This past weekend we took a trip to Boquete and David. These towns are a lot larger than Pedasi. I believe David is the 2nd largest city in Panama without the high rises. Boquete I up in the mountains about 30 minutes away. We stayed at Las Olas Beach Resort, a place we had stayed before last trip in January. We even got the same room which opens out to the beach and near the pools. It’s a beautiful black-sand beach, but the surf and riptides are so strong, you really can’t swim there. The resort itself is very pleasant; the old-style beach resort with all the amenities (pools, sauna, massage, ping pong, shuffle board, volleyball court, tennis courts, bars, massage, board games, and restaurant). If we were at the resort during mealtime, we would eat outside on the patio listening to the sound of the crashing waves and light music in the background. It is very inexpensive-we paid $60 per night. In the states, this place would go for $200+ per night. It is located about 30 miles outside David, but the road has many potholes and can be very rough. If we hadn’t been there before, we would have a terrible time getting there, since the roof has more potholes and seems like it has been washed out down to a single lane in one place. There are also 2 single lane bridges you must cross. I suggest never drive there at night, which we did one night in the rain. Another experience I certainly won’t forget. But god watched over us and we made it.
After getting our tires fixed, we went to Boquete on Friday and first took a tour of a coffee plantation at Finca Dos Jefes where they grow, roast, and sell Cafes De Luna. It was very interesting learning about the history of coffee and the different types of coffee, etc. we walked around this small plantation, one of 3 for this company and learned how they made their coffee. Then we tasted the different coffees and learned about how coffee is rated, much like wine. Afterwards, I got to roast my own coffee and took about 3 lbs. of beans home to grind. Gary, our tour guide, was very informative. That evening, Gary joined us for dinner with Penny, one of Mikkel’s contacts he wanted to meet and talk about an organization which helps the disabled in Panama, though mostly in the Boquete and David area.
The next day we met with another of Mikkel’s contacts, Don Ray Williams, for lunch. Mikkel had been following his blog, Chiriqui Chatter, and wanted to talk about some things, especially Internet connections, etc. Don’s wife and a graduate student, Heather, from Boston who was studying a special type of dance here joined us at a Mexican (Tex-Mex) restaurant. We had a nice conversation with Heather about her studies, and with Don about his life in Panama. Next we went to PriceSmart (Costco) to buy a few things. Friends of ours in Pedasi and Santo Domingo had made a few requests, also, if we could find them. We were not very successful except for one item. That evening, back at the hotel, we spent some time at the beach.
Before returning home on Sunday (oh my, I’m calling Pedasi my home now), we went back to Alto Boquete to visit a flea market which is held the first Sunday every month at Chiriqui Storage. Proceeds help sponsor the organization for the disabled. There were about 200 people there: mostly Gringos selling and Panamanians buying. We finally met Keith, the “car guy” there and paid for our registration and deposit he had made on the car he found for us. He was so sweet; he even offered to pay for the flat tire, but Mikkel declined. His service was worth every penny to us. Keith shared that Every day is an adventure in Panama. If you are open to that, you will be fine. If not, you probably should go back to where you moved from. He could tell we are the adventurous type.
Home at last, Sunday evening. Another experience under our belts. Looking forward to more adventures, but for now, I will enjoy my home in Pedasi. It will be off to the beach again tomorrow if its not raining. (Pictures are of coffee plantation and scene fro outside our room at Las Olas.)