A Travellerspoint blog

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Rainy day in paradise

rain 65 °F

Today was a quiet day in Boquete. It rained most of the morning and early afternoon. Our search for quetzals will have to wait for another day.

Fun Panama fact: In Panama City the sun rises over the Pacific Ocean and sets over the Atlantic.

At the soggy trailhead for "Sendero Los Quetzales."
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Homeschooling over the rainy holiday so that when the sun finally comes out we can take our vacation!
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For Beth Chi:
Cave Canem

Cave Canem

Posted by skwclar 16:56 Archived in Panama Comments (0)

Más o menos

rain 65 °F

When does the parade start?

"11am, más o menos" (more or less) which in reality here in Boquete meant 12:30pm kickoff for the Panamanian Independence Day parade. By coincidence, we found ourselves in Panama's biggest Independence Day celebration, complete with appearance of El Presidente. (No, not Manuel Noriega. He is safely behind bars in the prison near our hotel back in Panama City.) We four Americanos were conspicuous for many reasons, but Daddy coached the kids ahead of time to shout "¡Viva la Revolucion!" in case any locals questioned our motives for attending. There was an interesting mix of ethnic costumes and military uniforms from all the parade marchers and observers.

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We sat on the curb of main street Boquete and ate our picnic lunch while waiting for the festivities to start. Pearl and Henry were upset upon learning that the three-second rule does not apply to food items dropped in the gutter of a Panamanian city.

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After the parade, we headed to "Finca Lérida" coffee plantation in search of the Resplendent Quetzal. Unfortunately, we may be here at the wrong time of year. Quetzals are spotted only occasionally, and today the conditions up in the mountains were less than ideal--rainy and windy. Nonetheless, we enjoyed a beautiful hike through old growth cloud forest, and despite not spotting the elusive bird, we still enjoyed our time together.

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Remember to check out Henry's wonderful birding blog, found here:
http://worldbirding.travellerspoint.com

Posted by skwclar 16:06 Archived in Panama Comments (1)

Swinging monkeys

sunny 70 °F

On this beautiful, sunny day we had the good fortune to experience a treetop zip lining tour. Boquete Tree Trek picked us up in their open-air, no-seat-belts trailer and drove us a bone-rattling 7 kilometers up into the mountains. Once we arrived we needed to sign waivers for us and our kids that exempted the company from any responsibility should we need to go home in a body bag.

Our fabulously macho guides (Sue's opinion) suited us up in harnesses and hard hats.
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We were given a quick explanation of the do's and don'ts, and then Pearl was whisked away by her "taxi" guide.
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We only saw her twice in the next 1.5 hours, since she had to travel ahead of the group with her personal (hunky) guide, who would then work on a platform sending everyone else through. The entire zip line trek took us through 12 zip lines and across 14 platforms, some were located very high up in the trees. Every once in a while, we would pass by Pearl, who was "leashed" to the platform where her guide was working. Interesting babysitting technique. I wonder if she asked HIM for a snack or for help tying her shoes every five minutes...

Pearl and Henry were so incredibly brave, trusting, and happy throughout. It was really a wonderful adventure!
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To see photos and video of Pearl, check out her blog: http://globetrottersjr.travellerspoint.com/

Posted by skwclar 17:19 Archived in Panama Comments (0)

Fowl play

sunny 80 °F

Ideally, all four of us would have the same interest level in bird watching. But, three of us are kinda amateurs and one of us is extremely passionate about it. In case you're wondering where you fall on the birdwatching index, we compiled this top five list which should weed out the amateurs:

1) you describe a bird as cute, small, or gray
2) you mindlessly chatter off-topic while there is a great bird in the area
3) you wear a bright red jacket while birding
4) you let an unsupervised six-year-old child run wild in front of you while birding a great area.
5) you feign excitement every time you see a cardinal

Today we divided and conquered the family. Dave and Henry met up with Terry, a superb birdwatching guide who led them to her favorite spots around Boquete in search of great birds but especially the Resplendent Quetzal. Terry is originally from Holland and moved to Panama 17 years ago and, along with her husband, operates a coffee plantation, farm, lodge, and guiding service. No luck seeing the Quetzal today due primarily to the time of year, despite it being an absolutely beautiful, sunny day. Along the trail, we happened to pass by a farmhand carrying a huge crate of just-harvested celery. The luscious aroma was enough to make you want to chomp on a complete stalk or three of the beautiful produce. That moment was almost trumped by Terry serving a thermos of arabica coffee from her "finca" (farm) halfway through the expedition when Dave's interest started to wane.

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Pearl and Sue spent the morning in sleepy downtown Boquete. Our friends who have also adopted interracially will understand that at home on a daily basis it is common to notice subtle gestures or comments from the general public noting our family. Being in Panama has put an entirely new spin on "conspicuous." Needless to say, Pearl has attracted much attention here. The Panamanian people are very generous with "muy bonita" for Pearl. They are also very curious about Pearl's relationship to our family. No one in our family is very quick on the draw when it comes to Spanish. We'd do much better with French or Mandarin. Luckily, saying "Mama" and pointing to Sue has bridged the language gap.

Pearl in front of our vacation rental

Pearl in front of our vacation rental

...basement only.

Posted by skwclar 18:21 Archived in Panama Comments (0)

Island life

sunny 85 °F

Today we traveled from the western highlands of Chiriqui province to the Bocas del Toro region in the Caribbean. First we traveled by bus for 4 hours.
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Dave was riding in high style with his Bose noise-cancelling headphones and his kindle UNTIL Sue asked him, "how can you read without getting carsick on all of these twisty roads?"

After two water taxi rides,
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we set foot on a pristine beach in front of our new abode. This is paradise. Especially if you love GIANT bugs and monkeys that steal garbage off your front porch, no joke. I hope they like Sue's famous "grilled broccoli packets." Geckos are frequent visitors inside our rental home. Sure, they're cute on those TV commercials, but do you really want them sipping from your glass of white wine?

Seriously, this is a beautiful place. Think Gilligan's Island meets Survivor. In fact, our property manager alerted us that "Survivor" is filmed just down the beach from us. Palm trees, coconuts, pristine beach, dinnerplate-sized "palmetto bugs." You get the picture. We will have a fantastic 5 days here.

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traveling lightly

traveling lightly

Posted by skwclar 12:51 Archived in Panama Comments (2)

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