Tag Archives: beach

Playa el Palmar, San Carlos

Feb 1 – When Jim designed this trip, he divided it into three parts: a week of culture (Panama City), a week in the mountains (El Valle de Antón), and a week at the beach. You’ve traveled with us for the first two adventures. Guess where we’re going now?

We had one more scrumptious breakfast (and I did the dishes one last time in cold water) then we packed up, taking all our leftover food and condiments with us to our new apartment.

We bade farewell to the family of squawky ducks who kept up a conversational racket under our window 24/7.

We wheeled our bags to the bus stop on the main road. Within five minutes a van pulled up with our destination on the windshield – San Carlos. We got in and watched as the 15 passenger van took on at least 20 people, then stopped wherever a person stood waiting to get on or signaled to get off, as we traveled down the mountainside. Although others paid with a dollar and received change, we were charged $2 each for the experience.

In about 45 minutes, we reached the beach (playa), and the bus let us off in front of the huge Playa el Palmar building – 28 stories tall and the only skyscraper around. We walked about 10 minutes in the broiling midday sun down a private road until we reached a security booth.

There it is!

We had to show our passports to the security guard to get in, and the landlord left Jim a series of videos (in Spanish, of course) explaining the code to work the door and how to operate the state of the art appliances. We’ve never been in a place like this, ever!

We’re on the 22nd floor – vertigo inducing when you look down!
One of our pool choices, with the beach just beyond. Looks like a resort ad!
There are the two pools, seen from our veranda

Now, if you’ve been traveling with us for a while, you know that we are modest travelers who don’t go in for anything posh. So, everything about this place is just blowing my mind. Our bedroom wall is floor to ceiling glass, looking out at the Pacific.

View from our bed
View to the left
View to the right

The downside (and there always is one) is that this hi-rise is not near the town, and the commenters said it’s definitely not a place to stay if you don’t have a car. Jim took this as a challenge – there’s no place that we can’t walk! But the lack of shade and consistent temperature of 90 / feels like 95 every day will be interesting. Stay tuned!

More from Puerto Ángel – mostly beach and food

Mar 4 – So here is our typical day at the beach: coffee in our room courtesy of the hotel, leisurely yogurt, cheese and tortilla breakfast in bed, courtesy of yesterday’s walk to the store. Down to the beach to alternately swim in the crystal clear water and sit in the shade of a restaurant umbrella.

Back to the room to shower and change for lunch, which is our main meal of the day.

Sometimes we eat at a beachfront restaurant with other tourists. This is a cold seafood and avocado concoction called vuelve a la vida, or “come back to life”. It is just about the most delicious food I have ever eaten.

Sometimes we walk down a little street to where the native fishermen get their meals. Incredibly fresh seafood, cooked just for us by a native lady who makes breakfast for the fishermen in the morning, but is not busy in the middle of the day. One day she grilled us a whole fish, freshly caught, the next day she offered us shrimp with garlic. No choice here, just whatever she has on hand.

A leisurely talk with Edgar, an 80 year old with excellent English from working in the US, and few remaining teeth, about politics and the state of Mexico and the world.

After an afternoon siesta, we swim in the pool, then walk up the street to the food store to buy anything we need for tonight’s dinner or tomorrow’s breakfast. Here they have canned or refrigerated processed food and drinks, and packaged tortillas, but no fresh bread or fruits or vegetables. In the states, this would be described as a fresh food desert.

On Sunday evening as we walked to the store, we met a funeral procession coming down the hill to the cemetery. About 50 people, dressed in tee shirts and flip flops or barefoot, some carrying flowers and some singing. A red casket carried on the shoulders of four men. We stood quietly until the procession passed. Later we walked into the cemetery, but couldn’t find where they had placed the new addition.

A block from the store is a woman sitting with her small children in front of her house, selling stringy bits of chicken and onion swimming in picante sauce on a corn tortilla – four for a dollar. When Jim asked her for eight of them, she warned, “they are spicy”, and gave him a taste before she wrapped them up. Every day, well-meaning people warn us that food here is spicy, but it’s not really – on a Taco Bell scale, it would be considered mild.

We eat whatever we have purchased for dinner, share a beer and read or watch tv in the evenings. Tv is how folks learn English to the extent that they learn it here – foreign languages are not taught in school.

That’s our week in Puerto Ángel! Hope you enjoyed traveling with us!

Bali, Indonesia – More from Sanur

8/25 – Every day we walk a little farther down the beach, past the tourists and the big hotels.  Lots of activity on the water. Flat water in Sanur Bay:


Surfing where the reef doesn’t block the waves:  Lots of pretty kites:


A good place to pray: 

You can get married in a big blue diamond here: 


Plenty of shopping opportunities: 


Does Emma need another tutu?


This is a good idea, don’t you think?  

One day, we discovered a deserted temple way past the tourist area, with some pretty scary guardians:


We watched young girls practice Balinese dancing at a temple. 


Where to next? 


Bali, Indonesia – Sanur

8/21 – We’ve fallen into a daily routine of walking along the Sanur beach in the mornings, stopping for a coffee, choosing a place for an Indonesian lunch (fried rice or noodles with vegetables, chicken or seafood, always served with a fried egg on top, or satay – chicken grilled on a skewer with peanut sauce), then swimming in the afternoon.   


The beach walk is alternatingly sunny and shady, and lined with shops selling all manner of tourist trinkets and services – wood carvings and masks, batik cloth, bamboo wind chimes, massage, parasailing, pedicures, fruity drinks.  


One of Jim’s favorite pastimes is engaging the touts who call to us at every turn (Sarong, Madame? Massage, Madame? Look in my shop?  Tour today?  Transport tomorrow?). We’ve noted that the tour sellers seem to adopt western names (like telemarketers), and all the names start with ‘A’.  So far, we’ve met Aron, Adam, Artur, Anna and Angelo.  Poor Angelo drew a blank and took a while to come up with his name when Jim asked him what it was.

One day we watched a funeral cremation ceremony.  The procession started at the home of the deceased and ended at a big plaza near the beach, where the body was lit with propane in a big bonfire.  The participants wore traditional dress – sarong and head scarf for the men, fancy lace tops and long skirts for the women. 


Another day we heard chanting, and followed the sound to the site of a wedding ceremony that included the ritual of the bride and groom having their eye teeth filed down to curb their human desire to be gluttonous or boastful.  I would have liked to see this, but we did not try to enter the place of the ceremony.  There are many ceremonies here that are unique to Bali culture.


Things we saw walking along the beach:  


  Hindu Bali is a good place to be a cow!  

Chess, anyone?  

More from Sanur soon!

Kep, Cambodia – the Beach

6/12 – This morning we bade farewell to the lovely but isolated Botanica Guesthouse and tuk-tukked down the road to beautiful downtown Kep.  Here we found a street with shops, restaurants and even an ATM!   


A Hindu statue at the roundabout:


We will stay at the Saravoan Hotel, just steps from the beach, for the next week or so.

Kep is all about the beach.   Out on the pier is a statue of a lady – the locals have draped her in scarves to cover her immodesty. 

     Even monks need a vacation: 

Here is the view from our balcony.  Sorry if there’s not much to blog this week – I intend to spend most of my time swimming!

   6/14 – We woke up on Sunday morning to the sounds of people and traffic.  What’s going on in our sleepy little town?  We walked out of our hotel into a flurry of activity – restaurants had set up extra tables on the sidewalk, carts lined the street hawking food, fruit, ice cream, cold drinks, crabs and squid.   Music filled the air.

Sunday is the day when locals pile their families into cars and rent a parking space near the water, and buses of tourists come from nearby Vietnam for a day in the sun. 

Little cabanas are for rent, where families picnicked and swung in hammocks in the shade. 

The afternoon turned cloudy, but the weather didn’t deter the revelers.  You’ll notice that folks stay mostly clothed, even when they go into the water.   

After a swim, we sat on our balcony and gazed out at the water.  Around dusk, two monkeys strolled down the street, stopping to inspect the trash on the roadside, lick out food containers and help themselves to anything that looked tasty.  There’s a sign in our hotel warning guests not to leave anything out on the balcony where it can be stolen by monkeys.  We brought our shoes indoors, just in case.  We watched them for a long time, and listened to the sound of the gentle waves. What a treat!

Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, Israel

1/29 – We left our Cozy Flat this morning after breakfast, and walked back to the Jerusalem Bus Terminal, where we caught the 10am express bus 405. An hour later, we were in Tel Aviv.

We are staying at the Peer Guest House for one night, to put us in position to catch a morning flight tomorrow. This is a lovely guest house with rooms in different buildings, and a breakfast room that is open all day and night offering coffee, tea, and a variety of fresh fruit, breads and pastries. Our room was on the top floor, up a spiral staircase meant for folks without backpacks!


What to do for our one afternoon in Tel Aviv? We were right down the street from the HaCarmel open market, so we started there. We ate lunch by strolling along, pointing to things that looked good to eat.

The egg roll shaped things had spicy meat inside, and the corn dog shaped things were filled with mushrooms. Yum!

No doubt that anything on this table will make a delicious dessert. I’ll have one with pistachios and honey, please. br />

And yes, I’d love a fruit smoothie, made to order!


My mom is a fan of Halvah. You can get it in huge wheels here, in any flavor you like.


Of course, there’s plenty of other stuff at the market too. What is that hot pink stuff?

Finished with lunch, we walked down to the beach. It had big pink hotels like Miami.

Sunbathers and surfers.image



And old guys who feed pigeons.image

It was just the kind of relaxing afternoon we needed. In the morning, it’s off to the airport to fly back to Istanbul.

Antalya – the Museum and the Beach

1/5 – more errands to run today. We went back to the hikers shop to check out the boots that were special ordered for Jim. No luck – they were not wide enough, and hurt his feet. Plan B – Jim will try ordering boots online in the U.S. and ask son Peter to ship them to our next address here in Turkey.

We walked another mile downtown to a street that showed several audiologist offices, according to Google Maps. Jim’s hearing aids haven’t worked in a while, and this is a good opportunity to get them fixed. This task was a resounding success, and in twenty minutes, Jim’s ears were back in business.

Now we were close to the Antalya Muze, and walked over to check it out. Unfortunately, it is closed on Monday, but the security guard let us walk through to the outdoor displays in the garden. Another Nice Person of Turkey!

Lots of cool old stuff stored here.

Where did the heads of these statues go?

The museum was across the street from Antalya’s famous long, sandy beach, which is packed during the summer months, and almost deserted today. We’ve actually seen several swimmers in the water here in January – cold is a relative concept!image



image I love to see the mountains and the ocean at the same time.

We went back to the tailor shop to get a rip in my backpack repaired, which gave us a second opportunity to eat lunch at a little hole-in-the-wall family eatery with excellent eggplant casserole. The owner was so happy to see us again, he embraced Jim with the head-bump of respect and kissed him on both cheeks! Because it was cold today, he encouraged us to also try some of his wife’s delicious yogurt and rice soup with lemon. Hit the spot – we wish we could get recipes for all these dishes!

I’ll take this opportunity to share how much I admire the work ethic of the people of Turkey. The shops and businesses stay open from early until 10 or 11 at night. Next door to our hotel is a barbershop with one barber and one chair. He is working first thing in the morning, and still on his feet when we return from supper at 9pm. I know the country is poor, which drives the long hours, but the people are so NICE! They remember you and call you by name. They go out of their way to be pleasant, and always try to give you more than you asked for. We haven’t encountered any of the surliness here that we found in parts of Europe (I’m taking about you, Spain and especially you, Rome). Here’s to you, Türkiye! We love you!