Sunday, November 9, 2008

Boquete 2

We´ve been in Boquete for 3 weeks now. We´ve really enjoyed being settled in one place for a good while, and we´ve made some real friends here. Obviously our Spanish lessons have taken up a lot of our time, but we´ve found time to do plenty of other stuff. So here we present a roundup of our time in Boquete. The most exciting thing we did though deserves a post of its own, which is coming up from Rachel soon.

Last weekend was the festival of independence - from Columbia. There´s an even bigger celebration for the indepence from Spain later in the month on the 28th November, making it a busy time for fiesta. Unfortunately, it rained pretty heavily for the parades, but they carried on regardless (including Antonio, from our host family) .

We took a trip to an open garden, "mi jardin es su jardin", just up the road from where our host family live. It´s full of interesting plant life and questionable sculpture.

Possibly Rach´s favourite activity from the last few days was a visit to a local wildlife rescue centre. They receive exotic animals from all over the place: some are left on the doorstep after the owner no longer wants them as a pet; some are seized (they are licensed to do so by the Panamanian government) from mistreatment or illegal sale. They currently have a baby sloth:

I think Rach wanted to take her home!

There are lots of rescued birds, including a pair of Toucans. When they came to the centre, they were babies. Their beaks were bigger than their bodies, apparently! Interestingly, toucans prefer to hop than fly. They will hopefully be released into the wild soon.

If you wake at night in Panama to the sound of feet on your tin roof, it´s probably a kinkajou. Don´t be scared - just look how cute they are! This one was very sleepy, after a group of schoolchildren had been visiting earlier in the day.

There are also a pair of ocelot cubs, one of whom is named Amador, after he was rescued from the Amador causeway, a shopping centre (formerly the Fort Amador US army base) in Panama City where someone was offering him for sale as a Jaguar cub. They´re being looked after with the minimum of human contact, with the hope that they can be released into the wild when they´re ready.

The best bit for us was this beatiful margay called Lottie. She´s very tame (too much so to be released, unfortunately). She was kept in a tiny cage by a family who bought her as a cub but tired of her when she started biting and scratching. You can see her tail is kinked from the confinement, which is not normal for a margay. She loves fishing, so the chap who runs the centre (a master stonemason by trade) built a river into her enclosure for her to catch fish herself.

The largest birds being cared for are the incredible (and endangered) Hyacinth Macaws. This one, Precious, is absolutely stunning. She´s a good 30 inches from head to tail!

This is the view of Boquete from a viewpoint above the town.

Lots of strawberries are farmed around the area. There are special strawberry dessert places around selling homemade ice cream and milkshakes. Here I am enjoying a sundae.

One of the nicest things to do around Boquete is to walk the Quetzal Trail. The (rather muddy) route runs through national park where the Resplendant Quetzal is protected. We didn´t get to see any, but we heard their flute-like call several times.

We went with our classmates, David and Kary. It was tough-going, very slippery and steep in places with a river to ford. We set off soon after dawn to give us the best chance of avoiding the rain. As it happened, it was dry all day (something of a minor miracle for Boquete)!

Our early start was rewarded with some beautiful weather to show off the amazing scenery at its best.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In my spiritual heaven, I will have Eden snuggled up on one side of my neck and a baby sloth on the other. So so so cute. x regan