Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Close Encounter.....Creatures Of The Night......

Yesterday afternoon our car climbed high into the mountains of Sorá to visit with friends Paul and Nancy. They are the proud owners of the Sunrise-Sunset Guest House of Sorá, a small b&b nestled in the mountains. The four of us headed out on back roads in our Rav4 for a birds eye view of the sunset over the valley below. But the car could only take us so far and we had to travel the rest of the way on foot. We hiked to the top of breathtaking peaks that opened up to views of the Pacific Ocean, the beaches of Coronado, and various mountain ranges all around us.  The winds were heavy at the top as the trade winds seem to have changed direction these days. A welcomed sign that the dry season is upon us or at least, just around the corner.

Mountain Views

And More
Mount Picacho Is The Tallest Peak

As nightfall came we headed back to their place to enjoy some desserts on the veranda enveloped in the cool night air. A while later we were entertained with a fireworks display off in the distance, a rather common event here in Panama.  Here is a link to their B and B.

Paul & Nancy's House
The Sunrise-Sunset Guest House of Sorá, Panama

Later on as we headed down the mountain for home we almost immediately were slowed down by a truck with no lights. But soon our headlights focused on a fluffy, cream-colored arm in the road on the passenger side.  I yelled stop, "it's a sloth," as Clyde stopped the car and fumbled for his camera.  I figured since the sloth IS one of the slowest moving creatures on earth we should have time to fetch the camera before it was out of sight.  The huge, furry creature was amazing as it pulled itself across the road with long, hairy arms.  It didn't seem to mind two humans gawking at it and snapping photos.  Clyde was able to get astonishingly close to it but she did hiss and reached up her arm when he bent down to pet her. Once she crossed the road she began to climb up a tree, as she seemingly stopped to pose for us along the way. What an amazing encounter with a sloth, so up close and personal and unexpected. Never in our lives have we been that close to one of these furry creatures.  She almost looked huggable with her long, tan, soft fur that glowed against the darkness of the night.  Her dark brown eyes met ours and perhaps she understood that we meant no harm.  But instead we were fascinated with this brilliant creature of the night that crossed our path in Panama....along the gringo trail.

Our Furry Little Friend
In Panama these are called "mono perezoso," or "lazy monkey."

Why Did The Sloth Cross The Road? 
So We Could Get Photos Of Course.....
Clyde Petting The Sloth

Going Up!

Just Hangin' Out.....Smile!

One More Pose For The Silly Gringos

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Day In Panama.....

Locally known as "dia de accion de gracias," Thanksgiving Day is NOT a holiday celebrated among Panamanians.  But it IS however a gringo holiday that's celebrated by Canadians and Americans alike, although in different months. Our Canadian friends start out the holiday festivities with their Canadian Thanksgiving Day celebrated on the second Monday in October. From what they tell us the foods are rather similar to the American fare with turkey and all of the fixins' along with a selection of desserts. Six weeks later those of us that relocated from the United States celebrate our day of thanks.
In The Back.....Clyde, Clara and Daniel
Seated is Terry, Claire and Phil
Clara and Daniel

Phil and Claire
And Last But Not Least.....US!
Terry and Clyde

This year we added an international flair to our turkey day at our friend Daniel's house.  Our group of friends included our host Daniel who hales from New Mexico in the US along with Clyde and I from Texas. Daniel wanted to introduce his Colombian lady friend Clara to a traditional American Thanksgiving Day. Our Canadian friend Phil joined us along with his British girlfriend Claire. Since Clara speaks mostly Spanish with some understanding of English the dinner conversation went back and forth in both languages.

Everyone brought some type of food hoping to lessen the work load of Daniel in the long run.  I baked an apple pie and a pumpkin pie from scratch (crust and all) which turned out good.  Other foods included turkey of course along with stuffing.  One version of stuffing even had some green chili's added since Daniel likes his food spicy. Mashed potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, salad, bread and more completed our dining experience for an enjoyable evening.

Getting Ready To Eat
With temperatures soaring into the 90's, we spent much of our time outdoors in the cooler air before heading inside for dinner. Although the temps were a bit rough to take we gloat in the fact that our friends back in the US are freezing their butts off. And here we are retired, enjoying the hot and humid temperatures of the tropics of Panama......along the gringo trail.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Deep In The Heart Of Texas........

We found some pictures that we never put out here from our trip to Texas in October, so I thought I'd do a little blog about it.

Since my daughter lives in San Antonio now with my grandson we had to spend some time there before heading over to Corpus Christi.  Clyde's daughter and hubby live near Austin so our first trip was over that way to visit with them.  We spent a nice afternoon at their lovely house along with an evening out for dinner.  When they suggested Chinese barbeque we were a bit skeptical, but turns out it was very tasty and cheap too.

The next few days had us hanging out with my grandson Vash and his Mom Desiree.  One day we took Vash to the San Antonio Zoo for a day of fun and exploring. But being the fussy eater that he is we never get to sugar him up and send him back to Mama, something that grandparents usually enjoy. However we did create some cherished moments with him and Desi and took a few photos along the way as keepsakes.

Grandma and Vash at San Antonio Zoo

Vash in Petting Zoo

The Zoo Was Dressed Up For Halloween

After our visit to the San Antonio and Austin area we headed over to Ingleside where we'd spend the rest of our time in Texas. Our good friends Ronny and Andrea graciously put us up every year giving us free run of their home. They're gorgeous back yard features a pool, hot tub, large aviary, chicken coop, green house, pond and gardens full of flowering plants and fruit trees.

Ronny & Andrea's Aviary

Octoberfest In Texas! Where's The Bratwurst?

Posing Before The Party Begins

Much of our short visit in Texas is spent visiting family and friends as well as stocking up on things that we can't easily find in Panama. And while it's always nice to visit Texas it's just as nice to come back home to Panama and resume our life here.....along the gringo trail.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cruising The Backroads Of Panama.........

One day last week we woke up to no electricity which apparently is how the water department gets water to it's people, so eventually we also had no water.  Neither scenario is unusual for Panama as the water and power go off at random times for reasons unknown to us. So with no Internet or TV it left us no other option but to talk to each other......yikes.  Well, Clyde being a guy did come up with another option but with no a/c that was out of the question too.

Instead we decided to get out of the house and hit the road to anywhere. From the Pan American highway we turned down a road that took us through the village of Las Lajas which is Spanish for "flat stones." Here in Panama we never know what we'll find up ahead and today we found a parade of sorts.  Clyde pulled the car to the side of the road to let the small procession go by.  It seemed that we  had a front row seat to the only entertainment in town that day. We're not sure if there was a reason for this parade or if it was just the local school band doing a dress rehearsal in full uniform? But whatever the reason it was a sight to see and we took the opportunity to snap a few pictures.

What's This? A Parade?

Aren't They Cute?
The Kids Love To Pose For Pictures.

From there we drove around back roads taking note of the unusual houses we spotted along the way. I suggested we take some photos which would give me something to blog about, since I don't seem to get inspired to do so these days.

Strange Fence.
What Is This?

Lovely Rock Work Around The Windows.
 A Store, House Or Closet?  No Clue....Just A Tiny Building Full Of Clothes
With A Door In Front.
Not Uncommon To Find Unpainted Cement Homes Here, But This One Could
Afford Rock Decorations.

 A Work In Progress?
Out In The Middle Of Nowhere......Literally......A Huge Horse Statue Could
 This Be A Horse Ranch?
A Creek Along The Way.

Another View Of The Closet House.
Someone's Car?
Another One, Probably A Weekend Home.
 A Church.


After exhausting our view of houses we continued to the end of the road to Laguna de San Carlos (a small lake). The area has a tiny restaurant, boat rentals and a walking path around the lake.  Since this is rainy season the ground was too muddy for walking.  But it was lunch time so we enjoyed a lunch of fish and plantain with salad while taking in the water views.  Millions of tiny fish dotted the lake and the occasional turtle swam by while we dined.  Although the skies were cloudy the rain held out for the rest of the day.  We made our way home sometime in the afternoon content to find our water and electricity in working condition once again.  Afternoon showers were a nice delight as we finished another relaxing day in Panama......along the gringo trail.

Prices At The Lake, Although The Man Told Us The Fish Was Corvina (Sea bass).
The Lake.

Small Boats For Rent.

Our Lunch.....Whole Fish, Patacones (fried plantain), And Tomato Slices As Salad.
Cost:  $5.00

Life In Portugal....At A Snails Pace....

Yesterday was just another day in Portugal when my dear husband Clyde said he was going to run to the pharmacy for a few things. Time passed...