The New Public Market

There has been a very large, shiny building under construction in David. I heard some time ago that it was going to be a market to house the merchants that are usually on the street.

Tuesday I was shopping with a friend and noticed that all the produce vendors near the municipal building were gone. Wednesday my friend said she has heard that the new market was open and she wanted to visit.

The market is very attractive, and also very cold. The air conditioning is effective! Right now there is a ton of unused space so it will be interesting to see what happens as time goes on.

A couple people have explained to me that there are middle men who buy from the producers and sell to the consumers, and make a lot of money in the process. This market is part of an effort for products to go directly from the producer to the consumer without the expensive middle man, which will keep food prices down. Since so much food is produced in Chiriqui Province I’m not sure how much this will affect us here, but I can see how it could make a big different in other areas. I was told that these markets are being built all over the country.

I kind of miss the vendors on the street, and I think if you were getting off work or were downtown for some reason, it would be nice to just pick up what you need on your way home rather than drive elsewhere to a big market. Will this be even more difficult for the many people who don’t have cars? Will the cost of space in the new building also drive up the cost of products?

It will be interesting to see how this works out. It certainly is an attractive, clean, cool, and has tons of space. I hope the produce market down the street from us stays where it is, but I will also visit the new market from time to time if I’m in the area to see what is going on there.

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Posted in culture, Exploring the Area, food, Panama | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenges: Contrasts

Weekly Photo Challenges: Contrasts. This week, in a post created specifically for this challenge, share your own photo showing a CONTRAST.

My friend and fellow blogger Holly had a fun get together after the roof was completed on their casita. I can always be persuaded to drive to Boquete because the mountains there are gorgeous! This evening we watched the sun set, and the contrasts between the mountains, the white clouds, and the blue sky decreased as everything turned deeper and deeper shades of blue.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

Weekly Photo challenge: Between. Capture something in the middle of two things. It can be a person or object, or simply the space in between. 

I did some looking on line and think this could be a small Fer de Lance snake, a very poisonous and dangerous snake. Now I wish I had taken a better photo. I was taking my computer to my “outside office” on the terrace and just grabbed my iPad which was the only camera close at hand. When I returned a short while later, it had gone. I know these snakes are in the area and I am very careful not to put my hands in piles of leaves or other places where a snake might be, but this is the first time I have actually seen one. It’s lucky it was at my house because any of my neighbors would have killed it on sight. Knowing how dangerous these snakes can be, this time I can’t blame them.

Now for something more fun - I have seen this horse many times between the road in front, the heavy equipment behind, and the rock, sand and gravel business to the left. It doesn't seem a likely place for a horse, but it seems contented to keep the vegetation under control in its little area.

Now for something more fun – I have seen this horse many times between the road in front, the heavy equipment behind, and the rock, sand and gravel business to the left. It doesn’t seem a likely place for a horse, but the horse seems contented there.

This isn’t the most creative response to last week’s photo challenge but I haven’t been feeling “it” lately, whatever “it” is the inspires me to blog or pick up my camera. Once in a while I just have to put these things aside for a little while. It’s never long though before I see something and I’m excited again.

 

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Pedaling South – traveling on bicycles

Last week was a most interesting week! Part of this was a visit from Pari and Katie, two young women on an extended bicycle trip through Central America.

I met them on indiegogo.com, a crowd funding site where I happened across their campaign to raise money for their trip. I thought their plans were exciting so I gave them a few $ and an offer of a hot meal when they came through David, and the rest is history.

We got to bike together! (just into town, but it was still really cool). If they had been biking on from here, I probably would have gone an hour or two down the road with them.

We got to bike together! (just into town, but it was still really cool). If they had been biking on from here, I probably would have gone an hour or two down the road with them.

These two young women started on March 20th in Mexico City. From there they went southeast to the Pacific coast, then northeast to the Caribbean coast, and then southeast again into Belize. They continued southwest into Guatemala, then east to Honduras and south into El Salvador. From there they went east across a bit more of Honduras to reach Nicaragua. Then, they proceeded down the southwest coast of Nicaragua with a side trip to Ometepe Island before making their way into Costa Rica. They biked down the southwest side of Costa Rica and into Panama, where they landed at our house in David.

Whew! It’s something to just write about, let alone pedal all that distance. And, they also carried everything they needed on their bikes including a tent and inflatable mattresses for camping.

I love my bike, and I love how you can see things differently in the open air. Could I, at my age, ever make a trip like this? I don’t know, but I am definitely inspired to bike more and travel more. These gals are only 24 and they are having such an experience, and are so confident and capable. The original purpose of the trip was to investigate climate change in various countries, but they told me that empowering women has become an even greater area of interest. I agree that the subject is hugely important, and these are two very empowered women who would have a lot to say on the subject.

Here’s just a bit of video as we saw them off. Because of all the construction and heavy machinery on the road between David and Santiago, they decided to be safe and ride the bus to Santiago.

They mentioned Warm Showers, a website where traveling cyclists and hosts can find each other. I am going to sign up. I think people who travel are interesting, and people who travel on bicycles are very interesting! I would like to meet more of these people.

Posted in Miscellaneous, travel | Tagged , , , , , | 23 Comments

Playa La Barqueta – a Visit to the Beach

It’s always fun to have someone new around because you have a good reason to visit all of your favorite spots! Kayla, granddaughter of some good friends, was staying with us for a few days and we had such a good time. Since we visited the mountains one day, it only made sense to visit a beach another day. Of course, when at the beach one must take advantage of the beautiful spot by taking some photos. We were lucky that it was a picture perfect day!

It’s been a very interesting week! First we had Kayla here which was great fun. Her grandparents had just arrived and settled in. We were barely out the door to take her to them in Boquete when the girls on bicycles arrived. That is another story that will be coming soon, a story of travel and courage and inspiration that I can’t wait to share. My friend Emma, a fellow blogger, has just arrived for a short vacation with Holly, another fellow blogger. In the middle of all this I had a birthday and a great celebration dinner with them, other fellow bloggers Cindy, and Rona, and a bunch of other great friends.

Yep, a very interesting week indeed, and it’s not over yet!

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A Bit of Sightseeing

There’s been a lot going on around here lately! The most fun thing has been our friends’ granddaughter who stayed with us for a little while. I had a great time showing her some of the things I love in our area. Of course we had to start with a visit to the river behind our house. It’s been raining quite a bit so the water was fairly high and muddy, and everything is really green.

We decided to take a drive to Volcan and Cerro Punto. I think it’s so beautiful there and it was fun watching her enjoy it too. Our first stop was Macho de Monte in Cuesta Piedra, the fantastic river canyon. We weren’t dressed for climbing over rocks and down sand embankments (which were steeper than I remembered – I think they had been moving the dirt and sand around) but we still could see a lot.

My friend Cedo has a farm near here so we stopped by for a short visit. This farm has been in her family for many years. Her mother-in-law was one of the 8 original settlers in this area named the town (Cuestra Piedra). The farm is a lot of work for my friend but with this family history, I understand why she wants to keep it.

We arrived at feeding time and you wouldn't believe what a racket can be made by excited and hungry pigs!

We arrived at feeding time and you wouldn’t believe what a racket can be made by excited and hungry pigs! The geese were also helping and it was deafening. Look closely and you can see all the pigs standing up on their walls.

From there, we headed up the road towards Volcan enjoying the beautiful scenery.

I’m always amazed by the farms in Cerro Punta. The vegetables are literally grown on the sides of the mountains!

Panama is such a beautiful country! I really enjoy getting out and its even more fun to share the experience with others who also appreciate it.

Posted in Exploring the Area, Panama, travel | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra

Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra  This week, share a photo that has a little something extra: an unexpected visitor, or a tranquil landscape with a splash of color. A lone carrot in a sea of peas. Draw us in with a humorous detail, or find a photo with an added element that makes it an image only you could capture.

A side street, the new commercial building under construction, and a calf grazing by the side of the road.

A side street, the new commercial building under construction, and a calf grazing by the side of the road.

 

An interesting wall with some pretty yellow flowers, and a baby iguana.

An interesting wall with some pretty yellow flowers, and a baby iguana.

 

This would have been better if I have photographed the street and the tarantula was just in the photo, but a tarantula in the street is something "extra" in my mind! It's the first one I've seen in the wild.

This would have been better if I have photographed the street and the tarantula was just in the photo, but a tarantula in the street is something “extra” in my mind! It’s the first one I’ve seen in the wild.

The tarantula was not at all aggressive and they are not especially dangerous. They are big enough to look quite impressive though! The hand belongs to my husband and the tarantula made no attempt to bite him so don’t worry, all is well.

Posted in Panama, Photo Challenge, photography, wildlife | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Room

Weekly Photo Challenge: Room – In this week’s photo challenge, share your take on the idea of room — it could be an actual room in your house, a favorite gallery in your local museum, a cubicle at work. You could also take this challenge in a more abstract direction, and show us where you feel like you have room — or lack it.

I mulled this around in my head all week with nothing presenting itself, until yesterday.

First, I stopped by a construction site because I was intrigued by the metal framework, by the rooms that are going to be. I often find something much more exciting in the process of being created than I do when it’s finished.

Then, I found the best room! I was biking along and noticed a ladder going up into a tree.

I am happy to report that there was a storm last night with a big downpour, and lots of thunder and lightning. Today, the tree house is still up there. Maybe it is sturdier than it looks.

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New Tables

I have new, hand made, solid wood tables in my living room.

One day when I was biking south of town, I noticed some guys out in front of a shop making wooden furniture. The waved and greeted me as I rode past, so I stopped to talk with them on my return trip. I’ve seen other furniture and woodworking shops around town but I hadn’t seen the carving and details that I saw here, and I also liked these guys.

There are all sorts of shops along this road.

There are all sorts of shops along this road that heads out towards La Barqueta.

They told me that yes indeed, they make furniture and could make anything I wanted. We had tables in the living room… well sort of. These are actually parts of plastic shelves that did the job, but it wasn’t exactly what we dreamed of for the long term.

tables2

They are light weight and easy to scrub (trying to find the good in everything)

I came home, we talked, decided on dimensions, and I returned to the shop to put in an order. They asked for half down so they could buy wood, and told me they should be ready in a week.

The shop may not look fancy, but they get a lot of work done there!

The shop may not look fancy, but they get a lot of work done there!

I passed by again only a few days later. They had one table almost done, and another built but waiting for finish.

That's the boss bending over my table and giving it a bit of attention with some sandpaper while his associated look on.

That’s the boss bending over my table while his associates look on.

There is quite a large shop area beyond the door, but the guys seem to prefer working outside and that is where you will usually find them unless it is raining.

This man was working on a headboard for a bed with carvings of flowers and leaves.

This man was working on a headboard for a bed with carvings of flowers and leaves.

It’s really interesting to go by the shop because they always seem to be working on something different. I’ve seen dressers, tables of all sorts including big dining room tables, mirror frames, chairs, and even an entire set of kitchen cabinets which were being sprayed with a beautiful red finish. They use hand power tools for some things but everything is individually cut, carved, assembled, and finished, and much of it is done totally by hand.

Two of my finished tables.

Two of my finished tables.

 

I thought I made it very clear that we wanted one bigger table and two other smaller tables but something got lost in translation, so I had to order the second smaller table when we picked up the others. When it was ready though it was also exactly what we were expecting so the important things were understood. If you want to be very picky you could complain that the putty over the nail heads doesn’t exactly match the wood, and there are some pencil marks left from the construction, but the tables are very solid and well built. The finish is what I asked for, and I like how they routed and smoothed the edges and corners. The price for all three tables – $160, $50 for the smaller ones and $60 for the larger.

I think I have new friends now. If they see me riding by and I don’t stop, they whistle and shout until I turn around.  I like supporting a local business of hard working guys. I think the price is more than fair (furniture here is as expensive if not more so than in the US). I like wood (probably related to my love of trees). I’m happy with the quality. Every time I use the tables I will think of the hands of these nice guys who made them especially for us.

 

Posted in Getting Things Done, Miscellaneous, Panama | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

Are You Happy?

Many people are considering a move to Panama, and of course they want to know if they can be happy here. My friend Chris has written an excellent article on this subject. Check it out!

Taking the Plunge and Finding Happiness as an Expat in Panama

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Posted in culture, Miscellaneous, Panama | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments