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Hil J

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SOUTH OF THE BORDER

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Spain, France, Andorra

Great vacation. The best part was visiting three countries in one day. The last snow I was in was 1978. Baga, Northern Spain is a medieval time pueblo, Ax-Les-Thermes (Ax-les-Thermes is a commune in the Ariège department in the Occitanie region of south-western France. The inhabitants of the commune are known as Axéens or Axéennes), Andorra, (Andorra is a tiny, independent principality situated between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains. It’s known for its ski resorts and a tax-haven status that encourages duty-free shopping.) Monserrate Monestary (The history of Montserrat is fascinating and started in 880 when a small group of shepherd children saw a bright light descending from the sky in the Montserrat mountains.) Sagrada Familia Basilica (Guadi Architect)---The Basílica Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is a large unfinished Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. La Sagrada Família will take longer to complete than the Egyptian pyramids, which only took 20 years.

Hil

Hil

 

Peruvian Restaurant, David

This is a small restaurant. Very clean! Service is 4.5 on a 1-5 scale. Food is Excellent. The menu is Peruvian prepared seafood and beef. She had the seafood and I had to try the serloin strips. "Restaurant DondeEver" click on link for directions. it comes up in google maps for live directions when driving. it takes you right to the front door. https://goo.gl/maps/34Lnw535QnQ2  

Hil

Hil

 

Puerto Armuelles/Chiquita Banana

The old pier/dock. Very interesting to walk the old structure. The rail road track remains on part of the pier. The off loading facility still remains at the end of the dock. Nice sunday adventure.

Hil

Hil

 

Buena Ventura

Very nice country club and facilities. Played golf there the second week in June. Jack Nickaulas course. The beaches there are nicer than up toward Las Lajas and Las Olas and the undertow in much less. I visited Playa Blanca and was not impressed. I'll do Bijao next trip. We stayed in Anton Valle up in the mountains. Anton Valle is actually the only city on earth built directly in the caldera of a volcano. Cheers

Hil

Hil

 

Kenny Serracin Opening Night

VERY NICE STADIUM FOR PANAMA. GREAT BALL GAME. THE STADIUM WAS FULL---APPROX 8,000 IN THE STANDS. THE STADIUM HAS A GREAT BACKUP POWER PLANT. THE LIGHTS NEVER FLICKERED DURING POWER OUTAGE TRANSISTION. THE SOUND SYSTEM HAD TO BE RESET DURING THE CONVOCATION AND BEFORE VARELLA MADE HIS TALK (15 MINUTE OUTAGE OF THE SOUND SYSTEM.) WE WENT BACK THE SUNDAY FOLLOWING THE OPENING NIGHT AND THE STADIUM WAS FULL AGAIN. THE PARKING GARAGE MUST NOT BE COMPLETED YET. IT IS NOT BEING USED AT THIS TIME.

Hil

Hil

 

La Casa Mexicana---David

Probably the best Mexican food I have eaten in years. Some highlights of the "Restaurant and Gift Shop"; Good parking Safe area Doors locked while inside Very clean Restrooms exceptionally clean Simple menu Great Service Honors Jubilado More than adequate portions More than reasonably priced I got out the door for $16.55 I had the special (one of everything)$8.50 She had the burrito $6.75 (brought half home) Two very good natural lemonadas $3.00 7% Tax Google maps takes you right to the front door.

Hil

Hil

 

Finca Dracula

This is a nice little Sunday adventure. Hunderds of varieties of Orchids and Ferns. She wanted to walk the property and we did. It isn't that big of a place and there are rest areas to stop and rest. The air is a little thin up there. I'm guessing close to 7000+ ft elevation----not sure. You will find a small restaurant on the property at the beginning of the tour. We ate at the Fanny's Terrace Bistro on the way up. Really great food there but not a huge selection on the menu. We had the Pasta with chicken and alfredo sauce. Turn right in Volcan towards Cerro Punta and maybe 2 miles on the right to Fanny's.  

Hil

Hil

 

Cartegena, Colombia

Not a bad vacation. A little warm but the carribean breezes makes it ok. San Felipe Castle was the most interesting site there. The walled city is unique and has good shopping and restaurants. Snorkeling trip was a bust. High winds, huge waves and strong undercurrents had the bottom and coral reefs less visibile. Don't know the next vacation spot YET!

Hil

Hil

 

Stinging SilkMouth Caterpillar

Very beautiful caterpillar. Very dangerous and bad sting. I found it on a putting green while golfing. We relocated it off of the putting green and hope it survives. I took the picture yesterday and had enough time today to research it and found the name and info.

Hil

Hil

 

Chiquita Banana

Nice visit to Puerto Armuelles today. Looks like Delmonte has a huge project ahead of them.

Hil

Hil

 

Animal Cruelty

Never have I seen anything like this.  Thankfully, animal activist from all over the USA came in to resuce these beautiful dogs.  Hopefully this will not happen in Boquete. The concerned animal groups here in Boquete do a great job.  click on the link below; http://www.waltonsun.com/news/20170628/72-great-pyrenees-dogs-rescued-in-vernon-hoarding-case-photos

Hil

Hil

 

Water Buffalo

We traveled to Volcan for Mexican food again yesterday and had another real treat. We had seen two or three of the water buffalo in the orange groves on the short cut to Volcan before. But today we watched a heard of about 200 grazing and cleaning the underbrush from the orange trees. Nice drive, nice scenery and good food. Beats sitting  around the house comtemplating life.    

Hil

Hil

 

NATA, Panama

We stopped in this church yesterday on the way to Penonome. Religious or not it is truely amazing. It's the first pueblo the spaniards established according to the locals. In 1520 they landed there. You can't see the Pacific from town but it is very close. Most of the church and most things inside are original. The stone wagon wheels are the best things displayed to me. In three years the church will be 500 years old! There is a huge original bronze statue there also. We got there at noon, walked in and they were baptizing kids. We stayed for the service. I'm not catholic but enjoyed the service. My girlfriend is catholic and she was amazed also. She had never seen this church and she is a Bouquetena. I did a blog on this before and it is worth mentioning again. If you're bored----take a ride to Nata. Nata is located between Santiago and Penonome----about 180 miles from Boquete more or less.

Hil

Hil

 

Local Artist

I really enjoy the local artist around Chiriqui. Most of them have never been to an art school. The little Panamanian restaurants have some great work. This one is past Dolega in the direction of David.

Hil

Hil

 

David Fair/Zoo

The lady of the house had a doctors appointment in David yesterday so after the pain and misery of waiting two hours for the doctor we visited the Fair in David yesterday afternoon. We went around 4pm and it was great. Very few people at that time and we seen some interesting culture and animals. For Panama, this is a good fair.

Hil

Hil

 

Chiriqui Baseball

Chiriqui Baseball team is using the Dolega field. I've been to a couple of the the games. They won last night beating Los Santos 3-1. Maybe the new stadium in David will be finished for next year. It's looking good too. Schedule and standings; http://www.rpctv.com/beisbolnacional/calendario.html

Hil

Hil

 

Caldera Horse Riding

Very nice trip. Reasonably priced. $35 Small break at the top of the hills before returning. Approx 3 hours round trip. That's enough time on a horse at my age. Bring your own water and snacks. "Franklin's Horse Rentals". Good guide with good English.

Hil

Hil

 

Sitio Barriles Archaeological Dig (Volcan)

We visited Sitio Barriles last Sunday. I have been reading about this site for a couple of years. This is a small site with probably the oldest known people occupying Central America before Baru's Eruption----Possibly Chinese and Africans (Pre-Colombia). The Link below gives a lot of details of the site. The tour guide doesn't go into details about the dates of the site. She did general explanations and dates. We had the Spanish tour guide and enjoyed the tour. There is an English guide but we don't know the days for this. The site is small and the original huge artifacts are in a museum in Panama City. The tour guide did say the area is full of artifacts from the same time period on private property but they refuse to allow excavation. The Link below has a good detailed discription of Sitio Barriles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barri les

Hil

Hil

 

Ecedula

I had heard rumors of 3 hours to all day for completion of the Ecedula at the Tribunal Electoral in Panama City. Well, I'm either a lucky guy or they streamlined the process. I was in and out in 40 minutes------Totally completed and they said; they would send the Ecedula to the Boquete Tribunal Electoral. Very nice staff and very professional. Three trips up and down from the second floor (1st) to the first(PB). But the good new is the elevator worked every time. The first woman you see with your paper work is from Bouqete also. Anyway, with all of the immigration stuff going on I decided to go to another level.

Hil

Hil

 

New Immigration Policy

The Policy Did Not Change For US Tourist. The information was very confusing until the Embassy got the correct information from the Panamanian Government and passed it on. Some countries will be effected by the new decree. Changes are frequent in Panama.   I hate to see this happen for the honest people using the old 180 days tourist visa (border hopping was LEGAL and still is) or the 90 days tourist visa with driving on a foriegn drivers license privalge and not working here illegal. There are people here that can NOT afford to live in the USA on Social Security. And, those living here on Social Security will have a difficult time getting residency because some live from check to check. Also, those living here on small social security checks will have difficulty staying out of the country for 72 hours or more on their income. IF, and I say ,IF, you get a good lawyer you can get residency in 4 months. I had a good lawyer and got mine in 4 months. Some of these lawyers will have to do a better job now. But the vote is out on that. And, about over staying a visa in the USA----not everyone gets a tourist visa to over stay. The USA doesn't have the open visa policy. In other words, a tourist visa for Panama is automatic if you are not a wanted criminal listed with interpol or Panama and if you are "clean" you are stamped in at all immigrations points and in the USA you have to apply ahead of time through an embassy. Most panamanians are refused tourist visas to the USA. Some people don't know this. We were in Panama for my girl friend's visa and 7 out of the first 10 in line were denied. The reason given for denial up front by the interviwer was----the U.S. is afraid you won't return to Panama (over stay.) So, I would Not compare Panama to the USA on immigration. Panama is a friendly nation when it comes to Tourist Visas and the USA is not-----because we vette more on terrorism, over staying visas (not much enforcement once overstayed) and illegal workers sneaking across borders without visas. I will say that Colombia and Venezuela have caused this problem. And, to "NOT" discriminate they are giving equal opportunity for all on tourist visas unless there is something I'm missing------(now as of 12-28-2016 they are discriminating for good reason.)The other visas will be for people that can afford them such as the Friendly Nation Visa and that will help eliminate the illegal employment here. Visitors will need to abide by the rules-------So will residents. Panama had to do something on immigration for a lot of reasons not just because of expats using the 180 rule. My 3 cents worth.  Whether you agree with me or not it is new policy. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Hil

Hil

 

Christmas In Medellin; Parque Arvi, Zoo, Parque Pablado

We had a great time. Medellin is a nice, clean, and a modern city. Lots of things to see and great food. I was surprised this is a Very Cheap vacation in a 4 star hotel. Parque Arvi is amazing. Lot of arts and crafts for sale. The Hiking Trails are for serious hikers only. It's really cool up there and you can see all of Medellin while in the gondola. While going up the side of the mountain you will see how the poor people live. Lot of good history displayed in Medellin. Parque Pablado is a great park also and it is in centro Medellin. I was suprised at the art in the city also. Highly recommend the trip. Planning another trip soon;  Cuba, Peru---Machu Picchu, Ecuador and Galapagos. Think we will do the paper with names in a basket and draw one out!! All of the dogs on Parque Arvi were healthy pets and would walk with you if you snapped your fingers other wise they eat and sleep!

Hil

Hil

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