…and it seems like we just got here. We planned 1 adventure per week and have hardly scratched the surface. The thing we have done is made some decisions for where we will live. We know now that we will reside 1 – 2 hours west of Panama City on the Pacific. We have looked at houses and condos. Our first choice is an ocean front condo; we just have to find the perfect community for us. People here all have opinions about what makes a community perfect. We know that perfect for us is not necessarily perfect for others. We love Coronado Bay, but it is small, loud, and hot in the afternoon. We know that having a west facing balcony is out of the question because we enjoy our balcony to much to be kept off it in the afternoon and early evening. We also need a big balcony, because we would practically live out there if possible. We love to cook, and eat at home so the kitchen is important. We need a garage or covered parking because the sun is hot here and it is hard on the car to be baking in it 12 hours per day. We will be living there as our primary residence so we need a little more space than a glorified hotel suite. These are our minimal needs and you may be surprised to know that these minimal needs allow us to rule out many places. We are trying to find a place that is further away from the tourist and resort areas while close enough to find a clinic, grocery store, hair salon, and a dentist when needed. We also do not want to be more than 2 hours from the International Airport in Panama City. Currently that is the only place that has nonstop flights into Panama. There are other airports that have international service from Canada or by connecting through Panama City, but we want travel to/from the States to be easy.
This past week I had an appointment with a local dentist. He cleaned my teeth and did an exam. He spoke perfect English and his dental office was state of the art. His equipment put my dentist in Michigan to shame. The total cost here was $42. We would be happy to share his contact information with anyone who messages us. We have shared the names of many of our professional contacts privately here and most everyone is reporting similar good results. We also met with an insurance professional to discuss our insurance needs here in Panama this week. Our health coverage will go from $1267 per month to $383. Our homeowners insurance will be less than $400 per year and our car insurance (full coverage) less than $500 per year for a small 4X4 SUV. We are going to have insurance physicals on Monday morning. We will share that experience as it unfolds.
Next week we will also look at a few more condos in projects that we have not yet seen. We will also, return for a 3rd look at our current first choice. It checks off all the boxes plus has a golf course, children’s water park (grand kid thing), miles of walking and bike paths, pools, beach club, restaurant, and much more. Our other goal for the week is to open a bank account. Opening an account here is one of the hardest parts of integrating into the local society.
We are going to wrap it up for now. Our time for the next couple of weeks is going to be busy. We will be wrapping up our research for daily life and taking at least one more adventure. We are anxious to check out the jungle and go to a village of indigenous people in the Darien region between here and Columbia. Please continue to check back, follow and comment. If you’re following on social media, consider subscribing to the blog by e-mail. E-mail delivery is much more reliable.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our good friends Ray and Diane left to return home on Tuesday, but not before we showed them a couple of more of our top picks for retirement residences. We have made the decision to make a permanent move to Panama. The real estate market is tough here. Supply and demand are badly out of check and it is a buyers market. We will not buy a home here until we have had 12 months to fine tune our must haves and have not list. Our first step to that end is to find a top pick community and try to rent there for a year prior to completing the purchase. The buyers market is likely to continue because there is a huge supply of new build condo projects on this stretch of the city beaches 1-2 hours west of Panama City. Once we move down here we will be in a better position to find a bargain. Rio Mar was the top choice for quite some time until we faced the reality that the price was above our comfort. Our second choice is Casa Mar and it lies just to the west across a river from Rio Mar. Casa Mar provides almost all the same benefits at a lower price point. In addition there is a 9 hole golf course, walking trails, a children space (splash pool with water slides), and increased privacy. The entire project is on 190 acres and has a future shopping plaza at the gate. It is also closer to Rio Hato where we will find lower prices on groceries and other daily needs. It is close enough to Coronado to easily make the journey if we would need the clinic or a visit to the dentist. We also showed our friends Bahia. Bahia is a 2 building high rise in Nuevo Gorgona which lies just to the east of Coronado. We were able to look at the condo directly next door to the guys from Dallas who bought their condo on International House Hunters. We did not meet them, but you can check out the YouTube video of their house hunt. We shared it previously in our post titled We survived Carnival . We do feel like a real life episode of House Hunters. Our episode would be more like Beach Front Bargain Hunt though. Seriously, The Bahia was a bit loud and lacked privacy. The unit was a bit smaller than we wanted and, while beautifully decorated, it was dark. We have ruled out Bahia. We will not maintain 2 residences even though we will be renting here in Panama. Before we make any decisions here we will be selling our house in the States.
We spend a little time at the pool and/or on the beach every day. We also continue to have our hour with the Spanish tutor weekly. Our Espanol is coming along well and we try to use our skills daily with one another. We plan to continue meeting with the tutor weekly by Skype once we return home. We are making arrangements to meet with an insurance agent in Panama to get actual insurance quotes for health insurance. We are currently paying $1267 per month for health insurance in the States. We think once we get settled here in Panama we will cut that cost by about $1000 per month for similar coverage. We can cover our monthly expenses here with that savings alone. We will share our actual expenses in future posts. One of the biggest reasons for our move is to save money. Everything isn’t cheaper here, but if you get out of the tourist areas you will find the cost of living to be less. I got the best haircut ever in a Barbaria for $5 (I was the only gringo in there). I also have an appointment on Thursday with a dentist for a routine teeth cleaning. It will cost 1/3 of my dentist back home. More about that next time. Jen had her hair done at a very high end salon, that caters to Americans and Canadians, yesterday. Her cost was less than her salon back home and she was thrilled with the result. We had Chinese take out for lunch yesterday. It was delicious and priced about the same as we would pay in the States. Tonight our friends and family back home will be changing the clocks for daylight savings time. In Panama we are only 9 degrees from the equator. The result is that we have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night every day, so daylight savings time doesn’t happen here. We don’t change our clocks.
We had a former co-worker of Jen’s here Thursday with her family. Her family was a delight to meet and we enjoyed sharing our afternoon entertaining them on the beach and at the pool. They are staying in the mountains northeast of Panama City. It sounds as if they have had a great vacation here in Panama.
On Sunday we are planning to take off for our next adventure. Boquete and David are about a 5 hour drive northeast from Coronado. We planned this adventure and posted what we are likely to find there in December of 2017. Check out that post in our archive or click the link #InSearchOfEternalSummer . We will be returning to Coronado on Tuesday after we go to the Tuesday Market in Boquete. We also hope to check out more of the country along the way. Panama and its people are beautiful and very welcoming.
Please continue to follow along. A great deal of time goes into this blog, and we want to share our experiences. Please drop us a note or comment if there is something you want to see or learn about Panama. Today’s Spanish lesson is two simple words…Se Vende. Translated it means For Sale. When we return to Michigan we will be putting our home on Gravel Lake up for sale.
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.
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.
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.
…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.
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.
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.
As I write it is early morning, and I am enjoying the sound of the ocean surf and the cool breeze coming through the windows. We are in an area that it is really hard not to love. This time of year we have a lot of wind which keeps the humidity down. They call it Summer. Since arriving we have not seen a bit of rain, and we have enjoyed the pool or the beach every day. Our windows are always open and there are no screens. At first we couldn’t believe it, but there are no bugs here at ocean front. We absolutely love the balcony in the early morning and late evening, but it gets unbearably hot for a couple of hours in the afternoon when the sun is high, and to the West (our unit has a western exposure). People on the East side of the building say that theirs is hot in the morning. Both have advantages and disadvantages. This is all information valuable when looking for a beach front condo.
We did survive Carnival and hope none of you are expecting to see pictures of parades, floats, and scantly dressed people partying in the street. We did not venture to the activities. It is a party that happens across the entire country. The government closes down and many private business chose to close as well. Traffic is everything we have been told and just moving about during Carnival is near impossible. There were fireworks here in the complex and all our neighbors who own vacation homes were here. That meant that there were several predominant languages being spoken and a few families. The Internationale Highway is a 4 lane divided highway with limited places to cross from 1 side to the other. It is not limited access. When traffic gets heavy they close the places to cross. Just about anywhere you would go involves using this road, so mostly we stayed nearby. Monday we ventured out to take a look at one of the places that may be nice to live. It was to our West and travel there and back was tolerable. I can’t say the same for yesterday when the Panamanians started heading home. We ventured out to see another place early yesterday morning and returning the traffic was gridlocked on the highway. The only way back for us was to get on the Highway heading east toward Panama City, with the traffic, and drive about 30 Km to the first place we were allowed to turn around. When we got back to our road we were not allowed to turn (cross traffic) which caused us to travel back several Km West before being allowed to turn around. When we got way West of Coronado we decided to take a look at another place before heading home. Every trip during heavy traffic has to be carefully planned. We were home by 1:30, had a late lunch and spent the rest of the day by the pool on the roof.
We are sure all of you are interested in what we have found as far as homes go. One thing everyone needs to know is that if you’re planning to move to Panama one should rent for at least a year. This will give time to make sure the place is right for you. It is a buyers market here currently and real estate prices are a little lower than they have been. The buyers market may continue for several years so if you buy now you may lose money if you decide to sell too soon. Many places can be rented out weekly or monthly to tourists, should you decide to move back home. Remember it isn’t easy to be a long distance landlord. All that being said, we are interested in finding out basically what our dollar will buy and learning what is important and not important to us. As we travel and explore the country over the next few weeks we will be taking a look at homes and condo’s to get familiar with the market in each area. If we settle on an area and decide to move we will rent in that area until we find the perfect place to buy. We are feeling like our own episode of House Hunters International right now. I embedded a YouTube video below, which is an episode of that show filmed right here near where we are staying. We met a delightful lady from Canada, who has lived here now for several years. She is a sales agent for the developer who built 2 of the condo projects where we have looked. One of the projects is Bahia and she was the actual selling agent for the guys in this video. We will be touring the condo directly next to them in the next few weeks (it is occupied by tourists now). This video will give you a good feel for the Coronado area. Time will tell, but it may be too busy for us here. CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO
We hope you took the 20 or so minutes to watch the video. It really does paint an accurate picture of what we are finding on the ground here. We are continuing with our Spanish tutor today and heading out to the Azuero Peninsula tomorrow. It may a great time to look back at our post of October 24, 2017 when our excursion planning began. On Friday we are planning another visit to a nearby condo project with a local agent. Our friends here are interested in buying there and the agent has come highly recommended. We will keep you all informed as we work through the process of looking for a place where we may one day live.
Thank-you for once again checking out our awesome adventure. We are still in awe of this whole thing. We hope you are all entertained and enjoying as much as we are. Please like, share and post questions. We love hearing from all of you. We just surpassed 2000 visits to our blog and we have new visitors signing on daily. Without all of you, it certainly wouldn’t be as much fun to write.
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.
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.