This morning Paul drove out to Playa Blanca around nine this morning to pick up the Miller family and drive us out to El Valle about forty to fifty minutes away to the north. It was closer to ten when we finally made our way out of Playa Blanca and the drive up to El Valle took nearly an hour.
The mountain drive was beautiful but was way too much of a winding trip for Dominica and the girls, even with their motion sickness medication. We had to stop at an overlook along the way to get a minute outside of the car. This has already ruled out El Valle as a long term location for us, we just would not be able to handle the driving in and out on a regular basis.
This was our first time off of the PanAmerican highway to get to really see Panamá and what real life is like as opposed to the highway businesses and the resort setups. It was far more interesting than where we are living this month.
We got to Bob’s mother in law’s place and we were there for probably only about half an hour before we all set out for a walk across town to go out for lunch at an Italian place. Bob truly underestimated the distance that was involved as it was probably a mile or more in the heat. There was pretty much no shade the entire way.
About halfway there Bob was in rough shape and sent Paul back to get a car to come back for us. It was just too far to walk. So Paul headed back and Bob, Dominica and I continued on with the kids. We did not go very far before I missed the sidewalk just a little bit and the sandal on my right foot did not hold well enough and the pressure of me slipping cause the sandal to spin on my foot and down I went.
Bob said that I can down so hard on the pavement that I bounced a little. My left knee or very high shin hit quite hard but mostly I caught myself with my hands. Nothing tragic but I hit hard enough that there was quite a scrape and a bit of blood going on.
We walked on a little ways and found a shady spot to sit and wait for Paul to arrive with the car. It was a good thing that we had waited for him, it turned out to be rather a long ways yet to go at that point to get to the restaurant, DaVinci’s, which was way out to the east of town by the Rey’s grocery store.
Lunch turned out to be really amazing. It was a very fancy Italian bistro with an extremely high end menu. I got a smoked salmon in vodka sauce pasta dish which was amazing. Both girls tried it to and they really liked it as well. They would have eaten my entire meal had I let them. Liesl got a really awesome mushroom soup but she declined to eat it. Everything was awesome there.
We drove partway back and stopped at a little ice cream place halfway back so that the girls could get ice cream. Bob and I both got rum & raisin ice cream. Dominica actually got a grape nut ice cream which was really odd, but pretty good. Luciana got strawberry, of course. Liesl got vanilla with sprinkles.
We went back to the house and spent the afternoon there. Such a peaceful location. We got a lot done. Before dinner Paul and I took a walk through the area north of the house which was neat to get to see the backroads and what was out there.
Dinner was amazing. A Panamanian fish in a cream sauce. So good.
Dominica and Bob both went to bed early. Paul and I went out to explore down and find a bar. We started first going to a hostel on the east side of town and ended up going out with four of the people who were staying there.
We just went to the Balboa bar right across the street. This was my first time in a Central American bar but it was pretty much exactly as I had imagined it. Big, dark and mostly empty. Nothing like what you would find in the US. It was basically a converted barn.
We had a really good time, bought a few rounds for the house and got a party started. We didn’t stay late, maybe ten thirty at the latest. Sampled some local beer like Balboa and Atlas.
We went back to the house where Bob was awake. We had a few more beers there and were up probably until about one in the morning.
Luciana got into a lot of trouble tonight. Dominica had fallen asleep around eight thirty, which is surprisingly easy to do in a place that gets dark around seven, and at some point after she was asleep Luciana attempted to sneak a box of cereal in the dark and spilled it all over.
We slept in a cottage near the main house. No air conditioning but the evening air was not too bad here in the valley.