Google Maps says that it will take us approximately 4 1/2 hours to get to Boquete today from Pedasi. We eat our last breakfast at Cafe Limon, say our goodbyes to our now, good friends, Devin and Neymi, and hit the road at 10:30 a.m., excited to be in Boquete by 4:00 p.m. at the latest.
*** DEVIN SHOWING OFF COUG STUFF – COLLAGE ***
Devin rubbing in the fact that he’s a “Coug” – holding our room key with a Cougar keychain attached.
We get to Chitre (remember that horrible place with no street signs and confusing streets?), around noon. We decide to give the city one more chance. We’re going to try and find the restaurant we initially looked for when we stopped in Chitre on our way to Pedasi.
Aha! We find the restaurant without too much trouble. There’s a lovely little farmers’ market going on across the street. I purpose to stop there on our way out of the restaurant and take some fresh produce to Boquete.
*** 2 PIC COLLAGE CARROTS, MARKET IN CHITRE ***
Those carrots are HUGE! I wonder if they’re organic…
The restaurant we ate at was called Restaurante Meson. It’s rated somewhat well in my guidebook, which also suggests ordering the tacos…
…which actually taste like tacos. They’re not spicy, but they’re pretty yummy.
Tacos it is! “Uno orden de taco pollo, y dos orden de burritos pollo.” Oh wow, were they good! Super good. And we felt super good for ordering in Spanish. That is, until the waiter asked us a question and we’re immediately lost. We ARE getting better, though. That is certain. I’m finding that I can read it more successfully than I understand what someone is saying – they talk so fast! After one more order of tacos and burritos because we inhaled the first round, we were happy and full.
By that time, the farmers’ market had pretty much sold out. It was slim pickin’s, so instead of getting veggies, we bought a pineapple from the back of a guy’s truck. $1
*** BOYS KISSING PINEAPPLE ***
After taking a few pictures, including this one of the boys and our pineapple, a couple of La Catedral de San Juan Bautista (cir. 1896) and downtown Chitre, we were off again!
*** MULTIPLE CHITRE PICS ***
Drive to Boquete
And oh, what a drive it is! Around every turn, Kristian and I had jaw-dropping reactions to the scenery that surrounded us. I kept my camera on nearly the whole time so I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to catch the beauty that would zip by us at 100 kilometers per hour. Not that it was here, then gone; it was constant, but it was always something different. Yet one thing remained consistent… it was usually green. I’m sad to say that the pictures don’t even begin to do it justice.
*** MULTIPLE DRIVING PICS FROM THAT DAY, LAST ONE IS DRESS SHOP ON SIDE OF ROAD ***
One of many of these little “shops” selling dresses near Boquete.
Thank goodness for the distractions above, because without them, I’m sure we would have been much more aware (and we were already quite aware) of the fact that it ended up taking us an extra hour and a half to get to Boquete than Google Maps had promised.
Boquete at last!
As soon as we rolled into Boquete, the sky opened up again and we got DUMPED on as we ran from the car into “Sugar and Spice,” the “best bakery in Panama.” This little bakery is an absolute oasis compared to all the places we’ve been so far. Even sopping wet, I was elated to smell all the wonderful aromas that permeated the shop. So distracted was I by all the goodies behind the glass case, but not too busy to notice the voice of another American. Aaaah… am I beginning to miss home? Possibly. The American’s voice I hear is the owner of Sugar and Spice. He sells us some delicious muffins, a couple of loaves of bread, a slice of pie, some chicken and veggie soup and a couple slices of quiche. Yeah… we’re really hungry.
*Inhale* Gone. It really was the best baked goods we’ve had here. None of the others were even worth eating. Now onto figuring out where we’re going to sleep tonight. The Airbnb.com place I thought was a done deal, has not actually gone through so we are homeless. I decide that it would be a good idea to ask the bakery owner if he has any suggestions for our family of four. He turned to his Panamanian wife and asks her if she might be able to suggest something. She immediately says that she’s going to check with the hostel that is attached to the bakery, in the back. She comes back and announces that they have one room left. Let’s take a look!
Hostel Gaia is simple. Two rooms – ours with 2 double beds, small armoire, 2 chairs and a side table. It’s a small bathroom, but it’s only 1 night. It’ll do! Oh! And then we find out it also has a kitchen and common room upstairs! Sweet! Maybe I’ll actually be able to cook here after all. Brilliant.
We drop our stuff and head back onto the main street to poke around until it gets dark, which it almost is. It doesn’t take long until we’re out of the downtown Boquete area and we’re winding up and around these narrow, mountain streets. It’s still pouring, but our breath is taken away again with the beauty that we’re beholding through raindrop smeared windows. We can’t believe this is Panama. It’s so different than anywhere else we’ve been here! It’s like Seattle meets Switzerland. Or Austria. I want to break out into song: “The hills are alive… with the sounds of music!” Ok, I DID break out into song. The family groans. It’s OK. I’m used to it.
Coming around a turn, we see something brown reach out from the grass alongside the road. What is THAT?! It’s a…
*** SLOTH PIC ***
No, that is NOT a stuffed animal. That is an actual sloth… crossing the road in the pouring rain, looking like an injured, wet mop. It was not cute, but here, you be the judge:
*** SLOTH CROSSING THE ROAD IN FRONT OF US VID ***
On our way back, we searched and found a grocery store so we’d have some essentials for breakfast tomorrow. Anyone who knows us well, knows that the essentials are just the ingredients for banana omelets. For a country that has bananas free on the side of the road, it sure is hard to find banana anything in restaurants. What’s that about? We miss our bananas! And for a city that supposedly is majority “gringo,” where are they all? We stuck out like a sore thumb at the grocery store. Not a gringo in sight. It wasn’t until we drove home that we saw another 2 gringos aside from the bakery owner.
Tomorrow, we’re going to get this Boquete place figured out.