Panama 2010 – Day 4

Day 4, Tuesday, started REALLY early!  We did indeed get up at 2:15 am to see the lunar eclipse. When the alarm went off, we were certain we had lost our minds, but threw on our jeans and headed outside anyway. It was a good thing that we did, because Hans (our host) was right outside our casita with his camera trying to capture the eclipse as it happened. If we had stayed in bed, I wouldn’t have lived it down! If you didn’t see the eclipse, you missed a beautiful sight! We were a bit puzzled by the red color of the moon once the eclipse was total – so later in the day I checked Wikipedia to see if that was normal. Predictions for the eclipse noted that it might appear unusually orange or red (it was a deep reddish-orange here) as a result of the eruption of Mount Merapi in Indonesia on October 26th. Amazing something 2 months ago created such an impact! Anyway, the other really cool thing that we enjoyed during our early morning was the incredible view of the Milky Way and the stars. As we are pretty much out in the middle of the countryside, there are no city lights to diminish the view of the stars. And the Milky Way was vividly viewable! The stars were gorgeous, and we saw a number of falling stars as well.  We gave it up about 3:15 and went back to bed for some more sleep!

Okay, next activity of the day. We had made plans to meet with Martin (a salesman from the Costa Pedasi beachfront community) at 10 am. Of course, we made those plans BEFORE we had decided to get up in the middle of the night. So, as one might imagine we overslept, but had breakfast anyway – these guys cook a terrific breakfast, but they encourage you to slow down and relax while here. So, breakfast took too long, we had to drive back to town over the bumpy road, and we were a little late meeting up with Martin. Did I mention that the phone we purchased so we could talk to local people did not have a signal out at our hotel? Well, it doesn’t, so we couldn’t let him know we were running late. Figures. Anyway, he waited for us at the town square, and we parked our car and headed out with him.

Why did we want to go to Costa Pedasi? Well, we had been admiring it via the internet, and I had been communicating with the guys about their development. We wanted to check it out in person. The property is well located on the Azuero Peninsula. They are adjacent to a public beach access road on one side, and a “reserve” on the other – reserves are owned by the government, and are lands set aside for wildlife and preservation of the country just like in the US (but it is not a park). The property also fronts onto a beautiful beach which is good (and safe) for swimming.  There is only 1 permanent resident so far, but 2 other homes are almost complete and they will be occupied by permanent residents. They have plans for a clubhouse which will have an awesome pool and 5 or 6 hotel rooms as well. They have yet to pave the road for section 1, which we were uncomfortable about! But, supposedly now that the rainy season is over they will be paving it. Anyway, if we could spring $500K for an oceanfront lot, it would be an incredible place to live. Unfortunately we would have to go for an ocean view lot to get into our price range! We did find one we liked a lot, but we are NOT buying anything, only shopping (one of my favorite activities). We trekked all over the property in his 4-wheel drive vehicle, and did come to the conclusion that the development will indeed be beautiful once built out. Afterwards, we picked up Martin’s wife, Carmen, and headed out for lunch. We ended up going about 30KM through the amazingly beautiful mountainous countryside to Playa Venao, a beach which is apparently excellent for surfing. We ate at the open air beachfront restaurant at the El Sitio Hotel, and had a delicious lunch! Then we headed back into Pedasi, got a peek at the hotel where Martin & Carmen are staying (the owner does not advertise and you can only get a room via a recommendation by someone she knows!), and very importantly were shown where the local liquor distributor had his store! We parted ways – we had such a terrific time with Carmen and Martin – they were very easy to talk with, they were fun, and we learned a lot about Panama and this part of the country during our time with them. What a great day! We ended our visit into town with a trip to buy some liquor, and then headed back out the bumpy road to our casita. Guess we are getting accustomed to it a bit, as it didn’t seem so bad the 3rd time – but then Mike is learning where the potholes are!

We ended the day by watching yet another incredible sunset. Did I mention that down here you see the sunrise AND the sunset over the Pacific Ocean? It is really strange, but due to the East-West orientation of the country, that’s how it works. Really nice when you are at the shore! We were finally unstuffed enough from the wonderful lunch to enjoy yet another delicious dinner. The folks at our hotel are terrific. Service is excellent, everyone is so friendly, and they can cook really wonderful gourmet meals. We would love to come back here some day soon!

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