Birdwatching

I went birdwatching with this avid group of birdwatchers. Very knowledgable individuals. We saw about 42 different types of birds. It was about a two-hour walk. My landlord was kind enough to let me borrow her binoculars since I don’t own a pair. I wouldn’t call myself a birdwatcher per say. I love birds. I like looking at birds, but I do not know much about them. I can identify a hummingbird from a robin, a bluebird from a parrot (I think you get my drift here.) They were pointing out so many different birds and different birds within one species that my head was beginning to spin. All in all I had an enjoyable time. They were a great bunch of folks.

I didn’t get any pictures of birds because all I have is a point and shoot camera and it’s definitely not designed to capture far off objects. I don’t intend to replace it any time soon either. It serves the purposes I need it for. I did however get some pictures of some pretty cool yard art.

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Rainy Season

I like sitting at the window watching and listening to the rain and watching the clouds/mist on the mountain in the distance. The afternoon rain has begun. I can already tell after a week of being here that the rain starts between 1:30pm and 2pm. I walk most everywhere therefore I know that if I want to do anything I need to do before then or later in the evening after the rain has stopped. It usually rains for about two or three hours most days.  Some days more, some days less. On the days that it only rain for one or two hours the sun will shine through after the rain and the butterflies come out and fly about the garden.

That’s usually a good time to catch up on email, take a nap, cook, work on my blog, or read. Coming to Boquete at this time of year I knew it was the rainy season but came anyway because I didn’t want to pay the price of “high season.”  The casita I’m currently renting goes for $1000 a month in high season. I’m paying $600 a month. Truth be told if I were willing to wait to secure accommodations upon arrival I could have gotten something for less. Last night at dinner I struck up a conversation with a French expat who knows of a two bedroom place going for $500 a month. I’m happy however with my current accommodations. It’s fully furnished, within walking distance of town and my landlord is very friendly. I have free reign of the garden (fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables).

Mid-morning snack

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Banana Muffins made by me (no artificial preservatives)

On the days that it only rain for one or two hours the sun will shine through after the rain and the butterflies come out and fly about the garden. I love watching them. They fly about freely with not a care of their life span. I’m sure they are not concerned about what their legacy will be.

What’s in my backpack

I promised to post what’s in my backpack and here it is. This is everything I brought with me. The clothes and shoes I traveled in, a giant beach wrap, a scarf and the camera used to take these photos are not featured here. Looks like I only brought one pair of shorts. I should have brought two more. I guess I’ll have to go shopping :-).

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Backpack and Daypack

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Everything that was in the backpack

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Everything that was in the daypack

Travel Day – The Journey to Panama

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I got to Hartsfield International Airport around 1630 (4:30pm) on 7 Aug 2013. (I tried to check-in online before I left home but was told I need to check in at the counter.) I wanted to give myself enough time to check-in just in case there was a long line. The line wasn’t that long and checking in was a breeze. I had no luggage to check-in. Got through security and over to my gate area by 1700 (5pm). I now had two hours to kill. I got something to eat and sat around people watching until it was time to leave. We took off around 1930 (7:30pm), half an hour late. There were some people freaking out because they had really close connecting flights. Landed in Florida at 2100 and some people made a mad dash for the exit. I was in no hurry since my next flight wasn’t leaving until 2330 (1130pm) so I just sat back and let them get off. My connecting flight left 15 mins late, however we arrived in Panama City, Panama on schedule right around 0200, 8 Aug 2013. Went through customs and immigration no problem. The immigration officer asked me two questions. “What is your purpose for visiting Panama?” and “How long will you be in Panama?” She took my picture and fingerprints (she didn’t let me see the picture 😦  it must have looked like crap because by now I’d been up for about 31 hours). I woke up at 0630 on 7 Aug because I wanted to say goodbye to my sister before she left for work and didn’t go back to sleep. She then stamped my passport and I was on my way.

I had lined up a ride to Albrook (the local airport) prior to arrival and Roger was waiting on me with a sign with my name on it. When we got there at 0300 it wasn’t open yet so we went to an all night gas station and diner, had a cup of coffee and waited. I found out some pretty cool things about Panama from Roger. He was very interesting and spoke perfect English which is a good thing because I don’t speak Spanish. He drove me back to Albrook airport at 0430. My flight was at 0700 so I just sat around and people watched until it was time to leave. We took off around 0715 and landed in David about 40 to 45 mins later. I then took a taxi from David to Boquete my final destination. The taxi ride was a little less than one hour and I arrived in Boquete around 0900.

I was tired but didn’t want to go to sleep right away. They people I’m renting from are away at the moment but the housekeeper was there to greet me and show me around. Everything was as I expected with one exception. I had made all the arrangements through email. When I looked at the pictures I assumed the casita was two bedrooms and never even asked. It’s a one bedroom but it will work just fine. It has a washing machine so that makes up for not having a second bedroom. I really don’t need a second bedroom anyway. The housekeeper said I’m not what she expected. She said she was expecting someone older since she was told I’m retired (lol). I didn’t tell her my age and I didn’t ask her how old she thinks I am. I just laughed.

I unpacked took a shower and went into the town to get something to eat. On my way out I asked the woman at the gate to recommend a local restaurant and it just so happened that a young man was driving into town she asked him to drop me off. His name is Ricardo. He didn’t speak English and I don’t speak Spanish however I understood his directions on how to get back. Lunch was simple and delicious. I had a pork chop, rice with vegetable, lettuce and tomatoes on the side, and a small lemonade for $3.75.  On my way back I stopped at the supermarket (Romero) and picked up a few necessities. Got back around 1500 (3pm) had a glass of wine (there was a welcome basket) and took a nap. I didn’t wake up until 2200 (10pm). I guess I must have been tired.

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Monthly Expenses – July 2013

Expenditures for the month of July of 2013

Airline Ticket                                        $450.00
Slots & Roulette                                   $120.00
Gifts and Charitable Donations          $206.00
Health & Dental Insurance:                  $59.36
Eating Out                                            $111.00
Entertainment                                        $76.00
Phone                                                      $75.00
Health, Hygiene & Beauty                    $111.00
Transportation                                        $42.00
Clothes & Accessories                           $118.00
Tips                                                             $3.00
Pictures                                                     $50.00
Books                                                         $35.50
Travel Insurance for 3 Months               $187.00
Misc.                                                           $18.00
Total                                                        $1661.86

I went to Las Vegas with my sisters for a few Days. This was the first time in a long time that we have been together just us three. We had a wonderful time. I have not included the money spent on airfare and some entertainment because we had been saving for this vacation and the money did not come from my monthly budget. I’m $461.86 over budget.