31.1.12

Happy birthday, Mayachel

We sang Happy Birthday to Mayachel in 4 languages at the potluck supper we shared on Saturday night. This is what makes a holiday so special..the people you get to meet!


Juana, myself, Mayachel and her little sister..Thanks Carol for taking this photo and sharing it with me.




I crocheted this little necklace for her...we all agreed that she is adorable!
Heading out this morning to return our rental car, staying in a hotel close to the airport before flying back to Az. tomorrow....a part of my heart will be left here in Panama.

30.1.12

Panama City...old and new...

With 200 new buildings under construction, a subway underway, upgraded sewage treatment plant to safeguard the shoreline in Panama City, this is a world class city...There is an elegance about it...there is charm..there is history and most importantly, there are the people...In the month we have spent here and travelled much of the country, the most outstanding thing that I am going to take home with me is how warm and friendly the people are...This is just a few of the photos I wanted to share with you today.


The old and the new residing together...we took the bus into town..1 hr 15 mins... $2.50 each. We met up with our wonderful guide Miguel..we had met him on the Panama Canal tour and he was so knowledgeable....what a joy it was to have him drive us around as well explain the history of this vibrant city.



The amazing skyline.......


The Trump Tower...


The churches...the wonderful restored facades!


The colors are still pretty spectacular....


Last but not least, the balconies..wrought iron, flowers and as always....colors





29.1.12

Natá de los Caballeros

It is hard to believe that the sleepy town of Natá de los Caballeros, in the province of Coclé, was once more important than Panama City. As a matter of fact, when the old city of Panama was sacked and plundered by English pirate Sir Henry Morgan in 1671, this small community briefly shared duties as the country's colonial capital with Penonomé, 20 miles to the northeast, until the relocation of Panama City two years later.

Natá was founded early in the colonial period, in 1522. Its name ("de los Caballeros" is Spanish for "of the gentlemen") comes from the fact that the community's first European inhabitants were Spanish noblemen, sent to conquer a rich plain settled by a progressive, Native American nation. It is said that when the first Spanish came they found enough food in town to feed an army. The Spanish devoured a year's worth of supplies in only three months, married local princesses and blended their culture with that of their hosts to form the Mestizo population of Panama's interior provinces.

The main legacy of those times is the town's church, the Santiago Apostol Minor Basilica, the oldest in the entire Western Hemisphere and declared a National Monument in 1941.source


How it look long ago....how it looks today...


This is such a beautiful old historic church...one of the treasures of Panama..so glad that Jim and I were able to see it on the way back from Boquete this week.


They had to replace the four bells as they were made out of solid gold and sacked by the Spanish...can you imagine how much those bells would be worth today and how they would of helped pay for the restoration of this church! Amazing!



28.1.12

seashells, sea glass and crochet thread

When we are not travelling around Panama seeing the countryside, we can be found walking the beach, sitting around the pool or under the shade Palapas keeping busy making little gifts...my friendship bracelets are a big hit...I thought adding some shells would be fun...and here are a few I made...









this is my necklace..the prototype....I am so happy wearing these colors...good thing I have found a lot of shells with small holes in the top of them..makes it easy to thread them thru the crochet thread.

27.1.12

Artworks in Boquete

This painting was in the common area at Villa Marita..along with their tame white pigeons..it was a colorful place to have breakfast as well as use their wifi.



There were a few of these statues scattered around the grounds..they looked old and perfectly placed to give a sense of history of how old this country is.



These charming painting were in a real estate office..I find if I ask if I may take a picture, most are happy you have shown an interest. Lovely aren't they?



I bought a small handmade tile from this shop...but I would of loved to buy this one that was framed..$320.00 would of been worth that price as I know the hours that would of taken to make this!



These two sisters were the artists as well as the wrappers and cashiers...on the right side you can see the tiles they are working on..They never spoke any English but their sweetness was evident.


The young girl in the pink was working on these tiles as I was admiring her work.


Wish I would of bought this one as well..These are the houses on stilts over the water in Bocas del Toro..we never made it up that far, another time perhaps.





26.1.12

Coffee and Flowers

This coffee company is owned by Mireya Moscoso the former Panamanian President..All of their coffee is exported to Europe, except for what they sell to tourists like us in their coffee shop...freshly roasted and finely ground...it was delightful....









After enjoying this very fine cup of Joe..we headed into the hills on to the back roads and looked around...the flowers are amazing..the air plants that just grow on all these trees are so interesting......a photo opportunity around every corner!



















25.1.12

Boquete

We have a little cabana here @ Villa Marita....overlooking the coffee plantation....yesterday it was very cool with a misty rain..today is beautiful..the flowers are stunning..the people friendly and they look more prosperous here in this mountain town...more photos later...





Our cabanas with a view over the valley



Our view...coffee plantation below us....





Love these color combinations......



The village of Boquete...

24.1.12

On the way to Boquete...

Our current location (Gorgano) is the green dot on the right side and the red dot shows Boquete..Costa Rica is just off the map to the left.... this is where we are heading today and staying 2 nights.......Boquete is surrounded by spectacular mountains at 4000'...renown for its flower festivals, coffee, and handicrafts...So we are out the door and off to see this charming town.


btw...if you have an iPad and want to take a photo of what you have on your screen..just hit the home button and toggle the off/switch at the same time..you should here a click..photo taken and sent to your photo stream..cool eh..?

23.1.12

Panama Canal...

The history of the canal is intriguing and complex...this is a really good read if you are interested.. HERE
Last week we went to the Panama Canal Museum in Casco Vijeo...to learn about of the history that went into building it before going on a canal tour! On Saturday we travelled 72km...(45 miles)...from Pacific to Atlantic in 10 hours by boat... to think this was built almost 100 years ago....simply amazing and awe inspiring..On our bucket list..checked off!
Here are a few of 155 photos that made the cut!


The Pacific Queen...our tour boat holding 300 passengers.


Early morning Panama City Skyline..it was a little humid already at 7:00 am..


Amazing ship in harbor...wouldn't this be a dream sail?


Almost 100 years old...what an engineering feat...still going strong and to be expanded for the super-super tankers...


The walls of the canal behind us..the water rose or deleted in the locks in 8 minutes..what a feeling it was to have the water rise under the boat so quickly...42 tankers, ships, cruise ships, boats go thru the canal in a 24 hour period...50 or 60 boats were waiting on the Pacific.... The Panama Canal Authority sees gross income of more than $3 billion dollars per year, and about two thirds of that is spend on manpower, maintenance, and the logistics required to keep the canal operating. Add on top of that the ongoing project to expand the Panama Canal (with a budget of $5.25 billion dollars).It makes money, cuts down traveling time by 22 days that it used to take going around Cape Horn ,Tierra Del Fuego and Straits of Magellen....The Panamanian people are hopeful that their standard of living will improve.

22.1.12

Virgen del Carmen....

Statues of Mary are everywhere here in this lovely country..in churches as well as in shrines along the roads...however, this country has a great love for the Virgen del Carmen. She has been adopted as their patron by sailors and fishermen in towns and villages....The Virgen del Carmen also battles pirates. According to Taboga lore, (a small series of islands off the coast of Panama) a pirate ship attempted an attack on the island. When the pirates reached the shores of Isla Taboga, they met an enormous army face to face that was headed by a beautiful woman. The pirates were terrorized by the vision and fled back to their boat. To this day, Taboganos are convinced that it was the Virgin del Carmen who saved them, and each year on July 16th the patron saint blesses the fleet in Taboga Bay.
These photos are taken as a tribute to our sweet daughter in-law, Carmen...I hope she will love the story behind her name!










21.1.12

bright and colorful houses..

Yesterday we drove through a couple of little towns right off the Panamerican highway..Chame is about 5 minutes south of us..Here the streets were tidy, the houseS were painted in bright colors..reminded me of a California surfing town..little houses, well kept in tropical colors.











What a happy experience to see all theses colors in such a small little town.

20.1.12

Langostinos (aka shrimp but different)

These were the boats coming in today..not sure which one held the Langostinos ...but which ever one they were, they were delicious! I steamed them and just added lemon! It was ❤ at first bite.
Our new friends from Grand Forks, BC. Carol and Len, from the condo upstairs gave me 4 {Jimmy does not do fish}...a trade for baggies..good deal, eh?.... they close that fishery here at the end of the month, so when the boats come in it is a big rush to get in line..they also were cleaned for me!