Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Retirement is Exhausting.......

When we first thought about taking an early retirement we thought we'd be bored and drive each other crazy.  But retirement in another country is a totally different story.  It's full of new adventures with new friends that leave little time for sleep and relaxation.  Plainly stated....retirement is exhausting!

Christmas eve was Saturday and after our house full of guests left, we cleaned up a bit and fell into bed at 3am.  Sunday, the next day we relaxed by the pool and went to bed early to catch up on sleep.  On Monday we went to the gym and pool as usual and got home around 1pm for lunch.  Friends called and asked if we wanted to take a ride up to visit Sharon and Phil in the mountain village of Chicá.  Six of us headed out in hiking attire with bathing suits, back packs and water for some fun and adventure. 

A future B&B in Chicá



Land Around the B&B

Phil and Sharon moved to Chicá, Panama two years ago from their homeland of Canada with a desire to open a bed and breakfast.  They fell in love with the mountain village of Chicá, bought a piece of land and the hard work began.  Like everything here in Panama, construction has taken longer than expected and the project is no where near completion.  But the two story structure overlooks a gorgeous, mountain vista surrounded by fruit trees, streams, waterfalls and crisp, cool mountain air. 




Since we were geared for hiking, Phil grabbed his machete and gave us a little guided tour around his back yard.  Climbing up the steep driveway was a challenge in itself, before we headed into the thick, sloping forest.  Clyde and I have hiked before both here in Panama and in the states, but this backyard tour was by far the toughest terrain we'd set foot on so far.  There were times when a human chain was needed to make it up the steep embankments, or down over huge jagged rocks. 


Once back at the house, Sharon served up a feast of various snacks and baked goods along with some alcoholic beverages.  I was wearing my expensive L.L. Bean hiking shoes that I bought back in New Hampshire when I lived there.  This was the first time I wore them here and was I horrified to see the Vibram rubber soles are disintegrating from this humid, hot environment.  Others in the group said they had the same experience with their expensive hikers and now only wear cheap, local ones.  I guess that's why everything here is made of plastic to endure the moisture and heat. 

My L.L.Bean Hiking Shoes Disintegrating

Why Would This Happen?

 
We watched the sunset over the mountains and enjoyed the cool night breezes as we chatted the night away.  The tired group rolled their vehicles down the mountain and headed for home as another late night of expat fun came to an end.  We extend a big thank you to Sharon and Phil for their hospitality and great treats.  Hopefully our little impromptu visit was a welcome break for this hard working couple, that made them stop and relax for a few hours, and have a few drinks with friends. 


Sunset Over the Mountains

Panama has such a diverse landscape of mountains, beaches, rain forest and everything in between that only takes a willingness to explore, and a lifetime to forget.  It's nice to have time to stop and smell the mountain air, pick some fresh fruit and savour new friendships here.... along the gringo trail.

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