Archive for the ‘Panama’ Category

Spiders are our friend: Most of the time

Photo courtesy of Ruslan Antonov

While on the verge of reading myself to sleep in Boquete, I heard a constant pecking sound.  At least that’s what it sounded like.

The steady tapping caused me to think of a miniature woodpecker.  It just wouldn’t stop.

I knew there was no such thing as a tiny woodpecker. As I’d already seen huge flying cockroaches in that room, I thought:  Do I have to pulverize yet another one of these repulsive insects?  I’d seen a couple of huge ones flying chaotically around that temporary dwelling.

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Reflections of Panama

I recently returned from an 85-day journey through three small Central American lands, Panama being the third and final country where I spent over five weeks.

I’d like to share a few things that I learned about this small yet super-diverse land.

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How to get Veggies into your Diet in Central America

Getting veggies into your diet in Central America can be an elusive endeavor. But, like anything, with proper focus and motivation, it’s doable.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, we should get nine servings of veggies daily.   That’s a lofty goal for anyone at home or abroad.  Most of us, including myself, don’t often reach it.   I’d like to try to change that.

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A Few Days in Bocas del Toro

 The cool tropical rain dropped hard the as the peedboat pulled in to Isla Colón. I walked into one of the first hotels that I saw and acquired a private room with private bath and cable TV for $15.

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Featured Accommodation: Hostal Palacios, Boquete, Panama

Often when I get off a bus in Central America, I have no idea where I’ll bed down. When I stepped off the old but functional US school bus, I was casually greeted by Pancho Palacios.  As the Boquete native had a bed or two available in his hostel, he was checking to see if I was interested in a look.

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Riding Through the Clouds

The bus inched upward, until it was evident that we were in a colossal cloud forest. The driver sped up, twisting and turning. We slowed down before crossing over a lagoon to the right and a gorgeous gorge on the left. The bus then puttered up again.

Before I knew it we were flying along the highway once more.

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How Three Hikers Became Separated

The reason my hiking partner Lienke and I stayed a couple of extra days in Boquete is because we agreed upon hiking a pair of stellar trails together. The day after drifting up the Pipeline Trail, we took a short, $.70 minibus ride to the start of the lush Área El Pianista (The Pianist Area).

El Pianista boasts stunning, wide-open views.  Surrounded by rivers, waterfalls, dense forest and mountainous backdrops, this Boquete trail provides a sweet sensation for the visually allured.

Upon starting the trail we witnessed two young schoolchildren whizzing across a short bridge crossing a low river. They appeared almost oblivious to us as they’re used to seeing gringo-looking types in their tiny, idyllic neighborhood.

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The Pipeline Trail

Before commencing my Central American drifting escapade over two months ago, I had it in mind to engage in various hiking excursions during the trip.  I enjoy moving my body along the earth, especially upward, and with a destination in mind.

After having my toe chomped on by a stingray at the Pacific beach of Las Peñitas near León in Nicaragua, that tentative plan was temporarily thwarted.

The good news two months later is that the toe feels around 95% healed.  Since hiking India Dormida in El Valle a week ago, when  mentioning that the toe was about 90% healed, I’ve managed more hiking in the gorgeous mountain-cloud town of Boquete.

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A Tranquil Panamanian Garden

I wasn’t expecting “Mi Jardin es su Jardin” (My Garden is Your Garden) to awe, inspire and surprise.  The abundance of colors, petals, buds, plants and trees did just that.

There’s a sizeable amount of space for wandering and gazing. I call this activity ‘mini-earthdrifting’.  There are little drifting trails where you can see lizards and fluorescent butterflies.

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Tour of a Panamanian Coffee Plantation

We started at the Café Ruíz Coffee Shop. Miraculously, like the coffee tour I got at La Selva Negra almost two months ago, I was the only one to show up.

The guide, a polyglot named Carlos, told me that the day before there were 12 people on the excursion. I didn’t consider myself lucky, but I did deem myself to be on the proper side of a lopsided coincidence.

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