Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Breath of Fresh Air


Spanish by the River, Homestay, Gardens, Mountains, Coffee, Los Amigos (almuerzo del dia), Hiking, Canadian Bakery Pastries, Gringofest, Pollo/Arroz/Frijoles, Batidos, Fresas….

Welcome to Boquete!

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         As I explained the last time I was here in Boquete, Panama, there is something about being here that gets me all weirdly happy and giddy inside.  People always ask that question, “Mountains or Beaches?”  Without a doubt beaches I answer but coming here my second time I don’t know.  I love them both and having them both to come to in such a short amount of time and being easily accessible from Panama City ($12.50 by bus) makes it such a cheap easy get away from the hustle and heat of the city.

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        One thing I really wanted to do while here on this leg of the trip was a homestay while taking Spanish language in Boquete.  My brother Adrian did it last year while spending the summer in Panama and Costa Rica and LOVED it.  I went through Spanish by the River, the sister school of Spanish by the Sea in Bocas del Toro.  Being only $15 a night including breakfast, dinner and laundry, the deal was a little too difficult to pass up for Justin as well.  Plus, since he had to take a break from taking actual classes it made him practice what we’ve learned thus far a lot more than a hostel situation would.  The homestay wasn’t as ideal as I wanted it to be.  With that said, the older couple were very nice and warm to both Justin and I.  They were in their early 70’s in age and have been housing travelers for a little while now.  Their family is all grown and it’s only them two in a good size house for Panamanian standards.  Also, the house was literally right across the street from Spanish by the River.  We stayed at the homestay for a few nights really enjoying our downtime chatting with the couple about mostly food, family, and pets.  The food was typical Panamanian (meat of either chicken or beef, rice and beans, and some sort of vegetable).  There wasn’t a whole lot of variety or change within the dinners but for the most part we were very satisfied and appreciative.  Melba and David are the names of our host couple.  It was really nice to see them giggle with eachother and flirt that late in life.  The love that they share for eachother was really cute and reassuring that there is hope out there!  : )    Lastly, they just got a 4 month old puppy named Manchita.  She was super cute and Justin was very much her best friend everytime he went out to play with her (she got so excited she peed on him a little a few times haha).

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        Other than the homestay, I continued with my classes this week at Spanish by the River.  As much as I’m against the private lessons (I hate all the attention on me!) there aren’t many people in the school on my level to make a class so I had to give in and take the private lessons.  I got through it with frustrations along the way but feeling like I learned a lot and am way more comfortable with some of the things I was unsure about before.  Melina, my teacher all week is very nice and incredibly smart.  For being 28 years old she speaks 6 languages and has a masters degree in communications with a focus on languages.  When I meet people like her it really makes me feel like I’ve done NOTHING with my life.  haha, but I had a great time learning with her and chatting about our lives in Spanish.

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   Everyday Justin and I try to make the most of the day and the beauty around us.  On Wednesday, the weather was gorgeous so we decided to do a hike called the Bajo Mono loop.  It’s a 20 kilometer hike with a ton of uphill inclines.  The sun was strong and I think my neck and shoulders got the best burn I’ve ever gotten (obviously not something to be proud of).  We’ve done a bunch of other walks as well and even a run thrown in there (absolute torture going uphill).  Boquete is such a great place to rejuvenate the body.  My Spanish language classes stimulate my mind, the natural beauty and mountains stimulate my body, and Justin being here with me makes it all really fun to share that with. 

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     As for the coffee mention, I’ve become pretty much obsessed with the coffee here.  You can get a cup for 40 cents in the stores here that literally tastes like the best coffee I’ve ever had…and I’ve had expensive coffee. 

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     Los Amigos Almuerzo del Dia is the restaurant Los Amigos daily lunch special of $2.89.  That comes with an awesome soup and a big plate of chicken, rice, beans, plantains, and veggies.  Yum Yum!


I’m going to continue the Boquete experience on the next post….



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