Sunday, December 27, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
On a different subject, Richard and Nina have returned to the beach from Alaska. They were my first visitors last year and bought a condo (on the opposite end from mine) a week after they got here. Richard will be here 2 months and Nina 4 months. So far, we have been having a ball: 60 mile bicycle rides; 11 mile mangrove kayak trips; rumba and bolero dance lessons; salsa dancing; long beach walks. Tomorrow, Chuck Frey from Montana (and former Forest Service colleague from Alaska) arrives. Maybe I’ll have a dance partner for a couple of weeks!
In case you are curious, the bird is a Brown Booby (male Pacific race) that Nina captured (with her camera) when we were biking on the beach. He didn't move and I wonder if he was injured. We also saw a Roseate Spoonbill flying high above the mangrove system. What a beautiful pink bird, especially in flight. Last but not least, above are olive ridley mama turtle tracks I captured this morning in front of my house!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I am so happy to be home at my beach in Panama. It is the tail end of the wet season. While we were in Aruba, Ville Escondido in Boquete (where Pauline's house is located) experienced several land and mud slides. They are still digging out! Another good reason to live at the beach.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Stay tuned! I hope to have videos of whales doing their thing when I return from Isla Paridita September 10!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
It should be illegal to sit on my back porch as I eat delicious squash stew and stare into the ocean sunset. In case you haven’t gathered from my previous blogs, I absolutely LOVE my new beach house. I hung the hammock hooks, artwork and Hawaiian whale (who has been with me since the early 90’s), so my move is now official. Speaking of official, House Hunters International (www.hgtv.com) just filmed three houses on the beach here (see pictures above). The Playa La Barqueta episode is scheduled to air in fall. This is the third time House Hunters International has come to Panama (before they filmed in Boquete and Panama City). From what I understand, the crew was very impressed with the 16-mile long beach and the gorgeous beach houses. Also, once House Hunters International exposes an area to millions of the viewing public, prices and house sales tend to sky-rocket (i.e. buy my condo now if you want a good deal).
You might be wondering what this picture of a 5-foot long boa is doing on my blog. I had the pleasure of meeting him the other morning when I was learning how to clean Mike & Susan’s pool. Roadie (the gardener-worker) said there was a snake in the front yard. The boa constrictor was hidden very well in the “moanie” (snake grass). Roadie grabbed the boa with a stick & placed it on the driveway. The boa actually hissed a few times as he got more agitated with the tormenting stick. The boa was released across the street where he can continue eating unwary rodents, birds and lizards.
Life continues to be a total adventure as I learn the Argentine Tango, watch an unsuspecting Collard Forest Falcon swooping through the Las Olas canopy, spot 50 species of birds (including my favorite -- Violaceous Trogon) with Jacob Ortega (www.birdinginpanama.com) on the Pipeline Road near Panama City (thanks Jim & Lora), learn Spanish (I’m finally devoting myself to that necessidad), and open my heart to all the new friends coming into my life.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
This of course is turtle season, but I spaced out that fact when I walked the beach this morning. It was 6:15 a.m. and the tide was coming in (low tide was at 4:00 a.m.). I was enjoying the morning coolness and hunting for sea beans when I heard a low whistle (not of the bird variety). It was Marciel trying to get my attention. I had just walked by these huge tracks (Leslie & Doug's Villa in the distance) thinking they were tire tracks. He expertly dug up the Olive Ridley turtle eggs and needed a place to put them so they could be carried. He took off his shirt but was wearing only a thin tank. Hummm... I was wearing a double layer stretchy top hidden by my weight vest. So I whipped off my weight vest and top (yes, I was wearing a jog bra) and donated the double layer top to the cause. He dug up 63 eggs which were easily & safely held by the top. I carried the eggs (weighed over 10 pounds) back to the turtle nesting nursery (in front of Marciel's family restaurant) and waited a few minutes for him to return from the rest of his running beach patrol (he found no more nests). The nesting sanctuary that he constructs every year for the turtles is fenced with string designating individual nests. He's on his 7th nest hole. With any luck, the first turtle release will happen by the end of July with my friends Jim, Lora and Forrest are here.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Speaking of dancing, I’m excited about returning to the US in two weeks so I can see family and dance at the weeklong Lady of the Lake Dance Camp in Idaho. I’ve had the pleasure of dancing there twice before and always enjoy the new steps, beautiful setting, music and new friendships.
Last week I accompanied my friends Sherri Ann and Ken to Panama City where we discovered the Granclement Gourmet Ice Cream & Sorbets shop in Casco Viejo (best gelato I’ve ever tasted made by a French couple who moved to Panama 4 years ago), a $5.00 dinner show (more dancing) at the Pencas Show Tipico on the Amador Causeway (see the video below), and the largest produce market I’ve ever encountered. I’ll be back…especially for the gelato!
Saturday, May 30, 2009
2. La Estrella Del Mar #3-7A with a pre-construction price of $250,000. I bought unit number 3-7A. It's in the middle building on the 7th floor (the middle building is 9 stories, side buildings are 8 and 7 stories). I have included a conceptual drawing above. Pre-construction prices on the 7th floor were $374,000 last year. With the drop in the economy, a 7th floor condo was offered to me for $250,000 in November, 2008. If you wanted to buy that same pre-construction condo 7th floor condo today, the price would be $300,000. I need to sell my interest ($37,500 down payment) ASAP in order to buy the beach house. Once they "break ground" in a few months, another payment of $37,500 would be due. After the building is complete (roughly 2 years), a third payment of $37,500 would be due along with securing a mortgage or paying it off with cash. My plan was to "flip" it at that point (for $350,000), and make around $237,500 (to pay off my Las Brisas Del Mar condo).
Friday, May 15, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
We (my guests Sherri Ann & Ken Bennett & I) left Playa La Barqueta at 8:00 a.m. in order to catch low tide at noon. To reach Punta Burica where Mono Feliz is located, you need three things: a high clearance 4WD vehicle with good suspension and a powerful engine, a lead vehicle (in this case provided by my great neighbor Ken Sample), and lots of adrenaline. Mono Feliz (happy monkey) is roughly 3 hours from my front door. This was my second trip to Punta Burica (my first trip was in January with friends Pauline & Bridget – see the January 3, 2009 Blog).
Timing and driving was perfect (only getting lost once in Puerto Armuelles), and we made it to Mono Feliz by 11:30 a.m. We didn’t see any monkeys right away, so we went for a beach walk. The Samples (lead truck) and their friends (in the third vehicle) had to return on the same low tide, so they stayed close to Mono Feliz and left by 1:30 p.m. Our beach walk was lovely. It was overcast and windy so we stayed nice and cool. We found many treasures (including one rare piece of blue sea glass). After two miles of walking toward Costa Rica, we reached Dave’s eco-hotel (http://www.tigresalvaje.com/about-us.htm). This was my second visit with Dave. Had we walked 20 more minutes, we would have reached Costa Rica. By-the-way, Dave is getting frustrated with the Panamanian Government and is willing sell the hotel, all buildings and 5 hectares of untitled land to an interested buyer for $1,000,000 negotiable. I’m sure he would take $500,000 or less if you have that kind of change lying around. Dave showed us his boarders: a very cute baby white-nosed coati, the older and more cantankerous margay (Sherri Ann was somewhat freaked out when she entered its cage to get pictures), and incubating black sea turtle eggs (a subspecies of the green sea turtle with the scientific name Chelonia mydas agassizii). On the return walk, we almost ran into the jaws of a baby Alston’s mouse opossum (don’t ask me how he ended up on the beach hissing at us). We returned to Juancho’s Mono Feliz by late afternoon and discovered that both the red-backed squirrel monkeys and white-faced capuchins had visited in our absence. They put on quite a performance for the Samples and their friends before they had to leave. Within the hour, thirtyish squirrel monkeys returned and put on a delightful show (see the video below). In the course of the afternoon, we met another group of adventurers: Costa Rican Mr. Rafael, surfers Amy and Emma (on vacation from Florida and California), and the Limones Police Chief Mr. Lopez. Amy and Emma finished up surfing after high tide rolled back in so it was too late for them to return to Limones. We got to know them as they waited for the tide to recede. Unbelievably, they made it back to Limones in the dark after a few cocktails!
We stayed in the same cabanas used by my group the last time I was here (perched above the crashing surf) and enjoyed a peaceful night. My 6:00 a.m. walk gave me several treasures including land crab pictures (above) and three species of feeding monkeys on the hillside trail. After breakfast, we did one last beach walk. As we were saying our good-byes, Rafael reappeared (minus the surfer-girls who had moved on or Chief Lopez who was back to his police work). He was there to take Juancho and his wife on a road-trip to his house located in Costa Rica (west over the Burica Peninsula from Limones). Lucky for us, we were invited to follow along… hence another adventure! First we drove along the ocean to Limones where we stopped at Rafael’s house (he has several). He loaded his truck with supplies for the Costa Rica house and we were off. Within 30 minutes, we were in a new country (at least for Sherri Ann and Ken, pictured above on Rafael's porch). We were treated to several views of playful chestnut-mandibled toucans before we had to leave ahead of the climbing tide. Once we left, heavy rains followed us home. We stopped briefly at the Frontera for some duty-free shopping and were home by 5:00 p.m. Sherri Ann and Ken summed up the adventure as a combination of Robinson Crusoe, Gilligan’s Island, Survivor and Lost!