Posted by: luisabaldwin | September 30, 2009

Wow! We’re Sleeping Under a Blanket and a Quilt in the Tropics

The Road to Boquete

The Road to Boquete

We arrived back in Boquete just in time for the first coffee bean harvest and 70 degree weather.  After the heat and oppressive humidity of Altos de Maria (an unusual heat wave we were told), this California weather was like manna from heaven.  The humidity today is 50%.  I can do this!  Up at Finca Dos Jefes, our future home for a month or so, the Nogo-Bugle Indians were picking the first harvest beans, quietly wandering through the coffee trees and singing happy songs to themselves.  Free-range chickens wandered the farm occasionally crowing and a gentle breeze rustled through the trees shading the coffee plants.  Otherwise, it is the peaceful and lovely quietude of the country – no cars, no sounds of civilization – just serenity.

Finca Dos Jefes

Finca Dos Jefes

There’s something undeniably special about Boquete.  Maybe that’s why so many ex-pats from Europe and the U.S. gravitated here.  Abundance again.  Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the combination of the Panamanian and ex-pat society here, living in harmony with each other.

The view from the Dos Jefes guesthouse

The view from the Dos Jefes guesthouse

Maybe it’s the gorgeous mountain views and the river.  Maybe it’s the flowers growing everywhere.  Maybe it’s the community center, the theater, the restaurants, the stable, and the golf courses.  In other words, maybe it’s about the infrastructure of a successful community.  I don’t know but the overall area is certainly attractive to us.

That’s not to say that Altos de Maria isn’t abundant, it’s just that we didn’t enjoy the weather and the location was just a bit too remote for us.  We like remote country living, but we needed a car.  The views were, however, truly astounding and the pool helped a lot.  Here, we are surrounded by views of volcanic mountains and we really do enjoy them with our morning cup of Café dos Jefes.

Outside is where it's at so this is where we live

Outside is where it's at so this is where we live

Our new home is the guesthouse on an eight-acre organic coffee plantation five kilometers up the mountain from Boquete.  The owners of the plantation are Americans, from California.  They retired here about five years ago and bought a home in town and the coffee plantation.  The harvested coffee from this farm goes to market in Seattle, Washington.  Richard, the owner, just fell in love with the farm and the idea of being a coffee bean farmer.  He thought farming would be something fun to do for the retirement phase of his life.   It turned out to be true.  He is having fun and is enjoying his life.

Home again, home again - well, at least for now!

Home again, home again - well, at least for now!

He loves it here and has stated that he has never once regretted his decision to retire to Boquete.  He’s made a lot of friends here and they all socialize with each other.  They go out on hikes together, walk their dogs, help each other out, have parties and basically just enjoy life.  The little farm keeps him just busy enough.

Finca Dos Jefes coffee drying rack - will soon be filled with ripe berries

Finca Dos Jefes coffee drying rack - will soon be filled with ripe berries

This week, one of the American owners of a restaurant has asked me to come in and train her staff to pour a good shot of espresso, foam the milk properly, and make a good latte.  That’s something I can do with my eyes closed.  I knew that somewhere along the line there would be a benefit to having owned three espresso bars in Colorado.  If I can help her business, I’m happy to do it.  Anyway, she promised us a free dinner on her…  I’ve already trained the staff at the largest hotel in David and am anxious to go back and see if they kept it up.  It’s not the coffee.  Panamanian coffee is great.  It’s just that they don’t know how to work an espresso machine.

Finca dos Jefes new roasting facility

Finca dos Jefes new roasting facility

Now we look for wheels.  There is so much that we haven’t seen here and that is because when you depend on buses and taxis, you’re basically stuck in towns.  Ask and ye shall find is the motto for Panama.  Low and behold, we met an American ex-pat in a grocery store that told us to call another American here in Boquete.  She said he would be able to find us anything we wanted.  We did and he’s coming up to the finca today.  I guess he makes house calls!

It's all about the coffee bean in Boquete

It's all about the coffee bean in Boquete

We’re certainly content enough here for now.  We’ll see where things go but we’re going to try it out for a while.

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Responses

  1. Hi Luisa!
    I’m enjoying reading about your travels as you go. I’m so happy for you!
    Right now I’m really wishing I was there with you … it is getting cold up here in New Hampshire – highs were in the 44’s today and it’s been fore casted to become the coldest winter as of yet in the north east. Brrrr!

    Keep in touch,
    Anita

    • Hi Anita,

      We’re only a plane ride away! Why don’t you and the family come down for a vacation? We’d love to see you and meet your almost grown up children. I just can’t believe how time goes by. It just seems like yesterday that you left Symantec and moved back east!


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