The Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival…

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We rolled back into Boquete yesterday morning (Sunday) by 9:45ish and were on a mission to find a good breakfast and some much needed caffeine(mostly Caffeine)! We had started our morning off first thing with a stroll to the border to finish our border run. Costa Rica side first, BAM! I love the Costa Rica side…they really have it down! No problems, no politics, just fill out the little piece of paper, stand in a short line that moves along quick and BOOM, stamp in our passports and we’re on our merry way. Off to the Panama side to stamp back in….SKREEEEETCH! Then the bureaucracy begins and slow motion sets in, oh, my goodness, how my Tranquilo wanes! Why oh why Panama? Why do you have to make it so unbelievably difficult and (seemingly difficult, Cuz’ what do I know, maybe there’s a perfectly good reason for all the BS ) unnecessarily complicated to get into the country? It seems to me that Panama should be trying to encourage tourism and they would want to encourage people to cross their border…well, in my mind, (which I’m certain is not as bright as the ‘rule-makers’ in Panama) . All I know is that the requirement that each person entering Panama have a minimum of $500.00 cash on them seems a crazy thing, if only for safety reasons. They were making people actually count out the cash at the window right in front of all to see! Really!! Now, the Frontera is a very busy place, crowded, confusing, and I’m sure there are ( not so honest) eyes watching that cash and waiting for an opportunity to relieve people of their hard earned money. I saw young and old, Costa Rican, Nicaraguan, Panamanian, Indigenous, American, European….all being asked to take out the money they have on them and count it, Sheesh!! To many of those people $500.00 is a life savings! . It just seems like there could be more important requirements for coming to Panama than showing all to see that you have $500.00 CASH on you when you walk across the border. But that’s just me….what do I know? After satisfying all the different questions from the man behind the plexiglass window who really didn’t seem as though he were in any hurry to stamp our Passports, he eventually ran out of things to ask for because we are pro’s after all. Yes, we were prepared with an airline ticket out of Panama, (refundable of course!), our bank balance on a withdrawal receipt , which has worked the last two times as proof of our financial solvency, but this particular guy wanted to see the actual $500.00 cash, which I had tucked away in a money belt, so I reluctantly and not happily, brought it out and counted it for him….Grrrrr! After satisfying the guy, he finally, and very slowly stamped our passports and off we went. Good to go for another 90 days…maybe our last one? It could happen.

Like I said, we rolled into Boquete in the morning in search of a good breakfast and decided to go to the most popular spot in town , Sugar & Spice. It was swamped, as always, so we decided to give George’s Grill a try, we just aren’t crowd people and did I mention we were on a mission for some much need caffeine ASAP? We like eating at George’s for dinner and have seen that they serve breakfast but haven’t tried it. We don’t often go out for breakfast and I remembered seeing on the menu that he makes eggs Benedict, which I just love. It was indeed a very satisfying breakfast and we were energized for the Jazz & Blues Festival later in the day. We met up with our good friends Mark & Valerie and walked with them to Valle Escondido where the festival was under way. This was our first time attending this music festival and we really enjoyed the day. The amphitheater is a lovely setting for spending the day listening to good music and enjoying a nice refreshing drink with good people all around. At one point I felt my eyes welling up with tears of joy (just a little!) as I looked around at this beautiful place we live , it really is a spectacular place. The sun was shining, and the breeze was just right to keep us from being too hot. I was so glad that our friends Al & Sela told us we should bring our umbrella’s to protect us from the strong rays of the sun, we would have fried! I had read about this festival for so many years and was so pleased to ‘finally’ be here to attend it. We got there around 12:30 and stayed until the bitter end at about 6:30, what a great day! Can’t wait until next year to do it again! Good music, good food, good drinks lots of good people, perfect weather….Seriously, I just can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon, especially after a run to the frontera! I think I can say that A Good Time Was Had By ALL!

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3 responses »

  1. That $500 requirement is a BIG problem. I understand your concern. The last time we crossed into Panama was several years ago and we didn’t have to show any money. I wonder if it is a new requirement? So scary. But, it sounds like the Jazz festival made up for all that stress. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. The Panamanians I have asked like the stiff requirements to get into the country. They think it keeps a lot of bad guys out, people who would be up to no good if they could get in. Maybe they have a point. I know what you mean about all that cash, and the security people always seem to be outside, not around the windows where everyone has to get out their cash.

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