Boquete

Cool mountain air
Boquete, Panama

 


We are leaving Bocas today.

When we arrived three days ago it felt like we had ages here – but leaving already! None of the shops were open at 7am, so didn’t manage to buy anything for breakfast. We left at 7.30am for the short walk to the taxi ferry and were soon speeding away from the island.

This time the water was totally flat, so it was a really lovely ride. Back at the water village and into a van for 10 minutes to reach the bus terminal. Bus terminal being a shed and a waiting bus! It was a small bus, but we just managed to squeeze on. Here there was a man selling empanadas. I got two plantain ones, they were pink inside and tasted of cinnamon. So delicious!!! And cost $1 for 2. So cheap.

We drove up through winding hills, wooden hut villages, forests, through clouds and so much green. Thank goodness we stopped for a toilet break – I was getting a bit desperate! It was just a small open cafe. There were toilets around the back, but the doors didn’t close properly, so sure enough I had a local woman yanking the door open while I was trying to wee…..

Soon we were on our way again. More of the same pretty scenery. We arrived into the town of David at 12.30pm. The bus station wasn’t as large as I had expected, but it was busy.

We stopped at the ATMs and for a quick snack – I tried a bread cake! Was quite nice! Then onto the next bus.

A chicken bus (i.e. An American school bus). But this one, wow it was almost brand new, clean, spacious. It was amazing! Nothing like the chicken buses of Nicaragua!! So the next hour was a pleasant drive up into the hills to the cooler air of Boquete.

Boquete is a very popular American retirement town. They grow vegetables, flowers and is surrounded by forest.

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The volcano – Vulcan baru looms just to the side of the town. The town is small, just a couple of streets surrounding a park and a pretty river running to one side. Lots of cafes and large supermarket. Not much else!

I hadn’t eaten much all day, so bought some papaya and the largest passion fruit ever! So cheap in the supermarket. And for the rest of the afternoon I did nothing. It was so good!

In the surrounding villages there are still several indigenous tribes and they still wear traditional dress. The women wear colourful dresses known as nagua – there were several women around the town in these dresses! We headed out for dinner at 7pm and it was cold!! Not tropical up here in the hills!

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I shared some nachos and quesadillas – I haven’t had much typical Central American food! Then after dinner we went to a pool bar. 7 pool tables and totally deserted! I only wanted to spectate but was forced to join in and ended up beating one of the boys – not bad for a beginner!!

Tuesday 11 November 2014

This morning I am doing nothing. It is so weird to have a day of basically nothing – I never do this! I wandered to the supermarket, bought some fruit, went to the bakery, wandered around and found an organic shop and just did nothing! At 2.30pm we were picked up to go on a coffee farm tour!

Boquete is a large producer of coffee. Much of the coffee is exported to Asia and Europe. We drove up into the mountains, really pretty views of the surrounding hills. The plantation was covered in small coffee trees – many of which were over 75 years old.

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I’ve seen coffee growing several times before (and roasted the beans in Bali!). The berries are harvested over a 4 month period of the year when they are a red colour. We popped a few open – the beans come out green and slimy – they taste sweet.

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These beans are then dried for several weeks and the papery shells are removed. After this drying they become small and green. These beans are then roasted. The roasting time determines whether they are light, medium or strong roasted. We left the roasting machine running for about 10 minutes and then took the beans out. They smelt burnt! This is just a small factory. A lot of the processing is done by the buyers of the beans. We got back to town about 5pm. Still feeling lazy, I did nothing else until we headed out for dinner at 8pm!

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