Posted by: luisabaldwin | December 9, 2009

BOQUETE, PANAMA AND FINCA DOS JEFES

NOTE: You can click on any picture on all the blogs to enlarge

We’ve just been through the rainy season, then it was the windy season, but now it’s the magical season. The weather is about to change and will now come in from the Pacific. Coupled with the mists of Boquete, we have begun enjoying the beautiful rainbows that appear constantly over these exquisite and mysterious volcanic mountain peaks.

Rainbow view from our little casita on Finca dos Jefes

The hills surrounding the the little village of Boquete are about to turn with the profuse growth of a pink blooming variety of grass. We’ve had more and more sunny days; the kind of days when you get up and enjoy a cup of Café de la Luna on your veranda and look out – a smile naturally crosses your face. Now, we have had lots of days when I have looked over to Jim and smiled while I saying, “perfect!”

There are some things that the civilized world simply can’t compete with. I have to ask you, when was the last time you got to smell sun-dried clothes and linens? There simply isn’t anything like it, and if someone could capture that scent and bottle it, millions would land in some lucky checking account! Well, we have the real thing. There’s nothing like taking a clean shower and slipping under the sheets that dried in the sun that day in your own back yard. Mmm, mmm, good. It’s the simple things in life that count.

The Chaos Conspiracy

Jim is in Jim heaven, hogging the computer daily and happily working with his worldwide team of game developers. I can’t get a minute of on-line time!  They’re putting together the next update to “Might and Magic”. The title of the new game is The Chaos Conspiracy and the introductory graphics, music, and baseline are quite impressive. Just to pull you into the game and give you an idea of the theme, here’s the beginning introductory dialogue to the quest:

In the Ancient of Days,
Creation’s Land was unspoiled,
a Paradise Peaceful and Serene.

But then, the Sacred Chalice of Gods became
corrupt and gave birth to Chaos.

And Chaos spawned his minions,
Creatures fierce and foul.
And they multiplied and defiled all
the lands.

The Gods looked upon Creation’s
Land and found it wanting.
They sent a flood across the land
to purify it and banished Chaos to
the Ether Realms where he remains until this day…

And then the Gods rebuilt the world;
creating new life, man and beast…

…and a new era began…

Now, wouldn’t you want to be a part of saving the world?  Big Daddy Jim, the Coding Wizard, i.e. Jim, is in his element and the Might and Magic virtual fan club is eagerly waiting for bait, time-lines, and release dates. The Internet gaming chat rooms are on fire.  For anyone wanting to play the game upon completion, we’ll make an announcement on the website when it’s ready.

Junior

Meet Junior and Bony. Yes, we have all the joy, fun, love, and play of dogs but can still take off on trips. Junior the Dalmatian was rescued by Rich, the owner of the finca. He had had a hard life before and four months after arriving at the finca came down with tick fever. Junior was very sick and didn’t have a good chance of surviving. Rich doesn’t live on the finca so we agreed to nurse him back to health. It’s been nothing but a pleasure and he’s now looking really good.

Bony

Bony is the farm dog. We call him our Scruff-a-muffin. Bony is a cute, bubbly, and rambunctious puppy. All he wants to do is play and he’s merciless with Junior, who is like a patient parent. He belongs to Lazaro, our Ngobe-Bugle finca manager. Lazaro, by the way, speaks three languages, Spanish, Ngobe, and Bugle. People always put the two tribes together but, as Lazaro explained, the Ngobe is a separate tribe from the Bugle and they each have their own language. And then there are the chickens.

Max, the rooster

All chickens in Panama are free-range so ours too wander the farm daily foraging for what chickens eat. The eggs are very different than the ones in the U.S.  The yolks are bright yellow, big, and very flavorful.  The shells are really strong.  Our rooster is really quite something to see. All his colors are something to behold. If I were an interior decorator all I would have to do is to study the color combination on birds or chickens. Go figure, “Gee Mary, where did you get that great color scheme for your house?” And Mary replies, “Oh, from my rooster.” Wouldn’t that cause a bit of a ruffle amongst all those social climbers!

Soon, it will be a time of celebration on the finca. One of the final finishing touches on the new coffee roasting facility is an outdoor pizza oven. Rich is really excited and can smell the end of a yearlong construction project around the corner. I’m sure a pizza party is in the planning stage.

Luisa's 60th. at Eva's

And speaking of parties, Eva, the owner of our favorite hotel Isla Verde just happened to be throwing a little party on the day of my 60th. Birthday. It was really nice to meet other Boquete residents, and we felt honored to have been the recipients of the delicious and beautifully presented canapes. It all made crossing into the big 60 a fun event.

Getting established in a foreign country, however, can sometimes be challenging and the lessons you learn are patience. Jim decided that suitcases, buses, hotels, and chancy restaurants were a thing of the past and so we decided that settling into a house was the best thing for now. As usual, we landed out in the country. What can I say, the country life is for us!

We love to look out at an inspiring view,

From our veranda - another rainbow at Finca dos Jefes

Photography by:
Luisa Baldwin
© All rights reserved

and watch the birds and butterflies dance in the soft breezes.

A Goldenhooded Tanagerpb - our new neighbors

There’s nothing like the peace, beauty, and serenity of country life. However, here we were and every time we needed to run errands in town we had to call a taxi or catch a ride with Rich, the owner of the coffee finca we’re living on, who has been very generous with his offers of a ride. We needed a car! And so, we landed on the doorstep of Global Bank. That was back in the beginning of October. Yes, it has taken two months to open a simple savings and checking account and to execute an international wire transfer! Panama has very strict banking regulations. You have to get a letter of good standing from both your bank and a local established resident of Boquete. Then they take your life story and make you sign a million signatures. Oh yes, and all those signatures have to be the same. Do you know how hard that is? I know mine changes when I’m in a hurry, agitated, tired, or relaxed. By the time everything is said and done, your file rises off the desk by an inch. Then everything goes down to Panama City and who knows what happens down there. Our names are probably institutions at the FBI, CIA, MI-6 and who knows where else! No, just kidding. Global Bank performed like a charm. Our American bank? Well, that was another story. But to make it short, they delivered terrible service, stalled, and generally didn’t want to let the money go. To those of you who are planning on living abroad, try to put this part of the equation together before you leave. Contact the likely bank in your new country and find out what their requirements are to establish an account. Then visit your domestic bank and learn what they require to execute an international wire transfer. It will make your new life easier.

The banking challenges are all behind us now. Our new bank in Panama offers a 3-½% yield on a straight savings account, on-line banking and bill paying, ATM card, etc. Everything you get in the good old U.S.A. can be found here. Credit cards run at 5-½% interest payments. And Carmen, our banking representative is not only knowledgeable, she’s friendly as well. You do, however, have to exercise patience when you go to the bank. We’ve spent as much as two hours at a stretch there.

We’ve settled on a used Toyota 4 Runner, limited edition. Loaded, the car has a sunroof, 4WD, and leather interior. Boquete has a little treasure by the name of Keith Wolford. Keith locates cars, checks them out, processes all the paper work, and delivers them right to your doorstep. Tomorrow, he goes down to Panama City to check out the car and bring it back if it passes muster. We may have wheels under us by Friday. So the car was the easy part. And I wouldn’t be lying if I didn’t say we are truly excited. Using taxies hasn’t been all that bad. We actually have loved getting to know our taxi drivers and their families. Sometimes they would bring their wives and babies to meet their new friends. Oh, and by the way, those babies are always in their Mother’s lap. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen a car seat in Panama yet. While not having car seats may not be a good thing, I have to say it’s refreshing to live in a society that hasn’t been bogged down by freedom busting regulations. Individuals are free to pursue happiness as they choose.  Riding taxis has almost been like having a private chauffeur. Well, that is until you have to wait at the grocery store for fifteen minutes or haul bottles of drinking water and groceries (it takes a 4WD to get down the little hill to our front door) or go anywhere distant. While we wait for our wheels our favorite joke has been, “Hey, Jim. Would you hop in the car and go to the grocery store for some milk?”  You try living without a car for four months.  Actually, most people in Boquete don’t have and never have had a car.  And interestingly enough, I’ve never heard of a traffic ticket in Boquete either and everybody runs the only stop sign in town.  Maybe that’s because you almost never see a police car.  Anyway, there’s a lot of hand slapping married with laughter going on around here!

Oh yes, life is going to change soon. We can go places and report back to you on more adventures. Until then, may you all be happy, relaxed, and healthy.  As an old Guru I once knew said, “Don’t worry.  Be happy.”

Boquete is in the interior one-hour away from the Costa Rica border (click to enlarge)

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Responses

  1. Great blog! I also love the Dos Jefes Boquete coffee tours.

    • Thank you Justin,
      For those of you who are planning a visit and are looking for outdoor activities, please visit the http://boquetesafari.com. You’ll enjoy some of their activities.


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