Panama 2010 – Day 10

Day 10, Monday.  Wow, what a wild stormy night. The wind howled, the trees swished around, and the rain pounded down ALL night! I noticed several times that the power had failed, but it came back on every time. We were amazed to have power after all of that wind.  Our power restoration isn’t that efficient at home…

We arose to a quieter morning, with light rain only – lots of branches and leaves everywhere, and some downed trees. We could actually see across the valley from our patio, and what a view! Even with the light rain we could see most of the mountains, and were finally able to get some idea of what this incredible area really looks like. We had made plans with Ellie and Jeff last night to meet them for breakfast at 9am at Olga’s, we needed to get ready early. In order to get Mike moving (who was completely burrowed under the covers in the cold room), I had to volunteer to take the first shower and warm up the bathroom! I was pretty quick about it, and got Mike moving. After all, we came a long ways to see this town and area, and as you know, I am a morning person! So we headed out into town. We found that it wasn’t really too cool any longer, but actually pretty comfortable. The light mist was annoying but simple to handle without the wind – we didn’t come prepared for the rain, but are making do with lightweight (non-waterproof) jackets – thank goodness mine has a hood! We had a great breakfast and piled into Jeff & Ellie’s car for a tour of the area. That was so nice of them! Getting around here the first time isn’t easy because it is a BIG area – there are lots of roads that wind all over the place. There are houses, coffee farms, and creeks and rivers all over the place!  And everything is so amazingly lush and green.  Mike and I were constantly turned around, and we really appreciated getting a local’s introduction. The weather actually cleared up and we got to see more and more of the local beauty.  We even got to see Volcan Baru (at least most of it)! I kept telling Ellie and Jeff that I didn’t believe that there was a volcano hiding in the mist. But there it finally was. Such a beautiful mountain, with clouds floating around the summit. Thankfully the sun came out and we could see the area!

We had a great tour with Ellie and Jeff – we saw numerous areas of town (and outside of town), and got a taste of what homes look like, potential views, changes in temperature between elevations, etc.  We then split up mid-afternoon, and made plans to go out to dinner.  Mike and I then headed to The Rock, a restaurant directly on the river. I understand it has been pretty much destroyed twice in the past 2 years during floods of the river – not sure why they didn’t at least rebuild it on stilts!! But, we had a nice lunch overlooking the river, enjoying the sunshine. We drove ourselves around some more, admiring everything, and headed back to the casa for a little siesta. Hey, it is VACATION! And we didn’t get lost. J

We had dinner at the Panamonte Inn with Ellie and Jeff. The Inn is very pretty and would have been a great place to stay (we picked our place for the view, but it’s pretty simple compared to the luxury of a couple of other places!). Maybe next visit. Anyway, terrific dinner and great company. Unfortunately, I started feeling crummy due to the sinus infection, and had to plead for an early end to the evening. Mike is now sneezing and getting stuffy – I don’t understand it, but it seems like he catches my sinus infections about half of the time.

We have been invited to Jeff & Ellie’s home on Tuesday evening for a home-cooked meal – that will be very nice!  We are hoping for another pretty day tomorrow. We plan to spend some time with a real estate agent to see more of the area from a buyer’s perspective. We are thankful for the nice day, and we didn’t get lost even 1 time!

Let me state clearly that I think that Boquete is a very beautiful place. It has aspects of Ruidoso NM, Crested Butte CO, and many other beautiful small mountain towns we have visited and loved in the US. But never any snow! The town is actually quite substantial in size, and there are a relatively large number (and a variety) of very good restaurants. “Tourist shopping” is pretty much non-existent – just a few shops – they are not heavy into high-end tourist retail here at this time. There are lots of outdoor activities which bring folks from all over the world to the area (hiking, birding, white water rafting, ziplining, to name a few). The plants and flowers are outstanding, and apparently there are lots of animals and birds to see if you get out into the country. Which we are NOT doing with all of this rain, unfortunately.

Could I see us living in this town? Yes. Have we decided that we can live away from the US? Don’t know yet. Moving here would be a huge decision, but we will now seriously evaluate the option of retiring here. The expat community is clearly a solid one, and is well blended into the local community. Everyone we’ve met from every nationality and background have been extremely nice to us. Retirees are visibly active in the community, and contribute in a multitude of ways. Frankly, that is extremely appealing to me as I’ve wondered what in the world I would do once I retire. I know I could be active and comfortable, while “giving back” at the same time here… Having the opportunity to meet and spend time with Ellie and Jeff who have successfully made the transition has been an invaluable experience.  We can’t wait for tomorrow!

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2 Responses to Panama 2010 – Day 10

  1. Harry Halbert says:

    Hi Bona,

    I am really enjoying your journey. My wife, Nancy, and I are arriving in Panama on January 9th for a fifteen day stay in Boquete. We plan to move, already have airplane reservations for us, and four dogs, on March 1st. Todays pictures, December 29, look like they include the Los Molinas Clubhouse/hotel. We are interested in Los Molinas, and wonder what your impression is if you were there.

    Our plan is to rent for a year, explore all the areas, and then buy a house. We will rent something in January, and then here we come. Can’t wait. If it turns out it is not for us, then we can always return to the US, but we have visted Costa Rica many times, and thought about going there, but Boquete appears to be even more beautiful, and friendly.

    Again, enjoying your travels, and hope maybe someday we will be neighbors.

    Harry

    • I know that you guys are down in Panama – please send me notes and thoughts on your trip. Am anxious to hear how it all goes for you, and hope that you have a terrific time!
      Bona

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