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.

 

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

Blog por Terry Richmeier.

Traducido por: Generoso Guerra.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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.

Ha mejorado el arte perdido del reciclaje en Panamá?

Escrito por: Terry Richmeier.

Traducido por: Generoso Guerra.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

“Let’s Do the Time Warp Again” in Boquete, Panama!

Blog by Manzar Lari

Yes, you fans of Rocky Horror Picture Show, here in Boquete, Panama, have truly entered an alternative universe. The importance placed on time in the U.S. or other industrialized nations is almost non-existent in this country. People are not running from one commitment to another and feeling overwhelmed.

As expats we hear a lot of the locals tell us “tranquilo” (calm down!) if we come across as quite intense by their standards. It takes some time to get into their rhythm of doing things. Since we own a Bed & Breakfast and half (or more) of our guests are visitors from other countries, we usually need to have things fixed, cleaned or prepared on a much more of a definite timelines since our guests’ expectations are different than a typical Panamanian’s. This can cause some issues. The “tranquilo” thing doesn’t always work for us (as a business) even though we try our best to get into the groove with the local norms on a personal level.

A typical expat moving here as a retiree may actually be able to incorporate the laid back lifestyle much more easily than we have because of our special circumstances. Joyce & Scott, our new Boquete transplants, keep giving us information about their experiences and adjustments with their new surroundings as compared to the Bay Area where they lived for decades:

We are really in a time warp sometimes. Not only are we retired, but we are retired in Latin America (the land of “Manaña”), in Panama (which is sometimes more “manaña” than other places) and 7- hour drive from any sense of business and commerce in Panama City. In our little mountain hamlet, sometimes, as someone in our hiking group said this morning, knowing that the day ends in “y” is all you need!

 

Some days it seems like we slog through the entire day to get one thing accomplished. Other days, like today, it seems like a HUGE victory to find out where we can buy a regulator for the natural gas tank for the BBQ. We’ve been trying to find that thing for weeks, and finally succeeded.

The whole time warp thing was exacerbated to me this afternoon when I walked into the knitter’s and crocheter’s group. One of the women said that she hadn’t been keeping track of the news, but only was wondering if the US was at war with North Korea yet? Everyone assured her, that as far as they knew, some hours previous to our meeting, we were not at war. Then the group got down to the more serious discussion of what to do about Panama’s latest restriction on importation of medications from the US, what types and colors of yarn went together well and who was traveling to where in the next few months? There was an interesting little side argument between a couple of the US women and an Australian about whether medications are more expensive in the US, Australia or Panama, but it lacked any fire of intensity.

In our little time warp, today we forgot to go to an event downtown this evening. We forgot to go, because the evening was so lovely that we walked down the street to sit and chat with neighbors on their front porch for an hour or so. It was lovely. I couldn’t help feeling like we were really in a time warp—instead of spending a couple of hours on my Friday evening slogging through traffic on the highway stressing about work and politics, instead I was missing a dance by sipping wine and discussing life for a leisurely evening.

One of the appeals for either visiting or moving to Panama is the laid back and happy attitude of the locals. They truly know how to have fun and they are really welcoming of visitors and expats to their community. It is especially true of the people of the Chiriqui province where Boquete is located. Most expats we know have embraced this lifestyle and by all accounts seem to be much happier as well.

Let us help you relax and do the tours and activities you want according to your timeline! Please check out our “Exploring Boquete” tab on our website and book directly with us for your upcoming vacation. See you soon!

Panamenian Typical Costumes and Peasant Week.

Blog by Maria Isabel Zapata.

(second part of the blog Traditional costumes of Panama and some Central & South American countries)

As the Peasant week of Panama comes closer I find myself looking for traditional costumes for my kids. And I realized Panama has one of the most complex and elaborated costumes of the world! No wonder they are also one of the prettiest and most expensive costumes. Only the “Pollera” (dress) can cost up to 6 thousand dollars, and when you add up all the accessories and jewelry that can be around 300 and 500 dollars more.

Now that is if you purchase fantasy accessories and jewelry. The tradition dictates that the “tembleques” (hair accessories) are made of pearls and the jewelry pure gold, for a total of up to 50 thousand dollars! There is also different kind of Polleras depending on the region and type of festivity : Pollera Montuna Santeña, Pollera Coquito, Pollera tireada, Pollera blanca and Pollera de Lujo.

tembleques

So it was time to decide the kind of pollera I wanted my daughter to wear for their “Gala tipica” at school and Veronica, the Chef here at Casa the Montaña, offered to help me making her dress. I was so excited! I went looking for all the accessory’s and my son’s costumes around the town of Boquete, and found this little store with tons of different dresses, tembleques and shirts for my son.  This is where I found out I knew nothing about these traditional dresses as the owner told me each dress has rules of how many tembleques and jewelry should each of them wear, the color and type of the shoes and how should I style my daughter’s hair!

So I decided to investigate a little deeper and this is what I found:

Pollera Montuna Santeña

This is one of the most valued skirts and most appreciated by the people of Las Tablas and its surrounding areas, precisely because of its bright colors and the delicate touch of the work done in the shirt, which always match the color of Pollerón. Even though this is not considered a Pollera de Lujo this beautiful style for sure captivates the looks of the people.

The Montuna Santeña or Zaraza is complemented with earrings, a flat chain, the Guachapalí chain and the Tapahueso with a gold medal, for the head a set of combs with a tortoiseshell frame with a thin gold blade with pearls and bright stones inserts, a pair of buns and a pair of Colored Tembleques known as Pimpollos.

montuna-santena

Pollera Montuna with Basquiña

When I saw this Pollera, which is so simple yet beautiful I decided this was the one I was going to do for my daughter.

This Pollera is an stylized model of the Pollera  Montuna Santeña, it uses a solid color or pattern skirt with a white shirt called Basquiña.  The headdress for this pollera could be a set of colored tembleques on one side of the head with hair combs.

The jewerly for this Pollera as opposed to the Pollera de Lujo does not need too many colors, one or two colors is fine, but you can add pendants (Zarcillos).

I almost cried of joy when I saw my daughter all dressed up. My son went also as a Montuno which consist of a off-white shirt, jeans and “cutarras”, sandals originally made of leather.

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The white Pollera (Pollera Blanca)
This pollera is made with fine white fabric embroidered with designs and also in white thread. La Pollera Blanca is within the category of Luxury Polleras and is made in similar way. For its white elegant color is usually used for weddings.

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The hair is decorated with fine” tembleques” usually white . The jewelry for this Pollera is unlimited and can be used with all the items that you can get but avoiding saturation so they can be appreciated.  In the head the combs that are used are the “Balcony”, the “Thoughts” and the “Large-comb” at the back, and a ” Pajuela”, which is a leaf form comb.

The earrings can be “tendrils” and in the neck you can use the “Tapahueso” or a fine “Golden Necklace” in its replacement. The chains you put on the chest are made of gold and are usually seven of them.

The shoes used for this Pollera are lined in silk or satin matching the grating and streamer color.

Luxury Pollera (pollera de lujo o gala)

pollera-de-lujo

The Blouse  consists of a basic frame of a shirt that covers the sleeves. On the outside is composed by the top opening of the shirt adorned with braids and two roundabout pieces, a top and bottom one slightly gathered together  and worked with different labors, braids and lace.

 

These Polleras carry a special work made by national artisans that are sewed directly to the white fabric.  Among the names of these techniques we can find “Talco en Sombra”, “Sombreado”, “Calado”, “Zurcido” and Talco al Sol.  When these parts are finished they are assembled together with a type of lace that is handmade called “mundillo.

Because most of the parts of this Pollera are handmade it will take between 6 months to one year to be completed which is reason why that makes this pollera a very expensive one.

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There are a lot of photographic companies where you can rent this pollera and take pictures with it without the necessity of buying one. Here at Casa de Montaña we have amazing gardens where you can arrange to take beautiful outdoor pictures!

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Is it safe for women to travel alone around Panama?

Debra at canal

What is it like traveling alone as a women? That is a question I get asked every time I set out on an adventure. I understand for some women it would be something they would never think of doing alone for many reasons.
What always comes to mind first is will I be safe. Of course important to think about when traveling by yourself. Here are a few things I try and remember:
– Always keep a local map with you and make sure you familiarize yourself with it before leaving your hotel…most hotels offer a free map of the area
– When out at night it’s wise to take a taxi back to your hotel. Here in Boquete its costs just a few dollars
– Remember alcohol will dull the senses so do not overdue it
– Never leave with people you just met no matter how sweet and nice they appear
– I also send a quick email back home to a family member with information of where I am staying It takes only a few seconds but important for the people on the other end as well
– Know how to handle yourself in the case of unwanted attention, and that usually will happen

Debra in Casco ViejoNow about eating out alone in a restaurant. The first few times you experience it may seem a little strange. What I do is bring my ipad or a guide book so that I have something to keep me occupied. What I liked about eating out in Ecuador was that if you are alone at a table for 4, other people will come and sit with you. It’s just how they do it there and I enjoyed that. I have met some wonderful people that way and now I am not shy to do the same. Remember to be respectful of the people and customs of the country you are visiting, you are a guest in that country and so behave as one.

Also I found that staying in a B&B’s makes me feel safer and like I have a temporary home away from home. There is always someone around with useful information about the area and you don’t have to eat breakfast alone…bonus!!
Another helpful idea before you leave home is to spend time researching where your off to especially if you have limited time and want to make sure you see the things that are important to you. Book tours in advance so you won’t miss out. Also be aware of the country currency (it may surprise some people but the American dollar is not the worlds currency) and the availability of ATM machines. I never try to carry much cash and I do use ATM machines and have yet to have an issue with them.

Debra in Bocas del TorroWe here at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast welcome single travels. We know that you will feel at home and safe during your stay with us. We are happy to assist you in booking tours or giving you information about the area so you see all there is to offer.

Lastly remember it is ok to travel alone. There is not a thing wrong with it and does not mean you’re a failure in any way. People travel alone every day all around the world. Please do not let fear keep you from exploring, it’s your choice. I guarantee you will feel proud of yourself after your first adventure alone and each time you will be more comfortable and gain more confidence. I have been traveling alone to almost every province in Panama and can say with certainty  this is one friendly and safe country to spend time exploring.

Debra Boquete
There is a big beautiful world out there just waiting for you to discover. So go get started making some priceless memories today!

Remember, when traveling through Panama don’t forget to stay with us at Casa De Montaña Bed & Breakfast in beautiful Boquete.

“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.

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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!

 

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