Questions?

Lets have a little Q & A! If you’ve been wondering something specific about our life here in Panama, or about a previous post, or when we’re coming home, how to cook a plantain, what the temperature is, or really, anything, just ask!

Simply leave a comment with your question, and we’ll do our best to provide the answer in the comments as well, so others can see it too. If we have pictures that might accompany the question, I might do a post about it! (Like plantains. I’m working on that one!)

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This overlooking the town of Boquete, and what we see on our walks down into the valley. Does it make you to come to Central America? :)

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10 thoughts on “Questions?

    • Daniel can make it there in half an hour and coming back, about the same time. It takes me longer for some reason…especially coming up the hill on the return trip! We usually walk to town about once a week or a little over, and depending on how many groceries we have, we may or may not walk home. Getting a taxi when one has bags and bags of fresh produce in each hand, is highly favorable. :) On Sundays, we take a taxi to town and back or hitch a ride with some church friends. It’s not fun walking in the sun all dressed up, and getting all dusty.

      The main produce market is in a building at the town square with venders set up like a farmer’s market, only with cement wall dividers. They seem fairly permanent though, as if they have been selling their produce in that certain location for a long time. There are at least 2 other produce shops on Main street, and our favorite is on a side street. One has a gravel floor, the others are regular “stores”. I have pictures of us doing some produce shopping, so stay tuned!

    • We figure about half an hour walk TO town, and 40-45 min. back, uphill. We walk to town maybe once a week. The market here is indoor, with vendors set up in cement walled “blocks”. There are a couple vegetable shops on main street, one with a gravel floor. But our favorite is one a side street, and I plan to have a post about it sometime soon. They are all similar, like a farmer’s market with fresh fruit and vegetables.

  1. Serendiptiously happened upon your fascinating blog about your Boquete adventure.My husband and I have been tempting ourselves with the same journey to Boquete for a number of years … so you definitely have our admiration! A few “lightening round” questions …
    How is your typical day usually spent?
    Have you traveled much outside of Boquete?
    Are there a lot of places to rent by the month suitable for family living?
    Would a scooter be a good method of transport?
    How large is the church you attend? Are most locals? Or passers through?
    Does the church have children’s activities?
    Have you tried boiling sweet plantains in coca-cola and cinnamon?
    Have you experienced chicheme (a sweet corn drink)?
    Wonderful pictures … what type camera do you use?
    What three things will you miss most upon returning to the U.S.?
    Now that you’re something of a citizen of Boquete, do you have any recommendations for a family with young kids who would like to also live this adventure?
    Muchas gracias for sharing this inspiring phase in you and your family’s lives! May God continue to richly bless your remaining time in Panama!
    Nina & Bill
    Sanford, Florida

    • Hi Nina and Bill..

      Daniel here…Nice to know Janel’s blog might be able to help someone with info before making the trip. It’s hard to imagine doing things like this without the Internet.

      I’ll answer a few questions and Janel can fill in with her comments too.

      1) I’m working on my business projects (building websites and SEO) so most of the day is spent in the apartment on the laptop for me. I twisted my ankle and got out of the habit but most of the time we’ve been here I’ve taken morning walks before breakfast. Natasha and I would often take another walk in the evening. We typically don’t get far from home on a weekday.

      2) I’ve been to Honduras and Bolivia for a combined time of only ~3 weeks before coming here. Other than that only U.S. and Canada.

      3) I would say yes there are plenty of places to rent. Prices can be a high unless you are willing to compromise on amenities. We pay $550 per month for our current apartment and could have a house for the same price back in rural Ohio or Michigan where our families are. The previous apartment where we spent the first month would have been $800/mo with a 3+ month commitment. It did have a washer and dryer as well as weekly cleaning service included. Sometimes rent can be cheaper during the rainy season (roughly May through October). In my experience it is a little hard to get a good idea of what a rental is like via the Internet. Some folks don’t respond to inquires and many listings leave a lot to be desired in terms of details.

      4) There are some people who drive scooters for transportation (as well as ATVs). It seems to work for them and I wouldn’t have minded having one myself :)

      5) The church might be about 100 people and everyone except an occasional visitor lives here. At least a couple prominent business owners/community members attend there. I think we’ve been the only consistent foreign visitors except a single girl who was studying Spanish here.

      6) I don’t know of any specific children’s activities. There are kids for sure but they sit with everyone else on Sundays (though I think they have their own Sunday school…we don’t arrive until after that time).

      7) Haven’t tried plantains in Coca-Cola…

      8) No experience with chicheme either. I did have some sort of sweet oatmeal drink in Honduras though.

      9) I use my Android phone for a camera :) Janel uses a Canon Rebel T1i.

      10) I will miss the summer weather in Boquete because it is my ideal type of weather (~70-75 F and breezy) every single day. Keep in mind that is summer weather (November or December through March or April) and the rainy season is quite different. I’ll miss cheap, quality food like beef, plantains, pineapples, bananas etc. etc. Some food items are available for roughly the same price as in the U.S. but the quality here is higher since it is not grown in an industrial food system. Other things are just much cheaper. Eating out is more affordable as well.

      I can’t think of a third thing right off but I will miss the mountain views and vantage points.

      11) I’m not sure how many children you have or their ages. I would say Boquete is a great place to come with a family although if there are many of you and you don’t have a vehicle of your own transportation might be a hassle.

      Taxis can take 4 adults but if there are many in your family you’ll need to get an empty one or take a bus and taking a bus will involve quite a bit of waiting compared to taxis. Of course if you live near town you will only need to take public transportation to do fun things. We moved out of town and either have to walk or take transport for shopping. Let me know if you have questions about transportation and I can answer in better detail.

      Probably my biggest recommendation is to try and get here for almost free. If you can make the travel expenses almost nothing then the money you save by living here is a nice bonus and gives you a bit of financial rationalization ammunition for taking the adventure. You can see more about the cost of living on my Tumblr here:

      We flew down for $30. Flying back will cost about $230 due to exit taxes and re-entry fees and so on. Obviously both totals are better than the roughly $1,600 it would have taken to fly here and back if we had bought full price tickets. We were able to fly here for 30 bucks because airline miles we accumulated in the 11 months previous to coming. We got the miles without doing any flying by using a credit card sign up bonus. You can read more about how to do it from the sources I learned from:

      http://advancedriskology.com/advanced-travel-hacking-the-credit-card-blitzkrieg/

      http://www.frugaltravelguy.com/rookie-tips-and-faq

      Does all that help? :)

      • Daniel!

        Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. You’ve put us many steps forward in our planning for this possibility. I thank you for all the links, as well as how you have used them to your advantage.
        We have two boys, an 8-month old and a four-year-old, who we would love to provide with such a memorable experience. But we have a mortgage we need to kill before we start the adventure … I’m hoping in three years or so, God willing.
        My one worry is what I will do with my time there and how I can make a dollar, or Balboa. We would definitely like to occupy ourselves helping a local church too. Again, your blog and response are greatly appreciated.
        A link for you in return for your kindness:
        Plantain in Coca Cola: http://maricarbo.hubpages.com/hub/PLATANOS-EN-TENTACION-PLANTAINS-IN-TEMPTATION
        May the remaining days of your and your family’s adventure be the most fulfilling!
        Bill & Nina

    • Hello from Janel! So glad you found OrdinaryandBeyond! What fun to know someone is benefiting from our adventure! So here are a few answers to a few questions from my viewpoint. :)
      1. I wondered what I would fill my time with before we came here, thinking I might be bored out of my mind without my sewing machine and garden. WRONG! There are still meals to prepare, clothes to wash, floors to mop, and a toddler to play with. We take lots of walks, either to the nearby stores for various little items like bananas, or just to walk. I enjoy photography, so editing pictures and blogging takes up some time, and the rest is filled with simply living “regular” life…in another country! I have blogged about more of the “mommying” things of life on my other blog, http://www.simplynel.blogspot.com Please feel free to stop by!
      2. If you are talking about traveling in other countries, I’ve been to Ireland, Scotland, England, just across the border into Mexico, and of course, Cananda and the US. As far as traveling nearby here in Panama, I’ve only been out of the Boquete region once since we arrived 5 months ago. That was when we took a shopping trip to David. Of course, we could have gone more, but there really wasn’t anything there that we couldn’t get here in Boquete, and it just wasn’t worth it. If we had a car, I have a feeling we would do a lot more sight seeing. We would have liked to see Volcan, on the other side of the Volcano, and even hiked the Volcano, if it wasn’t such an undertaking!
      5. The Pastor commented to us once that they were so happy to have us in their church, and so glad that we came back! He said most visitors come one Sunday, and never return. We are having supper with them one last time this Saturday, and they are so sad to see us leave. Helen, the Pastor’s wife told me, “You are part of our church now!”
      6. I believe there is a Sunday School for all ages, and although there isn’t an official “nursery”, the Pastor’s wife normally stays close by in a back room with her little girl. Close enough to hear the sermon and interact when it’s greeting time and for the songs.
      7. & 8. No, I’m afraid we haven’t tried either of those! I’m still amazed at all we haven’t experienced! Thanks for the link for plantains in pop. Sounds amazing!
      10. I will miss singing hymns in Spanish and having the curtains blow in the open windows during church, cheap and plentiful bananas, plantains and pineapples, and the amazing weather. And, can I add a fourth? The fun it is having a blonde, curly headed little girl in a country where everyone thinks she is such a curiosity. :)
      11. Bring a baby carrier! Of course, if you have your own vehicle, this wouldn’t be quite as imperative, but I really don’t know how we’d get along without one. We use a mei tai, and still carry Natasha on our backs all. the. time. (She’ll be two in a week.) If you plan to do any hiking or sight seeing on foot, it will make your life a lot easier. (Plus, it amuses the locals.)
      Blessings on your life back in the States, and the planning for taking an adventure of your own!
      Janel

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