Posts Tagged With: Santa Catalina

Handstand of 2013! The winner is…

I absolutely loved watching the votes roll in, thank you! Plain and simple, here are the winners starting with the runners up and working to #1!

The honorable mentions start with an open green area in Cusco, Peru. This area made up just a small part of the exciting journey we spent exploring the streets and unique markets. To this day, it’s still one of my favorite cities in the world!

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The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most internationally recognizable structures in San Fransisco, California . Definitely handstand worthy!

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After Machu Picchu hit the top of the polls for best photo of 2012, I thought it would be refreshing to introduce another wonder of the world. Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England was a classic set up for a proper handstand photo.

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The sunset over looking The Thimble Islands was a surprise treat while visiting my longtime friends on the east coast of the United States. The colors were not touched up in this photo… All natural beauty!

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The Cologne Cathedral is the largest gothic church in Germany which made it a bit of challenge to get me and the very tip of the building in the same shot. Well done Hayden!

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Santa Catalina is a beach town on the west coast of Panama where I was volunteering as a staff member of Cabañas Time Out resort. What an office view!

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Then there’s my precious family in good ol’ Oklahoma. These are my five siblings that are always eager to help out with the handstand shot. This year we chose to do it in front of our snow woman before she melted away.

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In third place, we have the Mahogany Cathedral that welcomes you to the north coast of my favorite island. Barbados holds a special place in my heart and I highly suggest a visit if you’re ever in need of a well rounded beach holiday.

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With a close second place, it’s not a surprise that the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia caught your attention. From the peaceful monks walking around to the thousands of stairs and doorways, this scene was easy to get lost in… both physically and emotionally.

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With a solid win in first place, I share with you the colorful handstand photo from Chiang Mai, Thailand. These lights almost define this magical place and the vibrancy that naturally exists throughout the city. Well done Asia.

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Categories: Polls, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yoga at La Buena Vida!

It’s my morning off and one of the last days here, so I decided to treat myself to a yoga session back at my favorite little spot in town.

La Buena Vida is an artistic hotel offering private villas, massage, yoga and a variety of sweet treats and healthy meals in there open air restaurant. The owners Michelle Miller and Mike Shogren are a young American couple who migrated to Panama in 2005. After traveling Central America for sometime they knew Santa Catalina was their new home to build La Buena Vida from the ground up. Well done my friends!

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Following the signs to get to the studio was such a brilliant way to start the day. I think I liked the location and hike just as much as the actual practice!

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At the final turn you reach the top of the hill that welcomes you with creative decor and a peaceful ambiance. A silence that’s only enhanced by the birds chiming in, as the wind brushes through the tree tops. Not to get all poetic, but this place really is a sight to feel.

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I was the first to arrive and was invited in by Michelle. I’m sad to say that I don’t have a picture of her beaming smile, but trust my words, her calming energy and sincere eyes are a perfect fit for this little heaven in the jungle.

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After completing class, I float back down the hill and return to finish up my days here in Santa Catalina.

To the wonderful girls that I got to connect with at La Buena Vida, I thank you for brightening my experience and I absolutely appreciate your shared energy. Peace, love and a gorgeous sunsets!

Categories: Fitness | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

A closer look at Santa Catalina, Panama

It’s been almost a week now working at Cabañas Time Out here in Santa Catalina and the weather has been hugging us with 90 degrees of pure sunshine.

What’s this? A new volunteer who has come to help out! Meet Joseph, a fellow backpacker and a joy to cross paths with as he makes his way north and I head south.

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Today we played with some fresh fruit for juice and smoothies. I feel like I’ve seen green skinned oranges before, but I don’t remember ever trying one. The taste resembles a lime mixed with an orange which would make this flavor perfect for a cold lime-orange-ade or a fresh addition to an adult beverage!

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I love the contrast between the green and red with this beauty. Sandía (watermelon) is one of my favorites!

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Where do we get all of these amazing fresh fruit and veggies? A few times a week these supermen pull up and offer what they’ve got for the day. You pick what you want then they weigh it right there and it’s yours! I think I’ve finally found the adult equivalent to my childhood love for the “ice-cream truck”.

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Since Joseph is here to relieve me of some of the chores, I finish up early enough to take a walk and explore the quaint surf village that sits below us.

Leaving the hotel I followed the main road (only road) that led to the edge of town. Here are some random shots in no specific order.

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I like her style.

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“The Police”

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If you were to close your eyes as you pass by this next place, you’d assume you’re hearing the hottest fiesta dance club that’s packed full of locals drinking their way towards a foggy morning.
Well, excluding the strobe lights of a club and a front door… That’s exactly what this is!

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Need some gasoline to get out of town? You wont find it here, but next door is a man with barrels of it (that you can smell from the road) who will gladly fill you up!

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Judging by what they offer, you can probably tell why this my new favorite hang out in the entire town. Massage, yoga and health food… oh my! Also including lovely people that I consider new friends that provide amazing service for all of the guests.

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After snapping photos like a tourists should, I signed up for the yoga class offered here by the owner Michelle. (That experience is posted under the category “fitness”). Here’s a direct link for all of you yogi’s out there: Yoga at La Buena Vida!

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I took the beach path home as a way to calm the mind and finish my walk.

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As I round the corner I find my little path that leads to the few hostels and homes that share the same road back home.

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This is also the same path that provided a sneaky boulder in the way of my foot while I was running the other day. I now have a very close relationship with the beautiful dirt of Panama… and a few new scars to prove it.

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Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Cabañas Time Out”

Welcome to the “barefoot luxury” hotel of Cabañas Time Out located a short walk from one of the best surf breaks in Panama. In fact, next month Santa Catalina is hosting a massive surf competition right here! Hmmm, maybe I was two weeks too early?

I wake up with the sun to find the owner Phil sipping coffee poolside with a smile. We go over my duties that include but are not limited to cleaning the rooms as guests check out, showing the arriving people to their room, cooking, bar tending and landscaping as needed.

Before I get started, let me show you around the property. Here’s a tour of the general layout.

The poolside restaurant and yes, that’s a swim up bar!

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The favorite spot to read, meditate, sip on a drink or simply take a nap…the hammocks!

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This location also filled in for my hair salon (which back in California was ironically named “Erika’s Hair Retreat”).

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…and the handstand location.

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This is the new addition which is currently the accommodations for all employees and the owner. I’d love to see this beauty finished!

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The view from the front window.

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Here’s my bedroom and bathroom followed by a few house guests.

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The “alarm system” here is mom, dad and their 5 pups equalling a total of 7 Rottweilers roaming around!

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Meet the manager and my new partner in crime, Kristi. She’s a level headed spit fire from Germany, that knows what she wants and has the drive to get it done. Love her! Here she is helping Michael (the son of the owner) clean up around the yard.

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A few happy guests that I connected with during their stay. If you’ve been following the blog for anytime now, you know I usually cross paths with incredible people more than once… We’ll see!

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I got to have some fun around the kitchen as I updated his menu board and put some old bananas to delicious use!

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I’ll finish this post with our juicy dinner of garlic sautéed fresh shrimp, raw cabbage salad and seasoned veggie rice. Clearly a meal in which napkins were invited, but not welcome.

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Dessert was a treat of improved live music from a few guests. I smiled from within as we sat around with a guitar and harmonica humming tunes that we could all find in common.

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Buenos noches.

Categories: Accommodations, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Streets of Panama City to the beaches of Santa Catalina

I arrived safely to my new destination of Panama, a central American country located inbetween Costa Rica and Columbia. I have a day to play here before I catch a bus to my volunteering project that lies out of the city.

The budget hotel I’m staying at is nothing to boast of except it offers a free breakfast and complimentary ride from the airport. These two things eliminate a bit of stress, especially when first arriving to a new place.

After being served my complimentary breakfast of black coffee and dry toast (the usual around here) I decided to take my hunger on the road in search of fresh fruit or some other traditional eats that I could experiment with. After asking several people where I should go, the response was similar “Nada aquí” (nothing here) so I just decided to stroll in one direction to see what I could find.

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Clearly this neighborhood isn’t on the “must see” list of Panama city, but it’s where my feet where leading with fingers crossed there would be food around. Just a few blocks up the way, I see a glimpse of what could be breakfast!

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I decided on a plain yogurt from the mini market and this little baggie of fruit that I haven’t seen since Malaysia! Before I could stop them, they through the salt in the bag as the locals like it (not my favorite) and handed it over.

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The one thing that stood out to me about Panama city was the clear division between modern higher quality shopping and street side discount vendors.

After my morning snack, I headed in a different direction to see what was near the water. Less than a few blocks later, this is my new view.

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Perfect spot for the handstand shot!

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After the friendly woman snapped the handstand photo for me, I asked her with my broken spanish where I could go for local shopping. With enthusiasm she pointed me towards the bike path with directions to follow.

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Upon arrival, I realize that “shopping” was probably the wrong term to use, as what she was so excited about was the cities Grand Mall. Equipped with everything from Tommy Hilfiger to a McDonalds, you can imagine the amount of time that I didn’t spend here.
As if the mall doesn’t take enough cash from your wallet already, this place even has a casino inside.

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Back to the hotel for a nights rest as tomorrow brings a trip from Panama City to Santa Catalina with two buses, 7 hours and a sweaty ride.

Morning shines and now I’m off! Can you spot my adorable little blue buddy? This isn’t the first time my backpack has gotten to ride roof top!

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Pit stop in Soná leads me looking for a snack at the only store in town.

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Here’s what I found for the remaining of the trip, simply scrumptious.

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I took a picture of the only toilet offered here, but honestly the angle exposes probably more than you want to see. Well it’s in the journey, so just skip the next photos if you have a weak stomach.

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At the end of the layover, I look over to see what appears to be a volcano erupting! Wouldn’t you think so? Judging from the lack of response from the locals, I shrugged my shoulders as I snapped a picture and boarded the final bus. Apparently it’s very common for the Panamanians to burn just about everything they don’t want or need.

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The usual “out of the window” shots from the bus ride.

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Check out this other public bus I spotted along the way. They’re everywhere here! Can you imagine your kids being picked up in this on their first day of school? Priceless.

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I get kicked out of the bus (thankfully) at the bottom of a hill and pointed with the verbal command of “arriba” (up). Ok then, up I go holding fingers crossed that I’ll see some clue that my new home is this way.

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A sign! Cabañas Time Out is the hotel in which I’ll be volunteering at for the next 10 days.

I arrived just in time for this gorgeous sunset hugging the poolside with a ocean view.

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Categories: Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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