After having sand fly bites, a sunburned nose, and tired eyes from the brightness of the sun in the sea, it was time to head up to the cooler cloudier climate of Boquete. To get there I first rode in a water taxi, to a water bus, to a taxi, to a buseta, to a school bus and finally made it to Boquete about 6 hours later. The buses snaked up through the mountains while I was sandwiched between the window and the traditionally dressed Kuna Yala baby and a mom who was probably 20 years old at most. It was odd to see them pay with dollars.
Boquete is a beautiful little town that is mountainous, cloudy, misty, and much cooler than where I’d been - picture gardens in the mountains. It was kind of refreshing, but I also kind of needed warmer clothes. I met a woman from San Francisco, who was retired there and she loved the climate. People from the United States seem to be retiring to Boquete in large numbers.
By the time I checked into Villa Verde, there wasn’t a ton of daylight left. I had an incredible view from my room.
I walked up to Mi Jardín es tu Jardín. Apparently there are rainbows almost every day. Today was no exception.
I was travel weary and had no energy to do anything besides watch TV. I found it odd to watch the NBA, Will and Grace and Seinfeld in Panama. There was a bathtub, and hot water, so I took my first bath in about 5 months. How relaxing! That, plus the cool mountain air helped me sleep soundly.
The next morning I was off to Café Ruiz for a cup of joe with Rahul’s Panama guidebook in hand. With my reading, and help from the woman who ran Villa Verde, I made some plans for Boquete.
In the morning I visited Paradise Gardens. It was an incredibly peaceful place with flowers and some rescued animals as well.
I was led around the small-operation coffee farm and had all my questions answered. Señor Vargas had built everything on the farm for the coffee production. The machinery reminded me of something from a Dr. Seuss book.
...the washed beans go the other way
This reminded me a bit of what I've seen in wineries. How in the world did we humans come up with such complex processes of plants to get a drink? Really, who thought, "Let's pick these berries, skin them, roast them, grind them up and pour hot water over them, strain it off and then drink only the liquid"? We are odd creatures fo sure.
While at this miraculous coffee farm, I met some French Canadians. The were headed to the hot springs where I wanted to go as well, so I joined them. Off we went through the mountains and the turn off the road had these petroglyphs.
more beautiful Panamanian farm land with the added bonus of horses and rainbows
We arrived at the hot springs just after sunset. There were 3 natural tubs that each got hotter. It was New Year's Eve so I thought I'd wash away the old year and welcome the new with a ritual bath.
New Year's Day I was unable to go horseback riding as I'd hoped, so I pretty much just walked around town. People kept telling me my Spanish was good. It felt good. Sometimes in Colombia people think my Spanish is really good, and other times it’s like I’m speaking Chinese. Part of the New Year’s resolution is speaking my truth and being clear in my speech. I hope the other resolutions become perceptible throughout the rest of the year. I went to the Catholic Church mass and prayed.
On my walk around lovely Boquete in the mountains and across the rivers I saw this...
That night it was time to pack up and get to bed early for the 6 am bus of the next day. I stopped to get some water at the store and found it funny to find Leffe Belgian beer there. I had to get one for the novelty of it. Boquete was tranquil and serene. I was glad to spend a few days there, but I was ready to get back in the sun.