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!

Cobertura de telefonía celular en Boquete, Panamá

Blog por Terry Richmeier

Traducido por Generoso Guerra

Cuando nos mudamos a América Central por primera vez y nos quedamos en la ciudad de Panamá, pensamos: “¡¿Qué hemos hecho?!” ¡No teníamos ninguna comunicación con los EE. UU! Dentro de las 24 horas de la llegada, corrimos hasta Albrook Mall y compramos un teléfono económico, una tarjeta SIM y algunos minutos de teléfono. ¡Me sentí como Navidad a principios de agosto! Nos convencimos de que ahora estaríamos bien.

Sin embargo, mientras estaba sentado en la cama en el condominio que alquilamos y enchufamos el teléfono para comenzar a cargarlo (tuvimos que quedarnos en la ciudad de Panamá para terminar nuestro proceso de residencia), me di cuenta de que este es un teléfono local. Sin forma de llamar a mi mamá y a mi papá o a mis amigos en los Estados Unidos, lo cual necesitaba desesperadamente hacer. Me sentí solo y asustado. Entonces comencé a buscar diferentes formas de comunicarme con Wi-Fi limitado. (Nuestro condominio solo tenía un pequeño dispositivo para Wi-Fi.) Bueno, no fue fácil, sin embargo, terminamos en Skype haciendo videollamada con nuestra amiga quien se haría cargo de llevar su computadora portátil a mis padres y decidimos hacer una llamada semanal con ellos. Boom, conectado de nuevo!

Entonces, mi pregunta es, “¿Es solo un problema aquí en Panamá? ¿O en todo el mundo? ¿Es mi experiencia una experiencia aislada basada en mi propia falta de conocimiento?

He aquí otra historia de un reciente transplante en Boquete Amy Kinnear y su experiencia con una empresa operadora de teléfono en EE. UU. Antes de mudarse aquí a Boquete, Panama:

Las alegrías de la comunicación en el extranjero. Antes de obtener un nuevo operadora de teléfono celular, me aseguré de comunicarles que era extremadamente importante que tuviera un teléfono que funcionara en Panamá. Me prometieron que cuando fuera a Panamá tendría texto e información ilimitados, además de poder hacer llamadas. Simplemente sería más caro. Yo estúpidamente los creí. Unos meses más tarde decidí mudarme a Panamá y volaría a la ciudad de Panamá para reunirme con mis padres, para nuestra conexión con David, Panamá. Solo había estado en Panamá una vez y estaba nerviosa porque mi español es horrible. Al principio no estaba demasiada estresada porque mi operadora me aseguró varias veces que mi teléfono funcionaría en Panamá. Simplemente llamaba y avisaba a mis padres cuando llegué a la ciudad de Panamá, para poder reunirnos antes del vuelo a David. Apenas el avión aterrizó, los llamé. ¡Sin señal!Mi corazón se desvaneció. ¿Qué iba a hacer si necesitaban contactarme? “No te preocupes”, me dije. Seguiría sus instrucciones sobre cómo llegar a mi próxima puerta. Tenía la intuición de que no iban a hacer nuestra conexión. ¿Cómo diablos iba a llegar a Boquete? ¿Qué iba a hacer una vez que llegue allí? No tenía forma de entrar a su casa sin las llaves, y necesitaba un lugar donde quedarme. Si mi teléfono hubiera funcionado como lo prometieron, podría haber llamado a mi gente. Ni siquiera tenía datos como me dijeron que lo haría. Así que tampoco pude enviarles mensajes en Facebook. Pude pagar para usar el Wi-Fi del aeropuerto. Traté de contactar a mi madre en Messenger, pero su teléfono no funcionaba. Tuve que enviarle un mensaje a mi ex novio, para que pudiera enviar mensajes de texto a mi madre para ver cuál era el plan mientras yo también estaba enviando mensajes a todas las personas que había conocido en Panamá el año pasado para ver si podía llevarme de David a Boquete una vez que aterrizaba. Finalmente, a través Facebook llamé a Manzar para ver si Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast tenía una habitación disponible y si conocían a alguien, para pedir un taxi. Todo funcionó al final, pero no hace falta decir que estoy muy molesta con mi ex proveedor. Pasé algunas semanas sin un teléfono local, pero me sentí incómoda solo podía llamar si estaba conectada a Wi-Fi. Los teléfonos son muy asequibles aquí. Tengo un teléfono local muy básico, pero es bueno saber que puedo comunicarme con la gente mientras estoy fuera, ¡y solo cuesta alrededor de $ 20!

Entonces, hay varias opciones disponibles para ti aquí en Panamá. Primero, si solo está viajando aquí, puede obtener cobertura internacional contactando a su propio proveedor de telefonía celular. O puede comprar un teléfono de uso mundial. Y otra opción es comprar una tarjeta SIM a su llegada para que tenga un número de teléfono local y luego comprar minutos a través de una tarjeta de prepago de teléfono celular. Y también recuerde que puede comprar un plan de datos mensual que tiene un uso ilimitado de datos. ¡Esto sería bueno para usar en cualquier lugar donde haya WiFi y puede conectarse con su familia y amigos en su casa a través de WhatsApp o contactar a un Uber o taxista sin que le cueste más dinero!

 Ahora, si planea mudarse a Panamá, aparte de las opciones enumeradas anteriormente, puede traer un teléfono de Vonage y conservar su número local. ¡Podrás mantenerte en contacto con toda tu familia y amigos! Aquí en Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast sabemos lo importante que es estar conectado. Hacemos nuestro mejor esfuerzo para mantenerlo conectado y podemos ayudarlo a contactar personas cercanas o lejanas. Por lo tanto, venga y quédese con nosotros y relájese sabiendo que puede contactarse nuevamente en su casa.

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!

Earthquakes in Boquete and all over Central America!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

 

Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast has been open for almost a year now and last November and December, we experienced our first earthquakes and a year later, during November and December we experienced it again! Does this mean that Boquete will experience seasonal earthquakes regularly and why would that be? Here is how the story unfolded…

Terry was sitting in the office and Manzar was at the Chox Chocolates store buying an anniversary gift for our guests. We had several guests staying with us including a couple who is planning to relocate to Boquete. That’s when it happened! The earth and house shook. It lasted a total of about 20 seconds. Terry and the staff were frozen. Terry grabbed the desk, and silently prayed “Please stop! Please stop! Please stop!” It felt like the longest 20 seconds in recorded history! For Terry anyway. The rest of the Bed and Breakfast staff was like, “Eh, you get used to it! It’s no big deal. It happens this time of year.”

A day later at 3:56 am, another one! (Of course, this was just an aftershock.) The bed started shaking as if a quarter was inserted for a vibration massage. Terry woke right up and panicked! This time it lasted a longer time, but did not seem to have the intensity of the first one (although it was later determined that in was higher on the Richter scale than the first one). Now, do you think Terry could go back to sleep? No, he could not. Again, everyone at the Bed and Breakfast and friends around town said the same thing. “No big deal, you get used to it.”

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Within seconds of these two incidents, Facebook was filled with comments, likes, and pictures of the morning sky! Terry began to think, “Why am I the only one concerned about the ground opening up and swallowing me?” And that is the reason that the research on earthquakes in Boquete in November and December began.

First, we have found some history of the past year that has a satellite visual of where the epicenter of the earthquakes is. Take a look: http://earthquaketrack.com/pa-02-boquete/recent

An earlier article written in Panama Simple published June 27, 2013 by Dennis Smith states:

Panama is part of the Pacific Rim and Earthquakes do Happen Here

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Contrary to many tourism articles, Panama does have its share of seismic activity – aka earthquakes. This country sits on the Pacific Rim and some shakers are inevitable. Thankfully the shakers are usually low on the Richter scale and do very little if any damage.

So this is not meant to be a frightening post, but depending on where you decide to build, buy or rent your home or commercial building, you should be aware that you need to do your seismic substructure homework first.

Most of the earthquakes in Panama occur in the mountainous Chiriqui Province, which has not one but two volcanic craters – Volcan Baru and El Valle de Anton – both extinct.

Abelardo Serrano, the Regional Director of the National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC) in the province of Chiriqui puts things in perspective. He said SINAPROC is preparing the public for the possibility of any earthquake, and they said the main thing is to remain calm. Serrano said that the population in Chiriqui has to learn to live with the threat of earthquakes, and for this they should prepare themselves beforehand, during and after the event.

Why? Because 26 of the 50 earthquakes that have occurred in Panama in recent years have happened in the Chiriqui province.

The quakes are rated on the scale as follows, 10 – extraordinary, 9 – outstanding, 8 – far-reaching, 7 – high, 6 – noteworthy, 5 – intermediate, 4 – moderate, 3 – minor, 2 – low and 1 – insignificant.

Earthquakes do happen in Panama. Make sure your foundations are safe and sound.

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So, one of the questions that Terry had during that early morning while laying in bed, feeling gravely concerned, was what makes some earthquakes feel so much worse than others in terms of shaking? A local Ex-Pat Boquetenian, (People who live in Boquete) David Harn, wrote an article on the local website Boquete.ning.com in regards to this very question on October 10, 2014. Here is his response:

Many people confuse magnitude, which is a number that quantifies the energy released by an earthquake with intensity, which is the amount of shaking at a given location.

Technically, “The Richter scale is a base-10 logarithmic scale, which defines magnitude as the logarithm of the ratio of the amplitude of the seismic waves to arbitrary, minor amplitude.”

The term “intensity” refers to the amount of shaking that we humans feel. It is arbitrary, and based on survey reports and damage estimates.  For the victims of disastrous earthquakes, intensity is far more important.

-An earthquake has one magnitude, but many intensities.

-The intensity of shaking generally decreases with distance from the hypocenter (Which is the point on the Earth’s surface directly above the epicenter, which itself may be many miles below the surface.)

-The intensity of shaking also is influenced greatly by the type of underlying material – soft sediments shake more than hard rock.  (That’s why the Marina District in San Francisco and the elevated section of freeway in Oakland suffered so much damage in the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake  – they were fairly distant from the “hypocenter” of the earthquake, but had been built on old SF Bay mud flats, which liquefied  when the quake shook them hard.)

-Earthquake magnitude is quantitative and exact and is a measurement of the size of the earthquake – it is expressed as a number; intensity is qualitative and more subjective and is a measurement of the earthquake effects – it is expressed as a Roman numeral.

-The Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale is what we use in the U.S. Other countries use other scales.

The article includes much more information on such topics as Trans-Panama Pipeline – (it transports up to 600,000 barrels per day (32,000 gallons/minute across the mountains through the rainforest.)  [A 2010 study published by the Seismological Society of America. A graphic example of the importance of underlying material. Plate tectonics. Managua, less than 6.2 magnitude that destroyed the city in the 1970s and much more.

Spend some time taking a look at the discussion: http://boquete.ning.com/forum/topics/a-primer-on-earthquake-hazards-in-panama?commentId=1434455%3AComment%3A591667

At Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, we have tried to build our home to withstand these low to medium level earthquakes which are a norm in the Chiriqui province. We are glad that the only Volcano, Volcan Baru, that is visible from almost all parts of Boquete is a dormant volcano! Just like any other catastrophic events no one can really prepare oneself for those outliers. If history is any indication, these outliers have a very low probability of occurring. In the meantime, come down and enjoy the verdant valley of Boquete formed by the rich volcanic soil that has been deposited here over the centuries. We believe that all clouds have a silver lining!

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