A Walk About
My goal is to try and take at least one photo every day that we are here. Today was a fail because by the time I remembered it was getting dark and I was making supper. I might have to get creative tonight to keep my goal. The other day I walked the loop that we live on and took some photos of some of the nature we're enjoying. It's beautiful here, everywhere. The one thing that catches my eye every day is the clouds. The way that they form over the volcano and head down into Volcan is amazing! Some of them are the biggest clouds I've ever seen. So far it hasn't rained on us here but you can see the rain sweeping down into the valley. It's like the clouds themselves are falling. Come and see us so you can see it for yourselves. We'll find you a bed and feed you well. ;-)
February 22nd, 2018
Four legs good, two legs better (and sometimes three)
For years, North America has slowly separated itself from the rest of the world. We are different in mannerism, our way of living, and, it turns out, our pets.
The animals were one of the first things I noticed when we got into Panama City. Boasting a population that comes close to Calgary's, the amount of animals running around make it look like there's enough for one per person. There's dogs, cats, and even sometimes chickens wandering the streets. Even just off the fancy hotel we stayed in, you could see all sorts of animals just lounging around.
The biggest population of animals in the city definitely appeared to be the cats. What really surprised me about them was how they look, however.
Unlike North American cats, these felines are not big. They're skinny and sleek, and probably two put together would equal the size of the cats I'm used to. On a slightly different not, the colour variance really wasn't big- many were orange tabbies.
None were pampered, and none of them wanted anything to do with us. But it wasn't just us. These cats were truly feral. Chances were, none of them had a home other than the street. It was cool to see that, despite this, they were all pretty healthy.
I don't think that North American cats could ever live like that.
Maybe it's all the snow.
I'm Keiran McNeal, the second oldest son in our family. I've been greatly interested in the vast differences in my surrounding here as compared to back home in Calgary. The main differences I've noticed are the way buildings are made and the condition of them. I find that the houses have much less put into them, because of the lack of cold that needs to be kept out. Also, there are no heat vents to be found in the majority of houses.
I've heard that it rains for most of the year, from mid March to mid December according to Google. Dry season so far has brought winds and heat that makes it hard to do much outside without getting burned.
School so far has been pretty straightforward and not much different than actually being in classes. After-school activities for me usually include:
Outdoor games (Soccer, Frisbee),
And working out.
Here are some shots I've taken so far:
Our Panama House
The house we are in is 2300 sq. feet, 3 bedroom and 3 full baths. Our hot water is on demand. When we arrived both power and water were off because of a downed power line on the way up the hill to Volcan.
Our Panama House
Here's a picture of the family. This is our Panama house.
You can see the volcano behind it. We went to two markets this morning to buy fresh veggies and bread. There's an amazing baker from Boquette who comes over and sells bread here every Fri. We bought San
Francisco sourdough. It's delicious....yes, I caved and ate some. We're only about 1.5km from town. We're going to walk in to the bakery today and get ice cream.
Getting to Volcán
Feb 13, 2018 3:27 AM
After a long day, we are here. Now, just trying to figure out supper, and waiting for our luggage to be delivered (it decided to go on a different plane).
Feb 14, 2018 8:06 PM
The bus ride was long, it started off empty and cold, and got fuller and hotter as we went. We got off in a town called LA Conception, that everyone calls Bugaba for some reason (so we couldn't find it on the map and were surprised when the conductor told us to get off). The lady we are renting from met us at the bus stop with a Nissan Patrol. We crammed all of our luggage in and a couple on the roof while she tried to get the car started. It finally started and she didn't want to shut it off so I watched the car while she ran into Dominoes with GeoLin and the kids to pickup some pizzas for supper. They came out and I ran into the grocery store for some breakfast stuff. Interesting that in the dairy capital of Panama, milk is $5.35/gallon. Eggs on the other hand are $1.00/dozen for large fresh ones.
After a short trip up the mountain through some very windy roads like the fun road in California, we arrived at the compound and our house. We were greeted by the family and kids, and Tig, Addy, and Caed all ran off into the field to play. The power and water were out when we got here, so we unpacked quick while there was still light. Keiran and I did spider patrol cause the house has not been lived in for a while. We played skip rope for a bit in the candle/flash light, then just in time for bed the power came on and the pump kicked in for the water.
They had a pile of fresh fruit, bananas, pineapple, watermelon, papaya, lemons and oranges and fresh flowers on the table for us, it was wonderful.
We met one of the other people renting one of the other houses here, very friendly.
The stars are amazing, and the wind is crazy!
We arrived in Panama City around 5pm Feb 12th. It was a very quick connection in Houston - time enough to use the washrooms then get on the next plane. In Panama City, we had to get off the plane on the tarmac, load onto a bus and ride over to the terminal. Then we went through customs. They all seemed really happy and joking around - either that or they were laughing at us and we didn't know it! Our baggage wasn't on the carousel so Clancey had to find out where it went. Turns out it didn't make the connection so the would deliver it to the hotel when the next flight from Houston came in. We were all tired so we went to find Marc, our driver, and head off to Novotel Hotel.
Adyson, Caedon and Teagan looking out on Panama City from the 6th floor of our hotel.
Clancey and Keiran went to grab supper for us all. They ended up going to Jap Jap which is a very good rotisserie chicken place. We don't know for sure how good it was as we were all so hungry than anything would have tasted delicious. Our bags arrived around 10 that night. Addy and Tiggie were so glad to wake up to having their special blankets with them again. All of our luggage had been opened by US, Canada, Panama or all 3 customs. Everything was rearranged and Clancey's egg topper for removing the top of his hard boiled eggs was missing. Hopefully that's all that's missing.
Dulce de leche filled donuts at the bakery.
After a good sleep and a relaxing morning we headed out to explore what was around our hotel. It was carnival here which is a very big holiday and most stores were closed. We did manage to find a bakery that was open. The kids each had dulce de leche filled donuts. Dulce de leche is big here. You'll see people with small containers of it eating it by the fingerful.
We also managed to find a place to buy sim cards for our cell phones so that we can be in touch.
After an afternoon rest - I napped - we headed out again for a walk and somewhere for supper. There was a park not far from us that was supposed to have a very large busk of Einstein. We found it!!
Here are a few more pictures of our hotel rooms and the view from the window.
After a day of sightseeing we got up early to catch the 9:15 Parachif bus from Panama City to Bugaba. We ended up getting on the 7:45 bus as it was just about ready to leave when we got there. Our driver called two men over who helped us get our baggage through the terminal. They then took all of our stuff and got us on the bus. It was very quick and easy but then we were left wondering when we'd end up paying for our ride.
It was a double decker so we all sat on the top where we could see the countryside pass by. Naps were had by most. The bus stopped in Santiago for a lunch break. We weren't sure how long it was so Clancey hopped off and ran to get some food. The bus stops in almost every town along the way. Along the highway there will be a walking bridge to get from one side to the other. Along side it will be a bus stop. Even if it appears that there is nothing around there will be people waiting for the bus.
It took us over 8 hours to get here. We were so thankful to arrive and have Kama meet us in Bugaba. We grabbed Domino's pizza while Clancey tied the luggage on the roof and we set off up the hill. There were switchbacks and everything! It is a windy road that leads up to the farming land of Panama. We were glad to see our new home, unpack our bags and eat pizza!
The first night was a very windy one so most of us didn't sleep very well. The noises here are very different. We will get used to it in time.
Some pictures from Panama
We are a family that loves to travel, have adventures, road trips, and the ocean!