Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Boquete, Panama is my new home!!

Apologies to all of my friends and acquaintances for not blogging regularly as I had promised.  The Jazz Festival was wonderful, and it was fun living in town in a Panamanian residential neighborhood for my first few weeks here.  On March 15, I picked up a 1999 Mitsubishi Montero to use and take care of for the next 12-15 months.  The owner of the condo lives not too far from me in Northern California, and is renting out his Boquete condo unit until he comes down here sometime in 2013.  Cars should be drive once in a while to avoid maintenance costs after long periods of not running, so he offered it to me to use until he needs it here next year.  What a pleasant surprise that offer was – I’m still amazed at how so many things have happened to make my life change go smoothly and minimize the inconveniences. 

On March 16, I moved into a long-term rental five miles south of downtown Boquete, an area I had avoided looking at previously because I really wanted to live in the bustling, busy town itself in the valley surrounded by rugged mountains.  However the amenities of the rental made it too much to resist, and having a vehicle, especially a high MPG diesel one, made the decision an easy one.  My new home is a back-side studio in a modern three-unit building with two larger units in front that comes in on the low side of my budget.  The larger units face a deep canyon whose sides and bottom along the river are covered with thick rainforest. This is one of several neighborhoods with magnificent views over a canyon to the 11,398 foot Volcan Baru, which is the highest point in all of Panama.  The property I’m on has a paved walkway next to the canyon, a gazebo with a magnificent view, and a rock wall to keep people from falling over the cliff. 
The canyon-side amenities are shared by the three units, although the larger two units have a view to the volcano from their living rooms and front porches.  I hope to move into one of those units someday if I can ever get my finances in order and make some extra income from my artisan woodworking here in Boquete.

Did I mention that beautiful sunsets are frequent?  There will be many sunset shots on my upcoming photo gallery.

Over 900 species of birds have been sighted in the Boquete region, and many either reside in, or visit my new neighborhood.  The air is filled with unfamiliar and beautiful bird songs at dawn and dusk, adding much variety to the familiar calls of of the neighbor’s roosters. In the evening, and last night up until midnight, I can hear the occasional territorial call of the howler monkeys down in the rainforest in the canyon.  I just heard their guttural call for the first time this evening as I was typing this sentence

A neighbor here in Alto Boquete has become a very good friend.  Like me, he is a U.S. Navy vet and loves nature, animals, science and science fiction movies.  He’s a former college biology teacher and marine researcher from Florida.  I occasionally ride with him to Boquete, or 25 miles down the road down to the hot and humid sea-level provincial capital of David together.  Shopping is better at the big stores, including home improvement stores, department stores, and a Price Smart membership discount store which is like Costco.  Buying food in larger quantities at Price Smart allows me to stay within my food budget, and have a bit left to go out for an occasional special meal at one of the excellent gringo-owned restaurants in Boquete.

Boquete has a small town feel, and the people, both Panamanian and expat, are very friendly.  I already as many friends here than I had in Sebastopol. I absolutely love this place and will be applying for my permanent Panamian “Pensionado Visa” after I return to Sebastopol in June and get the necessary notarized documentation.  I hope to return again to Northern California again for Thanksgiving through Christmas, because I do miss my family and friends “back home.”  Copa Airlines, a Continental Airlines affiliate, is scheduled to start flying between Las Vegas, Nevada and David, Panama in June.  Hopefully, that will make the journey from California to Boquete more convenient.

I promise I won’t wait so long for my next blog.  The rainy season just began, and I will blog about that transition next.  I am also designing a photo gallery for my website, and hope to have that up within a week.

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1 comment:

  1. Hey Dave, it sounds like everything is falling into place and that you're settling in well. I look forward to seeing some of your photos and more
    stories of Boquete!