Macho, Macho Men: Cuento sobre dos hombres en Boquete, Panamá.

Blog por: Terry Richmeier

Traducido por: Generoso Guerra.

Aquí en Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast hemos conocido muchas personas de diferentes partes del mundo! Conocimos todas estas personas mientras estaban en el momento más feliz de su vida; en sus vacaciones!.

Que hay acerca de los locales? hacia que se dirigen los turistas cuando llegan a Panamá y especialmente cuando llegan a Boquete? 

Encontrarán que los locales son personas atentas y amables, si tratas de hablar Español aunque sea un poco los Boqueteños te darán una gran bienvenida con una gran sonrisa!. Los panameños y especialmente los Boqueteños adoran la idea de mostrarles a los turistas su país y su mundo!

El mundo tiene tantas personas con diferentes tipos de personalidades, puedes estar casi seguro que reconocerás algunas personalidades familiares cuando visites Boquete, Panamá. Desde arrogantes hasta una presencia que abarca todo con amor!

Un breve cuento de nuestra amiga, Joyce Kinnear habla acerca de dos hombres los cuales reconoció como El bueno y El no tan bueno! En esta historia Joyce habla acerca de una fundación la cual Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast ayuda a traves de donaciones.

Un cuento acerca dos hombres:

Esta semana conocí al estereotipo de macho latinoamericano por primera vez de todos los años que hemos estado visitando y ahora viviendo en Centro América. Este hombre era todo lo que detestamos acerca del estereotipo—macho, dominante, totalmente desconsiderado con otros, especialmente con mujeres y trabajadores de clase baja o media. Todo esto lo hacía con un guiño y una actitud donde parecía que el pensaba todo esto lo hacía la cosa más sexy en este mundo. (Cuando es todo lo contrario, la mayoría de las mujeres en el bus querían vomitar)

El Segundo hombre lo conocí hoy en un evento para la fundación, el cual provee terapias, habilidades y socialización para niños y adultos discapacitados, así como tambien para los guardianes. En este evento un hombre sobresalió. Él guíaba a su hijo, quien parece tener parálisis cerebral y algunos problemas de función cerebral, cuidadosamente a su silla bailaba con su hijo asegurandosé de que disfrutara y pasara una tarde agradable. Descubrí que la madre del niño y esposa de dicho hombre habría muerto unos años atrás en un accidente de carro. Esta hombre se ha preocupado por su hijo y claramente adora al niño.

Quiero señalar que mientras he conocido un ejemplo como el del primer hombre, han habido muchos como el segundo tipo alrededor mío en Panamá. Tal vez el Viejo y cansado estereotipo del hombre latinoamericano necesita un cambio mayor a la de un hombre que ama a su familia, trabaja duro y aún así baila con ellos para asegurarse que ellos tienen una vida plena y feliz, sin importer las habilidades de los niños.

Entonces, ven a Boquete, Panamá! Quédate con nosotros en Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast. Déjanos ayudarte a establecer un tiempo para que visites la fundación o un programa diferente en los grupos de voluntarios aquí en Boquete. Invierte un tiempo viendo los diferentes tipos de personalidades de los Panameños y especialmente de la gente Boqueteña! No te arrepentirás ni un poco.

 

 

Macho, Macho Men: A tale of two men in Boquete, Panama.

Blog by Terry Richmeier

Here at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast we have met people from all over the world! We meet all of these people while they are at their happiest time in their life -they are on vacation!

And what about the locals? What do tourist run into when they arrive in Panama and especially in Boquete?

They will find kind and caring locals and if you try to speak Spanish at all, Boquetenians will greet you with a great big smile! Panamanians and especially Boquetenians, love to show tourists their country and their world!

With the world having so many different personalities, you can pretty much be assured you will recognize some familiar personalities when you are touring Boquete, Panama. From arrogance, to a presence of all-encompassing love!

One short story from a friend of ours, Joyce Kinnear talks about two men she recognized as good and not so good! In this story, Joyce talks about a foundation that Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast supports through donations.

A tale of two men:

This week I met the stereotypical macho, Latin American man for the first time in the years we’ve been visiting and now living in Central America. He was everything I dislike about the stereotype–macho, dominant, totally inconsiderate of others, especially women and poor workers. All of this was done with a wink and an attitude where he seemed to think this all made him the sexiest thing alive (as opposed to reality where most of the women on the bus wanted to puke)

The second man I met today at an event for the foundation, which provides therapy, skills and socializing for handicapped children and adults, as well as help for the caretakers. At this event, one man stood out. He guided his son, who appeared to have cerebral palsy and some brain function issues, carefully to his chair, dancing with his son and making sure the boy had a lovely time. I found out that the boy’s mother and man’s wife died in a car accident a couple of years ago. This man has been caring for his son and clearly adores the boy.

I want to point out that while I have met one example of the first man, there have been many of the second type around me in Panama. Perhaps the tired old stereotype of the Latin American man needs a major overhaul to that of a view of a man who loves his family and children, works hard and yet still dances with them to ensure they live happy and full lives, no matter the child’s abilities.

So, come down to Boquete, Panama! Stay with us at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast. Let us help you set up some time to visit the foundation, or other different volunteer groups here in Boquete. Spend some time seeing the different personalities of the Panamanian and especially the Boquetenians people! You won’t regret it a bit.

 

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.

Neighborhood feel of Boquete, Panama: Just like the bygone days of the U.S.!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

On any given morning here at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast, you will open your eyes to the smell of morning coffee and your prepared breakfast. This is our normal morning, but, what about the community?

 

 

 

Walking past the bed and breakfast will be dog walkers, children heading to the bus station, the elderly couple walking down the street and stopping to smell the flowers or pet the dogs. You will see a special lady who will go around picking up the trash in front of every house and place it in a trash bag. You will see men stopping to talk to each other, never seeming to be in a hurry. And that’s just a start.

People in Boquete, Panama, live outside. We even have an outside space designed for every room. We also serve breakfast outside on the back terrace. This is very different than the communities that lock themselves up tightly and live their lives behind walls and locked doors.

Below is a testimonial from a newly transplanted couple Joyce & Scott Kinnear:

We have had some lovely sunny afternoons this week. A couple of days it didn’t rain at all (or not enough to hardly matter) and the other days, it waited until night to rain.

It is interesting the difference between our neighborhood in California and here in our neighborhood in Panama in the afternoon.

In California, when I would be working from home or have the day off, there was lots of traffic going past our house—sometimes doing some pretty crazy stunts. Also, there were lots of people walking past the yard or waiting for the bus. Many of these people would pick our flowers or drop trash in our yard. We were constantly picking up cigarette butts, dog crap, old and nasty alcohol bottles and fast food containers. It was nasty. However, there were never any people out in the yards around us. I almost never saw our neighbors. The people next to us lived next to us for nearly 20 years. We maybe saw them outside the house 1 time a year or so—usually going to their car. Other neighbors we saw less often. The only people we usually saw were the seniors from the nearby senior facility. They would walk the neighborhood and stop to talk to me about how lovely the flowers were.

When we are here on a sunny afternoon, the neighborhood is literally buzzing with people. We do see some cars or people walking down the road, but what you hear is the noise of people living in their yards. There will be contractors in several houses near us. Other houses have gardeners out doing work. The woman across the street may come out to sweep her driveway. Other neighbors putter in their gardens or sit on the veranda to read, have a drink or look at their phones. Any of these people are more than happy to stop what they are doing to chat for a few minutes if you pass by.

Since children go to school early in the morning, they are often at home the majority of the afternoon.

As I weed the flower beds, I can hear the neighbors’ children behind us playing and laughing in their yard or the baby crying for attention.

There is just so much life in our neighborhood on a sunny afternoon. How can you not love this?

Is this the isolated experience of people just in Boquete, Panama? Or more of a small town experience? Who knows, but peace and tranquility can be yours while you are staying at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast. Come and stay with us and experience living life in Boquete, Panama for a little while. Come and slow down. Oh, and if you think you want to know more about this lifestyle, check our Boquete Overview Tour and see for yourself the neighborhoods that are mentioned by Joyce…..

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!

5

Saying Goodbye to guests and staff at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, Boquete

Blog by Terry Richmeier

1Over the past three years we here at Casa de Montaña have had the pleasure of getting to know our guests and each one of you have made such an impact on us.

We opened with the very first guests. A couple that was from Holland and the wife had just finished her degree to become a doctor. They needed a break and choose Casa de Montaña as that place of respite. Along with them, we had a lovely couple that has a home here in Boquete, Panama, already. The husband wanted his wife to see the bathroom and open shower concept that we introduced to Boquete. She was quite pleased and they took several photos of the shower concept to share the idea to their contractor. We genuinely smiled incredibly proud that we made an impact! This impact started from an open house that we had in order to introduce ourselves to the new community that we fell into and in love with.

From there we continued as we spent the time during our social hour talking with all of 2you, our guests, getting to know you, getting to know more about the world in which you live. The stories of places you visited and your experiences. We learned about Germany, Holland, and cities within them. We learned about Ukraine, Russia, Australia, Israel and South Africa! And the list will go on and on…..

We enjoyed hearing the stories of your adventures here in Boquete, Panama, as you learned about the many steps to getting a cup of coffee to your table. And as you went on the Canopy Tour and you zipped speeding down the track hanging far above the trees! And your whitewater rafting trip to the Costa Rican border! It’s as if we took the adventure along with you!

During this time we had the opportunity to grow. We grew in staff so that we had people here that could speak to you both in Spanish and English. We grew in popularity through TripAdvisor and booking.com.  It is so heartwarming to read what you experienced during your stay here with us. We still to this day go back and read them. Remembering you and your time spent with us. And most importantly, we felt a kinship with each and every one of you, our guests, our hearts were and are still filled with love and happiness! Our lives will never be the same.  The energy, blessings and gratitude we receive do not end!

3What does end is the time you, our guests are here with us. Just before you leave, many times we stop and ask to take a picture with you. Our hearts step up to our throats making it difficult to speak. We act like nothing is wrong and we smile for the shot. Still inside, we are struggling to let you go. You have taken us by storm and we are left with that photo and a small piece of your lives.

As Terry has said, “I can imagine that most parents experience this feeling as their children, now adults, go off to college, or get married and move onto their adult lives.” It is difficult for us to say goodbye, however, you have shaped our lives so tremendously and you have energized us so incredibly, that we are renewed and ready to receive new guests and open our hearts to them and all who stay here at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast!

Along with our guests, we have had several employees that have moved on in their lives as well. We also have to say goodbye to them. Sometimes it feels like we are attending a funeral and for days, the remaining staff and all of us are affected.

Just real recently we said goodbye to Debra. Debra decided, after having experienced Casa de Montaña, that she was ready to open a bed and breakfast with her boyfriend in Quito, Ecuador. It about broke our hearts into pieces. Veronica created an exquisite thanksgiving dinner and we all sat together and quietly said how much we loved Debra, some of us could not verbalize it. It was a rather quiet meal until we found humor and all of us, laughed almost too loudly as it was forced.

This is not an isolated incident. It happens every time. And now, it’s happening again. Our wonderful Maria Isabel has decided that at this point in her life, she wants to be with her children. It’s always tough to work when you’re a mother with children and Maria Isabel has an opportunity to be a stay home mom! We can’t fault her for that and what a blessing for her and her children. Maria has this to say shortly before parting from Casa de Montaña:

4I have worked at Casa de Montaña for only 8 months, and I have made great friends. From Veronica whom with her motherly care takes care of all of us, along with Nicolas who is always on top of all the little details on the house maintenance. Natalia who is so detailed on the cleaning and can swiftly clean a room, and Junior who takes great care of our garden. Terry and Manzar have always been so fun to work with.  It’s sad to leave, and it feels like I am leaving my family, not just coworkers. I am sure I will be coming back to visit and bring cupcakes! (Otherwise Terry would not let me in hahaha).

 

So if you see a tear or two running down our eyes, we are ok, we just had to remove our heart from our throats one more time.

5

For those who have not been here yet, or who have not stayed with us yet, please do contact us as we have a place in our hearts that only you can fill!

Boquete Video Festival Sponsored by Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast

Blog by Veronica Pitti

1

There is an exciting new festival coming to Boquete very soon! This festival is called Boquete Video Festival (BVF). The festival has been developed by some of the expats who are currently living in Boquete. Dozens of people have registered to submit their short videos to the organizers of the festival who will then post the video on You-tube for people to watch and “Like”. The cost for registration is only $10 and that includes free classes to learn how to use your cell phone to make and edit the video before submitting it to be judged.  There are five judges who have been carefully selected. These are people who have expertise in films and video production. The judges are current residents of Boquete. All the videos have to show a story about Boquete in one of six different categories. The six categories are: Documentary, Comedy, Commercial/Promotional, Drama, Adventure and Musical. The festival is a good way to show people around the world the natural beauty of the Boquete area and the people who live here.

Right now several professionals are involved in helping the contestants in making of their videos. Some of the contestants have experience in making videos and others do not. It is hoped that people are able to make a good video once they have some training and personalized help. The goal is to have fun, be creative, get recognition, and hopefully win prizes!  The contestants have until December 31st, 2016, to submit their video entries. All the videos are being uploaded to the You-tube website of Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast.

There are Boquete Video Festival t-shirts for sale at the Tuesday Market (BCP Teatro) 2every Tuesday from 9 AM to 11:30 AM or they can purchased from Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM daily.  These t-shirts come in many sizes and are all blue with the festival logo in the front and a design in the back. See the photo to the side: Our friend Gabrielle


The big “gala” award ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, January 28th, 2017, from 5 PM to 7 PM at the BCP Teatro. The tickets will be on sale soon at the Mailboxes Etc and at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast. This awards ceremony will truly be a “red carpet” event. Everyone will be dressed up in nice clothes and have their picture taken by professional cameramen as they settle down in their seats and take part in the ceremony. The top 20 videos will be shown at the event. There will be a total of 8 awards and prizes given to the contestants, one for each of the six categories and then two additional “special” awards. There will be “Oscar Awards” made out of chocolate, two-night stay at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, restaurant gift certificates from Retrogusto and Seasons Restaurants.

Even though I am not submitting a video for judging, I plan on attending the award 3ceremony in January because some of my friends are entering their videos in the contest. Hope my classmates are able to attend the event as well!

Veronica Pitti

 

Getting on my last nerve – Finding some healing in Boquete, Panama!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

1It all started back in October of 2015! Although in reality it started a lot earlier, January 2015 to be more precise! I had a car accident and was hit in the back side of the van by a speeding, inattentive driver. I and my van flung across in a complete circle and it hit another car on the opposite side. This really jolted me. Thank God nobody was hurt, or so I thought at the time.

Although I was fine for nine months, suddenly in October I woke up and could not stand up straight. I had to hold onto the end table, then reach out to grab the dresser, then reach out to grab the walls and anything that I could hold onto in order to get to the bathroom. I thought I was going to need a wheelchair! This was just the first day of many months of falling down, having weakness in my legs and arms and hands. 2Every step was exhausting and I needed many naps throughout the day. Walking our guests upstairs to their room completely took all the energy I had! I finally got to the point that I just wanted to crawl into bed and not get up again. I gave up on Zumba class and I gave up on life as I slipped into a depression.

 

3I went to the doctor. I went to the Chiropractor. I went to the acupuncturist. I loaded up on different vitamins. I had massages often. I purchased a back rest. I took muscle relaxers. I took advice from absolutely everyone. I practiced yoga from Youtube. I did stretches daily. Nothing seemed to completely cure me. Yes, I had a pinched nerve for sure!

 

What is a pinched nerve? And why does this happen? This is what I learned from the Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pinched-nerve/basics/definition/con-20029601 A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, such as bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons. This pressure disrupts the nerve’s function, causing pain, tingling, numbness or weakness. 4

A pinched nerve can occur at several sites in your body. A herniated disk in your lower spine, for example, may put pressure on a nerve root, causing pain that radiates down the back of your leg. Likewise, a pinched nerve in your wrist can lead to pain and numbness in your hand and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome).

With rest and other conservative treatments, most people recover from a pinched nerve within a few days or weeks. Sometimes, surgery is needed to relieve pain from a pinched nerve. Pinched nerve signs and symptoms include:

  • Numbness or decreased sensation in the area supplied by the nerve 5
  • Sharp, aching or burning pain, which may radiate outward
  • Tingling, “pins and needles” sensations (paresthesia)
  • Muscle weakness in the affected area
  • Frequent feeling that a foot or hand has “fallen asleep”

 

6The problems related to a pinched nerve may be worse when you’re sleeping.

A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure (compression) is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues.

 

 

In some cases, this tissue might be bone or cartilage, such as in the case of a herniated spinal disk that compresses a nerve root. In other cases, muscle or tendons may cause the condition.  7

In the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, a variety of tissues may be responsible for compression of the carpal tunnel’s median nerve, including swollen tendon sheaths within the tunnel, enlarged bone that narrows the tunnel, or a thickened and degenerated ligament.

A number of conditions may cause tissue to compress a nerve or nerves, including: 8

  • Injury
  • Poor posture
  • Rheumatoid or wrist arthritis
  • Stress from repetitive work
  • Hobbies or sports activities
  • Obesity

This pressure causes inflammation of the nerve and disrupts the nerve’s function. If a nerve is pinched for only a short time, there’s usually no permanent damage. Once the pressure is relieved, nerve function returns to normal. However, if the pressure continues, chronic pain and permanent nerve damage can occur.

9

For me, I’m 95% better but still suffer from some weakness and my depression has lifted. I’m currently doing ARPWave/Therastim treatment. And this seems to be working for me. What is this you ask? The Therastim (also called “ARPwave”) uses conductive electrode pads to provide neuromuscular stimulation. It treats the neurological origin of soft tissue conditions, not just the physical symptoms.

10

  • The Therastim features a state-of-the-art electrical mechanism designated as a class 2 medical device by the FDA. Treatment includes unique Therastim protocols and testing techniques.  Therastim has been proven to be an effective treatment for those who have been told they need surgery and for those who have already had surgery.
  • By increasing range of motion and decreasing pain, Therastim can be a highly effective way to prepare for physical therapy.
  • Therastim is used by many elite athletes and teams throughout the world.
  • Therastim dramatically reduces recovery time for ankle sprains and strained tendons or ligaments.
  • Every year, thousands of patients receive Therastim treatment, it has proven effective on all types of chronic pain including RSDS and FibromyalgiaWhat is amazing to me is that all of this is available right here in Boquete! Plus, this is not all that is available here in Boquete. Many more options such as Yoga, botanicals, energy healing and much more…  So whether or not you’re traveling to Boquete or looking to move here, give us a call and we can get you connected with any one or all of these service providers while you stay at Casa de Montaña for your recovery!

    Contact Us at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast

 

Do I need vaccinations before my trip to Panama?

Blog by Debra Harwood

 

v1

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.

 

v2

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.

v3

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

v4

 

 

Dreaming of opening a Bed & Breakfast / Inn in Boquete, Panama?

Blog by Terry Richmeier and Manzar Lari

Our Logo Re-Sized

Has this been a lifelong dream of yours? Do you want to reinvent yourself? Do you enjoy being around people? Are you open to taking some risks in your life? Do you like to travel and appreciate different cultures? Do you have some financial means to make your dream a reality? Well, it sounds like your time has come to take that leap and own an international B&B!

At Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, we started out by spending a few years researching what it takes to start and open a bed and breakfast. During that time we were getting our business plan solidified and our finances in order. After all the preparations, building our home, learning the government requirements, jumping through hoops and finding the financial support, seminars on running a bed & breakfast and developing a marketing plan, we opened Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast on Friday, January 10th, 2014. We are truly blessed that our business has been well-received by our guests and the Boquete community alike. Our biggest challenge has been to learn all aspects of operating a business in a different culture than we had been used to. With all kinds of challenges we face we have to dig in and research and find the answers as well find support that will work best for us.

1483282_471002276342951_462131993_n

Within the past several months, we have been approached by people who are looking into the possibility of opening their own bed and breakfast or even a restaurant or two.  We have chosen to share our experiences and knowledge with these folks. We have sat down with these folks for a chat. It generally starts with an informal conversation and answering any questions that they might have. We generally continue through emails back and forth. Questions from Marketing to Hours of Operation to the choice of builders and architect, all are fair game.

Recently we completed a three month training for a lady whom we equipped with all she needs to get her own bed and breakfast underway. She is a friend of ours who has had the dream for many years to be a bed and breakfast owner/operator. It was a good opportunity for us to sit down and write up all the processes. In addition, we created a checklist that contained each aspect of the business so that we didn’t miss training her on anything. The process worked out really well. She was eager to learn and took her role of a “trainee” very seriously! One minute she was helping out with the recipes in the kitchen, a bit later she was working in the office learning our business machines, and later in the evening she was hobnobbing with the guests at the upstairs bar for the Social Hour! This gave her some solid experience in seeing for herself what day-to-day life looks like at a bed and breakfast. It worked out for us too since we learned some things also as we looked at all aspects of our operations. We were able to update and fine-tune some processes that needed to be changed. We also appreciated the extra help we received from her as much as she appreciated learning new skills.

DSC023401

So come and stay with us here at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast and ask us all the questions you want about opening a business or bed and breakfast in Panama or even in your own hometown. We will honestly tell you all we know, or at least our experiences and perspectives, and encourage you to follow your dreams, whatever they may be!

How to celebrate 50 years of marriage in Boquete, Panama?

Blog by Terry Richmeier and Joy Huppe

bubbly

Celebrating a “Golden Anniversary”…

Recently, family members of Casa De Montaña Bed & Breakfast telephoned to let us know they would like to come down and celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary here with us. We were thrilled, elated, ecstatic… and then, the panic set in!   How does one do justice to honoring such a milestone? How to create a memorable experience that reflects the love and commitment a 50th anniversary represents?

First… well… ok, what to do? Think, think, think, what can we do???

There is always the ability to have a celebration here at Casa de Montaña. We can hire a band… perhaps, the popular Dos Amigos! We can ask a good friend to make a wonderful cake. We can create delicious food and serve some bubbly! We can send out invitations to all our Boquete friends and celebrate with dancing.

Then, the thought occurs to us that this would be “our” friends that we have invited and not anyone that the family knows. Why celebrate your 50th with strangers? Or do we?

Well, how about an upscale dinner out at one of the finest Boquete, Panama restaurants? How does that sound? It sounds great, but not really all that different than any other special day… and this need to be really special.

How about a dinner cruise? That would be right up their alley! Ok, checked on that and it’s just not available in the Chiriqui region…

Well, feeling somewhat let down and without further ideas, we started reflecting on marriage in general… with the hope that it would lead to the idea of what will create a perfect celebration of sharing your life with someone for 50 years!

Continuing on this train of thought, we started asking questions… many, many questions…

loveovertime

What is the secret to making love last?

What would it take to stay together in a marriage for 50 years? What kind of sacrifices would a person have to endure? Can love remain when all else is going wrong? Does each person in the marriage lift each other up or tear each other down? With so many failed marriages, what can we learn from a couple that has been married for 50 years? Why are there so many failed marriages? What brings people together and more importantly what keeps them together?

Well, first of all, marriage has changed a lot in the past fifty years. Currently in the United States a shocking 53% of all marriages end in divorce, while in Panama that number drops to 27%.   So for a couple to stay together for half a decade is not only an accomplishment, but a rarity! In the United States only 6% of all marriages make it to the 50 year milestone, though recent studies have shown slight increases in relationship longevity.

There are countless studies and research on marriage trends that have revealed some interesting information. For example, it has been shown that the more money a couple makes the less likely they are to divorce… though interestingly, the more expensive the actual wedding ceremony (and ring) the more likely a divorce. Also, couples that date for three or more years before becoming wed have a greater chance of remaining together. Not surprisingly, couples that dated less than 6 months before marriage have a greater increase of divorce. It has also been shown that there is a “four year itch” trend where many couples decide to divorce in their fourth year of marriage. Also noted was the tendency for the first two years of marriage to “set the tone” for the remaining duration of the relationship.

stats4marriage

Just one of the many statistics out there on marriage/divorce…

Another interesting find was that, according to a new study, after 50 years of marriage, your sex life may actually improve! This was cited as being due to a renewed sense of trust and commitment. The same study also states that “older couples” (age 57-85) who are sexually satisfied feel happier in their marriages.

With all the data available, we could spout marriage statistics until we’re blue in the face… but the juiciest information comes from direct experience. So, what are the couples who are in long-term marriages saying on this topic? What is the “secret” to a long, happy married life? Here is a sampling of responses:

“We made a pact to never fight about money. Financial problems lead to divorce. We didn’t want our relationship to deteriorate over something as inconsequential as money. We’ve been through financial ups and downs, including bouts of unemployment and significant credit-card debt. But we never cast blame and remain calm during financial discussions.”

“Always find things to laugh about. Laugh together. Times are tough. Tragedy happens in all families. Things will go wrong. But if you find ways to laugh about “it” you’ll form a special bond and can overcome anything!”

“Each person should seek to do good for the other person, instead of fighting over ‘what about me.’ Then the experience is one where each person is giving and serving the other. A win-win solution.”

“If you’re in it for life, you’re both going to do a lot of growing up and maturing over the years—you have to stay intimately in touch with each other’s growth over all this time or you end up not knowing the person you’re married to as he/she changes over the years.”

“Dump friends, family and situations which have a negative effect on your life and marriage—and expect your spouse to do the same. Keep your sex life interesting. Listen to each other’s fantasies. Do not be afraid to dress and act sensual in the bedroom. And plan exciting vacations together.”

If video is more your style, here is a recent “What you don’t know about marriage” Ted Talk you might enjoy.

For those with less time, here is a truncated version on the secret to a happy marriage.  🙂

 

Thus far we have been viewing marriage through the lens of North-American culture. But what about Panamanians, and in particular the indigenous Ngobe-Bugle tribe with whom we share this region?

While love is a universal language (or so we like to believe!)… the institution of marriage is approached differently in various cultures. Here in Panama, as in the United States, the majority of people choose their spouses. (Read: arranged marriage is not common.) Couples in the rural lower to middle classes often decide to marry and have children together, though an official wedding ceremony may not happen for several years, if ever. The practice of cohabitation without official marriage in Panama rose in popularity in the 1960s and has remained high ever since. In fact, half of all cohabitating couples (both married and unmarried) remain unwed. In the upper classes, couples are more likely to choose to participate in a formal marriage ceremony before starting a life with another person.

The Ngobe-Bugle Indians view marriage as the most important event in one’s life. In this sub-culture, it is typical for fathers to arrange their children’s marriage, based on the selected spouses’ land, wealth, and position in the group. Polygamy (the “art” of having more than one wife) is accepted and practiced, though slowly becoming less common with the cost of living on the rise.

For both the indigenous groups and the local Panamanians, it is generally accepted that the man may or may not have a mistress “on the side” and, if so, he is to be financially responsible in supporting the children his mistress may bear him. Married women, however, are expected to be faithful to their husbands.

In Boquete and in Panama, weddings happen all year long. In fact, Boquete is a popular wedding destination for Panamanians and visitors alike. And with the area’s natural beauty, it is no surprise as to why this is.

Casa de Montaña is a great place to stay when in town for a wedding – yours or somebody else’s! Did you know that we offer a special discount to wedding parties that book our entire bed and breakfast?

Anyway… to come back full circle… even after all our research and reflection on long-term marriages, we are no closer to finding an ideal way to celebrate with our loved ones. Our desire is to honor a 50 year marriage of our parents with the best and most wonderful 50 year anniversary possible… And we are asking for your help!

help

Seriously… we’d love your suggestions!

We would welcome your thoughts and ideas with open arms… just send us a note or two with what would make a celebration of this sort, special for you.  Thank you in advance for your input. We are looking forward to brainstorming together on this.

In closing, we’ll leave you with this heart-warming quote from Osho:  “Real love is not an escape from loneliness, real love is an overflowing aloneness. One is so happy in being alone that one would like to share.”   (Imagine that!)

Carnival in Panama

Blog by Andres Lay & Joy Huppe

carnival2

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
.
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!

 

Re-creating and Re-inventing yourself

Blog by Terry Richmeier

 

reinventado-1

Manzar and Terry just recently celebrated a year of service as the owners of Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast after coming from corporate jobs in the U.S. For some, an international move is daunting enough, let alone starting a new business in a foreign country. Besides “what were you thinking?!?” … such an endeavor brings a host of questions. What is the inspiration for this level of change? How does one prepare oneself? How does one stay focused and motivated when the “going gets tough?” When embarking on this adventure in a relationship, how can partners support each other spiritually, emotionally, and otherwise? What sacrifices may be required to achieve The Dream?

We invite you to come hear our story – and share yours – over a glass of wine (or beverage of your choice) during our popular Casa de Montana social hour. Meanwhile, pique your inner “Lewis and Clark” with the following.

We came across a tale recently on Pinterest. A Canadian couple quit their jobs, sold their belongings and decided on a lifestyle of travel. Currently blogging and photographing their way around the world, they post their experiences on their website www.onemoderncouple.com.

reinventado-2

However, we don’t want to paint only one side of the picture. For every success story, there is also the time when challenges and fears arise which must be minimized and/or overcome. Reinventing oneself is not necessarily easy, but there are some steps to take along the way that help ease such a great undertaking.

First, it is important to reflect on the changes you want to make. Be clear as to what exactly you would like to change and why. Spend some time writing down how you envision your new life. Next, make a game plan. Ask yourself what steps you would need to take to manifest your vision. Once you begin the process, stay motivated. Keep your eyes on the prize, so to speak. One way to do this may be to create a vision board – or spend some time each day doing something (however small it may be) that will bring you closer to your goal. (i.e., study your Spanish!) And last, but not least, share your plan with others. Having a cheerleader in your corner can be invaluable, especially during those moments when you may feel overwhelmed or discouraged.

Reinventing yourself is difficult to say the least and still, we believe, it’s well worth the fight! Finding what you enjoy doing in life is the best thing you can do for your health and overall wellbeing! Here in Panama, the expat community has created several helpful Facebook pages such as Expats in Boquete and Jobs For Expats In Panama. Of course, this is just a start. Be sure to reach out to others who have, or are in the process of changing their lives. Create a community to face potential challenges together. Send an email or two with questions to those who have already taken the plunge. Support will be your greatest asset! Feel free to let us know your thoughts, what your plans are and how they are going.

“Chiriquí Rainbow Community” for LGBT and Friends/Family Group and Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast

Blog by Terry Richmeier

 

This past year, in January of 2014, Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast hosted an Open House so that we could let the Boquete Community and neighbors know who we are and that we are here to be a part of the community and the “spirit” of Boquete! Ever since that day, the people of Boquete have welcomed us with open arms and made us feel right at home!

                We also found that there are several people who are living in the Province of Chiriquí that are LGBT folks who really want to be part of an affirming community. Also, there have been many LGBT travelers to the Boquete and the Chiriquí region in general. This need spawned the idea of establishing a group that would be dedicated to creating an affirming community of ALL the people living in the Chiriquí region regardless of their affectional preferences. Chiriqui Rainbow Community was formed in March 2014 as a group that welcomes all individuals who believe in diversity and inclusion.lgbt1

With our newly created community came many challenges. Initially some people were hesitant to attend the meetings and outings for fear of being “found out”. Their concerns fast disappeared once they learned that the group had individuals of all different affectional preferences and that people were very accepting and that they didn’t need to share anything personal if they did not want to. Friends and family members of LGBT folks began to attend our monthly meetings as well. We initially had some struggles with combining Spanish speaking Panamanians and English speaking Ex-pats. We took on this challenge by making sure we have interpreters in each of our meetings who know both languages. We thought that we would have people pushing back against LGBT people, however, this issue has never presented itself.

                Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast wanted to make sure that LGBT visitors who are coming to stay in our region of Panama for a short while or are considering making Chiriqui their home, those LGBT people would have a community when they arrived. Our group took on that challenge and we have several LGBT people on the list who would welcome the opportunity to meet with you at a coffee shop, or have lunch with you and talk to you about Boquete or Panama in general. We have a contact list that we can set up some time for you to talk with local LGBT people and families.lgbt2

                Since March we have participated in many activities such as: community meetings; swimming pool parties, guest speakers on subjects such as AIDS and depiction of gays in the media, and even a lawyer who talked spousal and partnership rights in Panama. We have created a Boquete.ning.com page a Facebook page under Chiriquí Rainbow Community and hope that you will “like” and “follow” us on both of these pages.

                Soon in 2015 the “Chiriqui Rainbow Community” group is planning on donating a big town clock for the Boquete Central Park. We will be participating in community services, taking a trip together for the Pride Parade in Panama City, organize more pool parties, and a botanical Cloud Forest tour and bon fire. We are encouraging and supporting Panamanians who are closeted or feel unsupported to join our group and establish mutual support and friendship.

lgbt3

The Chiriquí Rainbow Community is well established and is always welcoming new local members and even people who are just visiting. If you are planning a trip to Boquete, Panama, or the Chiriquí Region, please contact us so we can invite you to the next meeting or have you meet gay or lesbian local people. At Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, we offer a discount rate if you inform us prior to booking that you found us through “Purple Roofs”. See the web-link: www.purpleroofs.com http://purpleroofs.com/centralamerica/panama.html . Please plan your stay with us and we will be happy to assist in setting up tours and excursions. Remember to time your visit so you can attend one of our monthly Chiriqui Rainbow Community meeting or a fun outing! Remember, you don’t have to be LGBT to attend these meetings and outings or to stay at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast. We respect and welcome people from all walks of life and look forward to meeting you!

 

Flexibility, Communication and Personalized Service

Presentation1

We here at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, are often faced with dilemma’s and questions such as: Our breakfast time is served from 8 am – 10 am, and it’s almost 10:00 am, do we go knock on your door so that you don’t miss out on breakfast or do we just put the food away and start cleaning the breakfast area leaving you to miss out on breakfast? The same way for checking out, our check out time is 11:00 am, do we knock on your door to remind you of that at 10:45 am or do we charge for a late checkout knowing the burden it will place on our staff to turn the room over quickly? What is proper etiquette in these situations?

We aren’t trying to be difficult or ruin your day. The first thing to remember is that we want you to have a wonderful time at Casa de Montaña B&B and we will go out of our way to ensure that, to a point. Casa de Montaña B & B’s policies may seem arbitrary from the outside looking in, but there are usually good reasons for them.

Things like when you drink your first cup of coffee or what you eat for breakfast may be determined by Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast. Your habit of an egg over easy every morning at 6AM may have to be broken as Casa de Montaña’s kitchen isn’t set up for short order cooking. On the plus side, you’re likely to trade that familiar breakfast for one of 7 different gourmet breakfasts served at 8AM on the back patio! You may not be able to check into your room as soon as you arrive from out of town however, we can store your suitcases while you explore the town until we can check you in. Unlike a hotel, there is not a “desk staff” that is here 24 hours, if you are coming late, to notify us is a really big help. When you do check in, you’re likely to meet Manzar or Terry in person and get advice on what to see and do in Boquete, as well as being personally welcomed into our home and making it yours during your stay.

Here are some things that you can do that will avoid head-butting with us and make your stay an enjoyable and stress-free one.

Find out what our policies are. They are posted on the website and we will include part of these policies in our reservation confirmation email.

Decide for yourself what you’re willing to give up control of and what you’re not, let’s talk about these and see if we can accommodate you. Some B&B’s have multiple seating for breakfast and others can’t do that. We here at Casa de Montaña have six tables located on the back porch with views of the Jarimillo mountains and the morning sun. We don’t normally take pets but can possibly make an exception depending on the room availability. Don’t choose an inn that can’t possibly accommodate you and try to force them to make an exception for you. It’s like asking to change a spouse after the wedding. Better to pick one you like to begin with!

That being said, if you’re not sure how flexible our policy is, contact us. Communication is the key! We can offer an early continental breakfast box for those who can’t stay for the larger meal and a phone call or email to us can clarify that. This is also true for special diets. We will do their best to accommodate dietary restrictions, but always check with us in advance. It may require us to adapt the menu for the rest of their guests or to make a special trip to the store. The website says check-in is between 2 and 6 PM and you just can’t get there early enough to make that, give us a call. We may be able to make arrangement to check you in later.

Check our on-line reviews. If you’re afraid of being given an unfamiliar breakfast and all the reviews rave about the food it may make giving up control of that part a little easier. You can have faith that there will be something on the table you will like or we can make arrangements in advance for your breakfast requirements.

Remember that we are on your side! We really do want you to enjoy your visit. If you plan on sleeping in and skipping breakfast, let them know in advance, or place the do not disturb sign on the door. If you need to leave early to catch a flight, just let Manzar or Terry know in advance and we can certainly have a to-go box placed in your room the night before. With any need that you have, we can find a solution. We are looking forward to your stay here with us at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast and your communication with us is key!

Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast and Presidential Resolutions for Boquete, Panama – year 2015

Blog by Andres Lay

At Casa de Montaña, we are taking a special interest in finding out what it means to have a new Panamanian president and a new mayor of Boquete. How will that impact the country and our neighborhoods? Which campaign promises are going to be carried out and how soon? How do the local laws and resolutions compare to what we used to see in the U.S.?

In the U.S., resolutions are passed in the local City governments, State governments as well as the Federal Government and other public assemblies. The purpose of these resolutions is an expression of the opinion or will of a legislative body. These bodies use resolutions for two purposes. First, resolutions express their consensus on matters of public policy: lawmakers routinely deliver criticism or support on a broad range of social issues, legal rights, court opinions, and even decisions by the Executive Branch. Second, they pass resolutions for internal, administrative purposes. Resolutions are not laws; they differ fundamentally in their purpose. However, under certain circumstances resolutions can have the effect of law.

In essence, laws are intended to permanently direct and control matters applying to persons or issues in general; moreover, they are enforceable. By contrast, resolutions expressing the views of lawmakers are limited to a specific issue or event. They are neither intended to be permanent nor to be enforceable. Nor do they carry the weight of court opinions. In a certain respect, they resemble the opinions expressed by a newspaper on its editorial page, but they are nonetheless indicative of the ideas and values of elected representatives and, as such, commonly mirror the outlook of voters.

Here in Panama, the “Asamblea Nacional” (National Congress) is where all the laws in Panama are created and approved by votes. The congress perform the legislative power in Panama, is composed of 71 elected legislators and they cast their vote on proposed laws for a period of five years. The congress meets for eight months, divided into two terms of four months each, one that will run from July 1 to October 31, and again from 2 January to 30 April. Its function is to issue laws necessary to fulfill the purposes and exercise the functions of the State. Each province and regions in Panama have its own legislator as a part of the congress. In order for a law be approved, the majority of the congress has to be in favor of that law.

asamblea1

Some of the new laws that are going to be looked at in 2015 by the Congress are as follows:

PROYECT Nº116 REGULATE THE MARKETING AND IMPORT AND USE OF AGRICULTURAL CHEMICALS AND MAKE REGENCY IN THE REPUBLIC OF PANAMA

PROYECT Nº095 ENCOURAGE THE CONSTRUCTION OF SPORT INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT AND PROMOTING SPORT SCHOOL IN THE REPUBLIC OF PANAMA.

PROYECT Nº084 CREATING THE PROGRAM TO HELP THE PRODUCER OF AREA, INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES AND FARMERS.

These are some of the laws to be approved by the congress, there are tons of other one. The above ones a few examples just for you to have an idea of the laws being worked on.

For the next 5 years the 2014 elected President of Panama has government resolutions for his term to be completed. Some of the government resolutions for his term are:

  • Creating new permanent regional markets and municipal slaughterhouses.
  • Bilingual education in all public schools and increased days of class.
  • Plan massive renovation and expansion of public schools and construction of 50 new schools.
  • Improvement “Universal Scholarships” and extension to college students.
  • The construction of 15 health centers and 4 new hospitals, including a Cancer Hospital in the province of Chiriqui.
  • The construction of Line 2 and Line 3 of the Metro de Panama (subway system).
  • Construction of fourth bridge over the Canal and new access to Arraijan-La Chorrera highway.

In Boquete, the new Mayor has different resolutions for the good and improvement of the community. Some of his resolutions are to finish the new marketplace for vegetable vendors (located across from Romero), the maintenance of the Caldera River so we can prevent a flood in the area, the repair of the water problems in Volcancito and Alto Boquete and more. Right now the election of the new governor is still being contested so we have no resolution or new laws to be approved for the region of Boquete, Dolega and Gualaca as they need to go into a vote process again.

asamblea2asamblea3

Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast also has some resolutions for the up and coming year. We want to continue to give you the best personal service possible and provide you with a clean and comfortable space that you can make your home for the time you are in Boquete, Panama! We want to work and grow together as a team to give you respite from your daily lives and re-focus you back on you.

For us that are English speaking, we want to learn Spanish and for those of us that speak Spanish only, we want to learn English. The reason for this is that we can all serve each one of you and make you feel the most comfortable possible.

Casa de Montaña wants to work towards and get to the place where you say, “My home away from home”!

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!

Social Hour at Casa de Montaña – Red or White Wine or do you prefer a Beer?

Blog by Terry Richmeier

 

So, you are on vacation and you have chosen to stay with Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast and you are getting ready for our Social Hour. You may wonder why we include a glass of wine or beer when you stay with us. Well, not only do we want you to be able to relax, we also want you to know that we believe there are some health benefits of drinking a glass of wine or a beer and that during vacation time continued mental health as well as physical health can be as easy as relaxing and enjoying a glass of wine or beer.

vino1

Is red wine the fountain of youth or a potent poison? Is enjoying a glass of red wine during social each evening beneficial to your health? Current research suggests that a glass of red wine each day may be providing you with more than just a little relaxation.

And how about white wine? Does that have the same benefits as red? What about a cold beer? Is there anything beneficial there?

In an article from the Yale-New Haven Hospital, 10 years of research has indicated that moderate intake of alcohol improves cardiovascular health. In fact, in 1992 Harvard researchers included moderate alcohol consumption as one of the “eight proven ways to reduce coronary heart disease risk.” However, research has suggested that specifically red wine is the most beneficial to your heart health. The cardio protective effect has been attributed to antioxidants present in the skin and seeds of red grapes.

Scientists believe the antioxidants, called flavonoids, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in three ways:

  •   by reducing production of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (also known as the “bad” cholesterol)
  •   by boosting high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the good cholesterol)
  •   by reducing blood clotting. Furthermore, consuming a glass of wine may favorably influence your lipid profiles but should be during or followed up with a meal

vino2

Recently, researchers have found that moderate red wine consumption may be beneficial to more than just your heart. One study found that the antioxidant resveratrol, which is prevalent in the skin of red grapes, may inhibit tumor development in some cancers. Another study indicated that resveratrol aided in the formation of nerve cells, which experts believe may be helpful in the treatment of neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Of course recommendations to consume moderate amounts of wine are limited to individuals with a clean bill of health.

What about grape juice and nonalcoholic red wine?

In 1997, researchers at the University of Wisconsin concluded that purple grape juice also reduced blood clotting. Another study by researchers at University of California at Davis, confirmed the findings that nonalcoholic red wine contains the same antioxidant profile as red wine. However in a 1998 study, Japanese researchers found that while grape juice still had antioxidative benefits, it did not significantly lower LDL cholesterol levels compared to red wine.

vino3

And what about White Wine?

Taken from an article in livestrong.com

The skins of grapes contain high levels of antioxidants, compounds that provide beneficial health effects. The wine that provides the most health benefits is red because the skins are included in its processing. The grape skins are removed when white wine is processed, which decreases its medicinal benefits. The grape itself also contains nutrients and antioxidants, so white wine, while not as healthy as red, is still considered a healthy beverage.

Studies analyzing white wine’s effects on particular diseases have found that its antioxidant content is effective for preventing lung disease and breast cancer. In 2002, researchers at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine found that moderate lifelong white wine consumption improves lung health. In 2010 University of Wisconsin researchers found that white wine protects cells from breast cancer equally well compared with red wine.

vino4

Ok, so what about that balboa Beer?

Taken from an article in eatright.org

When it comes to beverages with benefits, wine always seems to get the credit. If you’re a brew lover, that might make you want to cry in your beer. But before you do, you’ll be glad to learn that, like wine, beer delivers some decided perks as well.

“A cold beer is the perfect way to relax at the end of the day, it tastes great and, in moderation, it can even be good for you,” says Ethan A. Bergman, PhD, RD, CD, FADA, past president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Here are five ways your favorite brew can enhance your health.

It’s Heart Smart

While wine gets all the glory for its heart-healthy benefits, beer consumption may have a similar effect, according to a 2012 study in the European Journal of Epidemiology. Italian researchers reviewed 12 studies that separated wine and beer consumption, and found that moderate drinkers (about one pint per day) had a 42 percent lower risk of heart disease than non-drinkers. The comparable protective benefits to wine could be because both contain polyphenols, shown to have antioxidant properties that may help your heart, the researchers write. No benefits were found for other alcoholic spirits.

It’s Kind to Your Kidneys

That brewski may reduce your risk of developing kidney stones, according to an article in the winter 2011 issue of ADA Times. Researchers found that beer lowered the risk of kidney stones in men compared to other alcoholic beverages, possibly due to its high water content and diuretic effect. Compounds in hops may also slow the release of calcium from bone that is implicated in kidney stones.

It’s a Surprising Source of Fiber

Who knew that beer contains fiber? Made from barley, beer contains beta-glucans — a type of soluble fiber credited with lowering cholesterol levels. A 12-ounce bottle of lager sports 0.75 grams of fiber while the same amount of dark beer boasts 1.3 grams. Don’t get too excited: The recommended daily amount of fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. After age 50, your daily fiber needs drops to 21 grams for women and 30 grams for men.

Provides Brain-Boosting B Vitamins

That cold one has another hidden health benefit: One 12-ounce beer supplies 3 percent of the daily recommendation for vitamin B12, which plays a key role in brain and nervous system functioning, as well as blood formation. It’s also a source of folate, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. However, the alcohol likely trumps any of the B vitamin benefits, though. In fact, a 2011 study in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found alcohol dulls brain signals responsible for self-control.

You’ll Strengthen Your Skeleton

While heavy drinking can weaken bones, a beer or two may make them stronger. Beer is rich in silicon, an element found in few foods and drinks, which has been linked to stronger bones. In a Tufts University study, men who drank between one to two beers a day had hip bone densities three-and-a-half to four-and-a-half times greater than teetotalers.

vino5

While these benefits sound great, it’s important not to read them with beer goggles on. Moderation is the key word here. Typical recommendations for beer and wine consumption are no more than one drink a day for women and two for men, but are heavily reliant on age, gender, genetics and body type. That means science won’t back up your decision to knock back an entire six-pack and you shouldn’t start drinking just for the health benefits.

So, we are extremely excited to have you stay with Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast and have a glass of wine or beer on us! Of course, we have non-alcoholic beverages available as well. You deserve a respite from the daily hassles of your life!

 

 

Finding Happiness during this Christmas/Holiday Season in Boquete, Panama

Blog by Manzar Lari

peanuts

Why are happiness, joy and belonging so important during the holiday season? Is it because all year long we are focused on so many other things, or should I say “busy work”, that we don’t allow ourselves to take inventory of the truly meaningful things in our lives? Meaningful things such as close friendships, significant romantic relationships and unconditional family connections?

For many of us, the holiday season brings all this to the forefront. Many questions run through our head… Did I get invited to a Thanksgiving dinner somewhere? Did I receive any e-cards stating “Have a great Christmas and New Year”? Did I take the time to write to someone else who I have been meaning to contact all year long? Should I wait and see if there are any Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties or should I plan one of my own? Will anyone even come to the party if I organized one? What is the best gift to buy for each of my family members and friends? While Holiday time can affirm for us what we already know about our relationships and what we have in our lives, it can also be a realization of our own loneliness and lack of belonging. Belonging, happiness and joy are so intertwined for most people that it is difficult to look at one without the other. To experience unbridled joy one has to be on their own path to happiness all within the context of a sense of belonging and nurturance.

Happy1

I grew up in a culture that did not celebrate Christmas but I do understand the spirit of Christmas. Most cultures share that “spirit” in common. They may call it Hanukkah, Eid, Diwali or by any other name but they share the same essence of goodness and connection with others. In Boquete, Panama, this spirit lives on. It can be seen in the decorations around town, the holiday and Christmas parades where old and young dutifully partake in are all symbols of the connection with each other and to a higher power. It is great to watch all these festivities. Maybe in the coming years I would feel more of a connection to the people of Boquete and take part in these celebrations myself instead of watching them from the sidelines? I digress! Back to happiness. How can one feel happier during the holidays? Here are some tips:

  • Give a little piece of yourself – volunteer your time and resources
  • Give yourself a break – get rid of all the “shoulds” that create additional stress
  • Give others a gift that they will remember – It doesn’t have to be an actual present. It can be a heartfelt note sharing your gratitude
  • Give thanks – try to remember the things you are thankful for in your life
  • Give it a rest – take some time out for yourself and relax

pause-in-persuit-of-happiness

Take a look at the attached link to an article that says the above in more detail. She seems to know what she is talking about!

 

http://prettyfluffy.com/regular-columns/eds-letter/5-ways-to-find-happiness-this-christmas

 

If you are interested in Life Coaching services offered by yours truly (Manzar Lari), please take a look at my Life Coaching website and contact me through the website:

www.aworldofpossibilitiescoaching.com

I would be great to hear from you!

At Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast we are ready for the holiday season and would love to have you come stay with us and be part of this magical time of the year!

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?

vaca1

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.

vaca2

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.

vaca3

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!

vaca4

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”!

vaca5

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.

%d bloggers like this: