Flowers, gardens, elves, oh my!

Trip Start Feb 25, 2008
Trip End Mar 18, 2008

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Where I stayed
Pension Topas

Flag of Panama  ,
Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Buenas Tardes Mis Amigos y Familia,

Last night, Fred and I met a character. We ate dinner at Papa Riccoīs which is an Italian restaurant a couple blocks from our pension. We sat outside and Papa Ricco answered our questions about his menu on the chalkboard. We both had eggplant rotalini, which is ricotta, parmesean, and mozarella cheese rolled insided thinly sliced and fried eggplant, served over pasta with great homemade tomato sauce. Papa Ricco has only been in Boquete since October and recently opened his restaurant. He is quite proud of the fact he does all his own cooking and was boasting about how clean his kitchen is kept. He gave us a tour of his kitchen, complete with showing off his big Hobart mixer and his big, hot ovens.  When he found out we were from New Mexico, he said he almost opened a restaurant in Las Vegas, NM.  Then he went on to say he was from New York and used to wear pin-striped suits, then found himself hiding from the law in the mountains of Pecos, NM.  But once he came off the mountain he was arrested, for what - quien sabe.  We enjoyed listening to his conversation, couldnīt much get a word in edgewise. Great food though.

Today, I slept in a bit and Fred ventured to the Shalom Bakery for bagel, cream cheese and coffee.  Once Fred returned to the pension, I was showered and ready to go. Go where?  We spent an hour at the internet cafe, checking to see if any of our public had responded to the recent blogs I had posted. Would love to hear from you all. 

Then we began walking north of the city, winding our way through neighborhoods, homes with bogounvillia of many colors, gernaniums, lilies, and flowers I donīt know the names of.  We crosses the bridge over the rushing river. (Thereīs trout in that river, I know it!) We saw cactus hundreds of feet tall.

Ultimately, we walked up hills and around the corners, down the dirt road, past the elementary school, up the hill to El Explorador.  That was good exercise for me.  El Explorador is actually someoneīs home on a finca of(farmland) several acres.  The finca has been there for 40 years, but the last 16 years, the family has allowed people, like us, to come stroll among the gardens.

As the Lonely Planet states, this is something out of Alice in Wonderland.  Or if you are from Albuquerque-Tijeras, it had a feel of Tinkertown. A tremendous amount of work went into constructing these gardens. There are cute little signs of verse and sayings everywhere. Any container that you can think of that would hold a plant is filled with flowers, such as boots, or bottles, or wheel wells. There is a bench made from an engine block. (Now I understand how the Toyota blew a head gasket and what it looks like.)  There are caracatures in the trees or bonsai plants on a terrace. Flower gardens, childrens swings, teeter totter, merry go round. Yes, I played like a child and tried them all. Please see some of the pictures, I know it probably wonīt do it justice. You could take a couple of hours to walk the grounds. There are springs and waterfalls and pools. It was really beautiful and tranquil. I sat in a wooden swing and just took in the wonderful surroundings. There were black berry bushes that the trunks and branches were as big as my wrists, with berries on them. A guard dog lay on the back porch, on his back with his legs in the air. I think he was off duty. A cute golden retriever. To determine the ladies and gentlemans bathrooms, the ladies door had a Barbie doll on the outside, and the mens, had... you guessed it, a Ken doll nailed to the door. Original.

We ambled back to town, and went to the bistro for a late lunch. I enjoyed one of those river trout, grilled, with fresh, homemade pesto on top, with french fries. We stepped out of the restaurant and the clouds opened up with a downpour of rain. The internet cafe is close by, so now I am here, hiding from the rain, typing up the days events.

Fred and I are discussing whether we try heading for Costa Rica in the next day or two. Then venture toward the Pacific side of Costa Rica. I may want to go to Monteverde, but at this time we really donīt know where we are going. Well, stay tuned.

Jane and Fred
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renee0675 on

So beautiful!
You guys look like you are having a great time and I can't wait to go to Costa Rica! Be sure to let me know what kind trouble I'm looking forward getting your blogs and its wonderful your taking the time to do them! Be safe...Renee

tlwsunwest on

sounds like fun
Jane it sounds like alot of fun, i really like the trout stream, I'd love to fish it. I enjoy your blog's and look forward to reading them.

bfleming on

Sounds Like a Great Trip
Enjoying hearing about your trip - Paula and I were in Panama last November and went to Bocas and to Boquete, so alot of what I am reading sounds familiar. We stayed at Isla Verde in Boquete, also run by a German lady. You have probably left Boquete by now, but if not, there is a guy named Hans (he's Dutch)who gives a great coffee plantation/coffee factory tour.

Hope to hear more soon.
Bill Fleming

m697smith on

Jane and Fred! We love reading your blog. I read the entry about your adventures with Maria and Joseph and told Jeff about it. We both felt like we were right there with you guys. I love your amazing adventures!

Our amazing adventures, while much more local, are no less amazing. We took Ruby to Wolf Creek to ski last week. That was a total of 8 hours in the car, and she did great! She is a total travel trooper, it turns out. Hurray!

I eat Jane's descriptions up with a spoon and get very excited whenever I see a new post, so please keep them coming.

MUCH love,
Melissa (Jeff, Ruby, and Billy the Kid)

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