhill all the way, but there is no way I'm walking up that road!
Once we got to the main road, we were waiting at a bus stop and a taxi with a couple of people in it stopped so we could get in as well. Sharing taxis is a great way to get a cheaper ride.
We were dropped off at the central square and did a little investigating in a couple of tourist bureaus, and got a map of town. We walked over to the fair grounds and started enjoying the flowers. It seemed strange to us that flower beds are filled with marigolds, celosia, geraniums, etc. All things we can grow. Don says that is what makes this fair unique in Panama, because these flowers can't be grown in the tropical parts. It is just cool enough in Boquete that they can grow them. Of course, there were lots of vendors there, just like our fairs. People from Ecuador and Columbia, as well as Panama - selling every thing from plastic junk to lovely jewellery and clothing.
Some of the many lovely beds

Some of the many lovely beds

Traditional dress

Traditional dress


There were also lots of people in traditional clothing there. Very bright colours and decorative borders.
We had a lunch of rice and beans with coleslaw at one of the food vendors and then walked back into town to start grocery shopping. We found a lovely bakery and an imported wine store. Then we had a pause for a beer on Big Daddy's patio, before continuing on to the supermarket. After buying food for tonight and tomorrow, we went to find the collectivo bus for the ride home. This is a 15 passenger van (I think) which ended up having 21 people in it (although 2 of those were quite small children). We were in the back row and like sardines! They wait until the bus is full before leaving, but even after leaving they stopped and picked up two more people! They dropped us right at our corner, but wanted $3.00 for the ride! The $2.00 saved from the taxi fare just didn't seem worth it. But it was quite an experience.
View from back of bus

View from back of bus


Now we're sitting outside, under the shelter of the outdoor kitchen area, watching the birds come to the fruit put out for them. Lovely colourful birds that Don is having a grand time photographing. We even filled the hummingbird feed in hopes they may come to visit.
We'll have supper here and spend the evening cooling it.
Don outside our cabina

Don outside our cabina


Flame colored tanager

Flame colored tanager

Blue-grey tanager

Blue-grey tanager

Posted by katdill 14:28 Archived in Panama Comments (0)

Moving to Boquete

January 15

We packed up this morning and after having breakfast, Harvey picked us up and took us over to the shuttle dock in Bocas. There we got the shuttle water taxi into Almirante, where we boarded the bus to Boquete. We left on the bus just after noon and we had one 15 minute stop around 1:15 or so, for bathroom breaks and food. We also had a couple of stops for people getting off who weren't going all the way to Boquete. We arrived in town around 4:00. Then we had to visit an ATM for more cash. We decided to eat while we were in town, because the place we are staying is about 5 km out of town and we didn't want to have leave again. Once we had eaten, we got a taxi. He didn't speak English and although Don had very detailed directions to get to our place, the driver stopped at a friend's house for some English translation help. The woman there phoned her daughter and Don talked to her daughter on the phone and then the daughter talked to the taxi driver. He drove us out here and we had no trouble at all finding the place. Lynn was here waiting for us and gave us the little tour and lots of info. We also met the Canadian woman in the other cabina, Marie. This cabina is located in a very nice area. We're not sure how much of a problem it will be to go in and out of town. There is bus service right by the place that is very cheap and a taxi is only $5, so should be OK. We may also rent a car for some of the time we are here. Here are a couple of photos of our cabina.
View from the door

View from the door

View from the bathroom door

View from the bathroom door

Posted by katdill 16:18 Archived in Panama Comments (0)

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