*Leaving the USA for David, Panama – I’m going home*

We’ve had a wonderful three weeks visiting kids here in the states but now it’s time to go home. Home. It feels a little strange to say that I’m going home from the USA to David, Panama-but that’s what it feels like, home. I guess that I’ve grown quite comfortable and fond of my chosen city in Panama, David. Don’t get me wrong, Austin and Santa Rosa are great places to live however I like the slower pace of David for this time in my life. I’m old.

Panama is a better fit than Sarasota, Austin or Santa Rosa for us if we want to live within our budget and still enjoy a few things . True, David doesn’t have scores of fancy eating places or things to do like here in the states. But I don’t need all that, the fun for me is that David is growing, I can see and feel it – David is “getting there”, wherever “there” is. David is growing and I can see potential everywhere I look. I guess it’s a lot like watching a child grow and go on to bigger and better things – David is growing and, IMHO, improving. There is a very positive vibe in David that I find that very encouraging and exciting, and I want to be part of it.

I’ll be back at home on Sunday. The weather has cooled off since we left, even Portland, Maine where my mother lives will be hotter than David on Saturday. It is dry and brown here in Santa Rosa, the rain has probably greened David up a lot in three weeks. I’ve gotten used to the cool weather here and will have to get out of these long-sleeved shirts and jeans and back into my shorts.

I think I can deal with that:-)104_2888

It’ll be good just to be home.

Later,

j

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Back in the USA- Austin, Texas & Santa Rosa, California

Kris and i have been having a great time here in the states visiting the kids. One daughter graduated from the UT Doctorate Program in Physics, we were so happy and proud to be able to be there when she received her diploma. She and her husband will soon be leaving for the Seattle to start work for Microsoft. We had a great time in Austin and can’t wait to visit the kids in Seattle later this year.  And when we visit them it will give us a good excuse to take an Alaskan Cruise, (Seattle being so close to Alaska it just makes sense, right?) ……………….

From Austin we flew up to San Francisco where our son-in-law picked us up and whisked away to Santa Rosa to our other daughter and new grandson.  it was great to see the brand new baby and his beautiful mother and beaming father. M1060009

Camden is their first child and we will try to help out with the house and baby while mommy gets stronger and daddy gets some sleep.

Here is Kris and Camden, born on May 5th.M1070001

Santa Rosa is very beautiful, the weather is cool for us Davidians, it’s 66F now at 6pm and will dip to 44F tonight. We miss David and our friends but will certainly enjoy this wonderful time with family.  We have a lots of exciting  things coming up and will keep posting as we go so folks can see what we’re up to.

We might be up to something in David but I can’t tell you what it is now and possibly jinx it……….

Later,

j

Danger in the River Chiriqui – Caiman Spotted!

Kris and I love taking our cameras down to the river behind our house, we never know what we’ll see. I was busy taking some close-ups when Kris called to me to come quickly, NOW!. I got up to see what she was talking about and was quite surprised to see a small caiman floating about 20′ from shore.104_2908

I say small because in Sarasota, Florida, where we lived before coming to Panama, I had seen many alligators from 8′ – 10′ long.

I did some research and found that the Panama caiman can grow up to 8′ long, that’s a lot bigger than I thought they grew!

i don’t feel particularly threatened by the presence of this little guy but it may have a big brother, SO…..I now will be a little more vigilant if I decide to take a dip in our beautiful and possibly dangerous river.

Later,

j

Raquel’s Ark- Animal Rescue in Volcan

Kris and I had always wanted to visit “Raquel’s Ark”  in Volcan. I first found Raquel’s posts on Gringos in David where she has often mentioned that people are welcome to visit and see the various animals. Raquel says “I have an organization called Raquel’s Ark that was set up to help injured or abused wildlife of Panama.  I am located in the mountains of Panama near the Costa Rica border.  I hope to expand to help as many animals that I can.  Presently I have owls, tucans, ferrots, kinkajous, raccoon, coatimundi, neque and two-toed sloths.  To support my project I have to find work.”

Raquel bought the land 10 years ago and little by little she added many areas designed to house the animals. The Ark is a work in progress that Raquel self-finances from her Oracle consulting outside of Panama. Volunteers take care of the animals while she is off making money for the next round of expenses.

We found the place without too much difficulty, parked the car, and within minutes after meeting Raquel we both were given a sloth (mother and child) to hold (actually, they hug you more than you hold them).

After putting them in a short tree we went in back to the caged area where most of the animals are kept.

Raquel took out many of the “safe” animals and answered our many important questions such as “does it bite?”.

It was great to Meet Raquel and have her give us the tour and answer our many questions. What she has done deserves recognition, the concept of the Ark started as a dream and now many animals benefit from what is now the reality. Kris and I will never forget getting to see these beautiful animals up close and even get to touch and hold them.

Her devotion to the welfare and happiness of the animals was obvious and touching. Our visit was really special, I encourage everyone to take the time to visit Volcan and Raquel’s Ark.

Here is a simple map with directions from Davidark

Make the trip, you might even get to have a sloth hug you!!!

Later,

j

*Rio David-The David River and The Fisherman-Photos and Video*

At the other side of the woods is a path that leads down to Rio David. It’s about a 15 minute walk, and the payoff is the beautiful river and surroundings. Only this time there was an added attraction for me, a fisherman with a VERY long bamboo pole upstream on the other side. 104_2794

He noticed that I was taking his picture me and right off reached down a held up a fish that he had caught. Look a lot like a trout to me.104_2793

The fisherman moved upstream where I used telephoto to capture the video,  not the best focusing but you might enjoy some of it.

Kris had the Nikon so I was using my Kodak Z915 since our Panasonic HDC TM90 camcorder needs repair. I can get better shots and video with the TM90 but I thought that ANY video/photos were better than none so there you have it!104_2806He would cast, then drag the pole to his left, lift the line out and cast again.104_2805Quite the pole!104_2808This reminded me of a cow skull somehow.104_2797104_2811This is a nice still area folks like to camp around and swim in.104_2817After 20 minutes he tried out a new area upstream, don’t know if he caught anything but it looked fun and made for a good shot for me.

If you are in our area and want to visit this spot I’d be glad to take you!

Enjoy the  moment –

Later,

j

*El Bosque The Forest- Some photos in the woods on the way to the river*

Kris and I took a walk in the woods across the street from our house on the way to the river. The woods are behind our neighbors home in the photo.104_2755

We always like to take our cameras, we always find something that interests us and might be fun to put on the blog.  It’s always cooler under the shade of the 100′ pines and the fragrance of the pine trees always reminds me of forests back in the States. Here are a few of the pictures I took on the way down to the river. I took pictures along with a short video there and will show them on the next post.

I’m holding a vine, it was the longest one I’ve ever seen. The 2nd photo show it going up near the top of a tree, probably over 50′ to a termite nest.

104_2776104_2777104_2781104_2783These wicked things on a dead palm frond reminded me of sharks teeth.104_2791 104_2790 104_2789 104_2788Feathers are always fun to photograph.104_2782This burnt stump looked a bit like an animal in my imagination.104_2779104_2784The long shadows and trees caught my eye.

Hope you enjoyed our little walk in the forest!

Later,

j