Alguien sabe donde podríamos relajarnos en las vacaciones? (Mi sugerencia: Boquete, Panama)

Blog por Terry Richmeier.

Traducido por: Generoso Guerra.

No importa en que parte del mundo estés, las vacaciones pueden ser estresantes. Desde manejar, ir de compras hasta las cenas familiares. Sin embargo, aquí en Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast creemos poder quitarte el estrés de encima.

Inclusive aquí en Boquete, Panamá. Para quienes reciden aquí, el estrés está a la vuelta de la esquina. Aquí está nuestra amiga Joyce Kinnear’s con prueba rigurosa del estrés causado a ella y su hija Amy por las vacaciones o días feriados:

Ha sido una semana muy loca y definitivamente he tratado de adaptarme, mi entendimiento cultural y el conocimiento de la comunidad. Todo está bien pero a veces ha sido un poco estresante y agotador.

Primero que nada, esta semana empieza el mes de fiestas Patrías en Panamá. Tuvimos días de conmemoración alrededor de Halloween y los primeros días del mes de Noviembre. Hoy, Amy y Yo vimos a muchas, muchas personas con arreglos florales en camino al cementerio para honrar la memoría de aquellos seres queridos que han fallecido.

Mañana se celebra el día de la independencia Panamá de Colombia. Será celebrado con desfiles, bandas musicales que marchan a lo largo del día (eso parece), el pueblo entero cubierto por el rojo, blanco y azul de la bandera Panameña y desde luego un largo fin de semana de 4 días ½ que empieza esta tarde.

Luego de este día, se celebran el día de la bandera Panameña y la separación Panamá de España ya casi al finalizer el mes. Me han dicho que los desfiles de la segunda fecha de indepencia puede durar todo el día, con todas las escuelas del área y  escuelas visitantes marchando al compass de los tambores.

A mediados de estas semanas con varios días festivos, estuvímos tratando de obtener la Visa para Amy. Hemos tenido muchas citas con el abogado, el banco y laboratorios (para monitorear su salud). Aún más estresante fue cuando tuvímos que notariar un documento en la parte vieja de la ciudad de David en la cual nunca antes habíamos estado. La notaria no tenía dirección (típico) y no estaba cerca de nada que conocieramos. Los mapas no son realmente útiles en David, especialmente si Waze no tiene direcciones donde ir. Fue una pesadilla para mí dirigir nuestro conductor, Scott, mientras intentabamos encontrar la locación sin morir en un accidente automovilstico. Sobrevivímos, pero el estrés fue algo horrible.

Scott desde entonces ha caido con un resfriado, por lo que está fuera de la mayoría de las cosas. Ayer, Amy y Yo fuimos a lo que se suponía sería un recado menor; terminamos pagando una noche. Dejé el carro en un lavautos, donde se suponía lo harían en 15 minutos (antes de volver). Terminamos esperando 30 minutos en un restaurante porque el nuevo gerente de este restaurante no sabía como hacer reservaciones para el Segundo restaurant del hotel. Regresamos al lavauto y por supuesto nuestro lavado había sido abandonado a medias, solo para que el trabajador pudiera lavar otros carros. Él dejó todas las puertas abiertas y la radio prendida todo el tiempo.  Luego al momento en el que recibimos el carro — 45 minutos después de esto, como adivinaste; la batería estaba completamente muerta.

 Afortunadamente, un joven caballero fue muy útil al hacer señas a una mujer en su carro para cargar nuestra batería (así como a el conductor de un camión el cual realmente cargo nuestra batería). La mujer me dijo (todo este es en Español, lo cual hizo que me doliera la cabeza), que la batería se había pasado por 2 años su tiempo de vida— grabado en la parte superior de la batería. Ella sugirió una tienda en donde comprar una nueva batería y fuertemente me recomendo que obtuviera una nueva antes de que todo cerrará por días. Manejé hasta dicha tienda. Ellos dijeron que tenían baterías, pero ninguna era para Toyotas y me sugirió que manejara hasta David (45 minutos de ida y venida) para encontrar otra. Fuimos al pueblo, a una tienda la cual yo me acordaba. Fueron muy amables pero tampoco tenían baterías para Toyota.

Un conocido de nuestro grupo de excursión necesitaba darnos algo  y pasó cerca nuestro. Él nos sugirió otros 2 lugares. Gracias a Dios el segundo lugar tenía la batería que necesitabamos, estaban dispuestos a reemplazar la batería (gratis) y fue increiblemente amable. Honestamente, estaba tan exhausta a esa hora que su amabilidad y la de la chica en la caja que casi me hacen llorar. Ella y Yo tuvimos una Hermosa conversación (todo esto en Español nuevamente) mientras reemplazaban la batería.

Llegué a casa tan cansada y estresada que me acosté en el sofá y me dormí por las siguientes 12 horas. Hoy llevamos a Scott al doctor; ojalá pueda reincorporarse pronto a participar en la comunidad.

Definitivamente no tienes que pasar las vacaciones o días festivos bajo estrés. Siempre es bueno escaparse de la rutina diaria y sus alrededores. Ven a tierras altas Boquete, Panamá. Quédate  con nosotros aquí en Casa de Montaña, ordena un masaje en tu cuarto al igual que una manicura. Dejános poner una copa de vino o una cerveza en tu mano de cortesía y relájate, lee un libro y disfruta de las vacaciones de la manera correcta – Disfrútalas a Tú manera!.

 

Ha mejorado el arte perdido del reciclaje en Panamá?

Escrito por: Terry Richmeier.

Traducido por: Generoso Guerra.

Aquí en Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast hacemos nuestro mejor esfuerzo para proteger el medio ambiente a toda costa. Nosotros reutilizamos, reducimos y reciclamos todo lo que podemos.

Cuando por primera vez llegamos a Panamá aterrizamos en el Aeropuerto Internacional de Tocúmen en la ciudad de Panamá. Habíamos ordenado un taxi para que nos recogíera y nos trasladaría hasta nuestro hotel. En el camino pudimos apreciar pilas de basura alrededor de la ciudad y aumentando al llegar a las barriadas de la parte noroeste de la ciudad. Cuando nos mudamos a Boquete, Panamá notamos el mismo patron de basura en el área. También nos llego la noticia de que en la ciudad de Panamá las playas tenían el mismo aspecto cubiertas con basura. Sorprendentemente, la mayoría de estas pilas de basura no existen hoy en día!, Así como la basura en camino a Boquete. Se aprecia un mejor futuro en relación al reciclaje y control de basura en las calles de Panamá. Hay mucha más conciencia y esfuerzo en marcha a limpiar los alrededores, están apareciendo programas de voluntaries cada día. Aquí les dejo un mensaje de nuestra ex huésped Joyce Kinnear:

En la mañana del domingo previo a Halloween, Me desperté a las 5:30 a.m. para unirme al grupo de reciclaje “Boquete Recycling” y comenzar nuestra tarea de “limpiar Boquete” a las 7 a.m.. El grupo entero se dividió en al menos 4 grupos. Recogímos basura por al menos 2 horas (7 bolsas con nuestro pequeño grupo), también una bolsa de metals reciclables y botellas de plástico reciclable. Pudímos quedarnos más tiempo pero teníamos otro evento al cual asistir.

 Boquete está intentando de que la “reutilización, reducción, reciclaje y limpieza” sea una parte más de la vida diaria. Ha sido difícil obtener el servicio de reciclaje en pueblo tan lejos de todo en Panamá. Siempre hemos dicho que en Boquete estamos al final de la línea de distribución y eso incluye el reciclaje.

 Fue muy alentador el ver muchas personas reuniendose tan temprano en la mañana para recolectar basura y reciclarla a lo largo de la vía principal del pueblo. Tuvímos muchas personas ayudándonos y agradeciendo; Una joven se quedó con nuestro equipo por una hora ayudando a recoger basura justamente antes de salir del pueblo y continuar con su travesía.

Ahora solo nos queda averiguar como devolver las botellas de agua y cerveza a su debida empresa para obtener una remuneración a nuestros esfuezos de reciclaje dado que sus productos son la mayoría de desperdicios. ¿No sería eso significativo?.

Otro ex huésped llamado Colin el cual vive en la Ciudad de Panamá, junto a un grupo de amigos han empezado a recoger basura de las playas. Dicho suceso fue descubierto por los ciudadanos y se ha convertido en un esfuerzo mutuo de limpieza. Las playas empiezan a parecer playas nuevamente.

Aquí en Boquete como podrás ver los esfuerzos están dando resultados. Quizás algún día tendremos nuestra propia compañía de reciclaje en acción.

El Gobierno Nacional de Panamá recientemente firmó una nueva ley que dará inicio en el año 2019, no habrán bolsas plásticas permitadas en los comercios de Panamá! otro gran avance.

Estamos aquí en Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, continuamos con la reutilización, reducción y reciclaje con lo que podemos. Desde recoger la basura de nuestro jardín hasta la reducción de uso de recursos valiosos y reciclando al compartir con los programas de la comunidad.

 

 

Ven y hospédate con nosotros, dejanos saber que te gustaría que hicieramos para salvar nuestro medio ambiente. Detalles como dejar una nota en la puerta dejandonos saber que te gustaría reutilizer las toallas o dejar la señal de no molestar en la puerta. Cualquier manera que prefieras ayudarnos a reutilizar, reducir y reciclar.

 

 

 

The lost art of recycling being reclaimed in Panama?

Blog by Terry Richmeier.

Here at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast we try our best to be environmentally friendly. We re-use, reduce, and recycle what we can.

When we first came to Panama we arrived at the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City. We had arranged for a taxi pick us up and drive us to our hotel. On the way, we noticed piles of trash all over the city in the northwest neighborhoods of town. When we moved to Boquete, Panama we noticed the same thing here as well. We were also told by others that the beaches in Panama City were completely covered in trash as well. Amazingly, most of those piles are now gone! So is the trash along the way to Boquete. The future looks better for Panama in regards to recycling and trash control. There is more awareness and efforts underway to clean the surroundings and volunteer programs are popping up in places. Here is a message from a former guest Joyce Kinnear:

This Sunday morning before Halloween, I got up at 5:30, so that we could join the Boquete Recycling group at 7 to “clean up Boquete.” The whole team split into at least four groups. For two hours, we picked up trash (7 bags with our small group), as well as a bag of recyclable metal and recyclable plastic bottles. We would have stayed longer, except that we had another event to go to.

Boquete is attempting to get “reuse/recycle/reduce” and “clean up” to be a larger part of life. It’s been difficult to get recycling service in town, so far from everything in Panama. We always say we are at the end of the distribution line here in Boquete, and that includes recycling.

 

It was heartening to see so many people gather together so early in the morning to pick up trash and recycling along the main road into town. We had a number of people thank us and help us—one young woman staying with our team for an hour to help in cleaning up the trash before she had to go.
Now, we just need to figure out how to get the beer and water bottling companies to pay for recycling efforts, since their products are the majority of what seems to get dumped. Wouldn’t that be something?

Another former guest that lives in Panama City named Colin, has started, with a group of friends, picking up the trash from the beaches. This was discovered by the city and now has become a city effort as well. The beaches are starting to look like beaches again.

 

 

Here in Boquete, as you can see, efforts are being made. Perhaps one day we will have our recycling company back in action.

The Panamanian government has just signed a law that starting in 2019, there will be no more plastic grocery bags allowed in Panama! Another great move forward.

And, we here at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, continue to do what we can to reuse, recycle, and reduce. From picking up trash in our yard to reducing usage of our precious resources and recycling by sharing in the community programs.

 

When you come down and stay with us, just let us know what you would like us to do in order to save our environment. Things such as placing a note on the door that you would like to re-use your towels, or leave your room to not be disturbed or cleaned. Whatever way you prefer to help us reuse, recycle, and reduce.

 

No es necesario el Otoño en Tierras Altas Boquete?

Blog por Terry Richmeier.

Traducido por Generoso Guerra.

YO ODIO la nieve! De verdad la odio! Y crecer en Colorado, por muchos anos tuve mi justa dosis de nieve. Particularmente tampoco me gusta el Otoño. Porque? Porque el invierno lo acompaña de la

mano…

Pero, no son todas las personas, algunas si les gusta el frio y la nieve. Muchas disfruten el cambio y variedad de colores que se aprecian en Otoño y debo admitir, cuando vivi en Minnesota, la cosecha de manzanas y los puestos de venta de pastel a un lado de la carretera fueron asombrosos durante los viajes en carro atravez del estado en Otoño.

 

 

 

 

Estamos aqui en Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, bueno, no podemos mentir y si extranamos el Otoño un poco, si solo un poco…. No tenemos mucho del Otono aqui. Solo una suave y delicada lluvia en la tarde, llamada por los locales Bajareque. La cual comienza alrededor de las 2 pm hasta la noche! Tranquilas y frescas mananas las cuales son perfectos para dormir hasta tarde. Y eso no es nada malo…..

He aqui una declaracion de parte de nuestra amiga Joyce Kinnear:

Hemos estado en la parte Este de los Estados Unidos el ultimo par de semanas y estaremos regresando a Panama pronto. La parte Oriental de los Estados Unidos a mi punto de vista siempre me ha parecido un poco como a un pais extranjero. Desde luego he pasado la mayor parte de mi vida en la parte Oeste (Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, California y Nevada), el este siempre me ha parecido similar a Europa—llena de historia, museos y monumentos. Tambien, los cambios de estacion son mas parecidos a los que vez en cartas y haz leido en libros.

Otono en el Oeste realmente no es muy diferente al verano. Depende en la ubicaion, talvez sea el clima mas caliente o un poco mas lluvioso. Los arboles en su mayoria son abetos y pinos, entonces el “color” del cual haz leido no esta alla, pastos amarillentos, pocos alisos y alamos. Nunca me senti atraida al Otono. Panama es similar en eso, cuando vives cerca del Ecuador “Otono” realmente es inexistente. Como California, te mueves de lo seco a lo humedo con algunas variantes en tipos de flores y esquemas de colores, pero no es nada como el gran cambio que acontese en la costa Este.

En los ultimos anos he visitado mis hermanas en Maryland y Carolina del Norte. Realmente, la costa Este obtiene lo mejor en otono. Los colores son sorprendentes, con arboles mostrando una altagama de colores amarillos, naranjas, rojos hasta un Chocolate marron que es realmente spectacular. Los flores estan floreciendo en su mejor otono. El clima, cuando esta soleado es asombrosamente hermoso durante el dia. La Temperatura es calida  y el ssol tiene ese pequeno descenso en el cielo que permite tomar fantasticas fotografias y placenteras caminatas sin sudar en lo absolute.

Maryland, en particular me atrae. Allá hay una gran cantidad de museos y sitios historicos con una asombrosa diversidad de personas, restaurantes y barriadas. Si no fuera por el invierno, estaría interesada en vivir ahí.

Pero ahora, es tiempo de prepararse para volver a la profundidad de la temporada lluviosa en Panamá. Heme aquí esperanzada de no inundarme con la lluvia!

Si eres como yo o no, planea en venir a Boquete, Panamá y quedate  con nosotros en Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast! Invierno es verano aquí puedes disfrutar el sol mientras vas de canotaje o mientras disfrutas the un masaje en tu cuarto, todo mientras otros estan paleando.

Why fall into Fall in Boquete?

Blog by Terry Richmeier.

I HATE the snow! I really do! And growing up in Colorado, I had my fair share of snow. I didn’t particularly like fall either. Why, because it was followed by winter….

But, that is not everyone, some do like the cold and snow. And many enjoy the changing of the colors in fall. And I must admit, when I lived in Minnesota, the harvest of apples and the off the road pie shops were amazing during the fall drives through the state.

We here at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, well, we cannot lie, and we miss the fall just a little….We don’t have much of a fall here. Just a gentle rain in the afternoon. From about 2 pm into the night! Cool, crisp mornings that are perfect to sleep in. And that’s not too bad…..

Here is a statement from our friend Joyce Kinnear:

We’ve been in the eastern part of the United States for the past couple of weeks and will be heading back to Panama soon. The eastern part of the US has always felt a bit like a foreign country to me. Since I’ve spent the vast majority of my life in the west (Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, California and Nevada), the east has always seemed a bit like Europe to me—filled with history, museums, and monuments. Also, the changing seasons are more like you see in cards and read about in books.

Fall in the west is really not so different from summer. Depending on the location, you might have hotter weather or a bit more rain. The trees are mostly evergreen firs and pines, so the “color” that you read about isn’t there or a bit of yellowing in the grasses and few alders and aspen. I never got the attraction of fall. Panama is similar, in that when you live near the equator, “fall” is really nonexistent. Like California, you move from wet to dry with some variations in flower types and color schemes, but it’s nothing like the massive changes in the east coast.

Houses

The last couple of years, I have visited sisters in Maryland and North Carolina. Really, the east coast does its best in the fall. The colors are amazing, with trees ranging from yellow, to orange, to red, to a maroon/brown that is really spectacular. Flowers are blooming in their fall best. The weather, when sunny, is amazingly beautiful during the day. Temperatures are warm, and the sun has that slightly lower in the sky profile that makes photographs turn out great and walks pleasant without getting sweaty.

Maryland, in particular, appeals to me. There are so many museums and historical sites with an amazing diversity of people, restaurants and neighborhoods. If it wasn’t for winter, I’d be interested in living here.

But now, it’s time to get ready to head back into the depth of the rainy season in Panama. Here’s hoping I don’t get too inundated with rain!

So, if you are like me, or even if you’re not, plan to come down to Boquete, Panama and http://live.ipms247.com/booking/book-rooms-casademontaa with us at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast! Winter is summer here and you can bask in the sun, white water rafting, or enjoy a massage in your room, all while others are shoveling out!

 

 

Yes, it is the right time to buy real estate in Boquete, Panama! Here is the reason why …

Blog by Manzar Lari

Ok, so I am slightly biased, I happen to own a property and business in Boquete and I would obviously want someone to buy a home and get settled in an area of Panama that has long been named as the land of “eternal spring”. Now there are some latest property tax changes that are coming soon that will be a game changer for anyone on the fence about renting or buying in Panama.  Finally there is some data to support my bias!

There are many wonderful and competitively priced homes for all tastes and budgets available for sale in the Boquete area. While most of them are listed with at least one (or more of the realtors in the area), many of them are available “For Sale by Owners” as well (we know many of the owners so contact us if you are interested!).

If you have done your research and have visited Boquete at least once and are ready for an overseas adventure, why not consider making Boquete your “forever” home?

Here is the latest info on tax relief by Panama Government:

National Assembly approves reform that reduces property tax in Panama!

Tue, 09/19/2017

The National Assembly approved Monday in the third and final debate a controversial bill that reforms the Tax Code on Property Tax (IBI), considered by the Government as the “most important” reduction of this tax in 40 years.

The reform establishes that properties that register as main dwelling will benefit from a reduction of more than 60% of the tax and owners of a primary residence with a registered value of $120,000 or less, will be exempted from paying real estate taxes FOREVER! What a game changer for property owners in Panama!

The MEF said that this project “constitutes the most important comprehensive reform of the IBI in the last 40 years and establishes a greater fiscal balance, which benefits the majority of the owners.”

 Any amount from $120,000 up to $700,000 will be taxed at only 0,5%. Leaving a home owner to only pay the bare minimum per year in real estate taxes once the tax exoneration period is over.  

 From a press release by the Assembly:

Money collected from the taxes will be given to municipalities to secure resources for decentralization.

Having been established, the progressive rate combined with the tax benefit known as family property tax or the main dwelling will be: 

  1. 0.00% on the taxable base up to $120,000.00
  2. 0.5% on the taxable base over $120,000.01 and up to $700,000.00
  3. 0.7% on the taxable base over $700,000.00The combined progressive rate on commercial real estate, industrial, other residences and others is as follows:

     1.    0.00% on the taxable base up to $30,000.00

    2.   0.6% on the taxable base over $30,000.01 and up to $250,000.00                                                     0.8% on the taxable base over $250,000.01 and up to $500,000.00 

    1. 1% on the taxable base over $500,000.01
  1. This is about a 70% reduction in yearly taxes or no taxes for the vast majority of Panamanians… I am guessing this will greatly stimulate an inflow of people who were on the fence about living in Panama, or who wanted to move to any tropical country but could not afford to pay or didn’t want to waste a lot of their money just on taxes before. This is great news!

     This truly is amazing! I think it goes into effect almost immediately (January 2018?). Why not take advantage of it? We routinely have guests at the B&B who are at various stages of relocation to Panama. Most of them end up taking my “Boquete Overview Tour”, designed for someone contemplating a move to Boquete. This 3.5 hour tour is packed with information that only a resident of Boquete can give you. Not to mention the various neighborhoods, developments and gated communities we visit during the tour. Boquete landscape, its people and the community are exceptional. I cannot wait to show you the area! Please book directly  with us to qualify for the current specials. See you soon!

How does one become legal to live, work and get health services in Panama?

Blog by Manzar Lari

Panama is a country full of natural beauty, laid-back people ready to embrace individuals from other countries and a government that welcomes expats to make Panama their home. We did our research several years ago and realized that there were many different visa options available for us. We picked the one that most suited our needs and hired a lawyer highly recommended by International Living to help with obtaining our permanent residency as well as making sure we could open a business. It took only 4 months to accomplish this! Sure, it cost us thousands of dollars but we felt that it was justified. The system is designed for people with the financial means to go through the residency process relatively painlessly.

There are many health care options available as well. We chose an option that gave us health coverage not only in Panama, but internationally as well. All this for a reasonable price! Unfortunately, not everyone has the same level of accessibility here. Yes, even the ones who were born here in Panama – there are bureaucracies one has to navigate.

Here is another story from our friends Joyce & Scott who moved here five months ago:

This afternoon a hummingbird got in the house. It panicked, naturally, and started flying crazily through the rooms and into the walls trying to get out. Scott spent about 15 minutes directing the bird out of different rooms. Eventually, the bird, exhausted, just froze in place on top of the hall dresser. In a concerted effort that came from years of trying to work together to tie down a cat to give it medicine or cut its claws, we were able to get the bird surrounded, so that Scott could carefully grab and hold its tail feathers to carry it across the house and outside.

The crazy actions of the frightened bird and the quiet skill needed to get that bird safely out of the house reminded me somewhat of how you have to work through bureaucracies—not just government ones either. We have been spending some time figuring out how to get packages mailed to us through a mail service in Miami. They are good and said to be the absolute easiest to work with, yet it has required a couple of weeks and several trips down to the office to make sure things are working. We are told that the packages are now in Miami and should arrive here in a couple of days. We’ll see.

This, however, has been a complete breeze compared to some government bureaucracies. As an example, Panama requires all citizens to have a cedula (identification cards with numbers). In order to have a cedula, a person must have a birth certificate. A cedula is required to access any government agency—public hospitals/clinics, education, or anything.This system is not unlike what has often been advocated for in the US as a way to reduce illegal immigration. However, the largest effect that we have seen is that it keeps a large number of indigenous people, who should have the most right to access government services of anyone in Panama, from getting those services.

The problem is that, as mentioned previously, a large number of indigenous people, especially women, are illiterate and uncomfortable with modern society. Their children are often born at home, delivered by other indigenous women, and do not get issued birth certificates. Because their mothers or both parents are illiterate and uncomfortable with modern society (and perhaps not even able to speak Spanish very well, just knowing their own language), the children never get birth certificates or cedulas. Thus, they are never able to go to school, get medical care at a reasonable cost, or access any government service. Lest you feel too much righteous anger at the parents for not getting the children these documents, consider how difficult this process is for literate people who are comfortable with bureaucracy.

A North American couple we have met here in Panama have been living among some indigenous people and trying to help their neighbors. They have spent over 18 months trying to get two children birth certificates and cedulas. One finally has hers, but the boy is still waiting on his cedula. Two college educated people, fluent in English and somewhat competent in Spanish, with the help of lawyers that they were paying, have spent 18 months trying to get these children the documents to prove that they are legal residents of a country that their ancestors have lived in for thousands of years. It’s quite a depressing tale of bureaucracy, but also with a ray of hope. The two children are, at least, in school, after the couple were able to talk the local school and the district administration in David to allow the children to attend during the birth certificate and cedula process. These two children can now read, write and do basic math. Their children will, in turn, be that much higher on the path to a comfortable life.

We feel fortunate to be able to live in paradise called “Boquete”! We try to live with gratitude for what life has given us and the wonderful people who either live in our little town or visit us from all over the world. Please come and visit us any time of the year and if you decide to make Boquete your home, we can assist you with information and connect you to people who can help as well. See you soon!

Shopping for what you need (and want?) in Panama!

Blog by Manzar Lari

Our guests at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast often ask us whether or not we can purchase everything here in Panama that we used to purchase in the U.S. One would think that it would be an easy question to answer but it isn’t for us. Our story is probably no different than most of the expats who move here. We have been in Panama for almost 4 years. We are used to a different way of living now. Unless it is something we absolutely need, we have learned to do without. We typically shop at the stores in David for household goods and some hard-to-find items. Sometimes we never find those items! We have a Mailboxes Etc account. We can generally buy something on Amazon.com and then have it sent to the Mailboxes Etc address in Miami and then they forward our package to the Boquete location of Mailboxes, Etc. It takes an extra week, but we do receive the package safe and sound at their downtown Boquete store. Oftentimes, we have friends pick up small things for us while they are on vacation in the U.S. We do the same for our friends when we are on vacation. I guess after living here for a while, either you learn to make do without certain products or you figure out a way to get them through other sources (for a higher price).

It is always interesting to see the settling-in process new residents of Boquete go through while they learn the rhythm and norms of their new culture and surroundings. The stories and experiences of our new Boquete residents Joyce and Scott continue:

So, I’m not a big shopper. Clothing stores are meant to be gone through fairly quickly, in my mind. I’m much faster than my daughter Amy and slower than my husband Scott. However, I am a bit crazy about garden and hardware stores. I find them very fascinating.

So, imagine the heaven of finding yourself in a country that does a lot of repair work. Lots of repairs are done for a variety of reasons—the weather is hard on things, people have less money to buy new things so repair the old, and some contractors are terrible and you have to fix things that were just built/installed. I’m sure there are more reasons, but all of this has resulted in hardware stores that sell absolutely everything you could ever imagine to repair anything you could have ever thought about.

Our closest hardware store is a large maze of aisles just filled with every screw, nail, and piece of plastic and little doo dad you could possibly imagine. Since the store is absolutely jam packed, all the way to the 20 foot ceilings, with stuff everywhere, new items can be placed absolutely anywhere you could imagine—and places you can’t.

For the hardware enthusiast, such as myself, this means that you can spend hours in the store, looking at each item and always find some new little gadget that will be useful for something or other. Oh man, it’s like a child let loose in a candy store for me.

Amy thinks I’m weird, of course….

The shopping adventures of Joyce and Scott continue from Boquete/David to Panama City:

Today we took a taxi to David for an early morning bus ride to Panama City. The taxi went well, but it was the most expensive part of our day. It wasn’t bad though. For a 30 mile drive to David, it was only $35. In David, we paid a little over $15 each for a 6-1/2 hour bus drive to Panama City and Albrook mall, which is right on the canal on the northern side of the City. It was a very smooth and easy drive for us. It didn’t seem as long as it might have, since as I’ve not been feeling well for several days, I slept most of the drive.

When we arrived in Panama City at the mall, we took a taxi to our hotel, which is on the old military base. It was such a short drive (only about three miles), that we decided to walk back to the mall after checking in.

The Albrook mall is the largest mall in Latin America, from what we have been told, and it is immense. I estimate that it is about a mile long and 2-3 stories. There are numerous large department stores, plus any number of other stores, including about every shoe store known to human kind. You could spend days in that mall.

We went into a three story HUGE department store that seems to emphasize inexpensive items. After our three months in the small town of Boquete with occasional trips to the mall in David, it was really a bit overwhelming to see so many items and so many people in one store! There were tons of things that looked interesting, but we were mostly able to restrain ourselves—fortunately for our pocketbooks!

So, apparently there are many more items of interest available in the malls of Panama City! Joyce has written above about Albrook Mall but there all sorts of other malls like Multiplaza Mall and Multi Centro Mall, for example. Many of the Boquete/David residents also make regular trips to Panama City for their shopping and dining needs. We do the same periodically. Plus it is great for a change of scenery as well. After the hustle and bustle of Panama City, it is always great to be back home in the cooler and quieter Boquete environment and familiar surroundings.

There is a new mall in David that is under construction and promises to be similar to the Albrook mall, only smaller. The main David bus terminal will be relocated from its current location to the new mall. From the looks of it, it is about halfway done. Maybe in a year or two we will be able to do most of our shopping there? Rumor has it that the best grocery chain (in our opinion!) in Panama, Riba Smith, will have a store there! We can’t wait. Look at the architect’s rendering of the David mall below:

Hope to see you down in Boquete soon. We have a lot more information available for you! Make sure you ask us about life in Panama when you come and stay with us at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast.

We are feeling a bit bugged (in Boquete) and want to inform you as to why!

blog by Terry Richmeier

Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast  has been open for 3.5 years now and we feel fortunate enough not to have experienced any scorpions, spiders, or snakes inside our Bed & Breakfast! That’s saying a lot considering where we live! Tropical climate attracts and sustains a wide variety of creatures.

A couple that stayed with us, just made the move to Boquete, Panama. They purchased a home high on the mountaintop and made a list of the top bugs that “bug” them. Read below:

By Joyce Kinnear

The things a person learns about bugs when moving from a temperate/arid climate to a tropical one:

 

  1. It is hard to tell a centipede from a caterpillar when it is crawling on your neck.

2. Many bugs dislike the smell of cinnamon and lavender, which is why my doorways look like witch’s circles with cinnamon around them, and my cleaning supplies are all lavender scented.

Bar of natural aromatherapy soap with dried lavender and essential oil

 

 

3. The dilemma is real about spiders in the house–they kill bugs, BUT they can also bite you. When they are crawling all over the house, which is worse?

 

4. Scorpions are, in fact, pretty damn ugly, whether small and in your bed or large and in a bathroom.

  1. Beetles/June bugs are unbelievably stupid, but loud, when they fly around the house, noisily bumping into walls everywhere, crashing and then doing it again.
  2. Moth balls serve a purpose, as you can tell when the only thing with light in your house is the cell phone, and you become a moth attracter of amazing capabilities.
  3. Ants are the worst possible pests–the leaf cutters that can destroy a plant before your eyes, the little black ones that crawl all over your feet and into your shoes and leave stings that itch and hurt for weeks, or the little red ones that feel like hypodermic needles are injecting you.
  4. Coffee flies are practically microscopic, but the sting hurts and itches for at least 3 weeks.Our thoughts on these bug problems:
    1. Why does it matter if it’s a centipede or caterpillar? Some species can be poisonous here. That said, having any bugs crawl on you is creepy!
    2. You can make an all-natural lavender scented mix to spread around your house.
    3. No spiders – EVER! Enough said.
    4. Scorpions tend to be in the mountains and are not found in the area we are located.
    5. These guys don’t hurt anything, they just look creepy. That said with full knowledge of not having them in our Bed & Breakfast or near us.
    6. There is a season when the moths are flowing through the town. Still we haven’t seen them inside our Bed & Breakfast.
    7. Then only ants we seen are so small you can hardly see them. We exterminate frequently.
    8. Coffee Flies go for blood! They are all over tropical areas. That said, they usually bite at dawn or dusk.We here at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast, believe that the bugs are not to be bugging our guests! We spray frequently inside and out to prevent them from making their home inside ours and on you! You will be able to rest peacefully knowing that we are on the job of de-bugging your life and travels here in Boquete, Panama. Come and stay with us and don’t be bugged!

Scott is volunteering in Boquete, Panama – both Scott and Joyce are really busy!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

(This is a follow-up to last week’s blog titled: Joyce is working hard at volunteering in Boquete after retirement – resistance is futile!) 

So, you get nervous around large animals and yet you love them and want to help! This is me as well and you’re not alone! This is called Zoophobia: However, this is not what her husband (Scott) has…

This is Joyce’s story…..

Scott is the animal lover between the two of us. I have always been extremely nervous of some animals–particularly large ones that have a tendency to jump up on me. Animals can sense my nervousness, and it’s a negative feedback for us both.

Scott, on the other hand, is really, really good with animals. They nearly always like him, especially how he scratches their itches–literally. A couple of weeks ago, he was scratching a goat between its horns. The goat was in love and cried when we left.

So, he has started volunteering with a group (Amigos de Animales) that does monthly neutering and spaying. Vets are brought in from Costa Rica and some from other parts of Panama–apparently, the few vets in this area work on large, farm animals. Volunteers bring in strays and coordinate local families to bring in their pets. The day long clinic neuters and spays hundreds of animals, with volunteers running all parts of the operation except the actual surgery. Scott says it’s quite an operation.

Many of the animals who are spayed and neutered are strays, feral or abandoned. Recently, a local woman was introduced to one of the animal organizations in town. She is a soft hearted woman who was taking care of 39 drop-off and feral cats. The organization is helping her pay for food, move the cats into homes and pay for the low cost spaying and neutering with the organization Scott is working with.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Because of this, Boquete is not beset with hundreds of feral and wild dogs and cats roaming the streets, as is the case in many places we’ve visited. Because people are not inundated with so many wild and somewhat dangerous animals, people tend to treat the animals better, thus they are not mean, and the positive circle.

Here is a video of two dogs that are loved tremendously!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23872rWorXM&list=PLwz-744OmrNPdFOjzK8uojrPnMUnaLDLp

 

This is a great thing for the animals and the people in the community and Scott is really enjoying working with the animals. The last two times, he’s had the job of waking cats up from the surgeries. As anyone who knows Scott has experienced, he loves playing with cats, so he’s gotten to have fun while helping out. I can imagine him doing more with this organization over time, as they always seem to need more help.

We here at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast help out in the form of donations as well as our staff volunteering. Animales also supplies a calendar for purchase each year and the proceeds go to the clinic. Come and stay with us, if the time is right, we can get you in touch with them and you can volunteer to help in the clinic or support them financially. You have a great heart and we cannot wait to meet you!

Traditional (and not so traditional) Men’s and Women’s Clothing of Panama

Puttin’ on the Ritz! Where fashion sits!

Traditional (and not so traditional) Men’s and Women’s Clothing of Panama

Ropa tradicional (y no tan tradicional) Hombres y Mujeres en Panamá

Blog by Terry Richmeier

There has been a great interest in the blog written last year by our former staff Maria Isabel Zapata, http://www.casademontana.com/blog-traditional-costumes-of-panama-and-some-central-south-american-countries/ in which she strove to show you different dresses from all over the world. So we here at Casa de Montana Bed and Breakfast, thought I would narrow it down a bit and show you clothing that has been a part of Panama’s history and has lasted the test of time!

(The following description has been taken from an Embassy of Panama in Japan)

Starting with the Pollera:

Ha habido mucho interés en el escrito (del año pasado) realizado por nuestra colaboradora María Isabel Zapata, http://www.casademontana.com/blog-traditional-costumes-of-panama-and-some-central-south-american-countries/ en dicho escrito se esforzó por mostrarnos diferentes tipos de vestimenta alrededor del mundo. Así que aquí en Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast, pensamos en ir un poco más profundo y hablar un poco de la ropa que ha sido parte de la historia de Panamá y ha pasado la prueba del tiempo.

 

La siguiente descripción ha sido tomada de la Embajada de Japón en Panamá.

 

Empezando con la Pollera

POLLERA

“Pollera” is a traditional costume of Panama worn by women. It originally came from Spain during colonial times.  It is basically a blouse and long skirt, which in Panama acquired its own characteristics, differentiating itself from Spanish dress and other Latin American dresses of Spanish origin. Pollera is formed by multicolored cloth and embroidery. It can take around 8 months to make a complex design of Pollera. In addition, Pollera is also decorated with jewelry over the blouse, and the head of the woman is adorned by fish scale (peinetas) and beaded hair decorations (tembleques).

Women wear Pollera in special events such as Carnival, folklore events, and town festivities. It has received international awards due to the complex design. In view of its cultural importance, Panama celebrates the Pollera Day every year on the July 22.

Now, let us show you some photos so you get a better idea!

LA POLLERA

“Pollera” es un atuendo tradicional, utilizado por mujeres. Originario de España, llego en la época colonial. Es básicamente una blusa y una falda larga, en Panamá adquirió sus propias características, diferenciándose del vestido español y del resto de los vestidos latinoamericanos que tuvieron su origen en España. La pollera está compuesta por muchos bordados y telas multicolores. Puede tomar alrededor de ocho meses en confeccionar una pollera. Además la pollera es también adornada con collares que van sobre la blusa, y la cabeza de las mujeres es adornada con peinetas y tembleques (hechos de escamas de pescado y chaquiras).

Las mujeres utilizan la pollera en ocasiones especiales como el Carnaval, evento folclórico, en ferias y desfiles nacionales. Ha recibido premios internacionales debido a sus complejos diseños. Debido a su importancia cultural, Panamá celebra el día de la pollera cada 22 de Julio.

¡Ahora dejamos mostrarte algunas fotos para que tengas una mejor idea!

And for the men………

Y ahora para los hombres…..

FORMAL MONTUNO

 This traditional dress worn by men is used during town festivities, national celebrations, and particularly when performing Panama folk dances, together with women wearing Polleras. It consists of a white long-sleeve shirt and closed neck (Camisilla), black long pant, traditional straw hat with black lines (Sombrero Pintao), small bag hanging on the left side of the body (Chacara), and black and white shoes (Chinelas).

Again, let us show you some photos so you get a better idea!

EL MONTUNO

Este es una vestimenta utilizada por los hombres durante festivales pueblerinos, celebraciones nacionales y especialmente cuando están presentando los bailes típicos de Panamá, junto con las mujeres que llevan las polleras. Consiste en una camisa manga larga y cuello cerrado (Camisilla), pantalones largos negros, sombrero hecho de plantas tropicales con líneas negras (Sombrero Pintao), una pequeña bolsa colgando de su lado izquierdo del cuerpo (Chácara) y zapatos blanco con negro (Chinelas).

¡Una vez más déjenos mostrarle algunas fotos, para que puedan tener una mejor idea!

 

Another variations, you will find the following:

MONTUNO OCUEÑO

Montuno Ocueño is a more casual traditional dress worn by men, which is composed of a shirt (Cotonoa) and knee-length pant (Chingo). Montuno is well known for its colorful and beautiful embroidery, which is found in part of the neck, shoulders, front, cuffs, and around the lower edge of the shirt. The design of embroidery looks like geometric forms of flower and animals.
Chingo is also adorned with similar embroidery.
Other accessories include a white straw hat (Sombrero Tipico), sandals (Cutarras), and long knife wrapped by leather case (Machete).

Take a look at these….

Montuno Ocueño

El montuno ocueño es más casual, ropa tradicional usada por los varones, la cual es compuesta por una camisa (Cotonoa) y un pantalón a la rodilla (Chingo). Este montuno es conocido por sus colores y sus bellos adornos, que se encuentran alrededor del cuello, hombros, parte delantera, los puños y los bordes inferiores de la camisa. Los diseños de los adornos tienen formas geométricas de animales y flores. Los pantalones o Chingo también tiene adornos similares.

Otro accesorio es el sombrero blanco hecho con plantas tropicales (Sombrero Típico), sandalias (Cutarras) y un cuchillo largo en una funda de cuero. (Machete).

 

¡Mira esto!

That’s only the beginning, I wanted to show you what the indigenous men and women wear in different parts of Panama.  I will start with the NgäbeBuglé here in Boquete, Panama, and follow with photos of other regions in Panama.

Eso es solo el inicio, quiero mostrarte como los indígenas: hombres y mujeres se visten en diferentes partes de Panamá. Empezare con los Ngäbe Bugle aquí en Boquete y siguiendo con fotos de otras regiones de Panamá.

And, it’s very important that you have “the Hat” Panama is well known for, even though it originated from Ecuador,  they are amazing hats!

Take a look now

¡Es muy importante que usted adquiera “El Sombrero” Panamá es muy conocida por su sorprendente sombrero! Aunque realmente es originario de Ecuador.

¡Miren!

These “Sombreros” have become part of the fashion world and to this day you will see them worn all over the world! Oh, and you can pick up a couple when you come to Panama and stay with us at Casa de Montana Bed & Breakfast!

Estos sombreros se han convertido en parte del mundo de la moda, en estos tiempos se ven utilizados por todo el mundo! Oh, pueden adquirir algunos cuando vengan a Panamá y se queden con nosotros en Casa de Montana Bed & Breakfast!

Quiero compartir con ustedes algunos vestuarios de Panamá…

Look for our next featured blog on history of Panama Hats!

Este pendiente de nuestro proximo articulo sobre la historia del Panama Hat

And now I want to share a little “Costume” or two from Panama…..

Quiero compartir con ustedes algunos vestuarios de Panamá…

The fashion of Panama can be seen all over the world! Mattel’s Barbie is not immune!

La moda panameña puede ser vista por todo el mundo! Las famosas muñecas de Mattel: Barbie, no es inmune.

 

Beyond the clothing, which you can see for yourselves if you come and stay with us during the festivals and holidays, you can see so much more! From Horse parades to coffee farming. Send us an email to see when the best time to come and experience what YOU want to experience!. Book your room with us and let the live activities begin! See you soon.

Más allá de la ropa, que podrán ver por ustedes mismos si vienen a quedarse con nosotros, durante festividades o vacaciones, podrá ver mucho más! Desde desfiles a caballo a granjas de café. ¡Envíanos un correo para ver cuando es el mejor momento para venir y vivir una grandiosa experiencia! ¡Reserva tu cuarto con nosotros  y deja que la diversión te invada! Nos vemos pronto.

At Casa de Montaña in Boquete we are cooking up a storm!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

 

picture-1So why did we choose international style breakfasts for our guests here at the hotel? Well, it all started with a dream that we both shared of owning our own B&B business and our enjoyment of flavors from all over the world. We have been fortunate enough to get to travel from Canada to Colombia and many places in between. And during our travels, we enjoyed many different cuisines and international foods.  One might ask, how many different ways can you do breakfast? Isn’t breakfast just eggs and toast and some juice and coffee? Our answer to that is a resounding “NO”!

So we sat down (while still living in Minneapolis) one day several months before the opening of Casa de Montaña and began to dream about what we enjoyed the most in food. Thinking specifically about the breakfast flavors we would choose. picture-4The choices in the beginning were somewhat different then what is being served now. picture-2 picture-3This evolution may be because of the ability for us to get certain items here in Panama that we might need. Also, originally we were thinking of breakfasts that included meats. We ruled that out pretty quickly since more and more people are vegetarians or vegan these days. Also, even if someone eats meat, they would gladly skip having meat for breakfast. We decided to do an informal survey of our friends and family about meats versus having a vegetarian breakfast. The vegetarian breakfast won out by far! So, we went back to the drawing board and started again!

picture-5We were fortunate to have Manzar and his sisters take part in learning to cook from their mother! She was an amazing cook and this led us to our first international breakfast (from Pakistan) of Puri, Chana Masala and Kolonji Potatoes.  It is eaten more as a brunch in Pakistan and has been one of our most flavorful and complimented breakfasts! We usually serve it on Tuesdays.

During the time we were developing our breakfasts, Manzar’s oldest sister Rakshinda was visiting in Minneapolis and we decided to make and taste all of the recipes that we had developed. Of course we started with the Pakistani breakfast first and Manzar and his sister made the recipes look so easy. This was a week-long trial period in which we said yes to all of our choices. The joy and fun we had that week was amazing! Who knew this could turn out to be more of an act of love than a challenge!

We made all of the fabulous and vegetarian breakfast that are listed on our website. Starting with Sunday here are the following picture-6breakfasts: Panamanian, Italian, Pakistani, Belgian, American Western, Mexican, and French!

You can take a look at the reviews of our breakfasts on our TripAdvisor page.  as well many reviews telling you about other services we provide and the amenities we have at our Bed & Breakfast.

We started with diverse breakfast choices but why stop there? Here in Boquete, Panama, even the hotels and restaurants do not have many international dining choices for lunches and dinners. So, we wanted to share what Manzar, his mother, sisters and sister-in-law all know in cooking up and preparing Pakistani/Indian cuisine. picture-7We started to share this skill with many of the Boquete residents and guests of Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast. We had our first Pakistani/Indian cooking class almost three years ago and it went very well with a full class of incredibly talented people! That was the start of many different classes to come. We are now in the process of repeating some of these incredible cooking classes so that others can learn and enjoy amazing international dinners. By the way, neither David nor Boquete has a single Pakistani or Indian restaurant! You can see photos, menus, and the recipes of these classes on our website.

There is more to come. We have had guests ask if we can schedule a cooking class while they are staying with us. We gladly accommodate if we have enough advance notice. Our next class is this coming Wednesday, January 11th and we are planning to have cooking picture-8 classes in the coming months as well. Who knows, we may do some Thai and Mexican cooking classes next? The possibilities are endless when it comes to what we can come up with. Here in Boquete we are only limited by our own imagination.

When you come and stay at Casa de Montaña ,  talk with Manzar about the secrets that make the International cultural food taste the best. Talk to him about how to cut and fry up the  onions (for example) when cooking Pakistani food or what order to add the ingredients picture-9to make the amazing flavors of the spices blend to create the greatest tasting food! He is full of secrets passed along to him from his mother. And who knows, maybe you too can request cooking class be set up during your stay here at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast!

And if cooking is not for you, then come and enjoy our breakfasts while you are relaxing and resting. After breakfast, we can set up an in- room massage or a tour or two. Take a look at our current specials. See you soon!

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