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“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Back in David

We’re back in David, Boquete, while beautiful was a bit windy and hence too chilly for our tastes. I had to put on long sleeves and use my shawl. Inspite of the breeze, I took tons of photos, some a little out of focus as my subject matter danced in the wind. Boquete is shoulder to shoulder photo opportunities from the gardens to the colourful Caribean style buildings.The little cafe where we broke our fasts this morning was so lovely. I forgot to write down the name but I think it is Cafe de Encuentro (the meeting place Cafe), what makes it so enchanting are the gardens and fountains. It looks like it was a family’s house converted to a restaurant and real estate office. The RE offfice is located in what probably was the living room and the driveway leads to the covered patio, which may have originally been a carport. As we ate our french toast and drank ...

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Onward to Boquete

Today we are leaving David and going to Boquete, we managed to miss the Flower and Coffee Fair, it ended yesterday, but the flowers will still be in bloom. The bus to Boquete leaves every half hour, but we decided to get a room there anyway.I was shopping in an almacen, a word which I grew up associating with five and dimes like Woolworth’s, but here seems to mean department store also. Amazing the prices started at under a $1.00! Mostly these clothes are from China, very lightweight, but that is what you want in these climates. No wonder people don´t sew here! In México, Chinese goods are subject to an exorbitant 500% duty, so while those goods are still inexpensive in México, they are no way as astonishingly cheap as in Panamá.Yesterday, we had our worst meal since we have been in Panamá, it was a “Chinese” restaurant, but dingy, the only thing Chinese about the place seemed to ...

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More from David

Yesterday, after I made my last post, we ran into Eric (the guy who gave us a ride from Santiago), he was with his friend Tillo (short for Eligio), we chatted awhile and they gave us a ride to the Chirriqui Mall. If you see the print ads and hear the radio ads, you get the impression of a modern, bustling mall. Unfortunately, for the investors, the mall is dead, just a few stores, a food court where there were empty stalls, only two were open, and a movie theatre.They offer a free shuttle bus from the hotels to the mall, we found where the bus was parked, but no sign of the driver, nor a sign with the bus schedule.When a city bus drove up, we asked the driver if he passed by Cervantes Park, he explained that while he did, his route was a very circuitous one, and we´d do better taking another bus. We decided that riding ...

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Slacking in Panama

Since we arrived in David we´ve been eating in fondas, the Panamanian version of a cocina economica and breakfasting in a cafeteria style restaurant where our breakfast is included in the price of our hotel room, it´s been interesting. The food is tasty, heavy on fried and lots of meat. I am not into french fries for breaking my fast but the smoked pork chop and side of papaya which I ate was pretty good. There were other choices including fish and fried chicken!Every place where we´ve had breakfast from the beach to the city has offered bisteak, which means beef steak, but in reality is strips of beef sauteed with onions and bell peppers and served with a beef gravy, beats eggs any day, in my opinion.Apparently Panamanian tortillas are more like sopes than the thin Mexican variety, they also serve holjaldra which is similar to Navajo fry bread.I have been looking for a Panamanian cookbook, but no luck ...

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Panama week three

I can´t believe that this is our third week already. Our parking karma was working, but not how I expected it to. We had wanted to go to David, but the hotels were booked, what was making things difficult for us is that this is summer vacation in Panamà. So I was going down the list of hotels in our price range, when I called Cabanas Panamà, they had a cabana available! I reserved it for 2 days, then I asked for their address as the vacation guide only had names, phone numbers and rates listed for hotels outside of Panamà City. She said Las Lajas, that is when I found out that I had booked us for 2 days on the beach 1 hour from David!Getting there was another adventure, we went to the bus terminal to buy a ticket to los cruces en San Felix (the crossing at San Felix). Well, the buses coming from Panamà City to ...

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Second week in Panamà

Santiago is the capitol of the state of Veraguas, a thriving agricultural community. We arrived by bus, not one of the colourful converted school buses known as red devils, but a tour bus type made by Van Hool, complete with restroom and tv monitors. The first thing that struck us about our bus ride was the fact that the volume on the tvs was set low,even the music that the driver and his assistant were listening to was not blaringly loud as we´ve come to expect in Mexico. We were pleasantly surprised by our hotel room, it was spacious, clean and the bed comfortable. Since we didn´t know anything about Santiago, we chose our hotel based on price, it was the most expensive (at $38.50 a night) listed in the Focus Panama booklet! The hotel restaurant was also very good, in fact the portions were such that we overate. We had pork chops last night, the waitress told me that ...

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Comparing apples to oranges

Comparing Panamà City to Mèrida is like comparing apples to oranges. It all depends upon what you want and are used to. If we had come here directly from California we would have been won over, the housing costs are at least half of Sonoma County. The taxes are lower, I don´t exactly remember the formula,it is broken into steps but up to $100k you what you pay equals around $600.00 usd a year, for every thing above $100k you pay 1%, so the taxes are less than California but not really a bargain, especially if you are buying an expensive dwelling.The climate is a little more temperate, less humid, not as hot, but still plenty warm, and it´s lusher, they have 9 months of rain and it shows in the vegetation.And if you are a consumer, this is paradise. The malls are indescribable. The only things you can`t find seem to be books, out of literally 100s of stores ...

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Food in Panama

We have had Panamanian, Colombian and Italian food since we have been here. All of it good. Panamanian is very simular to Cuban, we went to a restaurant called El Trapiche (the sugar mill) and shared a “Panama Platter”, for starters a soup called Sanchocho,made with chicken and yame, a root like yucca. The platter had arroz con pollo, ropa vieja, patacones (tostones), fried yucca (cut like french fries) all very similar to the Cuban versions. They also gave us tamale in olla which was like tamale in casuela but made with masa harina instead of corn meal. One thing we really liked and the name escapes me unfortunately was a yucca fritter stuffed with ground beef. You boil yucca and mash it, make patty, fill it with seasoned ground beef, fold over the edges and fry it. It sounds like tortitas de papas rellenos or stuffed croquettes of mashed potatoes which we´ve had in Mèrida. The Columbian restaurant served ...

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Panamà Week One

I thought that I was going to be updating more often, but we´ve been out and about and the internet hasn´t always been available when I wanted to use it. First off, the Panamà Canal is incrediable, we took a taxi to Miraflores Lock, it was $15.00 (usd) to have him take us and wait for us, which was reasonable, other taxis wanted $10.00 one way. Our parking karma was going strong because we go there as the last ship of the morning was entering the lock. We paid the $8.00 for the entire package which was a video of the canal in a samll theater, they had it in alturnating showings of Spanish and English.The museum is in 4 sections, each part above the last, unfortunately two of the escalators were turned off, and as there was huge plate glass window overlooking the lock, many of the tourists chose to stop and watch the locks in operation rather than ...

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Day One, Panamà

The hotel where we are staying has free internet! But the keyboard sticks, so typing is a bit of an adventure. It is also a Spanish keyboard, which sometimes makes for non-touch typing. We flew on Mexicana to DF. The flight from Mèrida to Mèxico was uneventful, even pleasant. Once we arrived at Benito Juarez Airport the fun began. Getting our FM3s stamped required leaving the international section and going to the front. That was easy, getting back was not, let’s just say that signage is not their strong point. We got our tickets for our connecting flight, they told us to return half an hour before our flight time to get our gate number. We did, and waited at gate 28,until a plane arrived, something odd went on at the gate, we waited, until our flight time, then they announced that our flight was boarding at gate 34! So off we all rushed, to arrive at gate 34 just ...

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