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Friday, July 9, 2010

Our Final Post

Our trip has sadly come to a close, but the photos, memories, and experiences will last longer than the twenty days we were in Boquete, Panama.

Thanks to Brie's wonderful and creative skills, we have a final picture that wraps up our grand adventure:

Here are a few of the many things we did, saw, and accomplished over twenty days:
1. Walked into Costa Rica
2. Bought and ate fruit in Costa Rica
3. Rafted down the Chiriqui Viejo river to within a mile of the Costa Rican border
4. Ziplined through the canopy and crossed over 2 waterfalls
6. Snorkled over millions of intricate coral and a plethora of brightly colored fish
7. Held starfish and had them get stuck to our hands
8. Played bingo in Spanish
9. Were within two meters of dolphins
10. Visited (and got lost) in a coffee farm
11. Watched a boat pass through the Miraflores locks of the Panama Canal
12. Drank coconut water through a straw from a coconut
13. Drank (and enjoyed) black coffee
14. Ate mangoes for less than 7 cents each
15. Got rained on everyday
16. Ate (and became addicted) to Yucca bread
17. Crawled under a crashed truck on a mountain

We just wanted to say thanks to everyone who read, followed, and commented on our blog. You all helped us still feel connected to home although we were more than a thousand miles away. Gracias por todo,

Con mucho y mucho amor,
Jessica, Alex, Caeley, and Hannah



Thursday, July 8, 2010

Vamos a... Regresar :(

We just got through security in the Tocumen airport. Our taxi van was a bit late this morning, by about 15 minutes. Good thing we asked him to pick us up at 5:45 for an 8:20 flight so we still had plenty of time. We're all pretty groggy from waking up before the sun and the cheery hour of 5:15 am. Our suitcases are filled to the brim and checked and we all passed our pat down search (here, they pat everyone). Unfortunately, Alex seemed suspicious this morning so the security staff felt the need to search his entire backpack. Caeley, Hannah, and I watched while they scrutinized every piece of gauze in his travel first aid kit. We thought about visiting some duty free stores and then realized we have no need for alcohol, cigarettes, or anything from the Lacoste store in the airport. We quickly realized our gate had been changed without an announcement so we have to cross to the complete opposite side of the airport. We ran into a father and son who had been behind us in the check in line, told them of our gate change, and I talked to them a bit about our trips. They were here fishing at I believe the same port that my Uncle Jeff visits every year.

We still have over an hour before our plane boards which we'll probably spend ceremoniously eating our last Green Morning bread from our favorite Boquete bakery and trying not to fall asleep. We'll call you all when we get to Dallas.

Jess, Hannah, Caeley, and Alex

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hola everyone,
Hope all is going well and you are managing the hot nc summer weather!
Though it has been hard on us leaving the town that we have called
home for over two weeks, we have been trying to make the most of our
time in panama city. Yesterday we had fun exploring the mongo mall
connected to our hotel and we had a delicious meal at a
steakhouse...though only alex actually ordered steak and the really
delicious part was most definately the freah baked bread that they
served us beforehand. We enjoyed the musc playing, which Included
instrumental versions of 'hotel california' and 'can you feel the love
tonight'. Hot showers and sleep were nice also.

And today was our touring adventure! We saw the beautiful ruins of the
old city...we wish it wasn't destroyed by pirates so we could have
seen it in all of its incredibleness. We even picked some mangoes from
a tree nearby. They werent exactly edible yet :) but we snacked on
ripe mango and sugar cane later in the car.

We saw an amazing view of The city from The top of the plaza by the
French embassy. And later a neat church with a huge 24 karat gold
altar at the front. And of course the canal! We got to see a ship come
through, which included waving to all the sailors on the boat ;) it
was a Beatriz experience.

Lunch wrapped up a good tour with more good bread and food and the
world cup game. Viva España!

And now we're enjoying resting back at the hotel.

Abrazos and amor to all,
Hasta manana,
Jess, Hannah, Alex, & Caeley

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Panama City 1

Don't worry, we arrived here safely!

Our hotel is fabulous! It's definitely much nicer than anything in Boquete but it doesn't make us miss our town any less. We are looking forward to hot showers for the first time in a while. We are literally right next to possibly the biggest mall in town. The brand new 3D video screen they had said there were 260 stores, most of them we couldn't afford since they had American prices. The girls shopped a bit and Alex, well we don't really know what he did. But we all had a good time. Now we're sitting in our hotel room relaxing until it gets closer to dinner time. Then we're going to splurge on a nice restaurant since we haven't spent more than $3 on a meal in quite a while.

Also, we watched the end of the Holland v Uruguay game for all of those keeping up with the copa. We thought of our Dutch friends when Holanda came away with a win. We're still missing Boquete and all of our incredible friends there, even more since we got off the plane and it's real that we aren't there any more. Hannah says that she wants to buy one of the many little houses we saw in the town and move to Boquete and quit Carolina. I don't think Caitlyn would like that very much.

Just wanted to let you all know that we're doing well, even though we're sad and a bit tired from traveling.

Jess, Hannah, Caeley, and Alex

Saying "Hasta Luego"...

We, Caeley and I, have problems with the word "goodbye". We have considered handcuffing ourselves to our beds, superglueing our butts to the floor, taking a gap year, losing our passports, somehow injuring ourselves to get put in the hospital, anything to prevent our departure from this beautiful and majestic town.

But don't worry parents, we are at the airport right now. We figure it will be less problematic to just come home now and return for another adventure soon. We have some plans in the making and we know you all will love this place as much as we do.

Instead of saying "goodbye", we have resorted to saying "hasta luego", because WE WILL BE BACK...SOON. And in Spanish, "regresaremos pronto".

Our "hasta luego's" began bright and early this morning when we woke up to say "hasta luego" to our Papa before he left for work. He told us that we would always be in his heart <3

Since we were up early, we took the opportunity to watch the sun rise with Mama on their beautiful porch. Then we had a delicious breakfast of our favorite food that she makes: panqueis (pancakes). With a side dish of papaya, coffee, puffy and flavorful homemade bread, and apricot juice. The pancakes are amazing and unlike any we've ever had, and we now have the recipe!

Afterwards we chatted and contemplated many ways, even more then those mentioned above, about how to prevent leaving Boquete. We even tattooed our arms (with pen) to say "Boquete siempre". We realize you think we are going crazy, but apparently it's better to leave a place missing it because it means you've had a great time...or maybe we are crazy.

We decided to clear our heads with a walk down the road by our house, which turned into a walk through the fields in order to see an incredible view of the valley, complete with a running river, horses, cows, and many trees. Then it was time to say "hasta luego" to our Mama and hermana, Undina. They realized that saying it once and then pushing us out the door is the best tactic to avoid the pain and sorrow that comes with leaving.

We arrived in town and went one final time (on this trip) to our favorite grocery store, Romero, to buy some last minute snacks for the road...or sky. Then we went one final time (on this trip) to our favorite bakery, Shalom, to buy some Yucca Bread, the most mouth-watering, scrumdillyumptious bakery item you will ever eat, and it was fresh out of the oven. Later, when gave a piece to our friend Roy, he feel on the ground with awe of the taste. And Alvaro and Carlos, two other employees of Habla Ya, kept wanting more.

We always knew Boquete was a small town, where one could see friends everywhere, and we found this to be even more true when we saw Jessica and Alex running into a store together to buy some souvenirs (Jess says that she has bought too many to fit into her bag!). We hadn't planned on seeing them for another 30 minutes, but there they were!

We returned to Habla Ya, where our luggage was waiting, to say our "hasta luego's" to the staff...Roy, Swan, Alvaro, Armando, and Carlos. We managed to escape without shedding a tear. Now we are enjoying a nice Chocolate Mint Frappecino made with Panamanian coffee, while waiting for our departure.

For now, "hasta luego", and we will let you all know when we arrive to Panama City...

Love, Caeley and Hannah
(and Jess and Alex)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Suite Life of Zack and Cody...in Spanish

This one is for you, Snoodles...enjoy :)
video
Love, Hannah

Cuatro de Julio

Our new and now very good friend Eric (shout out to Eric since he now has our blog address!), left yesterday so we spent his last evening in Boquete with him on Saturday night. We got to meet his host mother who is very nice and the new "student" that will take his place in the home once he leaves. The new guy is from Indiana, speaks no Spanish, is part Jewish, hates Duke and is hilarious. I think he was glad to find four teen-aged Americans to talk to...in English!

Yesterday, Caeley and I (Hannah) hung out with our family for the majority of the day...we explored the garden, watched them make lunch, had some delicious and fresh blackberry juice, made bracelets, and made s'mores for them! Then Jess and Alex came over later and we taught them how to make bracelets and then we involved ourselves in a classic game of bananagrams.

After dinner, we all met up again, this time at Alex's house. We hung out, played more bananagrams, and scanned through the many tv channels. We found:
Toy Story in Spanish
Shrek in Spanish
Suite Life of Zack and Cody in Spanish (Sarah- I recorded some of it for you!)
Big Fish in Spanish
Monk in Spanish
and four channels dedicated to futbol
but we were not able to find any fire works!

Hope everyone had a very patriotic and fun 4th of July!
Today we plan on hanging around Boquete and Habla Ya to say goodbye to all of our new friends and family :(

Love,
Alex, Jess, Caeley, and Hannah

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Vamos a... Costa Rica




Today, we went white water rafting! It was so much fun! Our rapids were class 3+ and our guides, Jorge, Pepito, and Freddy were hysterical. Hannah was the only one who fell out though Jorge tried to pull me (Jess) in pretty early. He and the guide decided I had strong legs because they just couldn't pull me in. In reality, I had just wedged my foot under the side of the raft really well, we all did, so well that our legs fell asleep. We made some new friends too. We met a guy from Germany who was in the boat with us named Marcus. He studied Spanish in Panama City and was only in Boquete for a day before he began a really cool internship in a Panamanian hospital. After our rafting trip, we went to Costa Rica! But really, we went to Costa Rica in our bus and took pictures at the border. We bought some fruit in Costa Rica too though it tasted the same as in Panama. Unfortunately, we couldn't get our passports stamped because we didn't go far enough into the country. But we visited, another country to add to the list! Tonight is probably going to be a relaxed night since we're all pretty tired from rafting. Tomorrow, we don't have really set plans other than we want to find somewhere to celebrate July 4 with some other Americans.
Oh wait, I almost forgot, yesterday, for our last day of class, we went to David with Caeley, Alex, and my teacher Ericka and our friend Eric, who was in Hannah's class. We went shopping and drank fresh coconut milk, straight from a coconut, which was delicious.
Abrazos,
Jess, Caeley, Hannah, and Alex

Friday, July 2, 2010

Caeley working on her homework during the game...

The Holland-Brazil game, check out all the orange!

HOLLAND...WOOOOOH

We watched Holanda beat Brasil surrounded by many excited and not-so-excited (the Brasil fans) staff members and students outside Habla Ya. There was a lot of orange there!
Sorry for the quality of the video, it's more about the sound rather than the images...

video

Quick update on yesterday:
We walked around town in the morning, bought some DVD's in Spanish, drank strawberry and pineapple milkshakes, and then went out to lunch at our favorite $2/plate restaurant. We had our ice cream during class as always (Brie and Rachel) and then after dinner at our respective casas, we all went out to an event with the school.

This afternoon, we hope to go with the school to David for the weekly field trip, let's hope it doesn't rain! In a few minutes, we plan on returning to our favorite restaurant for another cheap and delicious meal...
Hasta luego!

Con mucho y mucho amor,
Jess, Alex, Caeley, and Hannah