Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spring Moon by Day

Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us all without words?
~Marcel Marceau, pantomimist

Thursday, April 16, 2009

In Praise of Suburbans and New Gutsy Friends/ The Road from Bocas del Toro to Boquete, Panama

So here we go, back in time and space, and the blogesphere, to Feb. 7th, 2009. After 3 marvelous days in Bocas del Toro, with water coming from every direction in buckets, it was time to head out to Boquete for our language school which started the following Monday. Please note, that this was the "dry" season in Panama, so naturally the local people had some things to say about climate change. They also had a lot of cleaning up to do after the storms. Lucky for us, the rain stopped for a few hours while we headed out of town.

Mars and I were planning to take a cheapo bus through the mountains, but as luck would have it, we met a very nice lady and her visiting niece from England who were staying at our hotel, the Cocomo, and they offered to drive us that's where they live. And she had a SUBURBAN! Well, I never rode in one before, and usually I think of them as gas gusslers in suburbia. They were on the same time schedule as us, and were very nice ladies. So of course, we jumped at the chance. That, plus we heard tales of the mountain roads being washed out in many places..and would you put your bets on a cheapo bus packed with people, or a Suburban??!!
But first we had to take a boat to Almirante. Mars and I flew to Bocas from Panama City, so I asked our friends how long the boat ride was..they said about a half hour, but it seemed like 5 hours. That kind of put me off..cause I thought "why didnt they enjoy the boat ride?". After about 15 or 20 people and their luggage were loaded onto the little boat, flaps were dropped down for the splashing, and we Took OFF for the mainland!! This in water with all kinds of debris and stuff floating in the choppy waters..full speed ahead!!! Ok, so I was hasty in judging our new friends. They were right. It was pretty amazing that no one vomited on that exciting trip.
We arrived in Almirante, and just down the road was a secured parking lot for travelers. And there sat our mountain chariot. (the white one on the left)
Almirante view.
Lots of washed out roads..but people and equipment trying to save them or clear them.

And actually the Suburban was really quite nice inside...smelled like new leather, totally clean, comfortable seats, spacious, luxurious! I quite liked it. And I felt safe..even that if some part of the mountain came crashing down on us while we were driving, I felt like we had a chance, unless we fell off a cliff or something.

This is a four hour drive through the mountains, clouds, and jungle...really beautiful!
Partially washed out road.
Waterfalls and streams created by the rains.
Further down the mountain.

Beautiful views, but I have to say the driving was pretty hairy. Our driver, who is of diminuative stature, was a real soldier though..nerves of steel! We loved these ladies!

We all arrived safely, had nice chats in the car, I have a new respect for Suburbans- kind of like a tank for civilians- sometimes they are necessary! Actually, our new friend and her husband sell cars in David- have a dealership there. (a half hour from Boquete.) They even took us directly to the hostel that we had booked for the week..she called her husband to find out exactly where it is..cause it was out of the way of site from the main square, but just a block behind Habla Ya, the language school. Our new friend lives in Alto Boquete, just a few minutes or miles away from the main town.
They wouldn't take anything for their trouble and favor, so we took them out to dinner at a very nice little French Restaurant in Boquete. Then we went to Zanzibar for an after dinner cocktail. Of course this was a few days later--we all looked like drowned rats the day we arrived from our trip from Bocas. We all clean up quite nicely I think though. What an adventure that was!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April 14th, 1973

Paul and I met in college as freshmen at the Hazleton campus of Penn State University in 1970, the same year we graduated from high school.

So 36 years ago today, Paul and I got married in St. Thomas Moore Church in Allentown Pennsylvania, just a few blocks from my parents home on South Main Street. We were 20 years old! Paul's parents lived and still live in VA, so they were there, as well as many relatives from Hazleton PA- where both sets of our parents and grandparents are from, and other relatives from around the country. Its a beautiful church that is circular with stained glass windows all around. While the ambiance is great, it was hell for photographers.

We celebrated our 36th Anniversary this evening..Paul brought lovely roses, and we went out locally for a very nice dinner..nothing too fancy- these are frugal times, but we did have a bottle of Pinot Noir from Oregon and a nice and fresh fish dinner. While we were waiting for our table, the very nice bartendress gave us a taste of all the Pinot Noirs they had to offer, and the Oregon one was our favorite..and in the mid price range. Better than the cheapies, which also were good, but the most expensive one I really didnt care for, from Australia- which I thought would probably be my favorite.

We left 2 days later after our wedding in 1973 for a road trip to California where the US Army expected us soon for Paul to start his Chinese Mandarin language classes in Monterey, the Defense Language Institute. We drove across the country with our limited stuff, and very much enjoyed the trip and the scenery, and had a stop overnight for a few hours in Las Vegas, which was a highlight for us. We also stayed a night with my aunt and uncle in Colorado, and had a great time there and they really treated us with a great dinner and corningware gifts, which I still use to this day, and think of them often when I use it. Taking a drive from the east coast to the west coast, we realized that our country is amazingly beautiful. If you have the opportunity, do this yourselves sometime.

We lived in a little one bedroom very nice second floor apartment with a balcony, 2 blocks from the beach, and across the street from the Naval Postgraduate School. I got a job there in the accounting department for the year we lived there. I walked to work, and had a window office overlooking the lovely gardens where peacocks roamed and were very vocal. Paul had a motorcycle and drove that to school on the hill. We went to the beach on the weekends, also the vegetable market, the pier, or took walks and shot hoops on some local school grounds. And studied...Paul studied Chinese, and I also took classes at the community studies and art. Although Im a Psych. major.

We have moved many times since then, had other jobs, gone to other schools and gotten other degrees, but we have been blessed with the greatest treasures.
How our lives would be more empty without?
Adrian was born in 1981 in Davenport Iowa
Evan was born in 1984 in Rockville Maryland
Mara was born in 1986 in Rockville Maryland

So, 36 years later, we want to say to all that we are so grateful for all the friends, relatives, and people who have come into our lives and made it so rich and fulfilling. Especially our children. And their friends, and our friends, and our relatives, and everyone who has touched us in so many great ways- clients, co-workers, people we meet in everyday business and social settings, strangers whom we have met through our travels- Life is good.