My favorite things about Panama cover all categories of life. They may or may not make sense to you, but here is my ode to Panama.
- Moonshine on the Ocean. No, I'm not talking about distilled alcohol made by crazy southerners under the light of the moon in order to keep their illegal activities secret from law enforcement... I'm talking about the beautiful light that occurs on the ocean during a full moon. Even though I live on the ocean, the sight of a beautiful moonshine still takes my breath away. If you haven't seen it before, you've got to experience it to understand why it's one of my favorite things.
- Lobster Roll at the Hard Rock Hotel Panama. This tasty sandwich is bursting with fresh lobster morsels, pesto mayo, fried shoestring onions, and arugula. It's so delicious that I dream about it when I haven't had it in a while. At $13 per sandwich, it's the cheapest lobster thrill I can get.
- Proximity of Beach & Mountains. The thing that frustrated me about living in Texas is that I couldn't drive out of the blinding heat in the summer. If I wanted a different climate, I had to get on a plane. In Panama, a different piece of paradise is just a day trip away. You can have coffee while you watch the sun rise over the beach, and then when it starts to get hot, drive 30 minutes to a cool mountain region for lunch, and be back on the beach well before sunset. In fact, you can experience Pacific Ocean, the cool mountain rain forest, and the Caribbean Ocean all in the same day.
- Sushi-grade Ahi Tuna. Not only is sushi grade Ahi Tuna available, but it's a mere $2.50 per pound. I've developed my own recipe for an Ahi Tuna Tower that is mouthwatering yummy. Plus, the time from fish market to completed Ahi Tower is less than an hour. It would take longer for me to drive to a sushi restaurant in Dallas and place my order.
- Sunrise. My condo faces the East, so I get to watch the sun as it rises over the ocean each morning. It's so spectacular that I get up early each morning to see it. Some days it's golden, and other days it's pink, but it's always breathtaking. My body isn't always ready to wake up before 6 a.m., but my heart always wants to see the sunrise. If I have to choose between an extra hour of sleep or having coffee on my balcony when I watch the sunrise, it's no contest. Sunrise always wins.
- Fresh Fruit. I grew up in California and know what fresh fruit is supposed to taste like. The fruit here is amazing--sweeter and juicier than anything you can get at a grocery store. Of course, expect different types of fruit than you might be used to. Instead of blackberries and raspberries and apples, the local fruit consists of the sweetest pineapple you've ever tasted, seasonal small watermelon, many types of mangoes, starfruit and of course coconut.
- Rain Storms. I've always love the rain. Living in climates that tended more toward heat and draught than an abundance of cool rain, I have to admit a fascination with daily rain during rainy season. In fact, I prefer rainy season in Panama to dry season because of how perfect everything is during a rainstorm. Unlike the Pacific Northwest, the rain here is warm. And unlike the Southern part of the U.S., the rain comes straight down. This means I can wear shorts and a tank top while swinging in a hammock on my balcony, just inches from the downpour and neither be cold nor wet. I like to watch the ocean go from blue to green to gray ... and then back to blue once the rain ends. I love how fresh the air smells when it's raining. And I love how it's sunny one minute and raining the next. The rain typically lasts only minutes, so when a downpour starts, I try to stop what I'm doing and go outside to enjoy it.
- Great Restaurants. I live just minutes from Panama City, which is a haven of great culinary experiences, but the entire country is full of great restaurants for every palate. When I travel around Panama, I like to try new restaurants but I also crave my tried-and-true favorites, such as the short rib pasta at Panamonte in Boquete and the sea bass at Casa de Lourdes in El Valle. I can tempt my palate with truffle pasta, beef wellington, almond-encrusted sea bass, lobster Thermidor, fillet mignon, Russian caviar with blinis, or any other gourmet food I crave. I can also eat heaping plates of rice, beans, fish and chicken at local restaurants, known as Fondas. Whatever tantalizes your taste buds, you can get it in Panama.
- My Hammock. I love my hammock more than I love any piece of furniture in my apartment. (I shipped a container from the US rather than start over with new furniture in Panama, so this should tell you how much I love my furniture!) I love the feeling of being out in the fresh air, swinging like a babe in my hammock, experiencing an almost weightlessness in the cradle of the hammock. Unlike the intense hot and cold weather I used to experience in Texas, I can enjoy my hammock year-round because of the constant good weather in Panama. It's one of the simple pleasures I enjoy every single day in Panama.
Now that you've read about my favorite things, which ones resonate with you? Not sure, email me, and let's plan a trip so I can help you figure it out.