Today we awoke to a bright sunny perfect day here in El Valle. There was quite a wind storm last night and one of the metal roof panels got pretty noisy during the night, rattling with the breezes but by morning we still had a roof and everything was back to normal; that being perfect!
We went to Artash for breakfast and an Internet connection again and got talking to Natasha. She is a pretty Russian born Canadian girl who is now living in Panama and has an interest in Thai yoga! She speaks several languages. Sounds a little united nations like to me but she has a studio out back of the restaurant where she practices her yoga and even leads an occasional class or two. She gave me a short tour and posed for a few shots of her in a couple of yoga positions. She has striking big blue eyes and a huge smile! Here in Panama you find people from all over the world.
Later in the morning we decided to check out the local hot springs. It is located in a small public park down by the river and is a popular spot both for tourists and locals. You park at the end of the road and run a gauntlet of small boys all offering to watch you car for you. I think it is the only English they know and they all have huge friendly smiles. It’s not really about security but more about trying to separate a few coins from the wallets of the patrons. After paying the $2.50 entrance fee you walk across a small bridge that spans a lazy small river and leads to an area containing covered picnic tables, change rooms, a massage room, showers, and a number of concrete pools of varying sizes. The place is well used but neat and well-kept. There is no trash around. The bathrooms were immaculate and cleaned after each use. I was surprised at the number of people around wearing the official purple park golf shirt signifying they were staff. They are there to direct the public in the use of the facility. There is a mud bath that seemed to be pretty popular. I got a couple of shots of people with mud covered faces looking a lot like the fierce natives of the backwater jungles in the past must have once looked except they wouldn’t have been wearing the designer bathing suits sported by todays users. The sign said the temperature of the pools was 38C, which is not really hot but just kind of warm. I didn’t do the mud facial, even thought somebody I am travelling with told me I needed it but I did try the pool which was a comfortable temperature for a warm day. After being in the hot pool for about 30 minutes, the shower, when you get out of the pool was very cold!
I told you the other day that I would try to show you some of the elaborate estates around here so on the way back to the hotel we stopped a couple of times for some pictures. Girls, if you are looking for sugar daddies, it seems that this might be a promising place to start. What do you think?
When we got back to the hotel we met a new couple that had just arrived from California so we joined up with them and our friend Octav for dinner. Tonight we chose Brochette’s Restaurant on the main drag right across the street from the library. It is the restaurant that is part of the Anton Valley Hotel. As their name implies, they specialize in brochette, five different kinds and they are all scrumptious and loaded with garlic. We ordered main courses as well and enjoyed a leisurely meal of excellent food and good companionship. Dinner for two, including drinks, appetizer, main courses and coffee $26. We have eaten here before and they consistently produce good food to an often full house. Don’t miss this place for at least one meal.
El Valle is actively working on some things to improve their community. One such thing is to try to get the large population of dogs under control. There is now a local ordinance where owners of dogs not tied up are subject to fines. Tomorrow about 50 veterinarians will arrive for the day to spay as many female dogs as owners will bring to the free clinic. The population here is quite progressive in tidying up some of the annoying problems that seem to get ignored in many other places. Impressive!