Mi Experiencia en una Barbería de Boquete

Blog por Terry Richmeier

Traducido por Generoso Guerra

Cuando nos mudamos inicialmente a Boquete, Panamá, y fui a mi primer corte de pelo en la peluquería, la experiencia fue muy diferente de lo que esperaba. Y por qué fue eso?

En primer lugar, antes de entrar a la tienda, fui recibido con música latina y un grupo de hombres de pie. Cuando entré por la puerta, aún más hombres sentados, otros de pie y echando unas risas mientras esperaban su turno. Inmediatamente pensé, esta es una mala idea y comencé a darme la vuelta para irme. En ese momento, el Barbero me llamó la atención, me hizo una señal y señaló un sofá. Allí en el sofá, un joven cortésmente se puso de pie y me ofreció el sofá.

Entonces empezaron los muchos asentimientos de aceptación de mi presencia, y sonrisas de cortesía, un gringo entre el mar de los panameños. Las conversaciones en español se reanudaron y me senté allí, como si fuera una mosca en la pared, esperando mi turno en la pila de comida en el medio de la habitación!

Cuando miré a mi alrededor, pensé: “Todos estos hombres ya tienen el pelo corto y realmente, esto debería ir bastante rápido”. Y luego empecé a darme cuenta de que esta es una experiencia que necesito aceptar y absorber. No es para nada como en los Estados Unidos. Donde usted es un número el cual entras y sales, pagar rápidamente y pasar al siguiente. Este no es un lugar para obtener ganancias a través de los cortes típicos de línea de montaje. ¡El proceso fue más sobre un club de hombres! Lejos de sus mujeres y mucho hablar mientras te preparan. El tiempo promedio para el corte de pelo real es una media hora habitual. Incluye el corte, la conversación, el pelo en el cuello es recortado y las cuchillas afiladas recorren el vello facial para limpiarlo y crear una atmósfera relajada.

Junto con eso, te rozan con talco y salpican con lo que creo que es la loción de después del afeitado. Y cuando todo está dicho y hecho, recibes tu factura. ¡Una solicitud para pagar $ 3.50!

 Esta experiencia me dejó desconcertado y no agradó mi reloj interno que me dice “Debes apurarte y debes hacer esto”. ¡Esa pelea ha terminado! Ahora soy capaz de apagar ese reloj de sangrado interno de la vida!

Mi estilo con mi cabello y las calvas que de repente aparecieron este año pasado ahora requieren que sea más específico con mis necesidades. Además de tener una barba completa que se redujo a nada, yo, junto con el anterior Gerente de Casa de Montaña, presenté un esquema que transmite el mensaje a mi peluquero permanente permanente. ¡Mi corte de pelo me parece perfecto cada vez! ¡Por supuesto que el costo ha aumentado! Ahora pago $ 7.50 por mi corte de pelo y barba.

Que incluye un suavizante que se coloca en mi barba. En los Estados Unidos mi costo nunca fue menos de $ 25.00 con propina. Aquí, les doy una buena propina, creo que necesitan un salario digno.

 Y, lo que es sorprendente para mí es que estos Barberos están al día con las tendencias que desean jóvenes y mayores. Recientemente, el Gerente de la Oficina de Casa de Montaña Generoso recibió un corte de pelo bastante nuevo. ¡Algo de los 80 que está siendo revivido! Echa un vistazo y cuéntanos lo que piensas?

Lo único que falta de mi corte de cabello aquí en Boquete, Panamá que tuve en los Estados Unidos es un vaso de vino o cerveza mientras te cortas el pelo. Pero, puedes tener eso cuando vengas y te quedes con nosotros ya que le ofrecemos una copa o una cerveza gratis por día! Mientras estés aquí, ¡ven y planea visitar el Barbero!

 Para ustedes, mujeres, también hay muchos peluqueros aquí, desde el nivel más alto hasta inglés. Tu experiencia será igualmente grandiosa. Y, aunque no conozco el costo, ¡puede completar los espacios en blanco para nosotros!

Hazte el corte de cabello mientras está de vacaciones en Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, puede quitar esa sensación de “Tengo que hacer esto y seguir con mi día” Apague su “conferenciante interno” y disfrute de un corte de pelo durante sus vacaciones en Boquete, Panamá!

The Barber Shop Experience in Boquete

Blog by Terry Richmeier

When we initially moved to Boquete, Panama, and I went for my first haircut at the barber shop, the experience was far from what I expected! And why was that?

First of all, before I even entered the store front, I was greeted by loud Latin music and a bunch of men standing around. As I entered through the door, even more men sitting and standing and having a laugh or two as they waited for their turn. I immediately thought, this is a bad idea and began to turn around to leave. At that moment, the Barber caught my eye and nodded at me and pointed to a sofa. There, on the sofa, a young boy politely stood to his feet and offered me the sofa.

Then began the many nods of acceptance of my presence, and smiles of politeness, a gringo amongst the sea of Panamanians. The conversations in Spanish resumed and I sat there, as if I was a fly on the wall, waiting for my turn at the pile of food in the middle of the room!

As I looked around I thought, “All these men have short hair already and really, this should go quite fast”. And then I began to realize that this is an experience I need to soak up and take in. It’s not at all like it is in the U.S. Where you are a number and to get you in and out and paid quickly and onto the next. This is not a place for making your profit through assembly line haircuts. The process was more about a men’s club! Away from their women and much talk while you are being groomed. The average time for actual haircut is a customary half hour. It includes the cut, conversation, the hair on the neck is trimmed, and sharp blades run across your facial hair cleaning you up and creating a relaxed atmosphere.

Along with that, you are brushed with talcum powder and splashed with what I think is after shave. And when all is said and done, you get your bill. A request to pay $3.50!

This experience left me bewildered and it did not quite please my internal clock that is telling me “You need to hurry and you need to get this done”. That fight is over! I am now able to shut off that internal life bleeding clock!

My style with my hair and the bald spots that suddenly appeared this past year now require me to be more specific with my needs. Along with having a full beard that is cut down to nothing, I, along with Casa de Montaña’s previous Manager, have come up with a schematic that relays the message to my Now Permanent Barber. My hair cut seems perfect to me every time! Of course the cost has gone up! I now pay $7.50 for my haircut and beard trim. Which includes a softener that is placed on my beard. In the U.S. my cost was never less than $25.00 with tip. Here, I tip well, I feel that they need to make a living wage.

And, what’s amazing to me is that these Barbers are keeping up with the trends that are desired by young and old! Recently Casa de Montaña’s own Office Manager Generoso (Meaning Generous) received a fairly new haircut. Something from the 80’s that is being revived! Take a look and let us know what you think?

The only thing that is missing from my haircut here in Boquete, Panama that I had in the U.S. is a glass of wine or beer while you are getting your haircut. But, you can have that when you come and stay with us as we offer you a free glass of either one daily! While you are here, come and plan on checking out the Barber!

 

For you women, there are many hairdressers here as well, from high end to English speaking. Your experience will be equally great. And, though I don’t know about the cost, you can fill in the blanks for us!

Having your haircut while on vacation at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, can actually take away that feeling of “I have to get this done and get on with my day” Shut down your “internal lecturer” and enjoy a haircut while vacationing in Boquete, Panama!

Martes de Mercado en Boquete: Donde hay algo para todos!

Blog por Terry Richmeier

Traducido por Generoso Guerra

Cuando venga y se quede con nosotros aquí en Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, se le servirá un desayuno internacional diferente todos los días con la mayoría de los productos que provienen de los vendedores del mercado de los martes. Además de eso, si está aquí un martes, lo alentaremos a ir al mercado de los martes y verifique los diferentes productos locales hechos a mano y de cultivo que tiene para ofrecer. El mercado está abierto de 9 a.m. a 12 del mediodía y se encuentra al otro lado del pequeño puente del centro de la ciudad en el edificio conocido como el Teatro BCP. El mercado ofrece algo para todos. Nuestros favoritos especiales son productos horneados de Mort’s Bakery, productos sin gluten de Panadería Gluten Free Gold, chocolate de diseñador “Chox” y productos frescos de Anna. Mientras esté en el mercado, ¡vea de qué se tratan las “Conversaciones del martes”! A continuación se muestra una historia de la experiencia de Joyce Kinnear con los martes Martes y las conversaciones de los Martes:

 

 Una de las cosas que nos gusta de vivir en Boquete es el mercado de los martes. Para nosotros, satisface nuestra necesidad de un mercado de agricultores, lo que nos permite comprar productos orgánicos, bagels, hummus, alimentos recién hechos de Alemania, Hungría y el Caribe, y también llenar el requisito de nuestro comerciante Joe de alimentos congelados prefabricados que podemos usar durante la semana. El hecho de que dicha comida sea sabrosa, tailandesa, criolla picante o maravillosa India es aún mejor, ya que no tenemos restaurantes para esos y otros alimentos picantes en la zona.

También disfrutamos la mayoría de las charlas del martes. Una de las mujeres de la comunidad pasa mucho tiempo encontrando oradores interesantes sobre una variedad de temas de interés para expatriados en Panamá, desde abogados discutiendo cambios en leyes, a geólogos que describen las acciones potenciales de nuestros volcanes locales, a muchos otros temas . Hoy escuchamos a cuatro voluntarios del Cuerpo de Paz en pequeñas aldeas entre aquí y la frontera costarricense.

Dos de los voluntarios forman parte del Cuerpo de Paz que trabaja en educación y educación del idioma inglés. Otros dos trabajan en temas ambientales. Todos tuvieron discusiones interesantes sobre cómo viven y desarrollan proyectos en comunidades pequeñas para permitir que las personas en esas áreas accedan a la asistencia disponible e incrementen las interacciones con la comunidad. 

De particular interés para nosotros fue un joven que está trabajando para mejorar la calidad de los incendios domésticos entre los indígenas. Ha obtenido subvenciones del gobierno panameño para construir 14 unidades (y está trabajando en 20 más) que reducirán la cantidad de humo que despiden los fuegos de la cocina en el hogar y así reducir las enfermedades relacionadas con el asma, así como mejorar la calidad del aire local. 

Otro joven voluntario está trabajando en una escuela de 700 estudiantes en Volcan, un pueblo de unos 15,000 habitantes cerca de la frontera. Ella está haciendo muchas cosas, desde la enseñanza de inglés, hasta la enseñanza de clases de ciencia a los principales clubes y grupos de estudiantes. Su escuela le dio una habitación y asistencia para desarrollar la primera biblioteca en esa ciudad o escuela. Con los fondos que pudo obtener de su exiguo estipendio y los fondos igualmente escasos de la maestra local, han podido comenzar una biblioteca con aproximadamente 20 libros en una escuela de 700 estudiantes de primaria. 

Ella nos dijo que entre estos estudiantes de bajos ingresos (y muchos indígenas), la comprensión de lectura es extremadamente baja. Las familias son en su mayoría analfabetas, no hay libros disponibles y los estudiantes nunca aprenden a comprender. La mayoría no pasa los exámenes de ingreso a la universidad porque no pueden aprobar los exámenes en un nivel de cuarto grado. Este voluntario está trabajando con el gobierno local, los maestros y la comunidad para tratar de aumentar la comprensión de lectura y mejorar el potencial de vida futura de estos estudiantes.  

Fue inspirador. Al escuchar las charlas, varias personas en la audiencia tuvieron ideas sobre cómo ayudar a los voluntarios y las comunidades locales a ayudar a mejorar las vidas de estos estudiantes y sus familias. 

Este pequeño pueblo rodeado por las montañas de Boquete, Panamá, es un lugar maravilloso para reunir desde souvenirs hasta estimulación intelectual. Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast está extremadamente orgulloso de nuestra comunidad, el voluntariado y el mercado de los martes. ¡Ven y quédate con nosotros y experimenta este lugar especial!

Boquete’s Tuesday Market: Something for everyone!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

When you come and stay with us here at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, you will be served a different International Breakfast daily with most of the products coming from the Tuesday Market vendors. Along with that, if you are here on a Tuesday, we will encourage you to go to the Tuesday Market and check out all the different locally made and grown products it has to offer! The market is open from 9 AM to 12 Noon and is located across the small bridge downtown in the building known as the BCP Teatro. The market offers something for everyone. Our special favorites are baked goods by Mort’s Bakery, Gluten Free goods from Gluten Free Gold Bakery, designer “Chox” chocolate and Anna’s fresh produce.  While you are at the market, see what “Tuesday Talks” are about! Below is a story of Joyce Kinnear’s experience with the Tuesday Market and Tuesday Talks:

One of the things we like about living in Boquete is the Tuesday market. For us, it fills our need for a Farmer’s Market—enabling us to purchase organic produce, bagels, hummus, freshly made food from Germany, Hungary, and the Caribbean, and also filling our Trader Joe’s requirement for premade frozen food that we can whip up during the week. The fact that said food is tasty Thai, spicy Creole, or wonderful Indian is even better, since we lack restaurants for those and other spicy foods in the area.

We also enjoy most of the Tuesday talks. One of the women in the community spends a lot of time finding interesting speakers on a variety of topics of interest to expats in Panama, from attorneys discussing changes in laws, to geologists describing the potential actions of our local volcanoes, to so many other topics. Today, we listened to four Peace Corps volunteers in small villages between here and the Costa Rican border.

Two of the volunteers are with the part of the Peace Corps that works in education and English language education. Two others work on environmental issues. They all had interesting discussions about how they live and develop projects in small communities to enable people in those areas to access available assistance and increase community interactions.
Of particular interest to us was one young man who is working to improve the quality of home cooking fires among the indigenous. He has gotten grants from the Panamanian government to construct 14 units (and
is working on 20 more) that will reduce the amount of smoke put off by cooking fires in the home and thus reduce asthma related diseases, as well as improve local air quality.

Another young volunteer is working in a school of 700 students in Volcan, a town of about 15,000 near the border. She is doing many things, from teaching English, to teaching Science classes to leading student clubs and groups. Her school gave her a room and some assistance in developing the first library in that town or school. With funds she was able to get from her own meager stipend and local teacher’s equally meager funds, they have been able to start a library with about 20 books in a school of 700 elementary students.
She told us that among these low income (and many indigenous) students, reading comprehension is extremely low. Families are mostly illiterate, books are not around, and students never learn comprehension. The majority fail college entrance exams, because they are unable to pass tests at a fourth grade level. This volunteer is working with the local government, teachers and community to try to increase reading comprehension and improve future life potential for these students.

It was inspiring. Listening to the talks gave several people in the audience ideas for ways to assist the volunteers and local communities to help to enhance the lives of these students and their families.

This small town surrounded by the Mountains of Boquete, Panama is a wonderful place to gather anything from souvenirs to intellectual stimulation! Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast is extremely proud of our community, volunteerism, and the Tuesday Market. Come and stay with us and experience this special place!

Cell phone coverage in Boquete, Panama

Blog by Terry Richmeier

The first month that we moved to Central America and stayed in Panama City, Panama. We thought, “What have we done!?” We were without communication to the states! Within days of arrival, we ran up to the mall, purchased some in-expensive phones and minutes, along with a phone number! Now, we thought, we will be ok!

However, I sat on the bed in the condo that we were renting and plugged in the phone to start charging it. (We had to stay in the City in order to finish up our residency.) And realized, this is a local phone with no way to call my Mom and Dad or my friends back in the states! Which I desperately needed to call! I felt lonely and scared!

So, I began to look for different ways to communicate with limited Wi-Fi. (Our condo only had a small phone device for Wi-Fi.) Well, it wasn’t easy, however, we did end up Skyping to our friend who would take over her laptop to my parents and we had set up a weekly. Boom, connected again!

So, my question is, “Is it just a problem here in Panama? Or all around the world? Is my experience an isolated experience based on my own lack of knowledge?”

Here is another story from Amy Kinnear and her experience with a U.S. carrier before moving here to Boquete, Panama:

The Joys of Communicating Overseas. Before getting a new cellphone carrier, I made sure to let them know that it was extremely important that I had a phone that could work in Panama. They promised me that when I went to Panama I would was have unlimited text and data, as well as be able to make calls. It would just be more expensive. I stupidly believed them. A few months later I decided to move to Panama and would be flying to Panama City to meet my parents, for our connection to David, Panama. I had only been to Panama once before and was nervous because my Spanish is horrible. I was not stressing much at first because my carrier assured me multiple times that my phone would work in Panama. I would just call and let my parents know when I got to Panama City, so that we could meet before the flight to David. A soon as the plane landed, I called them. No signal! My heart dropped. What was I going to do if they needed to reach me? “No worries,” I told myself. I would follow their instructions on how to get to my next gate. I had a gut feeling that they were not going to make our connection. How on earth was I going to get to Boquete? What was I going to do once I got there? I had no way to get in their house without the keys, and I needed a place to stay. If my carrier would have worked the way they promised, I could have just called my folks. I did not even have data like I was told I would. So I could not message them on Facebook either. I was able to pay to use the airport’s Wi-Fi. I tried to contact my mom on messenger, but her phone was not working. I had to message my ex-boyfriend, so that he could text my mom to see what the plan was while I was also messaging everyone I had met in Panama last year to see if I could get a ride from David to Boquete once I landed. Finally I Facebook called Manzar to see if Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast had a room available and if they knew anyone I could call for a taxi. It all worked out in the end, but needless to say I am very upset with my ex-provider. I went a few weeks without a local phone, but I felt uncomfortable only to be able to call if I was connected to Wi-Fi. The phones are very affordable here. I have a very basic local phone, but it is nice to know that I can communicate with people while I am out and about, and it only cost about $20!

So, there are several options available for you here in Panama. First, if you are just traveling here, you can get International coverage by contacting your own cell phone provider. Or you can purchase a worldwide usage phone. And another option is to purchase a SIM card upon arrival so you have a local phone number and then purchase minutes through a purchased cell phone minutes card. And also remember that you can buy a monthly data plan which has unlimited data use. This would be good for use wherever there is WIFI and you can connect with family and friends back at home through WhatsApp or contact an Uber or taxi driver without costing any more money!

Now, if you are planning to relocate to Panama, outside of the options that are listed above, you can bring with you a Vonage phone and keep your local number. You will be able to stay in touch with all your family and friends!

We here at Casa de Montaña bed and breakfast know how important staying connected is! We do our best to keep you connected and we can help you with contacting people close or far! So, come and stay with us and relax knowing that you can get in contact back at home!

Estrés a fin de año, NO este año en Boquete, Panamá!!!!

Blog por Terry Richmeier

Traducido por Generoso Guerra

Viernes Negro, ofertas negras, compra esto, fiesta aquí, fiesta allá, gasta más dinero, come, come y come… Estas actividades no tienen fin…

Aquí en Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast desafortunadamente también lo encontramos estresante en Boquete, Panamá. El hecho que no es fácil moverse alrededor con todo el tráfico, celebraciones de fiestas Patrías y próximas fiestas de fin de año. En Noviembre y Diciembre hay un sorprendente número de días libres. Dos diferentes días de Independencia, Día de la Bandera, Día de las Madres, Día del trabajo, desfile de los Bomberos, Cabalgata, solo por nombrar algunas.

 

En el Greenberg Quinlan Rosner informe de investigación, en los Estados Unidos, trabajar largas horas, batallar con el tráfico, cuidar de los padres envejeciendo y pagar las cuentas es en sí muy estresante, luego agregar días festivos! Estos son algunos de los hallazgos clave:

  • El estrés de días festivos tiene en particular un gran impacto en la mujer, ya que toman cargo de las celebraciones de días festivos, particularmente en la preparación de comidas y la decoración del hogar. Las mujeres son más propensas a reporter un aumento de estrés más que los hombres durante la época de fin de año. Además les resulta más difícil relajarse durante días festivos y es más probable que caigan en malos hábitos para controlar su estrés, como la comodidad de comer.
  • El estrés de días festivo tiene un impacto en las personas de ingresos medio bajo. Holiday stress has an impact on lower middle income individuals. Este grupo siente el peso del estrés del trabajo más la prisa de la temporada para encontrar tiempo para terminar todo. Además sus preocupaciones sobre el dinero se ven incrementadas por el comercionalismo de la temporada y la presión para gastar mucho dinero.
  • Las emociones son altas en días festivos: Personas en los Estados Unidos transmiten sentimientos de amor, felicidad y buen humor. El aspecto más importante de estos días festivos es la oportunidad de conectarse o reconectarse con amigos y familia.

 

  • Las personas en Los Estados Unidos son más propensas a sentir el incremento y no reducción de estrés durante los días festivos. Los días festivos tienden a ser un dolor de cabeza para muchos, una pérdida de dinero para otros, pérdida de tiempo, el bombo y el comercionalismo de la temporada causa un mayor estrés a las personas en Los Estados Unidos.
  • Durante los días festivos, el estés adquiere un carácter diferente a las otras épocas del año.

Tanto hombres como mujeres se sienten obligados a hacer de los días festivos lo mejor posible para sus familias.

 

No pude encontrar un informe relativo a Boquete, Panamá, sin embargo. Yo creo que es igual de estresante. Entonces también  quería idear algunas posibles soluciones. Yo pensé en como los masajes me quitan el estrés, por al menos unos días!. Nosotros tenemos una increíble pareja que hacen un estupendo trabajo al tratarse de masajes. Luego está la naturaleza, sentarse y disfrútar de una copa de vino. Leer un libro, asistir a una clase de arte, observar aves y esto es sólo por nombrar algunas. Todo esto puedes hacerlo en Boquete, Panamá, mientras te hospedas con nosotros en Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast.

Sin embargo, si no está en tus planes de este año, aquí hay otras opciones de la Clíninca Mayo para “desestresar” tus días festivos.

Cuando el estrés está en su punto, es difícil detenerse y reagruparse. Trate de prevenir el estrés y la depression en primer lugar, especialmente si las festividades han cobrado un precio emocional en el pasado.

  1. Reconoce tus sentimientos. Si alguien cercano a tí ha muerto recientemente o no puedes estar con tus seres queridos, date cuenta que es normal sentir tristeza y dolor. ESTA BIEN tomarse el tiempo para llorar o expresar tus sentimientos. No puedes forzarte a estar feliz sólo porque es temporada festiva.
  2. Alcanza. Si te sientes sólo y aislado, busca convivencia ya sea religiosa u otro evento social. Te pueden ofrecer ayuda y compañerismo. Trabajar como voluntario en tu tiempo libre para ayudar a otros también es una buena manera de subir el animo y ampliar tu lista de amistades.
  1. Ser realista. Las vacaciones no tienen que ser perfectas o simplemente como el año pasado. A medida que las familias cambian y crecen, las tradiciones y los rituales también cambian a menudo. Elija algunos para aferrarse, y esté abierto a crear nuevos. Por ejemplo, si sus hijos adultos no pueden ir a su casa, busque nuevas formas de celebrar juntos, como compartir fotos, correos electrónicos o videos.

 

  1. Dejar a un lado las diferencias. Trate de aceptar a los familiares y amigos tal como son, incluso si no cumplen con todas sus expectativas. Guarde las quejas hasta un momento más apropiado para la discusión. Y sea comprensivo si otros se molestan o se angustian cuando algo sale mal. Lo más probable es que también estén sintiendo los efectos del estrés y la depresión durante las vacaciones.
  2. Apegarse al presupuesto. Antes de ir de compras de regalos y alimentos, decida cuánto dinero puede gastar. Luego, cumpla con su presupuesto. No trates de comprar la felicidad con una avalancha de regalos.

Pruebe estas alternativas:

    • Donar a una organización benéfica en nombre de alguien.
    • Dar regalos hechos en casa.
    • Comience un intercambio de regalos familiares.

6.     Planea con anticipación. Reserve días específicos para ir de compras, cocinar, visitar amigos y otras actividades. Planee sus menús y luego haga su lista de compras. Eso ayudará a evitar luchas de último minuto para comprar ingredientes olvidados. Y asegúrese de alinear la ayuda para la preparación de la fiesta y la limpieza.

  1. Aprende a decir que no. Decir que sí cuando deberías decir que no puede hacerte sentir resentido y abrumado. Los amigos y colegas entenderán si no puedes participar en cada proyecto o actividad. Si no es posible decir que no cuando su jefe le pide que trabaje horas extras, intente eliminar algo más de su agenda para compensar el tiempo perdido.
  2. No abandones los hábitos saludables. No dejes que las fiestas se conviertan en una regalía para todos. La indulgencia excesiva solo aumenta su estrés y culpa.

Pruebe estas sugerencias:

    • Coma bocadillos saludables antes de las fiestas para que no se exceda con los dulces, el queso o las bebidas.
    • Duerma lo suficiente.
    • Incorpore actividad física regular en cada día.
  1. Tómate un respiro. Tómate un tiempo para ti. Pasar 15 minutos sólo, sin distracciones, puede refrescarlo lo suficiente como para manejar todo lo que necesita hacer. Encuentre algo que reduzca el estrés despejando su mente, disminuyendo su respiración y restaurando la calma interior.

Algunas opciones pueden incluir:

    • Dar un paseo por la noche y observar las estrellas.
    • Escuchando música relajante.
    • Recibir un masaje. (Podemos ayudarte con esto si estás en Boquete)
    • Leer un libro.
  1. Busca ayuda profesional si la necesitas. Busque ayuda profesional si la necesita. A pesar de sus mejores esfuerzos, puede sentirse triste o ansioso, plagado de molestias físicas, incapaz de dormir, irritable y sin esperanza, e incapaz de enfrentar los quehaceres rutinarios. Si estos sentimientos duran un tiempo, hable con su médico o un profesional de la salud mental. (¿Sabía que Manzar Lari es un Consejero Vital certificado y ofrece una consulta inicial gratuita de media hora?)
  • Toma el control de los días festivos.

No dejes que las fiestas se conviertan en algo que temes. En su lugar, tome medidas para evitar el estrés y la depresión que pueden descender durante las festividades. Aprenda a reconocer sus desencadenantes navideños, como las presiones financieras o las demandas personales, para que pueda combatirlos antes de que deriven en una crisis. Con un poco de planificación y algunas ideas positivas, puedes encontrar la paz y disfrutar de las fiestas.

  1. Toma un avión (Personalmente mi favorito y agregado a la lista por mí)

¡Sube a un avión y baja, pasa las vacaciones o en cualquier otra época del año en Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast!

Holiday Stressors, NOT this year, in Boquete, Panama!!!!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

Black Friday, Black sale, buy this, a party here, a party there, spend more money, eat, eat, eat…..And these activities are endless….

We here at Unfortunately, Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast finds the same stressors in Boquete, Panama. From the fact that it’s not easy getting around to the congestion and celebrations of the holidays. In November and December, there are an amazing number of holidays. Two different Independence days, Mother’s day, Labor Day, Fireman’s parade, Horse Parade, just to name a few.

 

In the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner research report, in the U.S., working long hours, fighting traffic, caring for aging parents, paying bills are stressful enough, then to add the holidays! Here are some of the key findings:

  • Holiday stress has a particular impact on women, who take charge of many of the holiday celebrations, particularly the tasks related to preparing meals and decorating the home. Women are more likely than men to report an increase of stress during the holiday season. In addition, they have a harder time relaxing during the holidays and are more likely to fall into bad habits to manage their stress, like comfort eating.
  • Holiday stress has an impact on lower middle income individuals. This group feels the weight of stress from work plus the seasonal rush to find time to get everything done. In addition, their worries about money are heightened by the commercialism of the season and the pressure to spend a lot of money.
  • Emotions run high during the holidays: people in the United States report feelings of love,

happiness, and high spirits. The most important aspects of the holidays are the opportunities

to connect or reconnect with friends and family.

  • People in the United States are more likely to feel their stress increases rather than decrease during the holidays. The holidays can be a hectic time for many, and a lack of money, a lack of time, and the hype and commercialism of the season causes increased stress for people in the U.S.
  • During the holidays, stress takes on a different character than at other times of the year.

Men and women alike feel a duty to make the holidays the best they can for their families.

 

I couldn’t find a study for Boquete, Panama, however, I believe the stressors are the same. So, I wanted to come up with some possible solutions as well. I thought about how massage takes away my stressors, at least for a Few days! We have an amazing couple that do a really great job at massage. Then there is nature, and sitting and drinking a glass of wine. Reading a book, attending an art class, or bird watching, just to name a few. All of which can be done here in Boquete, Panama, while staying with us at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast.

However, if that’s not in the plans for you this year, here are some other options from the Mayo Clinic to “de-stress” your holiday:

When stress is at its peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup. Try to prevent stress and depression in the first place, especially if the holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in the past.

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
  2. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
  3. Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.
  4. Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
  5. Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.

Try these alternatives:

    • Donate to a charity in someone’s name.
    • Give homemade gifts.
    • Start a family gift exchange.
  1. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.
  2. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
  3. Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.

Try these suggestions:

    • Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.
    • Get plenty of sleep.
    • Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.
  1. Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.

Some options may include:

    • Taking a walk at night and stargazing.
    • Listening to soothing music.
    • Getting a massage. (We can help you with this if you are in Boquete)
    • Reading a book.
  1. Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. (Did you know that Manzar Lari is a certified Life Coach and offers a free half hour initial consultation?)
  • Take control of the holidays

Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.

  1. Catch a Plane (My personal favorite and added to the list by me)

Get on a plane and come down and spend the holidays, or any other time of year at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast!

 

 

 

 

Anyone know where we can relax for the holidays. (Hint: Boquete, Panama)?

Blog by Terry Richmeier

No matter where you are in the world, the holidays can be stressful. From driving to shopping to family dinners. However, we here at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast believe we can help take the stress out of yours.

Even here in Boquete, Panama, for those living here, stress is just around the corner. Here is our friend Joyce Kinnear’s ordeal that caused just a little bit of Holiday stress for her and her daughter Amy:

It’s been a crazy week, and I’ve definitely been stretching myself, my cultural understandings and my knowledge of the community. It’s all good, but it’s been sometimes stressful and a lot tiring.

First of all, this week is the start of a month of holidays in Panama. We had the remembrance days around Halloween and the first couple of days of November. Today, Amy and I saw many, many people taking cut flowers up to the cemetery in remembrance of their passed loved ones.

Tomorrow is the independence from Colombia. It will be celebrated with parades, drum lines that go on all day (it seems), the entire town decked out in the red, white and blue Panamanian Flag, and, of course, a 4-1/2 day weekend that starts this afternoon.

After this holiday, there is Flag Day and the Independence Day celebration from Spain near the end of the month. I’ve been told that the parade for the second Independence Day can last all day, with every school in the area marching and drumming.

In the middle of all of these weeks with multi-day holidays, we are trying to get Amy her Friendly Nation’s Visa. We’ve had lots of appointments to get her to at the lawyer, bank and a doctor/lab (for health status check-ups). Even more stressful was that we had to have a document notarized in an old part of David that we’ve never been to before. The notary had no address (typical) and isn’t near any landmark we know. Maps aren’t really helpful in David, especially if Waze has no addresses to go off of, so it was a nightmare for me, the navigator, to direct our driver, Scott, as we attempted to find the location without dying in a car accident. We survived, but the stress was something.

Scott has since come down with a chest cold, so he’s out of commission for most things. Yesterday, Amy and I went on what was supposed to be a minor errand to pay for an overnight. I left the car at the car wash, where it was supposed to be done 15 minutes (before I got back). We ended up spending 30 minutes at the restaurant, because the brand new manager of this restaurant didn’t quite know how to do the reservations for the second restaurant/hotel. We got back to the car wash, and, of course, our wash had been abandoned mid-job, so that the cleaner could wash other cars. He left the doors all open, and the radio going the whole time. By the time we did get the car back—45 minutes after this, you guessed it, the battery was completely dead.

Fortunately, the young man was helpful in flagging down a woman and her car to charge our battery (as well as a truck driver to do the actual charging). The woman told me (this is all in Spanish, which was making my head hurt), that the battery was two years past its expected life—etched on the top of the battery. She suggested one store to get a new battery and strongly recommended that I get a new one before everything closed down for days. I drove up to that store. They said they had batteries, but none for Toyotas and suggested that I drive to David (45 minutes each way) to find another one. We drove into town, to a store I remembered. They were very nice, but also didn’t have any Toyota batteries.

Someone we know from our hiking group was driving past and needed to give me something. He suggested two other places. Thank goodness the second one had a battery we needed, was willing to replace the battery (for free), and was unbelievably nice. Honestly, I was so wired by this time that his kindness and that of the woman at the register nearly made me cry. She and I had a lovely conversation (all in Spanish again) while the battery was replaced.

I got home so worn out and stressed that I went to sleep on the couch and slept for about the next 12 hours. Today we took Scott to the doctor, and hopefully he’ll be participating in society again soon.

You definitely don’t need to spend your holidays in stress. It’s always good to get away from your regular surroundings. Come down to Boquete, Panama. Stay with us here at Casa de Montaña, set up a massage. Have a manicure. Let us place a free glass of wine or a can of beer in your hand, and relax, read a book, and do the holiday’s the right way – do them your way.

Working hard at volunteering in Boquete after retirement – resistance is futile!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

So, you’re thinking about retiring in Boquete, Panama? As many of us have already taken the leap, we want to welcome you to your next new adventure! We at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast had the great privilege of having two of our former guests, (and now friends) finish their journey home to Boquete, Panama. And now, here is their story of being here after about three months:

Scott and I have both been doing some volunteering in Boquete, and I’m sure we will do more over time, as we are relatively young and healthy and hard workers. Once that is discovered, we’re in trouble.

My volunteering, so far, is with the knitter’s and crochet’s group. Scott is working with an animal group, and I’ll talk about them next time.

The knitter’s and crocheter’s group makes blankets, hats and sweaters for babies and their siblings. The group works with a clinic that provides well baby checkups and classes for mothers (nutrition and other child rearing items) and the hospital clinic for preemies and children with malnutrition in David.

The idea behind these clinics is that many of the indigenous young girls begin having children at 12 or 13. Since they, their mothers and grandmothers are so young, it is often the case that they haven’t had some of the nutrition and other training that is so necessary in rearing healthy babies. They often can’t afford the even extremely inexpensive care provided by the health system here.

Combined with crushing poverty of many families, there are too many babies and children with malnutrition and similar health issues. Check out the video:

The clinics provide assistance for the mothers and children. The mothers are given our blankets, sweaters and hats for their babies for free. Prior to the clinics providing these items, I am told that some of the poorest mothers from the high mountain areas where it gets quite chilly were wrapping their babies in newspapers. Our group leader says she hopes no one ever has to wrap her baby in newspaper again with our help.

I’ve been finding out about other activities that are related–donations of food provided to 120 families each month (by Buenos Vecinos de Boquete), services for handicapped children and adults and many other things. I’m really glad to be helping in a bit of this and can see that in a couple of years I will have to be protecting myself from working too hard.

 

Scott and Joyce have, within a short period of time, jumped in and have settled into the community with their joy, hard work and loving hearts!

 

Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast has been able to help. From the beginning of their stay with us, we have been “hands on” in helping them to acclimate to their surroundings. Come and stay with us, especially if you are thinking of making a move to retirement and volunteerism. We will take the same “hands on” approach to see if Boquete, Panama is right for you.

 

It’s not Hollywood. It’s not Bollywood. It’s the “Boquete Video Festival”!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

It all started with a vision and a thought! We here at Casa de Montana Bed & Breakfast in Boquete, Panama saw the vision and immediately jumped on board!

The vision came from a Boquete resident who we shall call Patrick. He has been in several different movies and commercials and also has a passion for photography and noticed while out on his daily walk all the different people from young to old using their phones and creating videos.

So, the thought occurred to him, we should have an academy awards done up Boquete style! And thus, the vision was created!!!!!

A few days later, Patrick and his wife, we shall call her Gabrielle, were over visiting at Casa de Montana Bed and Breakfast and mentioned his vision. We LOVED it! Terry & Manzar right away said that they wanted to be involved and would be happy to host the Boquete cell phone video’s on their website.

Soon, a committee was started and we right away got the video juices rolling! We decided that there would be 6 categories that a person could sign up and register their video for. After much discussion, the following are the categories:

  1. Adventure/Travel
  2. Commercial/Promotion
  3. Documentary
  4. Comedy
  5. Drama
  6. Musical

Check out the flyers below:

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We decided that this may be a little scary for those of us that don’t know how to video from our smart phones and so the classes were formed. We will be including three classes when you sign up and you will never feel unsupported.

It was decided that we needed to have the theme or contents of the video be Boquete, Panama based or something to do with Boquete.

Within days of our discussions, the idea came along to us that seemed so simple. We must have a full blown Academy Awards Ceremony and make this a Black-tie event! The lady that makes chocolate and has a store of chocolates here in Boquete, we shall call her Debra, has created an award that is now called the Choxsar award and we will be giving these out to the winners of the best video in each category. Along with the Choxsar other prizes will be awarded.

So, I was wondering if I could really make my own 1-5 minute video?  I decided that a commercial to advertise our Boquete Video Festival would be the best way to kick this off. I had no skills in acting, videoing, splicing or editing at all. Well, I want you to see the outcome! I’m happy and astonished at how good it came out!      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivPxi4pp9JM&list=PLwz-744OmrNMrEeav1lSw7hw7LjEUl6Gv

You can also, starting soon, view the videos in each category and vote on them by hitting the “like” button for the ones in each category you really like! It’s great!

youtubepicture

There are so many ways to participate in registering, learning and creating a video by using your cell phone. You don’t have to be living in Boquete, Panama to do so. It just needs to be about Boquete, Panama.  If you don’t have the time to put a video together, still participate by voting. And, make your plans to book & stay with us at Casa de Montana http://www.casademontana.com during the Gala event in January 2017! You will have the time of your life!

Update: beyond the huge response that we have already had, we have added 5 judges that are residence of Boquete that have worked in the movie and film industry….Who knows what this can do for your video! From Boquete Video Festival to Broadway and beyond! Think big!!!!!

 

Do I need vaccinations before my trip to Panama?

Blog by Debra Harwood

 

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Travelers to Central America from North America, Europe and Australia/New Zealand generally have more questions about what kinds of vaccinations, if any, they need to have done prior to their journey to Panama and other countries in Central America. Travelers are looking for a peace-of-mind, especially if their journey takes them to some remote regions. The best thing to do is to contact your local “travel clinic” first. They will most probably have the latest information about any kind of virus outbreak warnings and recommendations from agencies like the CDC (for the travelers from the U.S.). Here is what we have found in our own research from talking to other people and doing our internet searches:

Routine vaccinesThese vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.  You should be up to date on these no matter even if you travel or not.

Most travelers should check into the following before travel:

 Hepatitis AThis vaccine is recommended because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in Panama, regardless of where you are eating or staying.

 TyphoidYou can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in Panama so this vaccine is recommended for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater.

 

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Some travelers should check into the following:

 Hepatitis BYou can get hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products, so this vaccine is recommended if you might have sex with a new partner, get a tattoo or piercing, or have any medical procedures while on your trip.

RabiesAlthough rabies can be found in bats and other mammals in Panama, it is not a major risk to most travelers. Rabies vaccine is recommended for only these groups:

  • Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities in remote areas that put them at risk for bat bites or other animal bites (such as adventure travel and caving).People who will be working with or around animals (such as wildlife – professionals and researchers).

Yellow FeverYellow fever is a risk in certain parts of Panama, so depending on what areas of Panama you plan on exploring you may need to have a yellow fever vaccine.  For example, remote areas of the Bocas del Toro, Darien Region or San Blas Islands.

MalariaWhen traveling in Panama, you should avoid mosquito bites to prevent malaria. You may need to take prescription medicine before, during, and after your trip to prevent malaria, depending on your travel plans, such as where you are going, when you are traveling, and if you are spending a lot of time outdoors or sleeping outside. Bringing some mosquito repellent with you is a good idea.

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Remember some vaccinations involve a series of shots over several months so spending time researching in advance is wise.  In addition, ask your doctor what vaccines and medicines you need based on where you are going, how long you are staying, what you will be doing in that country. Don’t let the fear of a little needle scare you, it only hurts for a second!!!

Most seasoned travelers know to pack a few meds such as Ibuprofen, Imodium, and Antihistamines along with bug repellant, sun block and band aids. It is always good to be prepared for your trip so you feel relaxed and ready for the journey!

So come explore Panama! We are a country of beautiful beaches, breathtaking cloud forests, dense jungles, a world class city and of course the Panama Canal which is one of the man-made wonders of the world!

Remember when in Boquete come stay with us at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast where we will treat you like familyJ

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Carnival in Panama

Blog by Andres Lay & Joy Huppe

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It’s never too early to start planning for Carnival!

Festive colors, fireworks, parades, dancing, drinking and general merriment-making…   just another day in Panama? With the numerous celebrations that occur throughout the year, it might seem so, but Carnival is a special, much-anticipated and fully-celebrated Panamanian happening! While imagining yourself enjoying a cold Balboa and soaking in the Latin rhythms, you may pause to reflect: What are the historic origins of Carnival? How is Carnival celebrated in Panama? Where are some of the country’s biggest parties? And, what steps can you take to have a fantastic Carnival?

History of Carnival
The first Carnival of Panama took place in colonial times. Groups of individuals would don costumes as either the king or queen of Spain, conquering soldiers, Indians, or slaves. The festooned bunch would then depart from Peña Prieta Beach, Avenida Balboa to part of what is now the Santa Ana Park, simulating battles along the way. In 1910 the mayor of Panama, José Agustin Arango, passed a decree formalizing the event. It was then necessary to choose a queen to spearhead the entire affair. The first queen selected was Manuelita Vallarino, who had the honor of being one of the most beautiful woman in Panama until the day of her death. The celebration quickly spread, with different towns arranging parades, holding live concerts, lighting fireworks, and of course, selecting their own Carnival Queen.

queen

The First Carnival Queen


When is Carnival celebrated?
Carnival always takes place 40 days before the Christian holy week. The most famous Carnival in Panama can be found in the town of Las Tablas in the province of Los Santos, located in the Azuero Peninsula in central Panama. Panama City (the capital) and Penonome (a few hours outside the city) are also places which celebrate Carnival in all it’s splendor. Basically, this celebration is a huge party. Yes, that’s exactly what it is. In fact, it is the most famous of all parties in Panama. You might be familiar with Carnival of Rio de Janeiro, and Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Well, the Carnival in Panama is celebrated on the same dates and it is celebrated in one way or another by the entire country.

Where are the most popular Carnivals in Panama?
Carnival in the Azuero Peninsula is by far the most exuberant and most popular celebration! In particular, Las Tablas, where two streets in the same town battle it out to out-do each other with parades all day and night for the 5 days that Carnival lasts. Calle Arriba (High Street) and Calle Abajo (Low Street) put on excellent shows with very expensive thrones and dresses for each of their queens, rivaling those in Rio de Janeiro. This Carnival is one you will never forget if you attend. Other towns in the area — Chitre, Guarare, and La Villa de Los Santos, are also known for celebrations but cannot compare to the one in Las Tablas.

Parade competition brings out spectacular sights

Spectacular parades are an everyday occurrence during Carnival.


The Las Tablas carnival days are organized in the following way
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Friday night kicks off the party with the formal presentation and crowning of the queens, with a parade to follow. Everyone is dressed in their best, and all attend the crowning and parade celebration. After the parade there is a fireworks show which lasts for about 30 minutes.  Afterwards, everyone is free to either hang out at the park or go to various organized parties around town. Drinking is allowed on the streets, but drunks disturbing the peace are quickly rounded up by police and detained until the end of carnival.  (Government courts are shut down during this time.)  The party doesn’t wind down until about 5 am.

Saturday morning comes with the start of the “mojadera” at 10 am. By that time, eighteen-wheelers with are lined up around the town’s central park and crowds are already showing up. The attire for today: shorts or pants, a shirt you won’t mind not being able to wear again, cheap sneakers, sunglasses and a hat/cap. You don’t need to worry about how clean you look after the party because everyone will be wet, and quite possibly colored with dye which some use to color people’s clothes, among other things. Dancing, drinking, and hanging out while you get wet pretty much sums up the day’s activities until 5 pm. At that time, everyone (except the drunks!) start heading home to change into nice clothes, to have dinner and then go back to the central park to enjoy the night parade, followed by more of what happened on Friday night. This basic formula is more or less repeated through Tuesday.

mojadera

Be sure to wear your “play clothes” for Mojadera!

Want to see a little mo’ Mojadera? Check out this link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdHEkRn9ck8

Every day in Carnival has a theme, which proceeds as follows. Friday is the Opening, Saturday is International Day, Sunday is Pollera day, Monday is Costume day, Tuesday is Queens day and in the early morning hours before 5 am on Wednesday is “entierro de la sardina” (the sardine burial) which signifies the end of Carnival until next year.

How do I have the best carnival?  And where should I stay?
Well, in two short words: Plan ahead.  If you would like to attend Carnival, you need to understand that the whole country is participating and all hotels are going to be booked to capacity, as you might expect any city in the world preparing for any carnival. Reserve lodging months in advance to be sure you have a reservation during this busy time!

Keep in mind, although there are numerous hotels in Panama City, your options become more limited in the smaller towns, such as Las Tablas and Boquete.  It is recommended that you gather your friends (or make new friends in Panama!) and enjoy the celebration as a group, thus assuring that you’ll have a blast, while staying safe. The closest Carnival to Boquete is just 15 minutes away in Dolega, where the activities are similar to those in Las Tablas. Boquete area lodging fills up quickly, so you should start making your reservations at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast as soon as possible, as it is common for guests to book far in advance.

Now that you know a little bit more about Carnival in Panama, you can start planning for next year’s celebration.  We look forward to sharing this fun-filled, five-day festival with you!

 

Casa de Montaña – We keep growing and changing!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

 

On January 10th, 2015, we celebrated our 1 year anniversary as a Bed & Breakfast! We keep thinking of ways we can updates things, especially our gardens and open areas.

cambios1

We know that changes are continual and are part of what one has to do to make the space look nice and well taken care of. Keeping up with all the upkeep and changes can be a challenge and Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast is no different. We are taking it in our stride and try to keep a positive attitude. This positive attitude comes in handy when one wants to be creative!

We are fortunate enough to have had all of our staff working with us for an entire year now. We have been able to meet incredible guests who have taught us an amazing amount and we have created worldwide friendships.

And we too need to continue to grow. Here are some of our New Year’s developments:

  • We have hired a professional gardener who has been planting tropical trees, trimming, weeding and moving plants around the property. This has created a much more of a cohesive look, especially on the hill around the main water feature.
  • We’ve adjusted the Sunday’s Panamanian Breakfast to be completely vegetarian and have changed the recipes to be more authentic to Panama. (Previously, we were told by one of our workers that we had actually been using recipes that were more Costa Rican than Panamanian! Oops!).

We’ve created a new and different Friday Mexican Breakfast that has been quite well-received. You can read about this on our website:http://www.casademontana.com/amenities/international-breakfast/cambios2

 

  • We began offering “Pakistani/Indian Cooking Classes” for locals and guests staying with us during our class time. We have added a link to our website with the recipes : http://www.casademontana.com/cooking-classes/
  • We have created a video and posted it on our “Directions” tab to get you to Casa de Montaña once you enter Alto Boquete on Boquete-David road. http://www.casademontana.com/about-us/directions/ This is in addition to the original video on the main page that showcases the home.
  • We have added a Boquete Relocation tab for those who are looking at a possible move to Boquete, Panama. http://www.casademontana.com/boquete-relocation/
  • We have created a “Boquete Overview Tour” designed just for you to get to see all the neighborhoods and communities here in Boquete. So you can make an informed decision. You can check this out on our website: http://www.casademontana.com/boquete-relocation/
  • We have placed a new Panamanian flag out in front of Casa de Montaña in order to be a part of the community and pride of Panama.
  • We have placed two new signs on the road, one at the beginning of Downtown Boquete (aca Bajo Boquete) to indicate 2.5 km distance to Casa de Montaña and the other one by La Posada Restaurant to indicate that we are only 1.0 km up the hill from there.
  • We have partnered with Boquete Outdoor Adventures to offer package tours and stays for a discounted price for you. See our ad on our website: http://www.casademontana.com/specials-savings/
  • Here is a photo of some of our recent guests during Social Hour!cambios3So, as we look toward 2015 and beyond, we are envisioning great times spent providing the best possible services to all of our guests or should we say “our new friends”!?! You are the reason we are here and when you come and stay at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, you are coming home!

Stress-free vacation to Boquete, Panama over the holidays!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

 

As I sit in front of my computer and ponder, “Man alive, I need a vacation!” I begin to wonder why I feel so stressed. I sit here thinking that I don’t have time to ponder the “whys” of feeling stressed! I’ve got to buy this gift for that person and I’ve got to get gas on the way home and I’ve got to make something for that holiday party to share, or do I just stop off and buy something?

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Meanwhile, on Facebook, many of my Facebook friends are posting newsfeeds and I can hardly keep up! I have just fallen behind and need to focus back on these newsfeeds, “like” them and possibly comment. Oh, and my cell phone just buzzed that I have a message through WhatsApp. As I look at it, I have just received a message from a friend asking for a ride into town when I go to get groceries. Of course I say “sure, no problem” and proceed to spend the next five minutes writing a detailed response letting my friend know that I will be going on Thursday this time instead of my normal Wednesday as I already have alternate plans for Wednesday.

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While writing this detailed message on WhatsApp, my phone rings and with annoyance in my voice I answer and say “Hello”. Well, it’s Manzar and he is asking me where I am. Once again, I feel the blood pressure rise. “Why the hell did you call to ask me where I am?.” What was a simple question to make sure that I am at a point and place that I can answer my phone and that I can talk to him, became an instant annoyance for me and that is where I know that something is wrong! I’m stressed!

Upon reflecting on my level of stress, I begin to realize many different things. First I need a get-away plan. Go far away from here, where I can relax. Where I can I go to renew myself. So, let’s begin to plan a trip! I will start by getting airline tickets. Log onto the airline and pull out the charge card. Next, I need a place to lay my head. Pull out the charge card and done. Then, I need to plan some activities to help me relax. Charge card and done. I notice a pattern – it is really not that difficult to plan everything once I realized that I needed some time for myself!

Ok, I can’t wait for my vacation so I can relax. Except that it’s going to take me a year to pay that Charge Card off! Oh well, that stress factor can wait until I’m done with my trip.

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Ok, the time is here to pack. I’ve got everything including my swimsuit and my laptop. This way, I can make sure all my friends on Facebook know that I’m relaxing and having a great time!!! I will post pictures of my events and of course, all the good food I am eating! I can get a Sim Card while I’m there and that way I can get to contact with the rest of the world. Also, I can check my work emails and I can still get that project done for work. Ok, so stop and look at what just happened to me. I am taking a vacation because I needed a respite from all the social media and from the electronic world and then, I bring it with me on my respite!

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How many of us do this? What has happened that we need to be in contact on the social media all the time? Why is it that we feel completely welded to our electronic devices? How many of us feel rested and ready to come back from our vacation refreshed? If you do, I commend you. As for me, I know that when it’s time for a vacation, I’m going to “Take a trip on the Wild Side” and leave my computer. Leave my cell phone. Leave my Social media. Leave all those stress factors back at home. Live in the present. I believe that this will be a difficult but worthy task and that the gain from this will be the rest, relaxation, and respite that I need.

Perhaps, for your next vacation and get a way, maybe think about eliminating the electronic connection to the stressful world that you are living in, just for a few days anyway!

I hope to tell you that I had an incredible experience. I hope to tell you that we actually spent some quality time together! That no matter what we did with our time, it was ours and it was not robbed from us. That no one we know experienced our vacation through social media until we returned home and shared it with everyone. Tranquility, serenity and renewal can all come together. Now, that’s a “Trip on the wild side”!

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While you are waiting to take that much-needed vacation, here is a link that has ways to reduce your stress right now!

http://greatist.com/happiness/23-scientifically-backed-ways-reduce-stress-right-now

Plan your vacation during the cold winter months now and stay with us at Casa de Montaña where we can take the worry (and stress!) out of your planning. Let us help you in coordinating all the activities while you stay with us. Or you can just come and chill out and not do a thing while you de-compress from all of your responsibilities back home.

Boquete – Home of the Resplendent Quetzal!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

 

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From time to time we have some guests who stay with us at Casa de Montaña that get an opportunity to find and enjoy viewing an indigenous bird called the Quetzal without actually searching for it. Others do come in search of these birds on their trek through the trees as they are hiking. The guests are not always lucky enough to find this elusive bird. The bird only shows itself to a chosen few!

Gorgeously plumed Quetzals live in the mountains of Central America. The bird was sacred to the ancient Maya and Aztec peoples, and royalty and priests wore its feathers during ceremonies.

The resplendent Quetzal is an aptly named bird that many consider among the world’s most beautiful. These vibrantly colored animals live in the mountainous, tropical forests of Central America where they eat fruit, insects, lizards, and other small creatures.

During mating season, male Quetzals grow twin tail feathers that form an amazing train up to three feet (one meter) long. Females do not have long trains, but they do share the brilliant blue, green, and red coloring of their mates. Male colors tend to be more vibrant.

Resplendent Quetzal pairs use their powerful beaks to hollow holes as nests in rotted trees or stumps. Inside, they take turns incubating two or three eggs—though males have such long tails that they sometimes stick outside the nest.

Young Quetzals can fly at about three weeks of age, but males do not begin to grow their long tail plumes for three years.

Manzar and Terry spotted two iridescent blue Quetzals their first time in Boquete and have never seen another one since. At the time, they felt that this was a sign that they were both supposed to move to Boquete, Panama, to start a new chapter in their lives.

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Recently we had some guests who stayed with us that were on the Quetzal tour and hike. They went without and guide and felt very disappointed that they did not encounter this amazing bird on their hike. During a small resting period, a man came passing by and they spoke to the man about their disappointment. So, the man looked at them then looked up in the tree above them and then told them to look up! Right there above their heads was the resplendent Quetzal that they were looking for the whole time!!!

So, if you are ever here in Boquete, Panama. Try to get a tour guide if you are bird watching and would like to see this beautiful bird. At Casa de Montaña, we can assist you in giving you a map to the Quetzal Trail, or set you up with a tour guide as well. If you want to venture out on your own, remember, you may need to just look up into the camouflage of the trees and spot “The Resplendent Quetzal”!

 

 

Healing Powers of the cloud forests

Blog by Terry Richmeier

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Boquete is one of a select few places in the world that has a cloud forest. What are cloud forests you may ask? They are nature’s “water towers,” providing billions of gallons of fresh, clean, filtered water. They are home to thousands of indigenous people, and storehouses of biodiversity, at least 80 percent of which has not yet been catalogued. A cloud forest, also called a fog forest, is generally tropical or subtropical, evergreen, moist forest characterized by a persistent, frequent or seasonal low-level cloud cover, usually at the canopy level.

Ok, so what does that mean for me and why do I care about a cloud forest? First it has a “Watershed Function”. Because of the cloud-stripping strategy, the effective rainfall can be doubled in dry seasons and increase the wet season rainfall by about 10%. Essentially, It’s almost impossible to re-create this level of humidity in a glass house or greenhouse. The second is vegetation: Tropical montane cloud forests are not as species-rich as tropical lowland forests, but they provide the habitats for many species found nowhere else. For example, the Cerro de la Neblina, a cloud-covered mountain in the south of Venezuela, accommodates many shrubs, orchids, and insectivorous plants which are restricted to this mountain only. We also use many of the vegetation for modern medicines. Third is Fauna: The diversity in animals is also very high. In Peru, more than one-third of the 270 endemic birds, mammals, and frogs are found in cloud forests. One of the best-known cloud forest mammals is the mountain gorilla (Gorilla b. beringei). Many of those endemic animals have important functions, such as seed dispersal and forest dynamics in these ecosystems. By changing this environment, we will lose many animals that rely on the cloud forests.

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Wow, this seems to be a lot of big stuff to take in. Essentially, we know that there are many of our cloud forests that are being lost to population growth, poverty, and uncontrolled land use. Significant areas are being used for plantations, agriculture, pasture, tea and coffee farms, and lodging. Cloud forests are being strongly affected by climate change as well.

Here in Boquete, we know of two expat women, Elizabeth and Dianne, who purchased some land in our own cloud forest area. What they found on this land was that there were many plants that were once used for medicinal purposes. As they began to discover these plants, trees and shrubs, they started to put together the thought that this area and space was once a live pharmacy of the indigenous type. The two ladies felt that the indigenous people may have used these plants as help for their ailments and sicknesses.

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You can read more about their adventure through their webpage: http://cloudforestbotanicals.com/

They offer tours at the Cloud Forest Botanicals where you can learn the medicinal value and uses of the various plants. Many of these lotions, tinctures and creams are available for purchase as well. We can assist you in setting up these tours when you come and stay with us at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast.

Boquete Coffee – High quality coffee that is performing well on the international market!

By Eliecer Andres Lay

Are you a coffee enthusiast? Then look no further! A visit to some of our Boquete coffee farms is a must when you stay with us at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast.

coffehttp://infusionistas.com/cafe/panama-renueva-la-oferta-del-cafe-de-calidad/

The perfect weather and altitude of Boquete, as well the volcanic soil provides excellent conditions that make the coffee produced in Boquete one of the best coffees in the world. Panama is a small country that produces great coffee crops. Because of the limited land mass, growers in the highlands, such as Boquete, decided to specialize when it comes to coffee production. Coffee from Panama competes for quality, not quantity. Most Panamanian coffee is grown in Boquete, or highlands of Chiriqui. Farmers are very proud of their crops. Coffee quality control includes testing for soil, elevation, weather patterns and even the vegetation growing around the coffee bushes. Panama plants different types of coffee, the most famous is a variety called “Geisha”. The requirements for Geisha are very strict and requires great care in the production. This coffee has been known to be exported and sold at record prices to Japan and Taiwan. At the last auction held by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), the best bid for 14.5 pounds Panamanian coffee got sold for $289.29!!!

 

Different “Coffee Tours” that are available in Boquete

Here at Casa de Montaña we think that Finca Dos Jefes tour is the best! It is a very informative and interactive tour combining a field experience as well as an opportunity to roast your own coffee to your liking and bring it back with you to take home! There are several Boquete tours you can take or just buy their coffee that is not always available anywhere else in Panama. Finca Dos Jefes, Kotowa, Café Ruiz, Finca Lérida, Finca La Milagrosa, Janson Familia Coffee and Hacienda La Esmeralda are some options available to you for a tour. Each plantation has its unique appeal. Visit one or more on your next visit to Boquete. Below is a video of Finca Dos Jefes Coffee Tour:

 

Did you know… there are several steps in producing coffee?

There are many steps in bringing coffee to your favorite cup to help you wake up in the morning! Come to your tour fully equipped with these steps and impress your tour guide:

  • Cultivation: Apart from the differences in the systems of pruning and cultivation of Arabica coffee, most others follow the same general pattern in most areas where coffee is grown.

 

  • Propagation: The coffee is spread on a large scale by means of plants grown from seed or by grafting or cuttings. In the case of propagation by seed, there are procedures one has to follow related to storage of the seed to prevent spoilage. Thus for Arabica, for example, dry air storage is recommended at temperatures of 10 ° C with a moisture content of 10-11%

 

  • Shade: While there is still some debate among experts about the need for shade coffee cultivation, it should be noted that the modern trend is not to use shade plants, and the vast majority of new plantings are made ​​without this. It is a proven fact that coffee invariably produce higher yields without shade plants. It should be noted, moreover, that in the case of using shade plants, they would have to:
  1. a) Be productive
  2. b) Have similar needs for water and nutrients because otherwise an imbalance between coffee and these plants occurs

 

  • Soil Management: The most difficult issue with coffee cultivation, especially in tropical regions of the highlands, is the problem related to soil conservation. It is essential in order to establish a coffee plantation, one has to protect the soil from the erosive action of tropical, torrential rains as soon as the clearance is made. In mountainous areas and on steeper slopes, coffee can be planted along the contours. The selective weeding, removing plants that can compete with coffee trees, and / or planting of herbs to enrich and protect the soil, can be used in order to improve the quality of coffee plants on steeper slopes.

 

  • Fertilization: It is shown that fertilizers are absolutely necessary in the cultivation of coffee trees that are in the sun as well as in soils that are especially in middle to low fertility. In recent years there has been an introduction of a trade liquid fertilizer or foliar fertilizers. These are applied by spraying the leaves of plants, provide supplementary nutrients, and are similar to the solid fertilizers that are applied to the soil.

 

  • Pruning: There are two main aspects to consider regarding the pruning of coffee: first, the training of young trees to build a strong and well balanced plant with good structure, fruiting branches, and second, the pruning of branches so they keep producing fruit (coffee beans).

 

  • Harvest: The harvest season varies depending on the proximity to the tropics of the country producing the coffee. Generally the harvesting of coffee is done between October and February in countries closer to the Tropic of Cancer, and from May to July in the countries closest to Tropic of Capricorn.

 

  • Breeding and Selection: The breeding and selection of coffee has continued in two main channels – one has been the outstanding selection of local breeds, in various countries where coffee is grown; the other is the improvement of Arabica and other species.

 

  • Pests and diseases: Many efforts have been made ​​towards introducing agronomic techniques that include controlling weeds, pests and diseases. The effects of weeds are well known to the farmers. With the rising cost and scarcity of labor, it is necessary to find the most economical solutions that cause the least amount of damage to the environmental.

 

 

An excerpt from Infusionistas.com

Panama has not historically been “famous” in the cultivation of coffee, but rather largely overshadowed by its neighbors in this regard. That perception has been corrected in recent years mainly because of the great attention that has won the Geisha variety grown in farms in the region, capable of producing a “floral”, highly appreciated and sought after coffee in the international market. It is only in the district of Boquete in the province of Chiriqui where small family farms produce these unique coffee, brightly colored, with floral aromas and fruity clean taste, considered among the best in the world. The cool, moist mountain air, organic practices, expanded areas for growing shade coffee, painstaking care, all help to produce exceptional coffee. Panama has held annual coffee competitions since the late 90s, but it was in 2004 that the Finca La Esmeralda won the first prize and gained fame with the Geisha variety grown in a high elevation on their farm.

This variety of Arabica coffee exported from the wild forests of Ethiopia, was introduced in Central America in 1950, but its production was virtually non-existent in Panama until recently. Today there are several Panamanian farms that offer this variety as well as in Colombia and Costa Rica. There are many varieties of Arabica coffee beans that include flavors that are floral, fruity, sweet, or like chocolate! These are being produced in Boquete Panama and other highland areas of Panama. Panama has the lowest coffee production in Central America, however, the coffee growers in Panama are committed to quality over quantity and have established a solid reputation for excellence with the aim of sustainable growth of coffee targeting the gourmet market. In 2010, again a batch of this famous product of the Hacienda La Esmeralda farm has set a new world record when sold in an online auction at $170.20 per pound (460 grams).

Boquete have some of the top producers of coffee in the world and it is the best place to go and taste a good coffee. Boquete offers you different types of coffee tours – starting from seeing the end to end processes and ending with roasting of your own coffee to take home! One of the coffee processing plants (Café Ruiz) is located just a few doors down the hill from Casa de Montaña! During your next trip to Panama do not forget to visit Boquete and try one of the best coffees in the world.

Boquete’s Green Season – A time to cleanse your body and soul!

A view from the guestroom window

A view from the guestroom window

It is not a surprise to us that some tourists prefer coming to Boquete during the Green Season when it rains the most. We thoroughly enjoy this time of the year as well. The color green is much greener! Come to think of it, ALL colors seem to be so much more vibrant. The peak rainy months are September and October. In the U.S. it’s starting to cool down and there is always the possibility of snow in the Mountain, Upper Midwestern and Northeastern states. Here in Boquete, we enjoy both the Green and the Dry seasons and that’s all we have to be concerned with.

We tend to start the morning with the sun shining brightly in the sky. Around 11 AM, the clouds begin to roll into the valley over several hours (we took pictures of some of this happening, out of the window of our guestrooms, the other day). Then around 2 pm, it starts raining with a wonderfully soothing cool breeze. The perfect time to sit on the back porch, enjoy some coffee or cocoa or even a nice glass of wine and watch the rain fall to the earth and create the “purifying green” that we get to enjoy here year around.

DSC00657What’s also very nice about September and October is that you can plan to do the zip line tour, coffee tour, quetzal walk and any other tours in the mornings when it rarely rains. There are fewer tourist here and there seem to be discounts available for those who plan on having an adventure here at this time of the year. Also, in general there are greater varieties of blooming orchids and flowers here as well.

For those of you who especially enjoy having some time to read a book, sit and watch the rain and just have an incredibly slow relaxing time, this may just be the months of the year for you to come down and visit us!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

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