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Happy Valentine's Day 2014

The Prom , aka "the flip-flop hop"

sunny 86 °F

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone. Hopefully, you are with the one you love and can share the that great feeling. IMG_3431e2.jpg

On Wednesday, February 12th, a group of residents from our condo building got together for the first annual Flip-Flop Hop. The social area on the roof of the building was the home of the party. It was a bring your own everything, plus a side dish to share. Two large gas grills were set-up, one for meat and the other for fish and chicken. The side dishes were lined up on the bar, appetizers were place on appropriate tables and the chefs could cook at their leisure. The fragrances of cooking steaks, chorizos, red snapper, corvina and chicken awaken your senses.IMG_3439e.jpg

There were so many side dishes that it took two trips down the bar to sample everything. I believe the most favorite side dish was made by a woman from Manitoba, Canada. Twice baked mashed potatoes casserole with bacon chips, cheddar cheese, and some interesting spices. When Kryss asked me to get her a second helping of this dish, I knew it was definitely a hit. I don't know what it was called, but I call it Manitoba Mashers and want the recipe. Other great dishes included guacamole dip, pasta salads, brochette, tossed salad, and foods I can't remember.

Music was provided by one of the vacationing Canadian's from Toronto. Her playlist was excellent and all music genres were represented. The sound was pumped out of a very cool Bose speaker that could be heard all over the deck. There were boppers, strollers, slow dancers and girls only circle dances. The flip flop dancers rocked the roof.

At nine o'clock a select group of dedicated and bold pyro-maniacs proceeded to the beach and entertained the attendees and many others with a fantastic firework show, fuegos artificiales en espanol, IMG_3342e.jpgThe inexpensive cost of fireworks in Panama and ease of use make firework displays a favorite form of entertainment at the beach. After the show ended the music cranked up again and everyone partied on until it was time to leave the roof. A great time was had by all.IMG_3529e.jpgIMG_3525e.jpg

One of the unfortunate problems of dry season in Panama is fire. Even though we have enjoyed the various fireworks we've seen, one night last week we witnessed the forest fires in Panama, but from a safe distance. It's not just Colorado or the rocky mountain west that has issues with hot, dry, windy weather. IMG_3219e.jpgIMG_3214e.jpg

Have a great Valentine's Day and share your love with those you love.:)

Posted by rhislop 10:40 Archived in Panama Tagged beach panama fire fireworks pacific coronado coronado_beach 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)

The Final Push

Doing all we can in the last two weeks

semi-overcast 85 °F

Our time in Panama is getting near the end. There is still so much to see, do, enjoy, learn, but shortly we'll be heading back home.

We took off for the jungle/rain forest for a three days/two night stay. What an experience! We arrived at the Cabanas Burbayar just before lunch on the 11th of August. The cabanas can handle 17 guests at a time, as we arrived six guest were leaving and we were going to be the only guests. Our guide, Justo, a Panama University grad with a degree in biology was chomping at the bit to get us into the jungle. After a typical lunch, rice, meat, fruit, juice, and water we headed out. Justo said the trip would only be 2.5 kilometers, he didn't mention six elevation changes in the humid, wet jungle. Four and half hours later we returned, soaked through from sweat, totaly exhausted. A very interesting hike, lots of birds, creepy crawlers, variety of plants and flowers. Lots of photographs.
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We collapsed into bed, after a cold water shower and an excellent meal. The dinner was served on a private observation platform that overlooked the rainforest. A very beautiful setting. No one had ever asked to eat on the platform before and the staff was very excited to do something new and different.

The next day we hung around the lodge and the near jungle areas. No more hikes. Lots of hummingbirds near the lodge, along with toucans, squirrel cuckoos, parrots and other jungle birds. This area is suppose to be a "birders" heaven. Two of the women that work at Burbayar made Kryss a custom mola with her business logo. A very unique item.
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We had another dinner on the platform overlooking the jungle and headed to our cabana to pack for our departure the next day. During the night it started raining, and then the thunder and the lightning started. The noise and light awakened us at about 1:30am. We sat on our porch, under the cover of the cabana roof and watched the show. Using a lightning timing device we photographed about a dozen great strikes, all off in the distance, lighting up the sky and the jungle. Then it happened...we saw a string of dots light up the sky, then they connected and just about knocked us off our chairs. The hair on my arms and back of the neck stood up, Kryss felt the hair on her neck move, and we both received some kind of temporary blindness in our eyes, the width of the lightning bolt. The strike was less than half a mile away, the attached picture is nothing like any other lightning strike we'd ever seen or photographed. It took about an hour before our eyes were seeing normally again. A totally new experience!

We got back to Panama City, put our feet up for thirty minutes and then prepared for the arrival of my brother John and SIL Jean. We toured them around Panama City; visiting Casco Viejo, the fish market, the canal and other highlights of the area. To see both the Pacific side and the Caribbean side of Panama we went whale watching again in the Pearl Islands and visited Portobello and the San Blas Islands on the Carribbean side. They were able to witness the "diablo rojos", the red devil buses that move people all over Panama. And of course, shopping for Molas, the iconic symbol of the Kuna Indians and Panama.

The trip to the San Blas Islands was a "blast". The Kuna Yala Province has complete autonomy from the government of Panama. The Kuna's run their archipelago themselves. There are no fast food restaurants, no hotel chains, and not many tourists. Additionally, this is considered one of the last pristine island areas of the world. You can either fly in from Panama City or drive from Panama City. Each way has it's own plus and minuses. We drove because all the flights were booked. We stayed at Cabanas Kaunidup, a thirty minute boat ride from Canti town in the Kuna Yala. One of the travel books stated that these cabanas had a five star view with rustic accommodations. They weren't exaggerating. The views were like a postcard or a magazine cover, our cabana had dirt floors, sand every where, shared but private showers and banos. Three meals a day, lunch and dinner always included fresh fish, lobster, or shrimp. Snorkeling was great, lots of conch shells, sand dollars, fish, and cyrstal clear water. Setting aside the Boy Scout camp sleeping arrangements, the views, the food, the tours, and the new friends we met were all good. We'll return to the area, just not quite so "rustic".

Tomorrow we head back to CONUS. Not totally ready, but it is time to go...

Posted by rhislop 14:07 Archived in Panama Tagged islands sunsets caribbean panama pacific whale watching viejo pearl diablo san_blas cabañas casco burbayar rojos kaunidup Comments (0)

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