Catch Up

I’d like to say I’ve been insanely busy or travelling to exotic places or abducted by aliens who took me on an intergalactic adventure but mostly I’ve been lazy!  I can’t tell you how many hours are spent merely staring across the street at the pool.   I manage to get two work-outs a day in and actually make reasonably healthy meals every day.  I make my bed, wipe down the counters, walk to the convenience store for diet Pepsi, spend an inordinate amount of my day avoiding my Spanish lessons and this blog.   In other words, doing the exact same thing I did in Minnesota except in 90+ degree, 90% humidity, incredibly beautiful Panama.  I pinch myself every day, especially since my friends and family are suffering through -15 temps!

Now that my excuse-making is out of the way…

First the reasonably good news.  We have received our FBI clearance (for the second time)!   Our US immigration attorneys have sent off all the pertinent information to the immigration authorities here in Panama City.  We meet with the attorney on Tuesday where we have to hand off 17 (yes, 17) passport-size photos, a statement of personal accountability, proof of residency, proof of Panamanian health and life insurance.   Evidently a statement of good health is also required.  I assumed that meant we had to get a physical.  Nope – the attorney can assess our health and sign off for us.  Not to digress, but in order to get a drivers’ license here in Panama we will need to give blood for blood typing and a glucose check.  Seems they don’t want the already crazy Panama drivers to have a diabetic episode while driving – seriously!  Anyway…we are finally making progress on the visa-front.   Which is a good thing because we officially cannot leave the country now until the visa is granted or the process is invalidated.  Craig has a trip back to the States slated for early February so our fingers are crossed we can finally put this administrative nightmare to rest!

While we await the visa clearance I’ve been doing some travel research.   Sometime before we come home in April I plan on visiting Curacao.  Right now that is the only place we absolutely will get to but I hope to get to Brazil, Costa Rica and Cuba before much longer!  Ideally, we plan on spending one weekend a month somewhere in Panama and a “big” trip every month or so.  Now that we’ve settled in it is a little easier to think bigger picture.  Money does talk though…but it’s hard not to take advantage of being in Central America!

Speaking of weekend trips….we are heading to the Gamboa rainforest this weekend.  Plan on doing some hiking, monkey-stalking, pool sitting and hammock residing.  Since I haven’t posted Bocas del Toro pictures yet I won’t make any promises, but rest assured at some point there will be pictures – lots of them!!

Last weekend we explored Casco Viejo which is the “old town”.  It is undergoing significant renovation so lots of construction and confusion but it is going to be amazing. It feels kind of like New Orleans with the style of buildings, street size and people watching.  Easy to get lost so I’m glad that Craig is not as directionally-challenged as I am.  We had a nice lunch on one of the plazas before walking back to Panama City.  We stopped at Mercado de Pescado which is the local fish market.  AMAZING!  The fish couldn’t be fresher since the market is steps away from the Atlantic.  Jumbo shrimp was $1.50/kg (for those wanting to do the math one kg is 2.2 pounds, i.e., cheap)!  I can’t wait to take Michael and Jeremy for a visit.  It was featured on one of Anthony Bourdain’s shows if you want to pull it up.

I made a promise that I am going to devote time every day to my Spanish.  I have three hours of one-on-one Spanish instruction a week and I must say I’m pretty good at conjugating verbs and simple sentence structure (and I’m a master at spelling)!  Unfortunately, my listening skills are TERRIBLE!  I also tend to stumble over my own tongue when I do attempt to speak.  I hope to devote a few hours every day (outside in the courtyard with a Diet Pepsi) so I start seeing some forward progress.  I am picking up more and more words but until everyone in Panama starts speaking v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y and at a third grade level I best take control and focus my own energies on mastering the language.

On that note….hasta luega!

Just because it is Friday

Not a whole lot has been happening around here but life can’t always be hustle and bustle so I can easily deal with it.  Guess that means it is time for free-form Friday.  Uno, dos, tres…

Weather:  What can I say?  It has been in the 90’s all week.  The “low high” for the week has been 93!  Surprisingly, even with the humidity hovering in the 80’s I currently have the balcony door and two windows wide open thoroughly enjoying the breeze!  Most of you know I can’t stand the cooped-up feeling I get from being in a closed-up house too long so I’m in heaven!

Seasons:  I’m a bit confused.  It is officially “summer” but, frankly, I can’t tell the difference between today and a month ago when it was officially “winter” with one caveat…NO RAIN!!  Ever since we moved here anytime between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. (now I know why I like using 24-hour clocks….less typing.  It is so much easier to type 11:30 and 13:00).  At any rate every day, like clockwork, clouds would roll in over the hills and we would have a torrential downpour.  The rain lasts only about 15 – 20 minutes and the sun makes a glorious return!  Since “summer” we have had no rain at all!   The average temperatures have gone up from the mid-80’s to the mid-90’s but for some reason I can’t tell the difference.

School:  Summertime means no school – which means more kids at the pool making my kick boarding even more challenging!  Today kids from the French school (I lost count after 25 because none of them stood still long enough to be counted) splashed, laughed and swam while I attempted to kick board myself into shape!  My Spanish is awful (no hablo espanol muy bien) so I was more confused than usual when I was trying to figure out what the heck those kids were saying – until I heard one of them say, “merci”!  Whew….I wasn’t losing my mind, the kids were just playing with it!

Car:  Our formerly submerged car is still AWOL.  I’m not sure anyone really knows where it is – maybe a hostage situation (doubtful since I have nothing worthwhile in trade value)!  I didn’t have a true affinity for the car but for some reason the fact that it is still being held against its will somewhere is bugging me!

Household goods:    In the absence of a visa the kind customs authorities were willing to accept a letter from our immigration attorney in Panama, a letter of employment and a notarized copy of our passports – all pages!!!  It only took three days for the notary process – day one our passport was in route to the notary when the courier got into a car accident, day two we figured out the copies were never notarized, day three the official document hand-off was complete!!   Now…mark your calendar!!!!  Our shipment is tentatively scheduled for delivery January 17!!!  My best advice is to not hold your breath; we are in Panama you know.

Visa and work permits:  None and none!  We had to start the immigration process all over again.  It seems we aren’t allowed to be in the States during the period immediately following our FBI clearance and the issuance of our visa and work permit.  Unfortunately, our FBI check was completed just days before we were slated to come home to see our new grand baby.  Our option?  Stay in Panama until the visa is issued or start over.  Duh…..I’m not so sure our US immigration attorney was thrilled with our decision but it was a no-brainer to us.  We completed the fingerprint process and resubmitted our application nearly a month ago.  The process normally takes somewhere between 4 – 6 weeks; however, since the shooting in Newtown I’ve read that the number of FBI checks has skyrocketed because of the rush to buy guns (I promise not to share my opinions on that subject…).  We’re hoping our clearance doesn’t get unnecessarily delayed since we promised the immigration attorneys we would stay in the country until our visas get issued – BUT it better happen before April because we are coming home for Porter’s baptism!  If anyone has any pull with the FBI or Panama immigration please exercise your influence.

Headed to Vel Mar for appetizers on the beach later tonight.  No snow boots, long sleeves, frigid temperatures and threats of frost-bite as we enjoy the sunset over the Atlantic.  Visitors welcome and encouraged!

Happy Friday!

I’m Baaaaaack……

Panama called me back and I answered.  The fact that it was near zero degrees (f or -27 c) when we left Minneapolis and is in the 90’s down here by the equator that may have made the return trip that much more palatable.   My heart’s home will always be Minnesota, but right now my “home” is in Panama. I think it is hard for folks back home to understand but being in Minnesota, living out of a suitcase, with no food in the cupboards and Michael’s clothes in my closet is “weird”.   My routine is in Panama where I still don’t understand the language, the culture can be confusing and I have no work-out buddies to keep me honest at the gym, but this is my routine and I am embracing it!  I once again call your attention to the 90 degrees and sunny, a pool across the street, a beach bar a few miles away and a year-long SPF 50 tan!

I’ve been keeping daily notes since I’ve been back so I don’t forget any of the oddities I encounter around here.  Most notably…

We drove up to the Gamboa rainforest this weekend.  No deer crossing signs but I did have to brake for a three-foot iguana crossing the road!  That little guy showed up out of nowhere, and he was quick!  As we got deeper into the rainforest there were signs warning us of animal crossings.  Not sure what may be crossing but my guess is it won’t be a standard raccoon, squirrel or rabbit!  We found a great hotel in the heart of the rainforest.  Definitely not cheap but it sits right at the junction of the Panama Canal and Lake Gatun, which feeds the canal, and is home to hundreds of species of birds, monkeys, sloths and other jungle creatures.  We will definitely be going back…even if it means crossing this old, dilapidated, one-way, railroad bridge.  If I did it once I can sure do it again!!

Bridge_Rio Chagres

 

Today is Martyr’s Day which was celebrated as a national holiday on Monday.  Google it for more details but basically it started when some young people tried to raise a Panamanian flag in the Panama Canal Zone, which was US-occupied at the time.  Long story short, 20 Panama residents (including a small child) were killed, along with four US soldiers.  Martyr’s Day is a day of remembrance and was celebrated with a demonstration at Ciudad de Saber.  How did I know this?  Because I received the following e-mail from the US State Department:

“This is an update from the earlier Security Message sent concerning the Martyrs’ Day March that will take place on Monday, January 7, 2013 in Panama City. We have learned that the march will conclude at the old Balboa High School near the Panama Canal Administration Building rather than the Balboa Academy location in Ciudad Saber. We have also been advised that FRENADESCO, SUNTRACS, and university students are scheduled to participate, but no credible information that the event will continue to be other than peaceful has been received. However, we continue to advise U.S. citizens in the area of the march and ceremony to use due caution, and to consider avoiding the affected areas”.

Good to know our State Department is invested in communicating with its citizens in foreign countries.   As luck would have it, I actually do know where Ciudad de Saber is because we happened upon it last weekend on the way to Gamboa.  Don’t worry, mom…I don’t have access to a car and live about 20 miles from the site!

On a creepier note…yesterday I walked to Mailbox, Etc. to see if we have any mail yet (hint, hint…).  It is only about a mile down the road but, oh my gosh, it was a long walk.  Let’s just say that men in Central America aren’t shy about honking, cat calls, blowing kisses and yelling “sexy” at woman walking down the street.  Holy crap….I’m 56 years old.  My Spanish teacher told me it is very culture-based and harmless and that overall I should be flattered!  I’ll buy that, and no, I never felt threatened and none of the men were creepy, but I may wear a burka next time.

And just in case you have forgotten I AM A GRANDMA (and one that gets honked at by strangers no less)!  Porter has made my heart even happier and we couldn’t be prouder.  Here is my grand baby…insert oohs and ahhs here:

Porter_Christmas Bears_12242012

Enough of me for today.  Just wanted to establish the old blog habit and make sure everyone knows it is 90 and sunny where we are!!

Bocas del Porter

We’ve been in Panama for just about six weeks and have managed to schedule two “get-away from it all” vacations.   I am going on record as saying escaping 85 and sunny for 85 and sunny is not too much of a stretch for me, but Craig does have to work every day so escapes are obviously more for him than for me!

This “get away from it all” felt more like the vacation that would never happen because of all the issues I had with Air Panama.  I should have read all the Trip Advisor nightmares people had with Air Panama BEFORE I tried booking a flight and not after the fact.   Let’s just say internet services in the US are far more advanced than they are in Panama…meaning I will NEVER book on-line with them again.  Basically, I had to pay for two round-trip tickets PLUS two one-way tickets to get us to and from Bocas del Toro.  Thankfully, I got on the horn with my bank right away and they are working with Air Panama to recover my money.  That saves me all the phone calls with service reps that speak just a bit more English than I do Spanish!  Can you give me a collective arghhhhhhhhhh?

Air Panama aside we were going to jet off to Bocas del Toro in the northwest part of Panama for a four-day stay at an eco-resort on the Caribbean where we were going to enjoy the ocean breezes and wake to the sounds of parrots and monkeys in our jungle bungalow!  We got exactly what we expected….and it was GREAT but this place is definitely not for everyone.  Mosquito netting around the beds, eco-friendly toilets that toilet paper can’t be flushed down (I felt so sorry for Elvira who was tasked with cleaning the waste baskets every day…sorry for the visual), filtered rain water to drink and shower with, outdoor showers with water temperatures set so there is no temptation to take anything other than a quick shower, alligators in the pond, sloths in the trees and wooden windows that had to be closed before dusk so the bats wouldn’t  come inside.   We loved every minute of it!   It just wasn’t as relaxing as we had planned because….

The night before we were leaving we received a call from our daughter telling us she was in labor.  Come on…the baby was due December 17 and we were coming home December 10 and she promised me she would wait.  Since both my babies were born very quickly I went to bed expecting to have a grand baby before we left for the airport at 7:00 a.m.   Fat chance…she was making progress but no baby.  She’d keep in touch.   Next text message….stuck at 6 cm.  We climbed aboard our plane with no news worth celebrating.   Next text message…at 8 cm should have the baby by 11:00.  Yea!!!  We land at the Bocas airport with no text updates.  Hopped in the taxi to the docks and got on a boat for the 25 minute boat ride to the island, hauled our luggage through the jungles, past the alligator waters and into our bungalow.   Are we grandparents yet?   Let’s get out our phones.  Guess what?  Remote islands do NOT have great cell service.  In fact the cell service is sketchy at best.   There were two spots on the island where we had enough “bars” to attempt contact.  We religiously walked up and down the beach between the cell points hoping for updates.  NOTHING!   1:30 passed, 2:30 passed.   NOTHING.  We gave up on text messaging and decided to call my mom.  She hadn’t heard anything yet.  Walked down to the beach bar so the little Jewish grandma in me could start worrying in public.  NOTHING!  It was 4:30 and I had already envisioned every possible complication (including multiple births and alien abductions)!    Broke down and called my mom.  NOTHING….they weren’t home!  How could they leave home when I was in panic mode?  So I called our son (because all the fights they had as kids has made them so much closer as adults…I knew it would happen).  Guess who answered the phone?   The new mom!  We had a grand baby TWO HOURS AGO!!!!   Two hours ago…where were the text messages?  Evidently, they were intercepted by a pack of information-eating monkeys because we didn’t get them.   This worry wart mom became a worry wart abuela in just a matter of minutes!  Yes, there were tears – as if the oceans weren’t salty enough!

I must admit this was one of the greatest moments ever.   Too bad we wouldn’t have strong enough cell service to download pictures until Sunday.  When we saw the first picture it was like having all the chocolate you ever wanted on Christmas morning  – plus presents!!   I have to admit to being a bit mopey today.  I have looked at Porter’s (oh yea….Porter Robert.  8 lbs 2 oz and 19”) pictures about every 10 minutes and can’t get over how wonderful life has been but how sad I am that so many people have held him and I haven’t.  I guess the silver lining will be all the extra days I will have with him once we get home.

Say hello to Porter Robert….

Porter

Yes, he is upside down because I had to show off all the hair (especially coming from a follicle-challenged family)!

Here is Porter under the lights (a little jaundice to battle).

By the way….here is where I was when we finally got the good news…

…and this is what I was looking at.

Only one place I’d rather be and that would have been holding Erica’s hand at the hospital but this wasn’t half bad…and I had the new grandpa to share it with.   Love you Porter!

Life is a Beach…

…and so is the main roadway through Balboa!

I had every intention of writing about our relaxing weekend in Playa Santa Clara where the beach was quiet, the casita we stayed at even quieter, the food plentiful, the company great and my fix of dogs met times four!  But alas, the trip was overshadowed by our adventure on the way into town to buy some airline tickets (that is a blog for another day) and stock up on groceries for the week.

Basically it is monsoon season here in Panama – ok, that is a stretch but when it rains it rains hard!  At last count we have had two rain-free days since we moved here.  Not a big deal…it comes it goes and life returns to blissful temperatures in the 80’s.  Not so much yesterday!  It started raining as we were leaving the Panama Pacifico area where we live.  It was pouring as we merged onto the Pan-American highway and it was raining buckets on the Bridge of Americas.   On a regular weekend day with light traffic it takes us just a few minutes to drive over the one mile span of the bridge (which is insanely high) with the rain yesterday it took us about 10 – 15 minutes to drive that same span.  The knuckles were white and the wipers barely keeping up.  I’d much prefer to be almost anywhere than on the Bridge of Americas in a rain storm, but let’s face it…we were on a bridge and there was no turning back.  So we turned on our four-way flashers and drove tentatively across the bridge – just like the mass of cars in front and behind us.  Cultural note:   Panama is a country of drivers who refuse to use turn signals (something like Iowans driving in Minnesota) so why everyone hits the flashers when it rains causes me to scratch my head, but I did so dutifully.  Traffic came to a complete standstill just as we exited the bridge.  Drivers here have an incredible knack for turning a two-lane exit ramp into a four-lane one.  The problem being only one car can turn right onto the single lane road we were exiting onto.  My backseat driver (Craig – he prefers to be called the navigator) insisted I be “more aggressive” and pull out into traffic.  I tried, unsuccessfully twice (I didn’t get honked at so I obviously wasn’t trying hard enough).  I waited patiently for one of the insanely decorated buses and cut him off without a drop of sweat on my brows.  Lesson here…big buses don’t start up very fast – when in slow-moving traffic it is always your best bet!   We continued inching our way through the little village of Balboa past a minor fender bender still sitting in the middle of the road (that is when you should have the four-way flashers by the way…guess everyone thought they were moving and forgot to stop).  Again, we were at a complete stop with only one way to go.  My navigator instructed me to be aggressive and go with the car in front of me around the accident scene into on-coming traffic.  Apparently on-coming drivers will be patient for only two cars to pass, being the fourth car we had to wait for a small break in traffic to make our move.   Success!!!!

Just like the States once you get past an accident scene everyone drives like a bat out of you know where.  Traffic returned to normal amounts of cars and honking for about 1 km where we turned right onto a divided highway.  And then the fun begins….

The torrential rains had turned a low-lying part of the road into what looked like a puddle.  People were turning right onto a side road en mass (those were the people who knew where they were) others were seriously driving over the curb and median to get back on the road going in the other direction (which was totally void of water)!  Our final navigational error occurred when we chose to go full boor into the puddle – which by the way was a lake.  I’m betting we got about 50 feet before the engine died and we were taking on water.   The water was now halfway up the side of the door so opening the door was definitely out of the question.  I had the smarts to get the window rolled down enough so I could escape if I had to.  Craig started calling every co-worker he could find a number for.  I pretty much held back tears and prayed we weren’t going to float into the big trucks still passing beside us.  Seriously we were floating out of control – and believe me there wasn’t much roadway between me and the stalled delivery van up ahead and to our right.

Only the kindness of strangers got us out of there.  Two gentlemen stopped traffic on the other side of the road, pulled out some chains and directed a semi-truck – who was passing by us as we floated into its path – to stop.  Using the chain, they tried to hook us up to the semi but were unsuccessful.  Out of nowhere two other men joined them and four strangers pushed us out of Lake Balboa.  The water was waist-high but they didn’t think twice about helping us.  As quickly as they appeared they disappeared.  And just as quickly as the water rose, it began to recede and more and more traffic was passing to our right.  We were hopelessly stuck in the left lane so two men pushed me to the right curb…but being in Panama cars weren’t about to stop even with a distressed motorist from a foreign land behind the wheel so certinaly there had to be some honking! We finally got out of the lanes of traffic in one  really wet piece.

We joined five other stalled vehicles awaiting tow trucks.  Even though we speak no Spanish and couldn’t even tell Craig’s co-worker where the heck we were stalled we managed to get some help.  I must admit we were far better off than others.  One car had a baby strapped into the back seat and another woman was wearing white pants.  They happened to be in a really low-clearance vehicle and the driver gestured to me they were up to their waists in water inside the car.  Wet, white pants do not make a pleasant picture if you get my drift.  I have a pair of soaked pink, leather flats and a really wet, insanely expensive Dooney Bourke bag (how I got it is another blog in waiting).

Long story short….our car is sitting at 3M Panama waiting for a tow to the dealership.  We are supposedly getting a rental car, but it’s Panama so who knows how long that will be.

FYI….here is the beach I wanted to write about.

Here is the one I got.

 

 

Missed Adventure

If you were expecting an exciting recap of our adventure in the mountains of Panama you are going to have to wait just a bit longer.  Unfortunately, the room we thought we had didn’t materialize so we kept ourselves occupied here in Panama City for the weekend – which turned out to be a good thing!

I pulled on the big girl pants I alluded to in an earlier post, hopped into the car and drove into downtown Panama City.  Most people are surprised that Panama City has a population of nearly one million people – most living downtown!  Traffic can be a nightmare (I’m told it took two 3M’ers two hours the other day to get from Panama Pacifico into the downtown area….yikes)!  Weekends find the locals doing things outside the city, or hunkered down inside to avoid the afternoon heat.   We set the GPS for a local monument (bear in mind there are no addresses in Panama so having a GPS is a bit less helpful) and set off on our urban adventure!  Parking was a breeze once we got downtown and we spent the next hour or so walking along the ocean front and visiting yet another grocery store.  I think we found a winner!  Tons of American food and the lay-out is similar to a US grocery store.   We have now visited and/or shopped at six different grocery stores…it feels good to find one that is relatively easy to get to and I can navigate  without calling for a St. Bernard.  Ohhhhh….before I forget….one of the grocery stores we shopped in had huge machetes for sale right at the end of a food aisle.  Seriously, they weren’t locked in a cabinet – just out there for you to purchase.  I think I will avoid that aisle.  Wouldn’t want to risk setting someone off – especially since I don’t even know how to say “excuse me” yet!

Walking around downtown Panama City can be a bit challenging.  The sidewalks are NOT maintained and navigating them requires a heads down approach for fear of falling into an uncovered manhole.   Evidently, manhole covers are stolen and sold for scrap – leaving the city to repair them – or not!   We found a park where there was a youth baseball game being played.   I didn’t get a picture but there is such a passion for baseball down here so it was fun to see kids playing.  Not sure how they slide though.  The whole infield was rocks!  Long pants mandatory, tough skin required!  Which brings me to my all-time favorite ballplayer that just happens to be from Panama – even has a stadium named after him.  Any takers on who he is?  All-star second baseman that is handsome, handsome, handsome! **

After watching Craig sweat through his t-shirt we headed to the Amador Causeway which is a three-mile peninsula connecting three islands on the Atlantic side.  The islands are connected using materials dredged from the Panama Canal construction site.  Yes, it is a bit touristy, but the view of the city is amazing see?

 

We managed to get there just in time for the daily, torrential rain (it is winter here you know…summer starts in January) so we weren’t able to sit outside but we found a great restaurant where we shared this:

Chicken, beef, pork and chorizo sausage smothered with fries and plantains.  I must say meat in Panama is far better than the meats we had in the UK.  Might even rival the Midwest – the court’s out on that right now, but we’re not afraid to order meat here!  Too bad our patio is too small for a grill!

I managed to get to the pool today for my laps.  I’ve discovered swimming is not my forte so I use the kickboards and flutter kick back and forth for 30 minutes.   Heart rate elevates, my butt and thighs ache so it must be working, right?  I spent another half hour soaking up the sun (with my SPF 50) and got home just in time for Craig to join me for lunch.  I’m watching Panama “snow” right now…when it rains here it pours!!!  Glad I got to the pool this morning!

We are definitely escaping this weekend.  We are headed deeper into the “interior” of Panama.  Actually about 90 km west of Panama Pacifico to Playa Santa Clara – a little beach town we’re told has a beautiful beach for us to explore.  Too bad our snorkel equipment hasn’t made it down here yet (household goods are still being held hostage awaiting our visas)!  Here is a link to bed and breakfast we are staying at.  Only two rooms and cash only!!!

Playa Santa Clara

We know we will be rained on at least once during the day but it is November and we’re on the beach…not wearing mittens or shoveling snow!   Remember guests are always welcome!!!

Hasta luego!

** Rod Carew

It’s the Weekend!

Last night we made the mistake of running to the grocery store after work.  Surprisingly, I was able to find absolutely everything on my list (including sweet potatoes) with only a little help from stranger/friends!  What I failed to remember is I had to cut across two lanes of traffic only to merge across two more lanes of traffic to get me where I needed to be – at night, with rush hour traffic!  Did I get honked at?  Sure, but everyone gets honked at in this town so I don’t feel special…just accepted!

The trip home, all eight miles of it, took nearly an hour…AN HOUR!!!  Not much honking when everyone is sitting still.  Had to do some fancy merging at the base of the Bridge of Americas but successfully negotiated it and we made it home safe and sound!  The special meal we shopped for was replaced by two days’ of leftovers because I wanted to eat before bedtime!  Long story short…my daily meal planning days are over.  No way this girl is taking shopping excursions like this one every day.  I’m back to stocking up on the weekends and picking up odds and ends at the little market outside Panama City, where the honking is just as rabid but the traffic itself is manageable.

We have an excursion of a different sort this weekend.  We will be going to El Valle Anton – in the mountains of Panama.  Temps fall into the 60’s at night so we’re told to bring a jacket.  Glad I packed one!!!  Little bit of hiking, some bird watching and a nap in a hammock sounds pretty good.  Following are a couple of links if you are interested in seeing where we are going and what we are up to (and no, there won’t be any ziplining for either of us…)!

Where we are staying:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g635545-d1958890-Reviews-Hostal_Cariguana-El_Valle_de_Anton_Cocle_Province.html

A little bit about the town:

http://www.el-valle-panama.com/about.html

Let’s hope the final 17 miles on the narrow, winding roads are “honkless”!