A Travellerspoint blog

January 2014

One Fast Week

Way to go BRONCOS!!!!

sunny 85 °F

Time really flies when you are having fun or staying very busy. We're doing both! The only time there are more than five to six people on the beach is during the weekend, usually Saturday from noon until Sunday at sunset and then everyone disappears for five or six days. During the week when we walk the beach it is highly unusual for us to see more than two other couples enjoying the quiet and serenity of Playa Coronado.IMG_2667e.jpg The beach is a blend of black lava sand and tan sand that makes interesting abstract art with the flow of the tide.

On our walks we've watched the destruction of the beach shack that was just five buildings away from our condo. Last Tuesday we took a picture of the building, part of front had been removed and some of the back are was cleaned out. IMG_2488e.jpgOn Wednesday, we walked the other direction away from the building but we heard the jack hammers and backhoe cutting through the rubble. Thursday, it was gone. There is no doubt that very soon a new million dollar mansion will start coming to life.
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Immersing ourselves in the Panamanian life style has been very easy. Even with our limited Spanish most Panamanians have been patient and understanding as we try to ask questions, directions, etc en espanol.

Yesterday we rode the local bus from Coronado to Panama City. An hour and ten minute ride for $2.00. All the buses converge at the central bus terminal in Albrook. From there it is a short taxi ride to Casco Viejo or downtown Panama City. The ride back to Coronado cost $3.00, we have no idea why the difference in price but for ease of the ride in an air conditioned coach blasting out hot jazzy Latin music, it was well worth the cost.

One of the couples we met last week went back to Canada after spending their vacation in Playa Coronado. We had a wonderful surprise the other day when we opened up our email...they had sent us a picture they had taken of us one evening when we where at dinner. panama-2014e-Bob.jpg So here we are, alive and well in Panama.

Congratulation to the Broncos for their awesome victories over San Diego and New England. We're thinking of having a Bronco themed Super Bowl party at our condo on Feb 2. If you are planning to visit be sure to bring your Bronco gear!

Posted by rhislop 12:10 Archived in Panama Tagged beaches bus panama buses panama_city casco_viejo coronado_beach albrook Comments (0)

Happenings in the 'Hood

New friends, local activities and fresh foodies

sunny 85 °F

When we first moved into our condo the rental agent started rattling off all the various activities that were available in the area. These ranged from Thursday night beach volleyball, to happy hours at a variety of restaurants, local fresh fish markets and two for one pizza nights. A little overwhelming at first but now that we have acclimated to the flow we've found some fun and interesting venues. Additionally, we've met a wonderful group of like minded visitors that are also living the daily adventure. We opted not to rent a car for the complete trip, only rent one when we planned to visit a different area of Panama; we walk, take local transportation or ride bikes. The shopping center is three miles away. We've walked, ridden bikes, taken a taxi and ridden with friends. So far that system works.

We have met a couple from Delaware who raise chickens, 27,000 at a time. They are one of Perdue Chickens largest providers. Unfortunately, they are leaving soon. We'll definitely hate to see them go, but that's the way it is. Together we have visited one of local fish markets. Not as big as the one in Panama City, but there was enough to accommodate our needs. We bought two red snappers @ 5lbs each for $3/lbs, had them filleted and then cut into eight meal size pieces. Additionally, we picked up a couple of pounds of large fresh shrimp. We've eaten the shrimp and one cut of red snapper....muy delicioso!!! IMG_2418e_edited-1.jpg

La Teca restaurant is one of the newer establishments here in Coronado. Their featured night is Tuesdays. Half price drinks and a $15.00 tapas menu. Healthy pours and good size portions of various tapas. We went there with the chicken ranchers, a Washington DC lobbyist, a writer, two Canadian couples and a real estate agent. A great spot for Tuesdays. La Teca is on Facebook for additional info.

Another interesting gathering spot, which is only two blocks from our condo, is Picasso's. An outdoor restaurant and bar. Wednesday is half price drinks (happy hour) from 5pm til 9pm. Additionally, they make a pretty good thin crust pizza. On Saturday mornings they have a community breakfast starting at 10am with local artists selling their wares, everything from homemade sausage to molas, the handmade fabric designs of the Kuna Yala Indians. And we must mention, the homemade goat cheese served with breakfast was the best ever. IMG_2579e_edited-1.jpg

However, our favorite gathering spot so far has been the roof area of our condo building. There is a beautiful pool, a lot of chaise lounge chairs, a bbq area and fantastic views. Usually every evening at cocktail time or after dinner there are is a friendly gathering of the residents sharing snacks, stories and friendship. You can't help but make new friends at this spot. IMG_2595e_edited-1.jpg

Posted by rhislop 13:09 Archived in Panama Tagged restaurant red panama pool shrimp snapper coronado_beach picasso's Comments (0)

Views from the BOO

Settling in

semi-overcast 84 °F

Kryss and I have been to Playa Coronado twice before and we have always stayed at the Coronado Bay Condos. Maybe it was familiarity that brought us back here, maybe it was the convenience of the beach and/or the relative ease to come and go to Panama City. Whatever the reason were happy to be back here. We rented our condo sight unseen with the rental agent telling us it had a magnificent deck and ocean views. IMG_2376e_edited-1.jpg The first blue deck from the ground up (fifth flr) is our deck. Split it in half, the left side is the building owner's condo and the right side is ours. Not only does it face the ocean but it also wraps around the side. The building faces due south, so the sun rises to the left of us and sets to our right. IMG_2394e_edited-1.jpg

Down the beach from us is a really rundown house on prime beachfront property. Each time we walk by it our interest is peaked. Is it for sale, what's the story behind the place? Needless to say, we'll be looking into this story.IMG_2374e_edited-1.jpg

The weather has been relatively consistent since we arrive. However, yesterday we watched the first storm front come in from the Pacific Ocean. As it got closer the temperature started dropping, the winds really picked up and those on the beach headed inside. IMG_2419e_edited-1.jpg
I went up on the roof of our building and captured a panoramic image of the storm and the eastern views of Coronado.Untitled_P..a3_edited-1.jpg It never rained on us, just lots of wind and grey clouds. By the end of the day a nice sunset was developing to the west. IMG_2365e_edited-1.jpg

Posted by rhislop 05:03 Archived in Panama Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises panama pacific coronado_beach Comments (0)

Happy New Year 2014

Groceries and Fireworks

sunny 85 °F

Out of Panama City by 10:15am on New Year's Eve day, across the Bridge of the Americas, lots of ships lining up for the canal transit. We were in Coronado by 11:15am, fast trip. However, the traffic around Coronado was crazy, everyone trying to get to and from their homes, buy groceries, stock up on beer, etc. The place was busy. There was a line-up for everything. We decided to get to our condo, unload the car and then go back and challenge the crowds at the shopping centers. The condo is great, an unbelievable deck overlooking the pacific with views up and down the beach. More about the BOO (base of operations) later.

Kryss whipped up a shopping list and off we went to stock up on the necessities of life; beer, etc. In the stores it was mayhem, line-ups for everything. We were told that New Year's eve is one of the biggest holidays in Panama. Lots of family celebrations and gatherings. They were all in the stores buying food for the weekend. What should have been a one hour trip took three and half hours.

Our rental agent had told us that starting at dark fireworks would start going off all over Playa Coronado and they would last all night. She was so right. We watched the sunset, the last one of 2013IMG_1963e_edited-1.jpg and then the fireworks started. We watched for a while from our deck and then grabbed the camera, a tripod, a shutter release cable and our adult beverages and headed to the roof. 360 degree views of the whole area, as it got closer to midnight more and more fireworks started going off. What an incredible sight, this wasn't an organized city father's firework show. This was the everyday Panama citizen, saving money for a year to shoot off twenty minutes of professional grade fireworks and it seems as if everyone does it. From our rooftop view we watched airborne explosions for four hours,IMG_2157e.jpgIMG_2172e.jpg then we went down to the beach and watched from ground level. Fireworks, bonfires and luminaries floating into the sky. A great visual experience. The floating luminaries start going up at midnight; all the old bad things in your life are carried away by the ocean breeze. The luminaries were being sent up until almost daylight.IMG_2334e.jpgIMG_2337e.jpg
After two AM we made our way back to the BOO, watched from the deck for a while and then called it a night...HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

Posted by rhislop 05:23 Archived in Panama Tagged beaches beach new playa fireworks panama_canal eve year's new_years_eve groceries coronado_beach luminaries Comments (0)

Starting Another Adventure

Warmer climes and ocean views

semi-overcast 83 °F

Off to Panama for a warm winter. Left the cold temps of Colorado for the humid climate of Central America. We left Denver at 8am on the 29 of December, 10 degrees F at the airport. Thankfully, Kryss's sister, Kate, took us to the airport. We threw our winter coats into the back seat, grabbed our luggage and ran into the terminal. United had upgraded us, so Bloody Mary's and breakfast kept us occupied and happy.

The flight to Panama City, Panama was uneventful. The Bloody Mary's caused perfect sleeping conditions. At arrival we were the first people off the plane and made it through Panamanian immigration and customs without any issues. Our friend, Karlos, picked us up and took us to our favorite boutique hotel in Panama, the Magnolia Inn. The first floor of this hotel is a youth hostel and the next two floors are well appointed hotel rooms. Needless to say, this makes for an interesting mix of travelers. After a couple of relaxing adult beverages we called it a night.

We spent the 30th enjoying sights and sounds of Casco Viejo, the old city. Lots of construction since our last visit. Lunch with Colorado friends who are living in Panama City. After lunch we wandered for a bit, found a few new businesses in the area and a new pub overlooking Panama Bay. Tried it out, very nice place, but we can't remember the name. However, we can find it again. The decision for dinner was easy, we were going to Café Purdue, the best pizza and salads in Casco Viejo. We walked there and it was closed for vacation, re-opening on Jan 17th. Damn! Where to next, we walked to a place we been by many times but never tried, Finca del Mar. It was a comfortable place overlooking the Panama Bay. Cocktails and dinner. I had octopus, see picture, not quite what I expected...I'm thinking calamari. Couldn't finish it.
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Headed to Playa Coronado at 10am on the 31st, prepping for New Year's Eve. More on that later.

Posted by rhislop 15:06 Archived in Panama Tagged panama panama_city viejo casco Comments (0)

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