TAAL VOLCANO Day Tour with kids

Taal Volcano which is in Talisay, Batangas is visible from Tagaytay that is few minutes away from my town. We always take this route going to Mendez or up north. Unless we want to avoid the traffic and take the Indang road. But I have never been there so it was a good opportunity to take the girls and their little cousins for a little day tour.

IMPORTANT THINGS I HAVE LEARNED

1.Only six people are allowed in the boat. We ended up taking two boats.

2.Negotiate the price. Though every operator have fixed their price we were able to lower down the cost of our 2 boats.

Once in the Tourist Reception Center, students who have their IDs do not need to pay the fee. Only one of my nieces has her number memorized.

3.Bring a towel and some extra clothes. There might be some strong waves and though they provide a tarp to keep you dry it would not be the case all time. I was worried for the children but immediately lighten up because getting wet became part of the adventure and we had fun. Just leave your stuff in the car.

Once you get back to your car after the tour and you’re soaking wet, you’ll be thankful to have some dry clothes going back home. Specially, when you and your family decided to eat in Jollibee.

4. Good walking shoes. It would get dusty and slippery at times, so to avoid slipping and falling down you need one.

5. Hike. There were horses for rent but it was more interesting to walk and enjoy the view. The girls ran,sang and chided each other all the way to the top. There might be few occasions of frustrations of not being able to ride a horse. But seeing its state with the guide and the client riding together (most of the time), I was glad we just hiked, besides during some stops we were able to chat with some tourists.

It was a lovely, sunny day.

contemplating the view

6. Bring your own water/drinks. Because the cost of everything usually tripled and when you have 5 children with you, wow, that would hurt the budget.

Though some slid and ended on their bottom, we came down safe and sound. It was a fun a day which culminated of course in Jolibee, where else?

And we’re HOME!

DECEMBER 2018

We arrived on the 20th of December in Manila from Bangkok and were excited to see my brother, Rolan, cousin, Pogi and some of my daughters’ cousins at the airport to welcome us. It felt great to be back in my home country.

our family

We have spent Christmas with the whole family and met most of our relatives during this festive time.

My sister-in-law,Zem who was supposed to spend Christmas with us, went back to Bangkok after spending a night with us due to her boyfriend’s accident.

JANUARY 2019

Instead of partying with a friend and her family, we opted staying in our town to spend the New Year with our family. My parents were happy that we were all together.

My friend, Fibs came home as well and we went to Puerto Galera without the girls.

The girls started their schooling after New Year. They both didn’t like putting on their uniform. But rule is rule and without exception. I usually woke up before 5h and prepare their pack lunch. They were up at 6h and should be on their way to school by 6h45 with their pack lunch and P20 allowance.(After a few days, my cousin, kuya Kawe told me that I should give them P30 more 😉 Then, they discovered the school canteen and everything in their”no canteen & no school allowance lives” suddenly changed.

They sometimes came home with their untouched rice and half-eaten salad. It seemed that french-fries and bbq in the school canteen tasted better. But the positive thing about all this was Karen dared to buy her food on her own.

Their days would vary from missing friends back home to settling well in their new school, then chagrin once again. But there’s family and relatives who showed them love. Making them feel at home and welcome.

Carlo on on the other hand went to Romblon on his own. He prefers this town to Boracay. He appreciated the former and loves its beaches.

While home in Cavite, I have stopped using the social media even writing. I did backyard veggie garden and take advantage of the time to be with my family.

We also went for a DAY TOUR of TAAL VOLCANO with KIDS.

It was also at this month that Marie and Zach came and stayed with us for a few days.

FEBRUARY 2019

I would organize after school meet-up with some of their cousins and did some fun activities with all of them. The goal was to lessen the Ipad use of everyone.

I visited this garden created by my sis-in-law and other parents. They used a vacant lot near the school and planted veggies using recycled materials. Apparently, this lot will be converted into new rooms in the future.

NO SMOKING

In most municipalities in Cavite, smoking ban is being upheld in public places. And one day, after exiting SM in Trece, Carlo lighted a cigerette and soon enough 3 persons with matching shirts approached him. “NO SMOKING, here, sir. Pls. follow us.” The situation irritated me, there we were ready to take a jeep to go home and suddenly… Anyway, we went with them along with my 2 nieces and our daughters.

Then their team leader came and talked to Carlo. Explained the ban and my husband resolved not to pay the fine but instead did the community service. The team leader,on the other hand, decided to give my husband a lesser time of service finding him more pleasant than the other foreigners caught smoking.

After my Mama’s birthday, we went out of town for the week-end and stayed in Quezon City. I soon realized that we were just in front of the ABS-CBN and some meters away from Bahay ni Kuya.

Karen and I did an AirBnb experience with teacher Roxy. Then we saw one of our Swiss favorite personalities in this shop. Saw a cousin by chance in a restaurant and met, George, the husband of Carlo’s friend, Sophie.

Raised bed by February

MARCH 2019

art by the church

And with my family’s help, I had a garage sale near the church. It was also an occasion to be with some relatives for a day. We set up our tent and a table where kids and kids at heart can paint, draw or just sit. This day was made possible by my family.

After the girls schooling, I took my nephews and nieces for a road trip to Banaue to see the rice terraces. Then a day tour in Batad and later on headed to Baguio.

PASSING BY BAGUIO

Afterwards, we went to travel at some parts of the country. We have met Carlo’s friend and new people along the way. I will soon post about it here.

APRIL 2019

A day before our departure, we celebrated my father’s 69th birthday. Then, it was time to go. I cried buckets, really sad that our vacation was over.


It was a great 3 month vacation. Seeing everyone in my hometown. Talking to my family and relatives, laughing and crying with them. It felt good to just sit down and catch up.
We didn’t take any souvenirs with us this time given that we still have 2 months before going back to Geneva but those times spent with everyone was enough as our souvenirs.

We are really lucky to have all of you in our lives, dear family and relatives. Thank you for your generosity & time spent with us.

Cambodia

03.12.2018 From Bangkok, we took the bus for Cambodia and our tickets were purchased the night before. We have decided to do the visa procedure ourselves instead of paying an additional fee. We were told to wait by 8h in front of the travel agency and someone would take us to the bus but it was almost 9h before someone showed up.

It should be easy in the border, so I thought. Using my Philippine passport, I was not to pay anything. But the officer asked for my date of entry which was of course posted in my CH passport. To make the long story short, I went back to pay for my visa using the CH passport. I apologized to the other passengers for waiting and they were all understanding.

We made few stops before reaching our destination and in one of those stops we were told to buy first before using the toilet. No, we didn’t need the sim card, yes, some water please. 😉

SIEM REAP

We arrived in Siem Reap early evening. At the station, tuk tuk drivers were waiting for the passengers to be taken to the center. We have negotiated for two tuk tuks to take us to our guesthouse. We stayed in Thngay Soben Guesthouse , a family run guesthouse, where the owner organized our rides and most of our tours.

WHERE TO GO

Art Box:

Good for children. Not for husbands. 🙂 We haven’t been to any 3d paintings and murals so it was a good occasion to visit this museum. We came early and luckily we were able to avoid the other tourists who came in buses. The tour took us less than an hour and at the end of the visit one can get free ice cream once a Trip advisor comment was done.

Sunset in Angkot Wat: After purchasing our pass for the next day tour, we went to Angkor Wat as people were exiting the temple.

Meet Up:

We have met some people in Siem Reap thru this Facebook group, some with children who were also traveling for a year and we were able to do things together on the duration of our stay in town.

Temple tour: With our hired tuk tuk, we left our guesthouse around 8h and started the tour from the last temple, we were hoping to avoid the influx of visitors. But that could not happen here. On to our 2nd temple, we have crossed path with fellow Asians who arrived in buses. However, it didn’t really matter. We entered the temple in awe and wonder while music floated on the air. For me, visiting the temples was about one’s communion with the sacred place, the nature and one’s inner peace.

We skipped some of the temples, thinking that we have seen those we wanted to visit.

Dine for a cause
On our second night, we had dinner with two french families at a french restaurant called Chili Pepper where students of Krousar Thmey performed.

Floating village tour We were picked up from our guesthouse then the driver continued picking up some more guests. Arriving in our destination, we were then driven to another area coz the first one did not have enough water. It was exciting at first, sailing by the houses painted with vibrant colors but as we reached the dry land, we were greeted by hawkers. And I wonder why do they sell pens and notebooks. Then as we moved along with our guide, showing us a small class underneath the houses, I understood then. But it felt uneasy walking in the area. I felt like an intruder. There was no interaction with the locals or any leader of the community.

We didn’t join the others in the mangrove visit. Instead, we stayed in the boat while waiting for the rest of the group to arrive and then watched the sunset.

BATTAMBANG

From Siem Reap, we have shared a ride with les Macax in their camper van. We stayed in Por Chey for 3 nights .

Phare Ponleu Selpak – The one not to miss here. There are performances every night and we were able to watch the “Village Market”.

We arrived early and had some drinks. There were some students who could create a caricature for anyone who were interested. My girls, of course had a tour of their souvenir shop.

Battambang bat cave A 45 min spectacle. The street was lined with tables and chair ready for the spectators. A girl pointed us an empty table when we arrived. She later told us that she was glad to be able to practice her english. We had some drinks while watching the bats went out of the cave and flew together.

Night market

We had a quick stop here after watching the circus and tasted some balut with the local sauce.

FOOD TRIP

Aside from eating at the Battambang Town restaurant with the whole family, I went to Jaan Bai with my daughters,
one afternoon while husband was resting. It was really good though a bit expensive.

Bamboo train We we’re driven to the station by Rith who was a nice fellow and explained us a bit about the bamboo train.

That afternoon we experienced riding the norry. It was an hour to and fro ride where one cruise along a green scenery. When another norry came in our direction, we stopped and our driver would lift the whole thing at the side of the track with the help of the other norry driver. And of course at the end of the trip, there were souvenir shops. My husband purchased a krama. I guess, no knitting this winter for me.

PHNOM PENH

Independence Monument

We hired a taxi for our trip to Phnom Penh. The staff of our guest house has given me a post-it where he wrote the english and khmer translation of toilet, stop and restaurant. The driver, incidentally, has already filled his trunk with some merchandise to be taken to the city. Luckily, we were able to fit our luggage inside.


Booking.com fiasco– arriving in our guesthouse, we found out that though we received Booking.com‘s confirmation, it was not the case for the owner. So we didn’t have any room. They found us a room for the night and then we came back to stay one more night with them.

What to do:

Musée du Genocide de Tuol Sleng A visit not to miss.

We were both moved by this. I would sometimes go out and just cry. How about the girls? I would ask if they would like to go on or tell them the the images would be shocking and there were some rooms where we didn’t let them visit. When we finished the visit, both of them had a fervent hope that this would not occur anymore.

Food trip in images

Miss Universe 2018

To celebrate Ms. Catriona‘s winning, we went out to eat at this restaurant with wall covered with clients’ drawings. My daughter, Karen, did the one above.

We were at VS Sweet Home,
(our guesthouse, a bit far from the center but our host went his way to make our stay comfortable) when the telecast for Miss Universe was going on.

then it was time to go…

So long, Cambodia!

From Phnom Penh, we took a plane for Bangkok where we’d stay for a night then fly to Manila with my sister-in-law, Zem. Really excited to finally see our relatives.

No *soucis! Only sushi, please!

Tokyo

Japan has always fascinated us. Admiring its culture, food and scenery from afar. That’s why we were thrilled to visit Tokyo and eat tons of sushi (as Erin planned).

While in New Zealand, I have reached out to a Facebook group concerning Japan and realized that it was too late to follow most of the tips given. I was worried.

No, this Nanay was not Japan ready.


We arrived in Tokyo on the first day of November and stayed for three days in Tokyo 2020 hostel.  Our room has a bunk bed for our daughters and a tatami for the adults. There are common bathrooms in every floor and a kitchen downstairs.Laundry service is also available. My husband and I hanged our clothes at the rooftop, all the while enjoying the view. 

During our stay, I would take our two luggage outside our room in the morning as we get ready for our day trip. We were not spoiled with room space here in Tokyo. However, our host,Tom and Kimiko, were very helpful and accommodating. Moreover,we have met  fellow Pinoys in the hostel, making me feel closer to my home country everyday.

We did not purchase JR pass or bought the IC card. No pocket wifi neither. What we did was purchase our tickets every time we’d use the public transportation. With regards to directions, I googled our itinerary  and screened shot everything and use our hostel’s wifi connection. I had some difficulty with Maps.me, so I gave it up entirely.

Of course, we would get lost or even perhaps looked helpless at times,but what fascinated me was- there would always be someone who would offer an unsolicited help EVERY TIME. If and when we were lost, this was a privileged time for me to unlearn my being introvert.


 
While searching for this tower, we chanced upon this bookstore. Do not forget to bring your passport to avail of the VAT.

Sushi course

I was keen for the girls to experience Japan. Knowing our youngest loves sushi, I booked us an Airbnb experience on our 2nd day. I have proposed several activities to Ate K. but she declined. There was no Mangga drawing course.

That night, my heart was bursting with joy as my daughter, Erin and I walked back to the hostel. She was cheerful and appreciative of our experience. For her, Nanay is the best.

Then we got lost. Yet there were  kind hearted souls to help us and language barrier was not a hindrance for them.


In our 2nd day, we took the girls to Legoland and bought a combined tickets for that and Madame Tussauds. At the end of the tour, we all agreed that the Discovery Center was not for their age bracket anymore.

However, we all enjoyed Madame Tussauds. No doubt about that even if Hugh Grant was not there. Anyway, I  found  Victoria B. but some tired dads were sitting next to her while their kids were strutting on the floor, so I just admired her composed figure from afar and promised to see her soon.

After sitting with President Obama and rocking with Madonna, we went back to Shibuya, eager to find this sushi train TripAdvisor has recommended. We found it but not without difficulty, blame it to my map expertise. Anyway, arriving on the 8th floor, the queue was so long. We waited for Carlo to finish his cigarette (yes, smoking room on that floor!) and decided that we would not wait anymore. We went to another resto nearby, disappointed.

After crossing Shibuya for the 2nd time, we went to get our books from the Kinokuniya bookstore. Then took the train at the Shinjuku station.

Nagoya

After 3 days, we took the Shikansen for Nagoya. I have booked our accommodation thru Airbnb.

We also planned to meet my college friend,Myra. We became friends during our freshman year along with 5 other girls.

She came bearing gifts of matcha tea, noris, a casserole pan and other Japanese goodies. Well, the pan..we bought some rice and I asked her if she could lend us one from her home.

It was an emotional reunion. The night was not enough for both of us,there were so many stories to be shared and reminisced. So the following night we had drinks and I spent the night with her and her family. She also joined us in our mini exploration of the city.

During our last night in Nagoya, she treated us for our long awaited sushi train dinner.

The next day, our tribe had a quick afternoon visit to the Atsuta Jingu shrine.

After Nagoya, we went back to Tokyo. We have booked at the Relief Premium hotel for the night.

In Keikyū Kamata Station, we discovered Ota City Tourist Center while trying to figure out how to go to our hotel.


The friendly staff, pointed us to the right direction and offered some activities.  A few minutes after settling in our hotel,we went back to the tourist office and the four of us immersed ourselves in folding, cutting and sticking beautiful Japanese papers.

I could stay all afternoon in that center, creating anything.  But after making our origami, Japanese fans and playing the chopstick game (Karen and I won), we went to explore the neighborhood and Daiso. Then walked back to our hotel,pleased with our day &  mesmerized by the night lights.

Love and drama

Everything enthralled us, from the vending machines to 7-11, from our hostel’s  luggage lift to the bathroom. We are in awe!

However,the day would sometimes not go as planned. There would be kids’ drama and helplessness for us, parents. We’d extend our vocal chords then  practiced patience all over again. Yes, we are constantly learning  with our children.

Giving them more love.   Remembering  that a few days back we were told that we were the best parents in this whole wide world . 😉  No voice records for that but they said it anyway  and that’s enough for us. 💖

The following day at 6h in the  morning, we were on our way to the airport. Next destination: Hanoi, Vietnam.

*worries

In the land of parilla and chimichurri

Jujuy to Salta

Everyone was getting off the bus, while someone was shouting Jujuy! So, we went down as well. The drivers knew we were going to Salta but did not take us to the new bus terminal.  I asked a man for direction but he said that the terminal was 1 km  and he indicated a bus which would take us to the Nuevo terminal. And yes, we were glad to take the bus.

We took the Salta bound bus at 15h30 and arrived after 2.5 hours. We had sandwiches while we waited for the departure.

I was amazed by the Nuevo terminal and its buses. A far cry from the buses, we used to take when I was a small girl.

13.10.2018 We have booked two nights in a hostel called Gaucho Backpacker Inn. There’s a kitchen and shared CR and bathrooms.

It was a bit difficult find a money exchange being Saturday. Most ATMs charge fee which would make one cringe in disbelief. We also forget that from 12h30 up to 16h or even 17h the shops are closed.

We found a restaurant called La Fogata. We were famished and so ate almost all the bread served to us before the main course. This was a big mistake. 😉 given the  hefty portion of the parillada for 2 that we shared. Good service, by the way. The lady even served a small portion of fries for the girls.

14.10.2018  7 am We had a long night. Our neighbor partied from 23h last night and the music is still on. It felt like I partied the night away minus the apéro.

Before midday, we returned to the center and  visited the museum near the plaza 9 de Julio. We were not able to visit the one in Arequipa so this time I have insisted on going.  It was an interesting one but left me feeling uneasy and disturbed.

Our bus for Corrientes was at 17h. During one of the check points around 22h, IDs were checked and some passengers were asked to open their suitcases.Ours being one of them. Unfortunately, two passengers were carrying an important amount of money and interrogation process lasted  until half past midnight.

15-16. 10.2018  Corrientes  We booked in a hostel for one night and  arrived at around 10h in the morning, the day where there was a féria and almost everything was closed. Still craving  for some parillada, we found a resto which serves a buffet lunch but not as good as the one we had in Salta.

In the evening, we joined the rest of the residents in the Camba Cuá park for the féria.

In the morning of our departure, we walked along Parana River in Punta San Sebastián. We ended up in a small restaurant where we waited almost an hour to be served. Why we stayed? One has to pay the order first. So along with 6 or so people ahead of us, we waited for ages and could not do anything other than wait.Verdict? Not worth the wait.

Our bus for Iguazu was scheduled at 21h30. Anna Lia, the staff of the hostel let us stayed in the girls’ room until 16h as we vacated our own room at around 10h. Having known that we’re leaving late, she agreed that we leave our bags till 20h30.So with a few hours to spare before our night bus, the fambam went malling.

For someone who doesn’t like the AC, remember to bring a sweater 😉 It could get too chilly inside the mall. And bring a book or something to read while the others dance battle.

video-1540974177

Corrientes to Puerto Iguazu

  • Bus company : Rio Uruguay
  • ticket price : 1055.-/ per person (no discount for the girls)

17-19.2018 We arrived in Iguazu at 6h40  and headed to a bakery shop near the terminal. We planned to stay for 3 days then head to Uruguay. Afterwards,  back to Buenos Aires where we would take the plane for New Zealand.

We planned  to see the falls on the 2nd day of our stay here. Unfortunately, it was raining but we went ahead anyway.

The next day was sunny and was a good day to return to finish the tour in Iguazú falls but our shoes were all wet. And no one has the strength to go back after our rainy trip.

My quest for chimichurri

What I found was not the chimichurri I’ve hope for, a bit disappointed so will just stick to my version.

Next is our trip to Uruguay…

Bolivia with kids: Three day Uyuni tour

Potosi to Uyuni

06.10.2018 The girls seemed oblivious of the paysage. I could not blame them. Mountains and valleys do not affect them that much. Though the presence of llamas does. There were ooohs!! and ahhs! everytime both of them see the llamas grazing. This  ride was short compared to the previous ones yet displays the vastness and beauty of Bolivian nature.

We took a taxi from our hotel to the Potosi Ex Terminal  for an  Uyuni bound bus. As usual, we did not reserve our tickets. The girls paid full and there’s also a terminal fee collected by a woman who stood infront of the bus scheduled to leave. With some fruits, chifles and sodas, we were ready to go.

  • bus : Turismo 11 de Julio
  • uso de terminal : Bs. 1.- (the girls did not pay)
  • ticket to Uyuni : Bs. 25.-/person (no reduction for the girls)


Some might find this less important yet when you’re tired, all you wanted to do is find your seat number (unless the driver said that it’s asiento libres) These numbers could sometimes be found where the lights and a.c. are.

We reserved a room in Uyuni for one night. Our accommodation, kidded Carlo, is  a preparation for Japan’s capsule room. The girls were in one room with a bunk bed and ours is just 5 steps away. We are for windows and well-lit rooms but in case it’s the opposite, I’m still grateful that we have a room for the night.

Erin’s 9th birthday celebration

We celebrated our youngest birthday in Uyuni and went to a resto called Cactus,where we had a free cocktail c/o a flyer found in an agency.

There was no cake or brownies available in the mercado so she chose banana with chocolate as postre. And with some candles and sprinkles bought earlier  her “cake” was then complete. It’s true, happiness can be found in pink and blue cake sprinkles just look at her face. 😉

For our excursion, we went to an agency not far for from our hostel.  We have chosen the 3-day excursion and was able to have a bit of discount.

ready to go

Cost of the 3 day tour for a family of 4: Bs. 3000.-

Tour includes: transport,food and accommodation

Not included: Isla entrance fee(30.-) Nat’l park entrance fee (150) Aguas termales (6), shower/C.R. en route

First day

The departure was at 10h30. We replenished our “snack bag” after depositing our baggage we’d leave behind during our 3 day tour. The german couple who would be in our group turned out to be a french couple in their early 20’s.

We spent the night in Los Lipez. One has to pay Bs 10.- for the shower which is usually locked. Someone would hand the key and would say “10 minutos”! Hmm, was hoping to stand in the shower for a day…Zut, alors!

Second day

We left the hostal before 8h and headed to another attraction. Our stops varied from 5-30 minutes and the drive were quite long.

“Imagine how many slimes we can make w/ those borax. ” Ate said,seeing the borax on the lake.

a group of vicuña

At night,we stayed in another hostal, which was more basic compared to the the one in Los Lipez. It was so cold that 3 blankets were not enough. Though we had an option to  rent a sleeping bag, we skipped it thinking that with our alpaca socks, bonnet and sweater it would be okay. And we were wrong!

Third day

We were to wake up at 4h in the morning and should leave between 4h30-4h40. We decided not to wake the girls up at 4am and instead let them sleep until it was time to go.

I woke up early, too early in fact! 🙂 It turned out that I still have the local time in PERU in my cellphone. Imagine Carlo’s face when he found out. So my 4am was actually 3am and Peruvian time. I was ready to go, our bags as well. 🙂 Anyway, Carlo and I went back to sleep. Telling myself that at least I do not need to hurry changing coz I already did,  but we woke up 15 past 4h. We quickly grabbed some coffee, munched a pancake and managed to leave 10 before 5h. As we headed to out, the other groups were also starting to leave for the day’s excursion.

Carlo and his llamas in images

By 9h on the third day, we were on the border of Chile and  left Tim and Laura to board their vehicle which will take them to Atacama. We stopped for lunch and then to the Valle de las Rocas. Before 16h30 we arrived in Uyui.

Reflection

We were given list of our 3 day tour and snack was not included. I was worried that there won’t be any tienda along the way. Yet, in some stops, there were possibilities to buy and get bottles of water or other snack.

our group with Bryan, our guide/driver

We have been really lucky having french couples in our group. First in Cuyabeno, then in Salar tour. The latter didn’t return to Uyuni after our tour but continue to Chile.

The tour has showcased Bolivia’s amazing landscape and we were in awe of it all.  Gracias, Bolivia!

Our Panama journey

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Zen mode for teacher Papa who has the seat all for himself.

Casco Viejo

The plane landed before 7h at Tocumen Airport. The drive to Casco Viejo took about an hour due to traffic. Check-in time was 14h and we arrived early. The solution was to just hang around town and have breakfast. The plane’s omelette and pancake didn’t last long.

We all agreed that Casco Viejo is a lovely place. Ruins and renovation go hand in hand. A bit expensive for a family of four on a budget (U.S. dollar is the currency used here). Though parents could not help but gave in to the 2 mojitos + 1 free during the happy hour.

We skipped buying a new hat for Erin to replace the one of Lola’s now battered and holed. She didn’t want to throw it at first but eventually did so and kept the ribbon for souvenir.

After  3 cities, we needed to examine our spending and made some modification.

There are so many places to visit but we opted to explore the town and went to Miraflores thru Uber ($5). Our driver pointed us many spots during our ride to Miraflores. The latter is one of the 3 locks in Panama Canal. We have missed the ship’s schedule in the morning and didn’t want to go back at 15h to see it. The cost of our taxi ride back to our apartment was a bit expensive.


After two nights, we headed to El Valle de Anton.

El Valle de Anton

It’s a  2 hr. journey  from Casco Viejo which cost $85. Though most of the times winding road, the green vegetation along the way kept me awake. It’s in Hostal Orquidea where we decided to stay. A pleasant Japanese named Ayumi, welcomed us on our arrival.

Teacher husband chose this accomodation, taking into account my love for gardens and greenery. Thought the orchids were not in bloom, other trees and flowers made out for it.

We both agreed on the fact that staying in an accomodation like the hostal gives us possibilities to meet other people.  Like the  french couple who was also staying  in the same hostal. They are well travelled and the common dining area is our place to converse. We also briefly chatted with a Canadian woman who heard Carlo giving lessons to the girls. She was visiting the garden with her children and a friend. Learning that we are travelling for a year, she said  that it’s the best gift we can give to our girls. Apparently,  she has done the same thing with her children. She briefly shared her experience and how her son while travelling with her at 17 years old decided to travel on his own, met a girl and now lives in Germany with the girl he met while travelling.

On our second day, we were able to go to Pozos Termales, where we camouflaged our faces with mask and enjoy the warm pool. We went during a  weekday and luckily  the place was not crowded.

We  left El Valle on a sunny day.

San Carlos

After 2 nights in Hostal Orquidea, we went to San Carlos and stayed in Beach Inn Hotel.The bus ride from Calle Centrale of El Valle was half an hour. One can get the bus ($1.80 fare/person) out of El Valle from the center  but we opted to hail one by the road. It was a coaster type vehicle with AC, comfortable inspite of the winding road . Was worried for my youngest who easily get car sick.

We like the village, our accomodation is near a supermercato and a restaurant. We decided to have our lunch in what we named our fave resto 🙂 and have our dinner in the rooftop ( we didn’t have a kitchen in our room) which were composed of crudités, tuna (much to my regret, there was no cornbeef anywhere!) and bread. This was the time when  we long for the bakery in Plans-les Ouates.

It was raining cats and dogs on the morning of our departure from San Carlos. Then received an email that our supposed lodging cannot accomodate us. With matching two excited kids and zen teacher husband (he is always calm and unpertubed in my moments of panick and anxiety which really annoys me ) my stress level was on high.

We eventually got another accomodation and was able to leave San Carlos.

Farallon

From San Carlos, we hailed a bus, asked the driver if he was passing by Farallon, Playa Blanca. This one was going to Chiriqui. We got down Playa Blanca, hailed a taxi and learned that our destination is “abajo”, so we returned and was taken to the correct direction. The Farallon signage  was not that visible for us, maybe we should have said Royal Decameron because there was a big sign on that road going to Farallon.


We stayed in Hostal Acuarela. Alessandra and her staff were pleasant and helpful.

The beach is only few steps from the hostal. Just like in San Carlos, the grocery stores are own by Chinese. There are also few places we went for drinks and food. We particularly like Coco Blue where I have celebrated my birthday. Food was really good as well as the ambiance. Their cevice frito was a good discovery.

For our return to Panama City, we were driven by Alessandra to Rio Hato  where we took the bus to Albrook Terminal. From there we took a bus to our hotel. We have the room for a few hours. The shuttle bus would take us to the airport at 2h30 for our 5h05 flight to Quito, Ecuador. The girls were ecstatic over our room,saying it was the best room ever.

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tired but happy

Panama was awesome but the Amazon Rainforest is waiting.

Karen et Erin

Aujourd’hui, nous sommes allés à la plage, il y a des immenses vagues je n’arrivai même pas à me tenir debout 10 secondes. Il y a beaucoup de vent, maman a acheté des crevettes,  quand nous sommes rentrés, nous avons mangé des hamburgers c’était très bon. Après, ma sœur a dû lire le livre Jean de Florette.

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Praia do Futuro

J’ai appris qu’au Brésil et au Portugal on parlait la même langue, je sais dire merci en portugais obrigada si on est une fille. Si on est un garçon, on doit dire obrigado.

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Quand on était à Lisbonne il faisait très chaud plus de 40 degrés. Une nuit on est allé au restaurant  de poisson,  moi j`ai pris du bœuf vu que je n`aime pas le poisson. Le lendemain on est allé  à l`aquarium de Lisbonne on a vu des méduse, des otaries, des requins, des poissons etc.

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– Oh le grand Bleu !! C’est Comment ? – Bah c’est grand… et… c’est Bleu ! – Oh ! Je le savais !
Le monde de Némo

Après ça, on a pris un télécabine et on a mangé dans un autre restaurant et il y avait des crabes.

Ensuite, on est allé au centre commercial faire des courses et on a pris un taxi pour rentrer.

A l`appartement on était hyper fatiguééééééééé, il faisait tellement chaud.

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