Monday, December 1, 2008

Whirl-Wind Month with Nina & Richard

What can I say! Nina & Richard from Alaska would have to agree that the past few weeks in Panama have been pretty exciting. I didn't keep a log (& yes, I've been delinquent keeping up with this blog), but here are some snippets of our adventures...
We were witness to several Olive Ridley turtle releases (natural & human-assisted). Believe it or not, the turtle releases have become political and filled with intrigue. The person in charge (who works for ANAM - Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente, the Panama park system) of the nearby Turtle Refuge may be harvesting eggs for profit. Under his direction, several turtle releases have occurred at 9:00 a.m. in the bright sun (much to the delight of frigate birds) because he doesn't want Las Olas Resort gaining monetarily by advertising evening turtle releases followed by Happy Hours or discounted overnight stays.
Nina & Richard fit right in to the relaxed life of Playa la Barqueta. Within a week, Richard became king of beach bike rides, often bicycling 18 miles at low tide. Before long, he was buying tools and servicing the Las Olas Resort rental bikes. He rode my mountain-type bike on most roads going inland from the condo & became friends with many of the locals. Meanwhile, Nina & I walked several miles each morning on the beach. She has adopted my habit of picking up sea beans & sand dollars.
Also within the first week Nina & Richard were introduced to the rich kayaking opportunities within a few miles of my condo. Our first trip was into the mangrove lagoon system (which I've talked about on a previous blog). They paddled the two recreational kayaks (a Perception Sundance & Old Town Loon) I recently purchased from fellow Rotarian Jerry while I paddled the 5-pound Alpacka Raft. Our second trip was the brainchild of neighbors Beth & John. We ended up with a grand floatilla of 9 Playa la Barquetains on the Rio Chico between the towns of Alanje and Querevalo. The big excitement before we even put on the river was John trying to feed a huge green iguana. Thinking they were vegetarians, he tried to feed one some bread & the iguana bit (hard) into 2 fingers. Nina patched him up with her first-aid kit and John was able to complete the trip.
We got to know Salsa Dancing neighbors Hector and Nivia. One Saturday night we followed them into David and had a great time Salsa dancing for several hours (until the music got too loud). Now that I know where to go, I'm sure I'll return & practice moves I've learned on Dancing with the Stars!
Needless to say, after so much fun in such a short period of time, Nina & Richard decided to buy a condo in my complex (Las Brisas Del Mar). I have Unit 101 (1st floor, end unit on the east side) and they purchased Unit 704 (1st floor, end unit on the west side). In just 2 weeks, they have totally furnished their condo & plan to rent it through (look under Panama - Playa Barqueta if you are interested in renting this great condo from them).
I had already planned a 4-day trip to Boquete before the purchase, so we got to Boquete just in time to experience Panama's largest earthquake (6.2), followed by Boquete's biggest flood. If you go to you can see some of the Rio Caldera flood pictures. I had purchased lodging at Boquete for 4 nights, but we returned home a day early because we missed the wonderful Playa Barqueta sunshine.
On Wednesday, we'll fly to Panama City for our 2 last days together (eating, dancing, visiting the Canal visitor center, shopping for beach bikes). I'm already looking forward to their return next November (4 months this time). With our dancing/Alaskan background, we meshed well together.

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