Tag Archives: travel

The Life And Time’s Of Us…

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What’s up with us? Well, a lot and not much all at the same time. How can that be? Well, see it seems like most of what I have to write about has to do with the continuation of our construction project. Not much exciting to write about so its hard to write a blog post. Hence the lack of any new posts lately. I find myself sitting down to write something and I figure if I get bored just writing it, who would want to read it, right? But, I do so love writing so I’m going to attempt to keep this post brief…good luck right! I do have a tendency to go on an on an on….I know this about myself…


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I’m Off To Pedasi This Morning And When I Return To Boquete It Will Be With Mariah!!!! Yipeeeeee….

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This morning My friend Kris & I are taking the bus from David to Santiago and switching buses to get our selves to Las Tablas and our friend Karen will pick us up there and drive us to her home in Pedasi. She lives in a small town on the coast, going towards Panama City. Both Karen and Kris are fellow bloggers who I’ve met through writing my blog, well, I haven’t actually ‘met’ Karen yet, we’ve been corresponding through our blogs for a couple of years now. So I’m really excited to be finally getting a chance to spend some time getting to know her in real life. Kris & I will spend two nights in Pedasi and hopefully get some beach time in while we’re there. Then we get back on the bus on Thursday and make the remainder of the journey to Panama City to meet up with another blogging friend Emma, who teaches music at an international school in the city. She invited us to attend a production that her students are performing in on Friday night. Emma has arranged for a driver to entertain us on Friday while she’s at work and he will show us some of the touristy spots that we haven’t seen and then get us to the school in time for the show. Kris will head back to David on Saturday and then Emma & I will go to the airport on Sunday morning to pick up my Daughter, Mariah!!! If it werent exciting enough to have my baby here in Panama with me, It’s also U.S. Mother’s Day and Emma arranged for a Champagn Brunch at a nice restaurant that she knows, in an area of the city called Casco Viejo. You can imagine how excited I am for this next couple of days. I’ve been fluttering around my house for the last two days just getting ready for her visit and making everything just right. We will take the bus back here to Boquete on Monday oh how nice it will be to have her here with me and to show her around our new home. I hope she likes it as much as I do….

A Quick Trip To Houston & Back To Our Peaceful Mountain Home…..

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A trip to Houston Texas to personally deal with getting documents notarized and authenticated as well as getting our new set of fingerprints for our new FBI background check, was a success. And it was also time for our border run so we got that out of the way at the same time. Mind you, we already went through this whole notarize, authenticate, apostle process once before and we knew from experience that mailing it all would take way too much time. Not to mention we were in serious need of a little shopping spree! (Insert Happy Dance Right Here!) So Flying into Houston and walking over to the Panamanian consulate to deal with it all in person was a much more efficient way to do it. Getting our fingerprints done there was also much easier although the ‘runaround’ that we went through was very reminiscent of Panama. Before we even arrived in Houston we had gone online to Google maps to locate the nearest Police station to go for our fingerprints. When we got there the guy told us we would need to go to the Main Police Station downtown Houston….Okay. Off we went to the Main Police station. After searching for a place to park and paying $10.00 for the precious spot, we went into the building only to be told by the friendly man at the reception desk that we would have to go to the Permit office in a different area of town…..Okay….off we went AGAIN, laughing all the way because it’s not just Panama that makes you pull out your hair! Hah! At least it was all in English so even though we were getting the ‘runaround’, we felt just a tiny bit less clueless just understanding how to get someplace and what we were supposed to do. After finding the permit office we again had a “Panama” moment when we were told to take the elevator down to the basement then the guy down there told us to take the elevator back up to where we had already been to pay at the window and then come back down to the basement! HAh!!! Okay…..down, up , down again… We had to laugh at how similar to Panama some parts of our trip turned out to be. Of course, finding your way around a strange place when they have actual street names and addresses on buildings is an amazing experience! No problem! Oh! And GPS is a dream come true! YEA for GPS!! The smartest thing we did on this trip was to rent a car from the Hertz office in the hotel for a day. We had planned to take taxi’s but Sheesh! The taxi from the airport to the hotel was $45.00! We’re not in Boquete anymore! The rental car was only $65.00 for 24 hours, not bad. We were really glad to have it, especially given the fact that we ended up doing so much running a round. Read the rest of this entry

Daily Prompt: Come Fly with Me

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Share a story about the furthest you’ve ever traveled from home….

Well that’s an easy one, New Zealand! This was my “Maiden Voyage” all by myself. I was about 31 years old and had just experienced a bunch of crazy tragedies in my life. I was about two years in to being a single mother after having gone through a divorce. Two years prior to this was what I like to refer to as my “Oprah” year! Yes, in one year I went though losing my father( who I loved dearly), my husband decided to fall hopelessly in love with our nanny(insert big eye roll here!), I had just opened a business and purchased a home, whew!. My father had helped me buy the house before his death and my ex-husband had no claims to it so I unexpectedly found myself alone with a huge mortgage, not exactly what I had planned for. Whew! I was holding myself together by a thread. You may be wondering what all this personal drama has to do with traveling solo to New Zealand?

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Gettin’ The Kitties Ready To Go…

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Yesterday, Wednesday, Scott took Midnight and Copper to the vet to have their check up and to update all their immunizations. I thought he was pretty brave to take such a chore on all by himself. Even attempting to collect them one by one from their hiding spots under the bed in the apartment would likely be quite a challenge. Not to mention trying to corral them into those travel crates without losing too much skin would be a very tricky maneuver with one person. Those pesky kittys are very determined to do everything in their power to stay out of those crates.

Lo and Behold, when that man sets his mind to accomplish something there’s just no stopping him! He, of course, successfully got those two furry guys to the vet with a minimum of blood loss, (his blood mind you!) . Midnight apparently was very unhappy with the temperature taking procedure! Scott was in charge of the front part of the cat while the vet probed the back end, culminating in a loud ‘HISS” and a sudden appearance of Scotts blood ! As he said with a shrug of the shoulders in classic Scott style, “It Happens”. That’s my guy! And apparently both cats had a change of heart regarding those crates when the choice became ,1.let the vet handle them or 2. take refuge in those familiar,( yet unpleasant), boxes. Funny how they changed their minds .

The good news is we can check one more thing off our list. We have yet to officially retain the services of the Golden Frog, pet relocation company. The final step is to make one more trip to the vet for the official certificate of health which must be no more than ten days before travel. This document is then taken to Sacramento to two more government offices to be stamped and authenticated. This will be the completion of the documentation required to import the cats with us to Panama, at least until we arrive in Panama City . There is a period of time when they must be quarantined to our home for a bit. I’m pretty sure Midnight is hoping there will be no more of that rear end temperature taking! Geesh! According to him, that was just rude, HISS! As soon as we are able to purchase our airline tickets and have a firm date of departure we will then feel like it’s the right time to arrange the services of the Golden Frog, to aide us in getting our little fur-balls to Panama. In the meantime I suspect they are planning to spend as much time as possible hiding under the bed and avoiding any more trips to that rude vet. Of course Scott will shake his head and say,With a shrug of his shoulders, “We gotta do what we gotta do”.

The Joys of Connecting Via My Blog

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One of the best things about blogging (in my humble opinion) is making connections with so many interesting, supportive and often inspiring people. I have had the pleasure of chatting, (via my blog), with a number of other expats who either already live abroad or are , like me, planning to move and start an adventure. I’m a ‘connecting ‘kinda gal, I find great pleasure in getting to know people. To me, finding a commonality with a new person gives me so much pleasure. I’ve found through the years, especially in my business, that there is almost always something to find that I have in common with someone. It’s like a treasure hunt, finding that one little connection that links us and makes us a little less complete strangers and closer to friends. Rarely have I met a person who I cannot find something in common with.

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Shopping for International Health Insurance

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In between making cabinets , sanding, staining and nailing, Scott has been collecting quotes for international health insurance . There are many variations of different ways to go with regards to insuring ourselves for health coverage. There is a discount plan offered by the local hospital in David, Chiriqui. This covers 70 percent with no deductible costing $54.00 per month for the two of us ($700.00 per year) This plan would only allow us to use the local hospital in David. So if we were traveling anywhere outside Panama or any other area of Panama we wouldn’t have coverage at any other hospital . Overall coverage seems to cover $15,000.00 per year , so if anything catastrophic happened we’d be responsible for the balance. This could potentially be a large bill but not nearly as devastating financially as it would be in the states. The cost of health care just isn’t nearly as horrible as what we are accustomed to here. Even when we turn sixty years old it’s only $90.00 per month for the two of us. Given the low cost of medical services in Panama $700.00 per year would go pretty far. None of these insurances cover dental or vision but paying out of pocket is easily affordable.

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Lake Tahoe Baby!

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We usually try to get up here to Lake Tahoe at least once a year. It’s just such a beautiful place! The scenery is breathtaking , the air is crisp and clean and there’s no end of possibilities for enjoying the great outdoors.

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The Journey is The Destination!

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We love the journey! It starts with a dream or an idea or just a curiosity. Hearing my clients talk about far away places , exotic sights, sounds and flavors ! My mind begins to wonder. I dream of jungles and beaches with soft white sand and warm water, old historic architecture , cobbled streets crowded with merchants selling thier goods. Foods I’ve never tasted, smelled, or even heard of. Even the animals, bugs, Butterfly’s and birds lure my imagination to faraway places.

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Leaving Cuenca on Wed, & heading home Thurs

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Wed morning we checked out of our Villa Nova Inn. It was time for the treacherous but scenic van ride back to Guayaquil . We left at 6:30am Thurs morning so we arranged to spend one night at the Palace hotel , where we stayed one night at the beginning of our trip.

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Pictures from Panama, 2011

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I thought, to be thorough , I should post some pictures from Panama. There are some from Boquete, some fun zip line photos from Boquete , and some from the Carribean side of the country.It’s only a 3 hour drive by bus, probably faster by car , to get to the Carrabian .

 

 

 

 

Day 8 & 9 in Cuenca

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Poor Scott caught a bad flu bug yesterday so sadly our exploration of Cuenca seems to be pretty much done for now. Today he is still down for the count and tomorrow we head back down to Guayaquil . He’s feeling a tiny bit better but still needs to stay close to the Banos. For lunch yesterday I just ate the remnants of our picnic but for dinner I decided to wander out on my own .

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Day 7 in Cuenca

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Yesterday was an extremely restful and even lazy day for us. It turns out Sunday is a family day throughout this lovely city. Most restaurants and stores are closed and the streets and parks seemed almost deserted. It is a very Catholic culture here, hence all the many, many churches. But what I find most touching about the Cuencono’s is how evident it is that family is cherished.

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Day 6 in Cuenca

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A few observations about life in Cuenca.

1. Here you don’t see beggars just standing on a curbside with a cardboard sign… They actually do a little show while you sit at a red light! And I mean, a pretty darn good show, juggling , balancing acts , a guy had a soccer ball and he did a crazy balancing act with the ball on his head doesn’t sound impressive but I know I could never even attempt it! In my humble opinion, they deserve a hand out, they actually did something creative to earn a fewcoins ! After they finish their show they dash around to the cars and nearly every car gives them something .

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Scott’s Birthday Dinner in Cuenca

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I neglected to post the pictures of the lovely dinner we had on Scott’s Birthday on Thursday night. I know Pat ( Scott’s Mom) will appreciate seeing them. Dano recommended this restaurant , Tiestros. The chef came out from the kitchen to introduce himself to us and asked where we were from. We told him we were from California and he scratched his chin , thinking and said… I will make surf & turf for you!! …… Ok?

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Pictures of Day 5 in Cuenca

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Today was a relaxing day. We didn’t have much of an agenda so we did a bit of wandering through Old Town and just looking around. I took some pictures of some pretty sights . Some graffiti I found interesting and some of the old Colonial buildings . We wandered upon a panama had museum. Little known fact….. Panama hats originated here in Ecuador ! Why they call them Panama hats, I haven’t a clue. But all the indigenous women wear them here. We also went to one of the other markets . This one , San Francisco Market is in a building unlike the Fiera Libre which was outdoors.

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Day 4 in Cuenca

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Today is Scott’s Birthday! So as I’m writing this post he’s upstairs taking a glorious siesta! We’ve already had a pretty full day so he gets to do anything he wants!😘. Later this evening we are going out to a nice dinner . Dano recommended a place in Old Town called Tiestros. We went over there this afternoon to check it out and made a reservation for 7:00. We’ve been told its a gastronomic treat for a special night. Supposedly the chef comes out of the kitchen to chat with the diners so we all know I love to chat so it should be fun.

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Day two in Cuenca

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We started our day with coffee out on the veranda of our inn . It’s been a beautiful day, just a bit cloudy but no rain. Up here in the Andes we have read that in one day you can experience all the seasons throughout the day. So I was prepared for at least a bit of rain but it was sunny and warm all afternoon. Of course it’s only 4:00 right now so I have a feeling rain could come yet.

We met Dano on the other side of the bridge just beyond where we are staying. He took us to a tiny hole in the wall breakfast restaurant called Bannanas. We had a very good breakfast and he opened up his map and showed us some of the areas he thought we might be interested in seeing. We had asked him if he could show us some of the surrounding areas just on the outskirts of the city .

After breakfast we were off! We decided to head South of the city to some more rural areas that are only 30-40 min away. Through the Yungulla Valley and into Guron. Dano took a side trip to a water fall he thought we would like to see. El Chorro Waterfall. There were upper and lower falls and the lower was just a quick hike so we did that one since we were not prepared for a 4 hour hike to the upper one. It was very pretty, I’m glad we stoppe to take a look. this area is very beautiful , it reminded us a little of the Napa area with the rolling green hills , it was pretty desolate as far as stores and restaurants. There really wasn’t much at all nearby to do or places to buy food or anything else we might need.

Next on the agenda was an area just above the city with spectacular views, Turi. Not a bad possibility. Set above the city and kind of on the other side of a big hill is a kind of secluded little area that was rural enough for us yet close enough to the city where if we wanted to go out to dinner it wouldn’t be a big deal. Another area we drove through was Tarquy and San Joaquin . Also areas we thought were pretty good.

As we both expected its hard to find a smallish town outside the city but not too far outside the city that provides amentities like a largish grocery store , a few decent restaurants yet access to the larger city for things to do or for supplies we may not find in the small town.

We will explore some areas to the north and to the east on Thursday with Dano. I’m so glad we were able to connect with him because we are getting to see much more than we could have on our own.

We just got back from joining in on the festivities in Park Calderon. It’s a religious observence that lasts 7 days. There are tents everywhere piled high with sweets! There’s music and jugglers and lots of street performers. It seems like all the families in Cuenca Come out to just stroll around in the park together and enjoy the scene. At the end of the evening they have these huge structures that have these pinwheel like things on them and they light them on fire and they turn into an amazing fireworks display! Then they shoot more fireworks right above the crowd! Sparks fly really close and it’s so beautiful . Another really cool thing going on in the square are these colorful paper balloon type things, almost like giant lanterns , they fill them with fire and just let them float up into the sky! There were dozens of them floating away, I wish you could have seen it.

Another successful day exploring a very beautiful place! Hola! For now……

Day one in Cuenca

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Our day began with a trip to the airport in search of our lost baggage.  This journey ended with success!  Baggage in tow, we hoofed it to the place where we were  told we could hire a shared van to Cuenca.  The 3 1/2 hour drive up, up, up to Cuenca was pleasant. Not exactly first class, no wine, but it was not bad. One especially windy stretch of the road became terribly foggy we could hardly see at all but the driver never took off his dark sunglasses! Yikes!   After arriving in Cuenca we caught a taxi to our hotel, Villa Nova.  It’s a nice place right by the river. Our room is facing the river so the sound of the rushing water is quite pleasant. Read the rest of this entry

Travel Day…Ecuador Here We Come!

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We left San Francisco at 11:00pm on Saturday , our first leg was a 4 hour flight to Chicago. Arriving in Chicago at 5:00am Sunday . Now after a four hour layover we are on a 4 1/2 hour flight to Panama City. Then a 2 hour flight to Guayaquil , Ecuador. Whew!!! Our connection in Panama is kinda tight and I think we are leaving Chicago a bit late, oh well.. We’ll see what happens .

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Our first visit to Cuenca, Ecuador ☺

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Today is Tuesday and we are leaving Saturday for our first visit to Cuenca Ecuador. Im really looking forward to exploring the city. I have spent a lot of time reading blogs and forums and books and info online about this colonial city 8000 ft in the Andes. The architecture and landscape looks so beautiful. One blog that I have especially enjoyed reading is written by a man named Dan, or Danno, He moved to Cuenca just over a year ago from Seattle, Washington with his two cats and his dog. I have really had a great time reading about all his adventures in his new home. He has done so much in his first year and I have admired his spirit of adventure and his humor about the things that frustrate him.

Dan posted a message on an e-mail message board called the Gringo Tree that he is willing to drive people around Cuenca in his spare time. When I saw his posting I was really excited and responded right away. So we are connecting with him when we arrive and are planning to spend two days with him exploring some of the smaller towns outside of the city. He seems like a really nice person and I cant wait to pick his brain about his life in Cuenca.

The other exciting event that I have schedule while visiting Cuenca is A cooking class. Again on the Gringo Tree I spotted a posting for a Tamale class at a ladies house. It sounds like as much of a social event as a class. Anyone who knows me knows I love social events! Especially when the $10.00 fee includes wine!! Scott can focus on the cooking while I cover him on the social end😃. Looking forward to meeting other gringos who live in Cuenca. I know no matter what, it will be really fun to experience a new culture, meet new people and spend time in a beautiful city! Cheers! Life is good!!!!