Around Boquete

Published: March 10th 2012
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In the afternoon of our last day in Boquete we took a drive through the mountains around Boquete. There is some pretty scenery, and some interesting sights.

I think the thing that strikes me the most is the difference between how the indigenous people live compared to the other middle class panamanians or the ex-pats. The indigenous people here live very simply - and their living conditions are often what we would think of as terrible. But we see them out every day like everyone else, putting their kids on the bus to school, or walking to work or to the market. Many of them have garden plots for themselves. They don't seem unhappy, for the most part you dont see them begging or publicly drunk. But their houses are something to see. Some live in small simple concrete block houses. Some in corrugated tin shacks. Some keep their yards nice and clean, and others have garbage and old cars and whatever else in their yards. Some of the little kids wave as we drive by, others run towards the car yelling and gesturing like little mini gasta rappers. Neighborhoods are mixed, with big fancy houses right next to small shacks.

Lots of people keep cattle or chickens. Many will sell things on the roadside.

The worst part of Panama (and Costa Rica was the same) is the narrow roads with no shoulders, lack of traffic lights or stop signs, lack of any kind of signage to tell you where you are, lack of lines on the roads, and the crazy crazy drivers. Add this to the fact that the mountain roads curve and twist around, and go up and down, and you are in for a stressful driving experience. Luckily we had no accidents. While it was nice to have to freedom to have a car and go where we wanted, I would not rent a car in Central America ever again.

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