Sunday, September 30, 2007

Boquete Dog Show

The Boquete Dog Show was a nice little Sunday treat and was well attended by Panamanians and Expats alike with canine friends in tow. Dogs of all shapes and sizes were present including a tiny Chihuahua trying to live up to his given name - Thor - by snarling and yipping at any dog daring to encroach upon his personal space.
The crowd was entertained as puppies showed their recently learned (forgotten) obedience skills and adolescent dogs
dazzled the crowd,

rocketing through the air over five, and eventually six, people with ease.

One of the old timers confined to the sidelines was obviously NOT enjoying having to endure a young lad mounting him and desperately flashed a classic "Get this brat off of me!" face.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Panama Canal

From the Miraflores Locks, we watched as gigantic ships entered from the Pacific and made their way through the first leg of the Panama Canal on their way to the Atlantic. The canal cuts across the lowest point in the Continental Divide and through one of the narrowest points between the two oceans. There are 12 sets of locks. Each may be filled or emptied in less than 10 minutes, and each pair of lock gates takes two minutes to open. Electric towing locomotives, called "mules", pull ships by cable through the locks. The mules are the only locomotives of their kind in the world, designed specifically for the Canal. You can see two different ships passing through at different levels in the photo at left and the little mules as well.

The Panama Canal expansion project broke ground on September 3rd. The expansion will cost $5.25 billion (WOW!) and is scheduled for completion in 2014. When finished, the Canal will have a new lane for ship traffic and a whole new set of locks, which will double capacity and allow more traffic and longer, wider ships. It is amazing to see the Canal and realize that it was completed in 1914 and has been running efficiently, 24/7 with no reworking in almost one hundred years. Impressive indeed.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Arrival - Panama City

We made a spur of the moment decision to go East instead of heading back West towards Boquete. Since we already had a rental car and were only an hour and a half outside of the big city we motored on to conquer Panama Ciudad and witness the marvel that is the Panama Canal. Upon our arrival, we realized that our entry was a bit ill timed as it was Friday rush hour. To be sure, the road rules aren't as obvious as they are in the States and we had no idea of where we were OR where we were going.

After bumbling through different areas of the city for an hour and a half, thankfully avoiding any accidents (good job Captain Randy), we were both nail bitten and frazzled. We decided to find ANY hotel, just to be off the streets. One of the first places we cased turned out to be a "by the hour" joint. We gathered this after observing the young, rotund chica pawing at the much older muchacho at her side, all the while flaunting her "goods" under the blue bra not even remotely covered by her cheetah dress. As the muchacho's hands fumbled for the money to pay the desk clerk, it was obvious he was in a hurry to get going on the "big game" he'd found on his afternoon's safari. Needless to say, we passed on that particular venue.

We found lodging at the Executive Hotel and ordered up a tasty Pizza Hut pizza-aren't we adventurous?-and watched from our balcony as a mystical sunset brought on the night.

Monday, September 24, 2007

We Do Decameron

Decameron catered to all tastes with 11 restaurants, 11 bars and six large pools with gardens surrounding them all on a hill overlooking the Pacific ocean. We ate at a different locale for each meal and the food wasn't bad, certainly acceptable. What's not to like about gigantic buffets? There were ala carte options in some of the restaurants too.
The weather cooperated perfectly and we took lengthy walks on the 2 mile long playa both days of our stay. As usual, Rand planned and provided an exquisite birthday for me as he seems to be able to do not just on special occasions, but daily. I'm spoiled and LOVING IT!

The Get Away

Apologies for the SEVERELY delinquent blog entry. We've been quite involved with the land scene lately. Randy wisely advises me not to count any chickens before they hatch but if all goes according to plan, we will soon be land owners in Boquete (and it's a seriously sweet piece of land, so fingers crossed!) All the time spent with builders, engineers, surveyors and architects was weighing on us and becoming pretty consuming so we were ready for a hiatus!

Randy made reservations for my 33rd birthday at the all-inclusive Decameron Resort. The price was right but we weren't sure how it would turn out because all-inclusives are a toss up. We were optimistic though, hoping for the best. The resort was a 6 hour drive from Boquete and we saw some exotic road kill along the way.

We arrived at Decameron and went to check in but found no reception desk. Instead, we were given a number and told to sit and wait in a huge room for them to call us up. When our number was called, we proceeded to one of the five tables at the front and were given oh so classy neck lanyards with our room keys on them and fashioned with hot pink wrist bands on our left arms. Not looking good so far, we thought. Fortunately though, our room was charming and large with a nice view. We changed into our beach gear and set off to explore the premesis.