Sunday, July 03, 2011

Vacation in Panama #1

So, we decided to do something different this year. After the ALA Conference as a "home game" (i.e., in New Orleans), we have gone away, and not to the beach.

Saturday, July 2, saw us on 4 planes in 5 airports. Our first flight left NOLA t 5:30. It was a short hop to Houston. After a fairly short lay-over there, we were headed to Panama City (Panama). One interesting thing was that our flight left late because of a TSA/ICE search of departing passengers. There were groups of 20 or so passengers who were asked to place their bags on one side of the jetway, and step to the other. Then a dog sniffed all the items left. Why? I have no idea. After we had boarded, we were further delayed because a few people did not make the flight, and their luggage needed to be removed.

We got to Panama City in good time. We landed at the international airport (Tocumen) and then needed to get to the domestic airport (Alport). We arranged for a driver, Mr. Kelley, who was great! He got us to Aloport in good time. Alport is very much a developing nation kind of airport -- 2 airlines, each with an A and B gate. Security was, well, lets just say interesting. Watch Flickr for photos. We were on a plane big enough for flight attendants, and the flight, which left an hour late, was about the same length as from MSY to IAH. When we got there, we did not understand that we needed to pick up our luggage out on the tarmac. But we got it figured out, and after renting a car from a different company than our reservation, oh well. It is the way here.

Our hotel is wonderful. We are outside Boquete, in the volcanic mountains, up near a national park. Facebook friends have seen the view from our bed...of the mountains and the valleys is incredible. The room is great, I am sitting on a porch which has a roof, but no screens...and there are no bugs. With the breezes we have turned off the A/C. (But the ceiling fan inside is on...) The Rancho Caldera is "off the grid." All the electric is provided by solar panels and/or a generator. The water is from a well on-site and multi-purified. The pool has an infinity edge corner. The food is cooked by great chef. Lunch is a la carte, dinner is prix-fixe menu decided by the chef each night. It is wonderful

Today has been recovery. Tomorrow we zip-line through the tree canopy, Tuesday is a coffee plantantion tour, Wednesday we hope to hike Baru. From the top, you can see both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans! Thursday we will go to the natural hot springs, and Friday we will ride the horses here on the property. Unfortunately, our adventure will end on Saturday with a reverse trip with a drive to David, flight to Panama City, transfer between airports, and then travel home. Who knows what else we will sneak in?

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