Mi Experiencia en una Barbería de Boquete

Blog por Terry Richmeier

Traducido por Generoso Guerra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Barber Shop Experience in Boquete

Blog by Terry Richmeier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Cobertura de telefonía celular en Boquete, Panamá

Blog por Terry Richmeier

Traducido por Generoso Guerra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blog by Terry Richmeier

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

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

 

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

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

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

to connect or reconnect with friends and family.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Try these alternatives:

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

Try these suggestions:

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

Some options may include:

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

Blog by Terry Richmeier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No es necesario el Otoño en Tierras Altas Boquete?

Blog por Terry Richmeier.

Traducido por Generoso Guerra.

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

mano…

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why fall into Fall in Boquete?

Blog by Terry Richmeier.

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

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

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

Here is a statement from our friend Joyce Kinnear:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Cloud Forests of Boquete, Panama

Blog by Debra Harwood

Cloudforest at around 1,600m in Macaya Biosphere Reserve on the Massif de la Hotte, Haiti

Here in Boquete we are fortunate to have some incredible cloud forests where you can spend hours hiking in what truly is a beautiful and breathe taking place on our planet. A cloud forest, also called a fog forest, is a generally tropical or subtropical, moist forest characterized by a persistent, frequent or seasonal low-level cloud cover, usually at the canopy level. Cloud forests often exhibit an abundance of mosses covering the ground and vegetation, and why some people call them a mossy forests. Cloud forests usually develop on the saddles of mountains, where moisture introduced by settling clouds is more effectively retained.
Typically, there is a relatively small band of altitude (500m – 4000m) in which the environment is suitable for cloud forest development. This is characterized by persistent fog at the vegetation level, resulting in the reduction of direct sunlight.  Within cloud forests, much of the moisture available to plants arrives in the form of fog drip where fog condenses on tree leaves and then drips onto the ground below.

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Cloud forest are extremely important in our world. They are very delicate and dependent on local climates and are strongly affected by global climate change. Results show that the extent of environmentally suitable areas for cloud forest in Mexico will sharply decline in the next 70 years and would lead to extinction of up to 37 vertebrates specific to that region. In addition, climate changes can result in a higher amount of hurricanes, which may increase damage to tropical mountain cloud forests. So the results of climate change will be a loss in biodiversity, altitude shifts in species ranges and community reshuffling, and, in some areas, complete loss of cloud forests. In 2004, an estimated one-third of all cloud forests on the planet were protected which shows that we realize their importance and I do hope that as of 2016 we are protecting well over one-half.
These rare ecosystems are valuable for their beauty and biodiversity conservation, but they also have value to those living around them. They maintain water cycles, provide food sources, and are often attractive centers of tourism and because of that provide many people with their livelihoods.
Important areas of cloud forest are in Central and South America, East and Central Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua-New Guinea, and in the Caribbean.

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If you have never experienced a cloud forest please make sure that while you are here in Boquete you take advantage of Mother Nature’s beautiful gift. So pack a light lunch, your camera, rain jacket and take your time and just breathe in the sights and sounds.  I make sure I am out hiking several times a week and I never get tired spending time in the cloud forests here.
Here at Casa de Montana we would be happy to assist you in setting up hikes depending on your hiking level during your stay with us. Nobody should miss out on this great experience!!!

Earthquakes in Boquete and all over Central America!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-An earthquake has one magnitude, but many intensities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boquete – Home of the Resplendent Quetzal!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Healing Powers of the cloud forests

Blog by Terry Richmeier

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to Boquete’s Newest B&B!

Welcome to Casa de Montaña, located in beautiful Boquete, Panama. (More info to go here)

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