Boquete, Panama; Day 2

Today was mostly about getting organized for our multi-week stay in Boquete. We started the morning off with breakfast at our new favorite Va&Ven. Unfortunately they didn’t have any breakfast sandwiches so instead we had empanadas again. They’re better for dinner, but at least we got a little fuel to get our day going.

After breakfast we split up. Tiffany and the kids headed back to the house but Brian (ad)ventured up the road to the bus stop. He was headed to David – the biggest city in western Panama and the pick up location for our rental car for the next few weeks.

This town is only about 20km away from our rental house and is mostly downhill but a walk isn’t feasible so Brian caught a bus and rode into town like a local.

The bus terminated at the center of town and he chose to hail a taxi from there to the airport which is on the outskirts of David. All told, he spent about $5 and 60 minutes to get the rental car which we will keep for almost a month.

Once we had a car, we could finally check out the town we’d come to see. It’s about 15 minutes uphill from our house to Boquete and in the drive, you enter the foothills of the Volcán barú – an active volcano that is the tallest mountain in Panama. We’ll share more on the town as we explore in future days but today we had two objectives – lunch and get supplies.

As we’ve shared before, we know we can’t eat all our meals from restaurants for a year. It’s too expensive and it’s usually less healthy than home cooking. So most of the time, we try to find a place with a kitchen.

For anyone who has stayed in AirBnBs or VRBOs or the like, you know the kitchen can be a gamble. Sometimes you get a great kitchen that is well stocked and has all of the equipment you need and other times…well…you don’t. Admittedly, we are snobs, both Brian and Tiffany cook and have spent 25 years gathering the kitchen gear that we like best.

Most of what we buy for an AirBnB is edible, but we are not afraid to augment the kitchen if it’ll make it more convenient to eat meals at home. In Liberia, we bought a large frying pan for $10 and it’s been the best pan not only at that house but also at the Coco beach condo, the La Fortuna house, the Puerto Viejo house and again here in Boquete (yes, Tiffany carried it over the border stuffed in the beach bag).

Today, we broke down and bought a $20 coffee maker. Three weeks without coffee or trying to make it on the stove was not worth it and the Va&Ven charges $1.25 for a tiny cup. Although we’ll continue to carry the pan on to our next location, the coffee maker will likely become a donation to the house.

The other thing we’ve been carrying around are spices and a packet of brown sugar that never seems to dip below half full. Add that to the container of Trader Joe’s stevia that left San Clemente with us and we’ve got a nice stash ready to turn some basic ingredients into a meal.

Today those basic ingredients came from two places. The produce market and the supermarket. Tiffany was extremely excited about the produce market saying it reminded her a little of the West Side Market when she lived in Cleveland. It was a bunch of little cubbyholes with local growers selling their produce. Much better quality and cheaper than the supermarket. We’ll definitely be going back there.

After that was the supermarket. Boquete definitely has more of the brands and the options that we might find in the US than we saw in Costa Rica. Things like bagels and grape jelly which we haven’t seen for sale in weeks.

After all that shopping there was no way we were eating our 13th restaurant meal in a row. We had homemade stuffed peppers instead which were extra yummy.

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