Second First Impressions, Back to Boquete

7 am

Volcan Baru looms over Boquete

7 AM, 9.5.2016

We arrived back in Boquete, Chiriqui Province, Panama September 4th after a long, yet amazingly simple transit from Ohio. The welcome we felt from new friends was matched by the grandeur of Volcan Baru the following morning. At 11,400 feet/3,475 meters, Baru is the highest point in Panama, and the only place in the western hemisphere from which both great bodies of water, Caribbean Sea & Pacific Ocean can be seen at the same time. To us, the mountain seems to be saying, Bienvenidos a Boquete. It’s good to be here, and our second first impressions are just that, feelings of comfort, welcome and coming home. It’s too early to make (or share) durable impressions of a place after just forty-eight hours. But we lived in Boquete for several weeks this past Spring, so our second first impressions are somewhat relevant.

We’d been told to run errands in the morning, as the rains roll in by noon or so, and it’s true. The next photo is Baru cloaked in clouds and rain by 3 PM.

3 pm

Same scene; hours later

We’ve been humbled & gratified by our welcome from the community here, not just expats, but Panamanians as well. Everyone we’ve run into seems genuinely glad to see us. That stems partly, we believe, from camaraderie among the expat group, the sense that we share in the adventure of transposing our lives to an exotic, foreign land & culture. Part of the embrace seems to arise from a feeling of shared values, the willingness to let go of whatever restrictions and ties that lashed us to obligations elsewhere. This is, admittedly, a bit selfish; yet one of the feelings we received on leaving the familiarity of our past lives was envy: a sense from people who wished they could go along, if only…

Halfway across Panama: Next stop, David!

As for personal second first impressions, we feel the tension between our need to get things done–visa secured, vehicle found, residence located, utilities addressed etc.–and the urge to immerse ourselves in the pervasive relaxation mode that surrounds us. The advice to get things accomplished before noon is sound; after that, the siesta season arrives, and until after 2 PM not much gets done.

Something else our grand adventure offers is an opportunity to reinvent ourselves. This activity is the essence of  American aspiration, and evidence of that endeavor can be found everywhere. If Iowa born Marion Michael Morrison can turn himself into Hollywood’s John Wayne, Cheryl Sarkisian can brand herself as Cher, Bernard Schwartz can end up on movie marquees as Tony Curtis & Prince can reinvent himself as a twisty, complicated symbol that won’t fit on a vanity plate, then we can move to Panama and start over…again. It’s a liberating thought. Not that we need to do this; the FBI/CIA/NSA/TSA have no interest in the likes of us. We know this because we had to prove it. We’re not in the witness protection program, having never witnessed any type of awkward event that might cause us to need protection. But we do know the value of beginning anew, and the refreshing chance it offers. Like a rough gem that needs clarifying, or a rare wine that improves with age, we’ve had the chance to get better and thus more refined, and lord knows we’ve needed it, at least I have. We can (and will) offer our new colleagues in adventure the very best of ourselves, and show them what and who we truly are. Not many people have a chance to escape the often suffocating assumptions and beliefs of others, and it shouldn’t require a move of several thousand miles to accomplish this, but it might, and it does.

Baru 2

Baru has many moods: 6 PM 9.5.16

From COPA Flight 17: 1-Volcan Baru in the distance; 2-landing at David (Da-Veed), and 3-Boquete on the horizon. 

More second first impressions of our new home in Panama will arrive over time. For now, we’re happy to be back in Panama, and looking forward to building on all we’ve seen, heard and discovered. Our intention is to live here for a very long time, likely many years. That may or may not be the end result. There are the ever present exigencies of family emergency, our own health considerations and other prospects too numerous to know or predict. For now, our second first impression of Boquete is that it’s home, and here we’ll stay. More later, enjoy the photos and thanks for reading.

13 thoughts on “Second First Impressions, Back to Boquete

  1. Hey Byron,
    thanks for sharing your ad-venture and your second-first impressions. I know how that feels, as I have relocated my life a little more than 17 years ago from Germany to Oregon. Leaving almost everything behind and taking little with me was a hard decision and it was worth doing. We never stop learning and complacency, or not challenging oneself is stagnation and natures second law is: things that don’t grow die. This is very important especially for the brain, which is why there are so many “zombies” around, that are on total autopilot and every Monday is just about the same as the last 100 Mondays. I am pretty confident that you will be getting busy with new interests and activities, learning new things and enjoying the moments to live them fully with no scheduled agenda. I am looking forward to your further musings and shared experiences. My regards to your beautiful Mariah.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ME BE in Panama

      Good to hear from you, and I agree totally, we must keep moving forward. The disruption and chaos Mariah and I have experienced over the past several weeks and months is well worth the potential learning available to us. Nothing expands our horizons & perspective like immersion in another culture/language/geography. Congrats on your own life-alteration, and thanks again for reading the blog.



  2. Kelly Wieland

    Thank you for your wonderful update. Your new home looks like a lovely place. Rob and I wish you and Mariah all the best and look forward to your upcoming blogs.
    Best Always,
    Kelly and Rob

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ME BE in Panama

      Thanks, Kelly, we appreciate you taking the time to read about our trek. You’re right, Panama is a gorgeous place, with friendly folks, laid back life and much to keep our interest. We’ll be posting more often now that we’re here and (mostly) settled.
      Thanks again for reading.



  3. Question? We are also moving to Panama, but David. The question is how did you come upon the idea of using a “taxi Luis” to get your bags from PTY to where you are located (Boquete)?
    We will be there by Nov 29 and we identify with much of your writing. It is scary and exciting and we can hardly wait. A little over 60 days and I spend my days “moving paper & stuff” around alot. Some stuff has even made it into a suitcase already. Like i say we are ready. Write more, we really enjoyed your writing & your assault ideas. I do agree, we had better be very good friends before we leave Florida, or else. Maybe we will meet up one day soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ME BE in Panama

      Carol: I very much appreciate you reading our blog, and we’re very excited for you to make the leap. As for Taxi Luis, I don’t know if our experience was typical, but we had zero problems getting our bags from PTY to Boquete. When we filed out of customs at Tocumen (with five big bags) a fellow named Richard met us with his sign and our name on it. He directed us to his vehicle, insisted on loading all our bags and assured us they’d be in Boquete in 2 days. He even drove us to our hotel, the Riande, close to Tocumen. We stayed one night there because our flight to David was early the next morning. We’d arrived at Tocumen at 8 pm Sunday, and by 8:45 we were in the room at the Riande!
      Our bags arrived on Tuesday in Boquete, just an hour later than promised, and all was in order. As for costs, Richard charged us $40.00 to meet us and get the bags headed to Boquete. The charge for all five pieces on pickup in Boquete was a total of $20.00. Below is an e-mail for Taxi Luis if you need one, and a few other blogs that you might enjoy and benefit from. Mariah and I are real amateurs at this, but we learn something new every day. Thanks again for reading about our trek. Let’s do get together on your arrival and share stories etc.
      Best regards:

      By Edgington
      John & Susan Pazera:
      Kris & Joel Cunningham:

      Buena suerte!


  4. Went to check up about Mail Boxes Etc, they referred me to MBE in Miami but didn’t know which one or costs, etc. Can you help with that? I think somewhere you have mentioned that you go through MBE for your mail and ordering. Please enlighten me if you can. Several blogs have mentioned MBE as a mail forwarder. I know there is an MBE in David.


    1. ME BE in Panama

      Carol, sorry it took so long to get back to you. Yes, we are signed up for a Miami address that ships to MBE in Boquete. (link below). We don’t know how well it works yet, as we’ve not had anything shipped there, but when we do I’ll let you know. The one thing we noticed is that they default to air shipping, rather than surface, so if you have something heavy and/or fragile etc, you may want to indicate surface travel, even though it would take longer. I signed up with MBE and got the Miami address right away. There’s an outlet right here in Boquete. You’ll indicate that on sign up as I recall. MBE is supposed to notify us (by e-mail) when a package arrives, though, as I say, we’ve not used the service yet. Hope that helps.


  5. Welcome home – wherever it may be and for however long you want to make it! Friends often ask us it we’ll stay in Portugal “forever” and our feeling is, we’ll stay there as long as it’s right. Once you make the first leap (s) towards change, redefining and reinventing yourselves, it seems to open up a multitude of other possibilities just waiting to be explored. My feeling is that you’ll have an awesome time (like we have) finding new sides to yourselves, discovering new interests and continuing to make new friends. Looking forward to your future posts and … Let the adventure begin! Anita

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ME BE in Panama

    Good advice, as always, and timely as well. We’ve already had folks ask how long we think we’ll stay in Panama. Not sure what to tell them, since we don’t know ourselves. Forever is a long time, and as you say, each leap off a cliff opens up numerous possibilities, so…

    Thanks for reading!


    Liked by 1 person

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