Friday, December 14, 2007

Horse and Immigration, last week in Boquete

We just finished our last day of school at Habla Ya. For anyone considering language school it is a great place. It is relatively cheap, the teachers are fabulous (total immersion) and Boquete is a great, low key place to live for a short time (or long). The temperature is perfect here. Unlike in David, the city we flew into where we just spent the good part of two days trying to extend our tourist visas so we could stay beyond 30 days. The first day we went down after class with Carlos, the director of our school. Thank god, because we needed to have proof of a flight out of Panama and a bank statement showing we had more than $1,000 or actually have $1,000. They looked at our statement and didnt want to accept it because it wasnt from Panama! As if people on a 30 day tourist visa would have a panamanian account. We had heard of people who had taken 6 hrs to get it done (and they had 4 little kids!) Carlos squared away this and other problems and we thought we had breezed through the whole process easily when they came out and said the person who had to sign them had just left for the day!! Our kids were amazingly patient it the hot cramped little office and we hated to do it again but we had to! We left town at 7:15 this morning to try to be the first ones there - we were second, and got the process completed with another hour of forms and waiting. Could have been worse! We went with the other fellow from our class who is Swedish. It was his second attempt (the first was too early?!) and they sent him away saying he didnt need one after many phone calls to Panama City. He called his consul who then called him back after we were almost in boquete saying he DID need another so he has to go again next week just to leave the country!!
On Tuesday the kids needed a diversion so we splurged on a horse back riding trip in Caldera, a village slighly below boquete. Cassidy rode with me and toby on his own horse but led by the guide. The kids liked it but only lasted for an hour - it was pretty hot. Cassidy and my horse was 14 yrs old and decided at the top that he wouldnt walk down! So eventually the guide had to lead us to. very embarrassing!! Toby told us he pretended he was Almanzo from "Farmer Boy" riding across the prarie while he was riding.
Hard to believe it is almost Christmas. I try again to climb the Volcano tomorrow (hoping for no more rain!) and then Sunday we head to a jungle hostel between here and the Carribean for the night then over to Bocas del Toro (Islan Colon) to meet up with Grandpa Bill for a tropical Christmas.
Love to all!!
Shannon and fam

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