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Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Hills of Boquete

The Palacio Hostel from the street

Boquete like el Valle is no jewel of the Panamanian cultural heritage but it does have its own small town Panamanian charms. It does also have a very pleasant climate and provides a gateway to a variety of nature walks in the mountains and a variety of adventure tours.

Christine in the back garden

The garden and hall shrine at Palacio

When we arrived we had ideas of going further afield to the family run Marilos a little further from the noisy town centre, but confronted with pouring rain in the town square where we got off the bus and the Palacio a one storey shack ideal for my crutches (despite its wet slippery floors) standing right opposite and the classic backpackers from way back, we couldn't resist the flow and were given very courteously by Pancho the proprietor a twin room with private banos with hot shower for $20 a night.

Panorama of the hills above Boquete (click to enlarge)

When I checked out the adjoining new kind on the block competition across the square by name of Mammalina, they wanted $27.50, were full, and obviously oriented to slick adventure tour promotion.

Boquete is a great place to spend a quiet day recuperating from 8 hour bus rides and the rigors of trying to make transfers with a lot of luggage when one of us is walking on crutches.

There is a 24 hour supermarket only a block away, a panaderia up the street, a string of bars, the town is tranquil and there are a number of Amerindian women wearing distinctive traditional dresses of differing colours.

Negobe-Bugle people in their traditional dress

We walked down to the little craft market by the children's park and bought a little Negobe-Bugle bag for $4 and asked the woman permission for her photograph. It's just simple machine sewing work, but its characteristic of what they actually wear.

Stall we bought the bag from. The woman is wearing a traditional Negobe-Bugle dress.

The craft market

Like places like Palenque, it seems to rain here every day torrentially, just as the day is about to end, brought on by the days sea breezes bringing in ever more humid air from the tropical Pacific. Then the evening starts out misty as the skies clear a little as the cool of night begins.

We have spent the time trying to plot our journey across Costa Rica, which seems to be boiling down to getting up at 6 and catching the first bus we can down to David terminal and immediately buying a ticket on the 8.30 bus for the 8 hour ride to the Costa Rican capital San Jose, which we are trying to avoid because it seems to be full of talented thieves and have little of cultural value. So we may go to one of the smaller adjoining towns such as Cartago or Heredia for the night.

The central plaza park

Technically we run the same risk as entering Panama, that the Costa Rican immigration will demand a ticket out, but at least this would technically only require a bus ticket and we have found that TICA the bus company that runs to Managua only sells for cash and not by internet VISA so there really isn't much choice.

Scenes around the central plaza

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