This is another "personal" post about settling into my new home, which has been the primary focus of my life since coming back to settle in for life as an expatriate here in Boquete, Panama. Next week, I hope to blog about another aspect of the community that may be of more general interest.
Tomorrow, I will meet a friend from southern California whom I met via our community forum, boquete.ning.com. She's a chocolate maker who starts with cacao beans from Costa Rica and makes incredible fine chocolates. She will be here for a week to check out the area, and see if it would be possible to open a chocolate shop here. I have offered to help her explore and get to know the area a bit better, since her only previous visit was a three day visit earlier this year. And believe me, I am not the only expat in the Boquete area who would love to see a maker of fine chocolates set up shop here!
On Tuesday, I will to drive the 25 miles to David to meet my lawyer, who will take me to the immigration office to apply for my Pensionado permanent resident visa, get a temporary resident card and a multi entry visa to use until the permanent one comes through. Then things should settle down a bit and allow me to blog, e-mail friends, and create and post some post slideshow videos with music on my new, but still empty channel on YouTube, "PanamaParadise"
I've settled into my new home - a 1200 sq. ft., 2-bedroom casa that is one of three identical units on a property known as the Zen Garden at
4,500" elevation above Boquete between the village and Volcan Baru. It's further from the village of Boquete than I wanted to be - about 8km (5 miles), but it is so perfect for me that I couldn't pass it up. The neighbors in the other two units are great folks and already friends, which really makes it feel like I'm living in a mini-village.
The house looks great in my pictures, but it's not a "high-end" home, and a little rough around the edges, which is part of the reason I can afford to rent it. However, the design of the house and the beautiful landscaping are far nicer than I ever expected to be able afford. Maintenance is a constant issue here in the tropical highlands, and the property manager repaired yet another roof leak last week, and there is some peeling paint and plaster inside and out that we will deal with during the dry season. And the yellowish-beige, tan and brown color scheme is really bland and dreary. One of the reasons I got this place is because tenants here have to vacate the house and relocate some personal items for two weeks every year in February when the owners from the U.S. make their annual visit to Boquete. As I have done all my adult life, I will work with the property manager and the owners to improve the house and make it even nicer for myself now, and the owners in the future.
Don't think that I am disappointed - I'm just doing a little nitpicking. This is a home that to me is fantastic. The layout of the casa is ideal for my lifestyle, and the weather is just perfect for my tastes. Cool, long sleeve weather in the early mornings and evenings and in the 70's during the day. Right now, at 3pm on an unusually cool overcast and windy day, it's 68°F outside and 72°F inside. Time to put on a long-sleeve shirt! People who prefer warm weather don't like the cool climate up here at 4,500" elevation. I love it!
There are birds everywhere around this casa. There are almost always at least two or three hummingbirds feeding at the many flowering bushes around the property. I see ground-feeding seed eaters a few feet away outside my dining area window as I type this, hopping around picking the seeds out of the little cherry-like berries the drop from the tree right outside the front door. I awake to magnificent views and the incredible complex songs of some little, rather plain bird that I have not yet identified. Little birds hop up on the windowsill two feet from where I sit at the dining table working on my laptop. Other birds hop across the little patio or sit on the railing frequently, and birds fly through under the patio roof while I'm sitting at the patio table where I eat many meals and enjoy the view and sounds of nature. I expect to get around to photographing and identifying some of the birds later, but my less than perfect color vision makes it difficult to see the subtle color differences that are used to tell them apart.