A busy month
02.03.2015 - 03.10.2015 85 °F
Right now I should be completing my taxes, but my brain is more about words today than it is about numbers.
Last month Kryss's sister Kate and our brother-in-law Jack came for a visit. We spent 26 days together, traveling around Panama, visiting local sites including the Panama Canal, and of course plenty of pool/beach time. The 85 degree weather, although a little windy at times, was very conducive to tanning one's hide. We picked them up in Panama City and before we left for the beach we toured the fish market, bought fresh tuna, red snapper and sea bass. There is nothing like fresh caught fish for dinner. We got to the beach and let them catch their breath after the direct flight from chilly Denver before the Panama tour began, two days on the beach and then up to the mountains to visit El Valle. This town is one of our favorite little towns in Panama. It is in the middle of an extinct volcano surrounded by mountains, jungle and farmland. A Sunday lunch and the farmer's market in El Valle are always entertaining and enjoyable.
Another trip we took was to Boquete, Panama. Boquete is about a five hour drive from Coronado. This drive should be only four hours at best, but there is a section of the PanAmerican Highway for about 100 kilometers that driving above fifty km/hour (about 30mph) is dangerous to your health. The road is only two lane and has so many potholes and pavement breaks that defensive driving is absolutely a priority. The good news is that the government of Panama is on a crash course to complete a new four lane highway which will completed in about 18 months. The crews are working 24/7 to get the new highway completed quickly. On our return from Boquete a couple new sections of the road had been opened and the trip back to Coronado wasn't as time consuming.
Boquete is the coffee farming center of Panama. The mountain weather appeals to the coffee beans and there are plenty of coffee growers in the area. We toured Café Ruiz coffee farm and tasting room. What an interesting and informative tour we received. Since Kryss and I don't drink coffee we were a little apprehensive about the whole tour. However, when it was over we were very glad that we spent the time on the tour. To our friends that are spending $5 plus daily for a cup of Starbucks coffee, you should probably re-think it. Our guide said Starbucks buys the dregs of Panama coffee, this includes the beans that aren't perfect, beans that are over-roasted, twigs, sticks and anything else that's in the bottom of the tank. The very best of Panama goes to Europe and some beans sell for $200/pound. The Panamanian coffee experts refer to Starbucks as "Starburnt". The yellow, brown, red, assortment of beans are the dregs. These dark reddish-brown beans are the top of the line, Geisha Natural. Naturally drying in the sun until they are ready for the next step before being packaged off to Europe.
In Boquete we stayed at the Palo Alto Hotel. A small boutique hotel with beautiful interior gardens, lots of hummingbirds and tanagers flying about, and an outstanding breakfast bar. We all would have stayed an extra night or two just for the breakfasts.
The day before the Baldwin's left we visited the Panama Canal, a true engineering marvel. Watching ships pass through the canal and learning it's history was awesome. Sometime next year a second, a much larger canal is going to open and then the super-tankers will be able to transit in either direction between the Atlantic to the Pacific. Panama makes a profit of one billion dollars a year on the tolls through the canal. Don't you just wonder what was in Jimmy Carter's head when he gave away the canal. I'm still shaking my head over that one.
During mid February until sometime in March the Pacific Ocean currents change and cooler water comes into Coronado Bay. Along with the cooler water comes jellyfish, hundreds of them. Three days ago while walking the beach with Kryss and Tashi, we counted over 250 jellyfish that had washed in with the tide in a quarter mile section. Even out of the water, if they are still alive, they can sting you. Kryss accidently stepped on one and had a stinging heel for a day. Tashi doesn't seem to be bothered by them. She's sniffs them and just moves along. No interest, thankfully, on her part.
Normally, the beach in front of our building is very relaxing and peaceful. When we walk at low tide we've found sand dollars that are 6 to 8 inches in diameter and others that are only an inch in diameter. Additionally, we've found dark orange starfish, that are still alive and we've thrown them back into the ocean. The sea gulls and the pelicans add to nature's beauty at the beach, even though Tashi thinks birds at the beach are something to be chased until they fly away. OK, now I've got to start thinking about my 2014 tax return, hasta pronto amigos.