Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter, Parque Amistad y Fresas

We were visited by the practical Easter bunny who brought toothbrushes and new markers in addition to sweets!
On Sunday the Easter bunny made his way to Panama and brought some treats to Harper and Cal.  After a snack of M&Ms and chocolate-covered raisins we set off to explore the area west of Boquete.  We were all happy to be in our own car again and the kids were thrilled that the rental agency didn’t have car-seats to loan us.  (Getting back to the US standards of safety is going to be a downer for Harper and Cal for sure.)
We first drove to the town of Volcan where we had read about a great little breakfast place.  Upon arriving at the diner we realized the previous owner had recently sold the place to a mildly crazy lady from Canada.  She filled us in on all the instances of mind-control happening in the US and the fascist occupation movement that is taking over the country!  She rambled on for nearly 15 minutes while we choked down our meal and quickly paid the bill.
The morning was cloudy but we got some occasional views of the Barú volcano.  In Boquete we are living on the east side of it but the views are better from Volcan.  The plateau is dotted with huge chunks of igneous rock from a previous eruption (although it has been extinct for so long that there isn't a recorded date for the last time it blew.)
Volcan Barú
Next we continued our drive north up into the towns of Cerro Punta and Guadalupe.  These towns sprung up along a river and on the flanks of the volcano so the land is very fertile for farming.  The hills are steep and wet and we couldn’t believe all the crops planted up on the hillsides.
I loved the look of these rolling green farms.
The area is famous for strawberries. 
We stopped at a roadside stand for a cup of fresas y crema (strawberries covered in cream.)
Like in Boquete, flowers bloom everywhere.  The calla lilies reminded us of Lisa and Ryan's upcoming wedding and we had to take a picture of the bougainvilleas that seemed to mirror Danny's crazy mane.
Danny was told today he has a "peluca de payaso!"
Next we drove into Parque Nacional de la Amistad (Friendship National Park.)  It lies in both Panama and Costa Rica and is a very rich zone of plant and animal diversity (it has 6 different species of big cats!)  Unfortunately for us it was raining heavily for our entire hike and we did not see much animal life.  We were meant to hike to a waterfall, but the rainwater rushing along our trail prevented us from making it there.  Instead we did a little mud-skiing and puddle splashing as we slogged along.  Everyone was in good spirits, but after a while we just got too cold and wet to finish the trail.

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