The Embera Village

Tuesday was the pinnacle of our time here in Panama. We woke early and met 20 other people at Nueva Gorgona for a tour to the Embera Village deep in the jungle northeast of Panama City. Our group was led by a volunteer from the church where we have been visiting. She makes the arrangements and all the money collected goes directly to the Embera. The Embera are the most welcoming and gracious people that you can imagine. They live completely off the grid, surviving by living off the land, fishing and selling a few crafts to their visitors. By the way, their crafts are incredible.

The band welcomed us.
Arriving at the village
Great sights along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We journeyed by caravan in 4 cars to the dock where we were met by a few men from the Embera Village. They took us in 3 dugout canoes (motorized) on the 1 hour trip up the river into the jungle to their village. We were met by a welcoming committee who were playing small instruments made by the tribe. We gathered for an informal question and answer presentation to educate us on the life and customs of the tribe. The tribe has their own indigenous language and only a couple of the members have learned Spanish so that they can communicate with their visitors and government. The government here respects the tribe, however they do require the children to attend school. The Village has a schoolhouse and two teachers who come from the city on Monday returning on Friday. They spend the week there in their own huts with one teaching the younger children and one teaching the older children. The children are required to wear uniforms to school, as are all children in Panama. We learned a bunch of great information about the culture. We had at least 2 people in our group who spoke fluent Spanish so getting answers to our questions was really easy.

Embera women prepare our lunch
Embera women prepare our lunch
Fish and Patacone. Check out the plate made from banana leafs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following our discussion we were invited to a wonderful lunch of fish and patacones. Patacones are slices of fried banana. Lunch was delicious. We were about the only visitors from outside on that day so we were welcome to move about and observe the daily life in the village. Shortly after lunch we were invited to see and take part in indigenous dance.

The Dance

Once the dance presentation ended we were invited by the father of the chief to take a walk through the jungle where he showed us native plants and explained their medicinal uses. The Embera maintain their personal health naturally and have a similar lifespan to the rest of the world. What he shared with us could put big pharma out of business. Our journey through the jungle ended at the school.

 

 

 

 

 

We visited the classrooms and interacted with the children. We had a family in our group with children 2 and 4 years old. The children were blue eyed with blond hair and the Embera children were in awe of them. We suspect that not many groups to the village have young children in them. We learned that the USO was there 6 years ago and installed a solar panel to provide lights in the classrooms. The chief told us that the lights stopped working a few days ago. A couple of the guys in our group did a diagnosis and believe that the batteries may have come to the end of their useful life. Some  people from our group are raising funds to replace the batteries. This is the only electricity in the village.

 

 

 

 

 

We walked from there back to where we had started. We had the opportunity to look at and purchase their craft items, swim in the river with the Embera children, and have tattoos made from the natural dye in an indigenous plant. We boarded our boats for the journey back to the dock in late afternoon. The journey back was down stream so it took only 45 minutes.

Embera Children swimming in the river
Jen is getting an Embera tattoo

We hope that you will all have an experience like this some day. We have not put a lot of written detail here in the post; but we are allowing the pictures to tell the story. We want to have the opportunity to return to the Embera Village soon to purchase some of the wonderful crafts to decorate our Panama home.

Steps leading to an Embera Hut. If the steps are turned backward do not bother them.

We will be leaving soon to return to the States. It is and has been crazy busy the last few days here. We appreciate that you all have continued to follow along. We are dedicated to keeping the information flowing as we prepare to move and settle in Panama. Our next post will be a recap once we get back to Michigan.

Nos Vemos,

Greg and Jen

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Our Panama Adventure in Boquete’

We departed Coronado early on Sunday morning for our 402 Km drive to Boquete’. Our navigation system said it would take right at 5 hours with no stops. At Santiago we found that the brand new InterAmericana Highway was complete and the drive from that point was nice. There were very few places to stop. It was almost like an interstate highway in the States. Somewhere between Santiago and David we did find a truck stop where we had a nice lunch for $6.

After lunch, we continued to David, the second largest city in Panama, and it is where our journey turned north into the mountains. David has an international airport and a hospital with world class healthcare. This area was one of our of possible relocation considerations. There are beach homes and resorts on the ocean about 20 minutes south.  We wanted to see some places  which we  heard about so our plan is to stop on our return journey.  About 40 minutes to the north we reached our destination. Boquete’ is half way between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, high in the mountains, about 60 Km from the border of Costa Rica. There are a lot of expats there and we had no trouble finding people who spoke English. Our plan was to find a coffee farm and take a tour before finding a hotel.

Our navigation system took us to a coffee farm. We found the gate locked and nobody around. We would later learn that the tours of coffee plantations are only arranged by a tour guide. We had a nice drive through the mountains on roads not meant for safe passing, before returning to the downtown area to find a hotel.

We settled on a lovely place just out of town called the Inn at Palo Alto. We were surprised to find many places were already full. Boquete is a tourist destination, and the streets were packed with people visiting from all over the world. The Inn Keeper was able to sign us up for tours on Monday afternoon and suggest a hike for the morning. She also suggested a nice casual dinner place in town. We enjoyed dinner and went back to the hotel to rest for our day of adventure. The climate is cool and we were actually pleased to find a fire on the patio of the hotel bar where we enjoyed a drink.

Getting up early on Monday morning was no problem, because we had a chicken next door that kept us up most of the night. The first income source for this community is agriculture, followed by tourism in a close second. It is interesting to see the two co-exist to create a solid economy. We took it all in stride. By 8 a.m. we were having breakfast so we could get in the hike up the Pipeline Trail before our 1:30 p.m. coffee and cloud forest tour. The drive to the trail-head was a repeat of our drive on Sunday. The roads were narrow and often steep, with very little room to pass. The drive took us more than 30 minutes and we found the trail-head deserted with nobody to point us in the right direction. This hike would take about 3 hours and we were supposed to see monkeys, waterfalls, and rare birds. With no direction and no obvious sign of where to start we opted to forgo the hike. Neither of us wanted to be lost in the jungle, with nobody really knowing where we were. Upon our return to town we found another interesting opportunity for adventure, but I was unable to convince Jen to zip-line. The photos below are from bumming around waiting for our 1:30 p.m. tour.

We ended up at Boquete Tree Trek. Zip-line adventures, hanging bridges, hotel rooms and restaurant. We did not have time to do anything more than eat lunch. During lunch we watched the last 2 legs of the zip-line finishing there near the restaurant. We talked to a guy who had just came from the hanging bridge tour and it sounded great. Jen absolutely would not zip-line, but we nearly decided to do the hanging bridges. It would have to be Tuesday morning prior to the Market. Following lunch we made the drive back to our hotel where we were to meet our tour guide.

Jorge showed up at 1:30 p.m. and off we went to our coffee tour. The coffee farm was roughly 19 acres and employed 6 people. The coffee is all hand picked and processed (dried) to the green bean for shipment to the customer. The wholesale coffee customer will roast the beans to his own specification. The farms that grow coffee are very low tech and this farm was no exception. All of his drying processes were done with equipment made from recycled parts. The farm we visited has a very small roaster for demonstration and roasting beans which he sells on the tour. We found the entire thing very interesting and learned a great deal about the coffee industry in Panama. This coffee grower produces an award winning coffee and we were pleased to buy a couple of pounds at the end of the tour. He also grows the famous Geisha coffee which we opted not to purchase.

The coffee plant. There aren’t a lot of beans as it is the end of the season
The fruit being dried. These are in different stages of drying. There are also different ways in which the coffee is dried.
The coffee is roasted to light , medium or dark. That entire process takes about 40 minutes with the dried beans.
The darker the roast, the lower the caffeine. Here you see our guide taking the dark roast from the roaster.
Light roast is on the left, medium in the center and dark is on the right.
The small coffee roaster for our demonstration.

Once we finished the tour  of the Coffee farm we had a very nice tour of the area up into the mountains and saw amazing views of the Baru Volcano. The summit on a clear day is the only place in Panama that you can see both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans from one place. It is, also, the only place in Panama where you may find snow. A hike to the summit is a full day adventure and we probably will never have that experience. For now it was enough for us to see the Volcano from a distance.

Baru Volcano

We spent the rest of the afternoon taking in the sights with our guide by jeep. The pictures below are just a couple from that part of the adventure.

The roads were often difficult to maneuver.
The haunted house of Boquete
Rainbow over the cloud forest.

We always believe that there is a reason for everything in this life. We decided to have dinner at a grill that was a 5 minute walk from our hotel. Georges Grill was the name on the sign and once inside we met George. There were two other couples in the small smoky place (George was cooking on an open fire). One of the couples was from Michigan and the other from Colorado. Both have spent considerable time in Panama over the past several years. We quickly became acquainted and had a great dinner together. The couple from Colorado, as it turns out, are staying at the Rio Mar, just a few minutes from where we are staying near Coronado. They were on an adventure of their own and headed to San Blas, once they left Boquete. We visited for a while and arranged to have dinner with them next week. We are anxious to get better acquainted. We also hope that they will share some of their experiences in Panama here on our blog. They are professional photographers, by trade; and we have already seen some of their amazing pictures on Facebook.

Dinner at Georges Grill

When we woke on Tuesday morning it was raining. This is the only rain we have seen during our nearly 2 months on the ground here in Panama. Given the weather we did not think it wise to do the hanging bridge tour. We will save that adventure for another time. We enjoyed the Tuesday Market. It  is entirely under roof, so even if it had not stopped raining, we would have still went to it. The market is a must see for any visit to Boquete. We bought a few things, and met a few people before embarking on our journey. Our return trip to Coronado was uneventful. We made a stop at PriceSmart in David to pick up a few supplies, then continued to the beach to look at a condo. The condo turned out to be horrible so we easily ruled out living there. We wanted to see one other, but we were not able to find it. We got on the highway and made one stop in Santiago for dinner. By the time we got home it was after dark so we kicked back and enjoyed the evening. Since our return to Coronado we have enough material to easily publish another blog post. We have continued to research our impending move and are learning every day how the economy here will benefit us for years to come. This post was long, and we fear that posts of this length will lose some of you. If you read to the end…THANK-YOU. Check back in a couple of days. We will bring this thing up to date.

Adios,

Greg and Jen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She Bought The Sombrero

Our days seem to be shorter and shorter as we passed the half way point of our adventure. On Tuesday we made the journey to Panama City, Tocumen International Airport to pick up our good friends. On the way we stopped at an outlet mall and checked out the best places for values on everything from home improvements and furniture to appliances, clothing and pharmaceuticals. We retrieved our friends grabbed some dinner and headed back to Coronado. Since they arrived we have had the best time taking them to share some of our favorite adventure places and great places to eat. We have also had ample time at the pool and even got in a few games of cards.

On Thursday we took them for an adventure to Valle de Anton. It was our second visit and we wanted to hit a few of the places we missed the first time and share the wonderful mountain destination with our friends. Our first stop was Hotel Campestre where the world famous square trees grow. We thought, based on our own research, that the square trees were growing near the hotel and we could spend a few minutes to check it out. Once there, we found the path to the square trees and paid the admission of $5 each. We embarked on the path for the short hike which turned out to be too difficult for our friend. The hike was nearly 45 minutes of steep, and often difficult terrain. Our hosts dogs accompanied us with only two of us completing the entire journey to the one square tree. The hike through the jungle was beautiful, however it would be easy for us to consider this stop a tourist trap. We are sharing the pictures of the square tree hike below and hope that all of you will draw your own conclusion. At the end of the hike we had the great treat to see a sloth. It was high up in a tree near the hotel. We couldn’t get a great picture even with a zoom lens.

Following the square tree adventure we took off for the butterfly habitat. All of us enjoyed our visit there.  The $5 per person price of admission was considered to be fair. The tour was guided and very informative. We learned that there are over 1500 species of butterfly in Panama with over 1000 in Valle de Anton. Our guide told us that the definition of Panama is abundance of species and the butterflies certainly prove that out. We will spare you the details of life-cycle of the butterfly and all of that, but we did want to share with you some of our pictures.

By the end of the butterfly tour we were ready for lunch. It seems that the fondas and restaurants in Valle de Anton may be geared more to the tourist business. We had a wonderful fonda lunch, but the price was almost double what we have paid for similar food at other fondas.

After a brief discussion, we decided to save the orchid exhibit, zoo and reptile house for another adventure. The girls wanted to return to the mineral springs and mud bath, while the guys wanted to make the hike up to El Macho Falls. We talked about the mud bath in the post from our first visit to El Valle so we will tell a little about the El Macho Falls. The hike was short and beautiful with difficult terrain and suspended bridges. The guy at the gate gave us walking sticks which proved very helpful. This is a hike that most people could do with no problem, and well worth the effort. There is a zip line through the canopy but it wasn’t open when we were there. I imagine that it would be great fun to zip line down from the top of the falls. We hiked up through the jungle and the falls were magnificent. When we returned to the base of the falls there were pools of cool mountain water where we took a quick dip to cool off. From there it was a short hike back up to where we parked. It was only about 5 minutes by car back to where we left the girls at the mineral springs and mud bath. We are sharing pictures of the El Macho Falls hike below. The video is only a few seconds long to give you the sounds of the moment. We were not allowed to film or use video equipment at the pools, but we were the only ones there, so there is a couple of pictures. I imagine that clothing is optional at the pools (we took our dip in swim suits). There is a 3 sided wood screen where people can change.

Pool at the bottom of El Macho Falls

We picked up the girls at the mineral springs/mud bath and made our way to the market. Jen bought the hat and we browsed through. The treasures and vegetables were nearly the same on Thursday as our original visit on Sunday. You may recall that the market at el Valle de Anton is called the Sunday Market. We were relieved that vegetables would be available every day.

It was time to head home. We had a message from an agent who would be available to show us through one of our top choices for a permanent retirement home. We wanted the opinion of our friends, so we made the stop. Rio Mar Pacific Tower is a beautiful, newly constructed 24 story (48 unit) condo. We looked at a 2 bedroom and a 3 bedroom unit and it is hard to not love this place.

Balcony of Rio Mar 18th floor 3 BR

It just may be a little above our comfort zone for price. It does include underground parking, a deposito (storage locker), 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, large laundry room (accommodates a full size washer and dryer), and appliances. We will share a couple of other top choices with our friends before they go back to Michigan.

We have been working on this post for 3 days now, and could go on for much longer. We will wrap it up here, though, because we do not want to ramble. Thank-you for following along. Once again, we want to express our gratitude for the kind comments. Please catch up, if you missed anything, by clicking on the archive links. We are pleased to have our blog and any portion shared. There has been time when we have shamelessly borrowed content from others. We consider it an honor when people enjoy our content enough to share.

For now, Buenos Dias,

Greg and Jen

 

 

Our Day at Valle de Anton was much too short

Our day started with a beautiful one hour drive into the mountains…destination Valle de Anton. We researched this place as a possible permanent home in our post of Today, Let’s Explore Valle de Anton in November of 2017. If you’re just joining the adventure, and want to catch up, it may be a great time to click the link and read about our research. When researching for our excursions we expected to find this wonderful place much further away. We chose to go on Sunday by design because the market there is called the Sunday Market. We now understand that it is open every day. This charming town is loaded with things to do and we didn’t know where to begin. The road led us to the mineral springs and mud bath. Our lack of fluent communication proved to be a small problem. We paid the $4 to enter only to find that it was only the mineral springs and mud bath, no paths to water falls. We embraced the moment and smeared mud on our faces and relaxed in the mineral baths for quite some time.

We decided after the mineral springs to visit the Sunday Market. We hadn’t prepared properly for the order of events. Perhaps it would have been better to go to the mud and mineral bath last. The Sunday Market was great. We found all the things described in our previous research. There were many cool paintings, granite figurines, and hats to mention a  few. Jen found a hat she liked, however she was unable to negotiate the price to where she wanted.

You may recall that the vegetables are not too impressive here near our beach home. When one drives to the interior of the country there is a climate difference which is more conducive to vegetable growth. We got some nice fresh vegetables that are not available in the grocery store here. We will be making periodic, future visits to this new found place to further explore and buy vegetables. We had a great, late lunch at Carlitos before heading home. If you remember our previous post, we did not explore the butterfly sanctuary, zoo, waterfalls, or see the square trees.

This morning we had our 3rd session with the Spanish tutor.Her name is Jasmine and she is a wonderful teacher. As it turns out, everyone around here knows Jasmine and she deserves to be mentioned. If you’re in the Coronado area, and want help with your Spanish skills, give us a message, and we will provide you her contact info. This afternoon we are hanging out at the pool on the roof, and relaxing. Tomorrow, we will be heading to Panama City. We have to be at the American Embassy at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning to start the drivers license process. We hope to have our Panama drivers license by mid afternoon Wednesday before returning home. With any luck we will be able to make our next post on Thursday.

It looks like we are getting about 100 hits a day on this thing and we are finding it humbling that so many are living our adventure vicariously through us. Please feel free to share any or all of our posts. We love the few comments we are getting and all the likes on Facebook.  Please, if you haven’t, subscribe by e-mail to get our blog delivered directly to your in box.

Chao,

Greg and Jen

We take our first official adventure…

Heading out for adventure

…as if we haven’t had any adventures yet. Thursday we climbed in the car and took off for Peninsula de Azuero. This is the first adventure we planned in our adventure planning post of 10/24/2017 let-the-excursion-planning-begin. If you were not following back in October of 2017, feel free to click the link and go back to the planning stage with us. We reviewed our previous post before we left on Thursday. This excursion would take 2-3 hours of travel each way and appeared to be our shortest distance to travel. If we traveled to Pedasi the travel would be longer. We are in search of a place where we may one day consider living permanently. Our first stop was for fuel. We encountered nobody who spoke a bit of English. In fact, we didn’t find anyone who spoke English the entire day. In spite, we had a great time and used our new Spanish skills to communicate to the best of our ability. The natives love that we try to speak Spanish and help if possible.  While on the road we encountered a few surprises. This wind farm had hundreds of windmills. We also saw a solar farm of which we could not get a photo.

We passed through Penonome’, Santa Maria, and Chitre’ before arriving at Las Tablas. The feature picture today is Jen at the Las Tablas sign. It was about time for an early lunch and we chose to dine at none other than McDonalds. I do not think you can out travel McDonalds. We had a Big Mac and Crispy McPollo (chicken), both value meals, and our total bill was $11.20. We may have made mention of it before, but for those of you who may not know Panama uses US Currency. Only the coins are different.

Following lunch we made our way to the downtown area where there were some cool shops and sidewalk vendors. After wandering about for a short while we decided that we should look for the beach. We had visions of a possible condo project or some cute little housing project on the water. Our GPS app (Waze) was telling us that we could be to the water in 9 minutes. Off we went carefully following the suggested route. It wasn’t long before we ran out of pavement. Thank God for 4 wheel drive. The 2 track we followed for at least 4 Km and 30 minutes did eventually get us to a deserted beach. You could not see anybody or any sign of buildings down the beach in either direction. We were running without a plan and the SUV had a full tank of gas. We thought we may find civilization at Playa El Uverito, so off we went.

The road to the beach
The beach near Las Tablas Abajo
The road to the beach
The beach near Las Tablas Abajo
The beach near Las Tablas Abajo
The beach near Las Tablas Abajo

 

 

 

 

 

Playa El Uverito was another 30 minutes or so away. Signs along the way led us to believe there were a couple of Hostels and Bed and Breakfasts on the beach there. We found the beach there with about 20 very depressed and run down homes. Many appeared to be deserted. This area was just too far off the beaten path to attract visitors, and to us it was heartbreaking. Sorry, we didn’t take pictures.

By now it was too late in the day to journey another hour to Pedasi, so we made the decision to turn back toward home. We wanted to make a couple of stops an the way back. Our first stop was a local grocery store in one of the small towns. We found many grocery items priced much better than near the tourist area where we are staying. It was the same when we stopped along the highway for fresh fruit. $1 bought a watermelon, less than a $1 for bananas, and $5. for a big bottle of fresh honey. We made a quick stop for el helado (ice cream). It was wonderful and also only a dollar. Our last stop was for Mexican food. It was dark by the time we left the restaurant and I was happy that we were not far from home.

Yesterday we toured a couple of more local condo projects. RioMar was above our budget, but moved to the top of Jen’s list. After, we had lunch here locally, I got a haircut and Jen had some copies made that we will need at the American Embassy this Wednesday. While all that was going on we had the car detailed. It was necessary after our journey off road on Thursday.

RioMar
Car Detailed $9, Haircut $5. Life is good.

Our day ended with pizza at Picasso. Picasso is a local hangout. We have been there a couple of times because it is walking distance from our condo. The pizza was good, and not a bad price (special 5-7pm on Fridays), however, they have a long way to go to earn our praise.

Stay tuned in…we have great plans for adventure tomorrow in El Valle de Anton. Thanks, for once again reading and sharing.

Buenos,

Greg and Jen

 

 

We are about to experience Carnival full blast.

We have been hearing for several days that Carnival in Panama is quite an event.  As I was writing our last post, Carnival began to sound like a winter storm in Michigan. The stores run out of supplies, there is no gas and traffic is at a standstill. Carnival starts officially today and ends on Tuesday night. That’s a 4 day party across the entire country. Many people here call it a drunk-fest and “no place for children”. You all can probably imagine the kind of Mardi Gras type stuff that will be going on. We understand that yesterday they turned all the lanes of the Trans American Highway to head out of the city for a period of time so that all the people could get to their weekend homes. The condo we are renting is owned by an American, but most in this building are owned by Panamanian people from Panama City who come here for vacation and weekends. It seems that the building is full now and the party here will be mild compared to elsewhere in the country. We are comparing it to our home on an inland lake in Michigan where a large percentage the properties are owned by non-residents. We only see them on the weekends and 4th of July. This week is like the 4th of July; they call it high season here.  The fireworks started on Thursday night. We think it must have been some kind of kickoff celebration.  Needless to say, we will be staying put here until Wednesday morning. We went out yesterday morning to pick up a few last minute supplies and driving here was like demolition derby/gridlock.

The main reason we went out yesterday was to go to our 1st meeting with our Spanish tutor, Jasmine. We were interested in learning more Spanish and Jasmine came highly recommended. Jasmine was all business, and our 1 hour session was packed full of important Spanish that we are to learn before next time. We are already finding it helpful, and are attempting to converse with one another as much in Spanish as possible. The Spanish here has a bit of its own Panama flare and most people here know a little English which gets mixed into conversation. The more we get away from the tourist area the less English speaking people we find. While we were out, we also filled the car with gas and picked up our passports from the courier. We found them stamped with our multiple entry designation. This will make customs easier, because we will be allowed to go through the line with residents. We can also enter and leave the country on a 1 way ticket. Tourists must have a return ticket when entering the country or they will not be allowed through customs at the airport or any check point at the border. Once a person gives up the tourist designation they are required to get a Panamanian drivers license. That process starts at the American Embassy in Panama City and ends at the local version of the Department of Motor Vehicles. We both have appointments at the American Embassy 1 week from Wednesday in the early morning so that we will hopefully complete the requirement and have our drivers licenses by the end of the day. The last stop of our excursion was to grab a few last minute supplies. We were literally scared to try to pull into the grocery store. The street out in front and the parking lot were gridlock. We ended up at the corner grocery by our condo. We have compared it to a 7-11, but by no stretch of the imagination is it a typical American curb store. We found it to have an ample supply of anything a person may need and fairly priced. We thought that the vegetables were even better there than the grocery store in town. We wanted to stop for lunch, however that stop was as equally frightening as the grocery store situation.

We have shared our research on the Fonda and even visited one earlier in the week. We learned that the translation for Fonda is food. These eating establishments intrigue us and we love to try them. There is one at the end of the street by our condo and it is our new favorite place to go. We can walk there and it is tasty, cheap and friendly. Our first experience with it was Wednesday. The offerings were Pollo Fritas (fried chicken) and Pollo Salsa (broiled chicken with Salsa). There was also some kind of boiled meat that we did not try, and Sopa (soup). The soup offering was Sopa de Costella (rib soup). We did not try it but others around were eating it and it looked good. All meals come with rice, beans, salad, and plaintain. Jen had the fried and I had the salsa chicken, we both had bottled water and our bill was $9.60.

After we took care of our groceries we walked down for lunch yesterday and had a similar experience. Jen again had the fried chicken and I had the Cinta Guisada (steak stewed). The steak was tender and delicious like swiss steak. We brought our own drinks and our bill was $7.50. Don’t let anyone tell you it is expensive to eat out here. You must be open to new experiences, and ready for adventure. We will try this place for breakfast soon, and let you all know how it goes.

We have been guilty of not taking many pictures. We wanted to share a couple of more photos on the roof. It is absolutely beautiful up there, and where we will be spending the majority of the next 4 days.

 

Our next Session with the Spanish tutor is Wednesday. Thursday we are planning to head to the Azarro Peninsula about 2-1/2 hours to the West and South. This will be our 1st official adventure excursion.

The most important thing we have learned is:  me gustaria el cuenta por favor (may I have the check please). That is the simple Spanish lesson for today.

que tengas un buen sabado!

Greg and Jen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We Visit Our First Roadside Fonda

Our day yesterday started out as we planned with a walk East on the beach. The tide was low and we walked past some lovely homes. We probably did not walk as far as it seemed, Upon our return we went to the pool on the roof and enjoyed a nice swim. Every day we learn a little more about the area. The people here are really nice and forthcoming with information. We met a couple who has lived in this building for 3 years and they suggested that we may find better shopping West on the Pan-American highway about 45 Km. That was just the opportunity we wanted to get on the road again.

We ventured out around lunch time with the intention of stopping along the way at a fonda for lunch. We also thought we would, perhaps, check out some possible housing options on the beach along the way. We are trying to familiarize ourselves with the housing market here should this be where we would live. I am not sold on the area, but we are both in love with the beach. Our windows are open at night with the waves crashing and it is very peaceful just sitting on the balcony looking at the ocean. The highway is divided with limited places to turn around. Heading West, all the beach homes are on the other side of the highway so we located a few nice places but did not stop. Just prior to finding our shopping destination we stopped at a fonda for lunch. The menu was nicely written on a piece of paper and the proprietor welcomed us.

He spoke just enough English to make us comfortable and we understood enough Spanish to know we were going to get a decent meal.  Jen ordered a Chuleto BBQ (BBQ Pork Chop) and I ordered Bistek y Cebollas (steak with onions). Both meals came with all the accompaniments, arroz (rice), lenteja (beans seasoned with peppers), ensalada (salad), and tejadas (fried plantains). He offered up a limon con resperado to drink. We agreed and he brought the most incredible fruit drink that looked like iced tea but tasted very sweet and fruty. Our food was awesome and our bill was $12. $5 for each lunch and $1 for each drink.

After a wonderful lunch we took off toward the store. We wanted to shop ahead a little because this weekend is Carnival. They tell us that the whole country turns into 1 giant party and everything will be closed from late Friday until next Wednesday. We have also been warned that it would not be wise to be on the road and prior to the holiday all the stores will be out of everything (sounds almost like a winter storm warning).  We will report on Carnival as it happens, however we will be staying home and suffering through it in our own resort like accommodations. We are hoping to see fireworks from the balcony.

We picked up a few things at the dollar store, got a few groceries and headed back. We did not stop to check out any of the home projects, but we saw a few that we will check out on future excursions. We did make a couple of stops for fruit along the road. We hear that this can be the best way to get a Cantelope, Watermelon, Bananas, or Pineapple, but they don’t all have everything. You also cannot buy vegetables along the road very often, and I’m sad to say that the vegetables in the store are terrible.

I am planning to go to the gym on the roof and Jen says she will be going to aqua-arobics this morning. We are planning to relax by the pool for most of the day.  It is hard to keep track of time. It seems like every day ends much too quickly.

We have the name of a lady here locally who teaches Spanish. We are making arrangements today to get into a class. This adventure would be much better if we could better communicate. Please continue to follow along . We will try to keep it real and interesting.

Welcome to the roof at Coronado Bay
Roof Top Pool at Coronado Bay
Our view from the roof East

 

We thought you may enjoy some pictures from the rooftop. Dondequiera que erstes, esperamos que estes caliente. translated Wherever you are, we hope you are warm.

con un cordial saludo,

Greg and Jen