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Baldwins Beaches Boquete

A busy month

sunny 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. IMG_4648e.jpg 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. IMG_5741_2..pped---Copy.jpg 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. IMG_5746_7_8e_tonemapped.jpg

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. IMG_5677e.jpg

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. IMG_5961e.jpg IMG_5965e.jpgSometime 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. IMG_6086ejpg.jpgIMG_6063e.jpg 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. IMG_6085e.jpg OK, now I've got to start thinking about my 2014 tax return, hasta pronto amigos.

Posted by rhislop 16:00 Archived in Panama Tagged fish pelicans starfish tashi jelly sting Comments (0)

Rubber clocks

Manana and time is flying

sunny 85 °F

It's been over a month since we've posted on the blog. Sorry for the time lapse but even though the clocks in Panama are rubber (being flexible with time) our days have been flying by. During previous trips to Panama we learned that manana didn't mean tomorrow, it meant just not today. Well, time has been moving very fast for us during the last five weeks. Not only did we buy a car, get Panama drivers licenses, we bought a condo, sub-let our leased condo, and have been planning the upgrading of our new home.

First the car, we got a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe that only had 30K miles on it. The owner had taken very good care of the car and offered it for sale on Craig's List Panama. It took us a couple of weeks to meet and arrange the sale but it all worked out. Then we had the bureaucratic hassle of the license plate. Since the car was originally purchased in Panama City the plates are from PC. The plates stay with the car for the life of the car. So the car is registered in the city until it's renewal time and then we'll register it in our district of Chame. (Much like being registered with your local county clerk). Additionally, while we were getting the car squared away we got the required insurance, our drivers licenses and met the couple that would eventually sell us their condo.

Currently we are living in unit 22B of the Coronado Country Club, Tower 200. About three weeks ago we met the owners of 21A, same building, just down one floor and the unit on the west side versus the east side. There are only two units per floor A and B. After a brief introductory chat we all went on our way. The next day we met again and they said that they had decided to sell their unit and would we be interested in buying it. Of course, we're always interested, so we took a look. It was beautiful, move in ready, turnkey, well cared for, never rented, original owners and the unit has it's own garage (a rare commodity in these parts). After a second lengthy visit to the condo, discussions with the owners and a night to sleep on it, we made them an offer. We'll be moving in to our new home in less than two weeks. The interior designer in Kryss is already working on new paint colors, ceiling fans, second beer refrigerator, large screen TV and new balcony/patio furniture. Did I say it was move in ready, those of you who know Kryss, she is adding her own special touch. It is larger in square footage than our house in Fruita, CO. Three bedrooms, each with their own bath, the master is so large we could have two king size beds in it. Very modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances with lots (mega) cabinet space, designer lighting throughout, a laundry room and maid's quarters. The balcony over looks the pool area, the Pacific ocean and the mountains. Needless to say, incredible views and room for company. Pictures will becoming after the first of the year.

Those of you that are Tashi fans rest assured she is having a blast. She like the leased condo but loves the new one. She hasn't picked her exact spot on the couch but she's looking it over. Also, she is enjoying the beach.IMG_9687e_edited-2.jpg She's made some friends on the beach, Slovaki a mini golden doodle (might be related somewhere along the line)IMG_3422e.jpg and Harley a rescued Panama brown dog (all the homeless dogs in Panama look like Harley). Also, she is just starting to relate to two blonde huskies, Rhett and Scarlet, they are still on a lease at the beach but they have fun sniffing.rhett_scarlett_tashi.jpg After coming back from the beach and splashing in the Pacific she suns herself on the balcony, drying off and resting. Being Tashi in Panama is a good thing.

We had our first visitors during all this buying and chasing the bureaucratic maze. It was no problem, the Hamersky's from Colorado came to visit and hang out by the pool. Working on their tans, we took a few breaks to visit some place around Panama. We went to El Valle for the farmer's market and lunch inside an extinct volcano. El Valle is in the mountains about thirty minutes from our beach community, an easy drive and a definite change of scenery. While they were here another couple from Denver, the Jeff's, arrived and we spent an evening on our balcony watching a Pacific storm light up the night sky. If you look closely you can see some lightning in the background of the picture.IMG_3287e_edited-2.jpg It was better then the TV, the movies or YouTube. There was no popcorn but a few adult beverage were made available.

Christmas is rapidly approaching and the Panamanians are buying Christmas trees, tree lights, inflatable Santa's, and all the other Christmas paraphernalia. Panama_Chirstmas_trees.jpgHowever, there are a few differences, no snow, no ice, no cold weather and no air traffic delays because of inclement weather. We'll be sending out a Christmas message but for now Feliz Navidad. All is good in Panama, come see us. Hasta pronto amigos.

Posted by rhislop 06:48 Archived in Panama Tagged christmas panama harley denver lightning condo tashi el_valle feliz_navidad playa_coronado panamanians rhett scarlett coronado_country_club Comments (1)

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