Serpiente!! Serpiente!!!

HONK! HONK! HONK!! Taxi driver waving hands in the air and pointing to the back of our truck as he drives by, and then a white car drives up beside the truck, window rolled down, a woman yells, “Serpiente!”  Pointing to the back of the truck, “Serpiente!” Stopping the truck, Mike gets out and sure enough there is a snake on the tailgate of the truck. Ana screaming “It’s a snake” while Paco jumping out to help Mike shouting, “This is amazing!”  Mike gets some bamboo he has in the truck and knocks the snake off.  As Mike was trying to kill the snake, people start appearing but not getting close to the snake.  Most people were coming from the store we parked beside.  Evidently Panamanians are scared of snakes.

Blunt Head Vine Snake

Blunt Head Vine Snake

This happened today when we went into David.  Mike and I were going out to eat with Paco and Ana, our good friend Chao’s children.  Paco always gets us lost in David.  We were looking for the steakhouse when this episode with the snake happened.  But thanks to the snake, Ana was able to ask someone standing beside the truck how to get to the restaurant.

Never a dull moment with teenagers!

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Friends

I have commented on how warm and welcoming the people are here in Panama.  One person in particular stands out to both of us.  His name is Luis, and he is one of our construction workers building the casa. Luis always has a smile on his face and is very pleased with himself when he has learned a new English word.  He always says “Very Good” and “Thank You” when we do anything for him.

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In the picture, Luis is working on a carving of a Quetzal.  His friend brought him a grinder he would need. We do not have Quetzals in our area, but Luis had once lived in an area where the Quetzals were found.  They are beautiful birds, and Luis said we needed a beautiful bird for our casa.

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During his free time (breaks and lunch), Luis usually works some on the Quetzal. He has also come on Sundays to carve and use the electricity for the dremel.

One morning before he started working he called Mike to the door and said, “Here for you.”  It was a candle holder he had carved.  

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Luis is a very talented person and an excellent worker.  He has also become one of our close friends.

 

How We Got to Boquete

Hi or I should say Hola. Welcome to beautiful Boquete, Panama.

How we got to Boquete:
After touring the United States for a couple of years in our RV’s, we decided to head abroad. Mike wanted desperately to visit Costa Rica. I gave in and said OK. After getting to Sarchi, Costa Rica, we quickly found out that it was not the paradise where we wanted to vacation. Even though there were beautiful flowers and gorgeous handmade furniture; it was hot, dusty, armed guards at every corner. So after one month, I contacted Susan at Boquete Garden Inn in Boquete, Panama. We had stayed here about 10 years ago. This was in January of 2013, and it was high season in Panama. Not only high season but also Boquete was celebrating a flora festival. Susan said not this week but next week. With no rooms to be found, we waited until the next week.

The day we arrived in Boquete we talked with a real estate agent, Justin. Mike told him if he wanted our money he would have to find us a place to stay since we had only one week at the Garden Inn and did not want to go back to Costa Rica. Justin found the only room available in Boquete at the Villa Lorena just outside Boquete and within walking distance (which was very important since we had no car).

We found our paradise. Buying 7 acres of land, we are currently building our casa. Year round spring like temperatures, beautiful colorful birds, wonderful friendly people. Yep, this is the way to live!!Image

Border Hop

When you are here as a tourist (which we are until we get our Pensionado), you have 90 days before you have to renew your tourist visa.  That is if you are driving.  Otherwise, it is 180 days.  I didn’t have a problem but Mike did, so we had to make the Border Hop.

We talked with friends to find out about the process, where to go, what paperwork you had to take with you, etc.  It had been really simple process in the past.  People could go to the border, get their passports stamped go across the border, eat lunch, turn around and come back after lunch, get passport stamped again showing their return airplane ticket and that was that.

Not so simple for us.  Of course, it would change when we needed to get our visas renewed.  AND we couldn’t find out exactly the procedure on line.  So off we go on the adventure.  I literally threw  some clothes, medicine, paperwork in a plastic sack (just in case we had to spend the night, which we heard was required now).  Our friends told us that Rio Sereno was much easier to do all of this, small town, no waiting in lines, etc.  Rio Sereno is not too far from Volcan so that sounded good to us, especially since we had no idea what we were doing (An adventure). When we got to Rio Sereno, where did we park? On the Costa Rican side.  That’s right: across the border.  Not a good start.  We got out of the truck and was going into the Panamanian office where we met a family coming out (Luck was on our side).  They told us we couldn’t park there because it would be towed away.  They then asked where we would be staying the night.  WHAT?  I had no idea where we would stay.  Rochelle (finally introduced ourselves) said she would contact the place they were staying and see if there were any vacancies.  This by the way is exactly how our life in Panama has been.  Every time we need help or advice it appears.

We proceeded to the Costa Rican side and went thru the process there. Mike moved the truck to a place in front of a house we hoped would be safe. Then we met up with our new found friends that happened to be from Newfoundland.  Rochelle informed us we had a place to stay in San Vito. YEA!!! We boarded the bus and was so very thankful it was a coach bus and not a school bus!!  Rochelle told us that George would pick us up at the park when we got there.  Well, no George was to be found.  No problems though, after contacting George, he said to grab a taxi and he would pay for it when we arrived. Rochelle knew Spanish so she and the taxi drivers became quick friends. He took us up to the Wilson Gardens so we could see how close it was to where we were staying.
None of us knew exactly what the lodging would be like. We were definitely surprised. It was beautiful.
Cascata Del Bosco Cabinas was a hidden gem. As George, the owner, took us to our cabins we were in awe of the landscaped grounds. Bamboo was everywhere. The flora was beautiful. The cabins were just as beautiful. The main room looked onto the rainforest. Mike was in heaven. A place to sit and relax. That night we just rested. The next morning George cooked the largest breakfast I had eaten since I have been here; pancakes, scrambled eggs, fruit, toast, bacon, carrot/orange juice, coffee. Wow!! I was stuffed. Oh and grilled bananas!!! George offered to take us into San Vito to catch the bus. We wanted to see some of the town anyway. It was a quaint town and we definitely want to visit again. After walking around, we caught the bus back to the border. Went back thru the Costa Rican office and made our way over to the Panamanian office.
What an adventure: made new friends, found the hidden gem, and got our visas renewed. I would deem it a successful trip!!!

Costa Rican Border

Costa Rican Border

 

Costa Rica parking lot--we had already moved our truck!

Costa Rica parking lot–we had already moved our truck!

 

Road to San Vito.  Only 5 miles of dirt road before turns into pavement.

Road to San Vito. Only 5 miles of dirt road before turns into pavement.

 

San Vito

San Vito

 

Bus stop

Bus stop

 

Hidden Gem--B & B where we spent the night

Hidden Gem–B & B where we spent the night

 

Our cabin

Our cabin

 

Ceiling of the cabin

Ceiling of the cabin

 

kitchen area

kitchen area

 

looking out onto the balcony

looking out onto the balcony

 

bamboo

bamboo

 

Mike loves the bamboo but you sure couldn't tell it

Mike loves the bamboo but you sure couldn’t tell it

 

Beautiful flowers in garden

Beautiful flowers in garden

Puff flower--beautiful

Puff flower–beautiful

 

orchid

orchid

 

beautiful vines

beautiful vines

 

Beautiful flower--looks like wax

Beautiful flower–looks like wax