Not all the differences are good ones

Mark and I went for a walk Sunday — 4 or 5 miles straight uphill towards Volcan Baru.  And yes, that meant we then had to turn around and walk back down to get home. LONG hard walk, a bit easier on the way back, but going downhill has it’s own challenges.  It wouldn’t have surprised me at all if one of us had tumbled head first down some of the steeper sections, but we got home without any injuries.

We were hoping to take some great picture of the lush scenery , but I never imagined THIS as something I would capture on film….the biggest spider I’ve ever seen outside of a terrarium.

Look at that thing!! I was waiting for Mark to pick out a walking stick (to beat off the dogs that he claims chase him…..), looked down, and saw this beast about 12 inches from me. I didn’t exactly shriek and scream like a girl ( not that there’s anything wrong with that) but I definitely made some sort of noise. And jumped.  So did the spider, thank goodness it ran away from me. I was scrambling with my camera, trying not to hyperventilate, while figuring out how to take a shot to show how big it really was.  Last year I had Mark stand next to an 8 inch long grasshopper, but that was clearly not going to happen here. I settled for  asking Mark to “drive” the thing towards a rock  with his newly acquired walking stick, then, once the spider was a long, long way from us, taking a picture of his foot next to the rock.

Mark and his walking stick

Although on second thought, it would have been a better story without that little reality check, because in my memory, that spider was about 18 inches long. Really, it was probably 6-8 inches. Face to face, so to speak, that was scary enough.

I’m not particularly squeamish about spiders — we had 1-2 inch orange grove spiders wandering around in the house my parents had in Florida.  But this was BIG. And FURRY. Like something out of Harry Potter. That’s my excuse for not getting a better shot of it.  I’m pretty sure it was a tarantula, not dangerous to humans, but I don’t care.  Two days later, it still makes me shudder to think about it.

Boquete Pros: Nice people, beautiful scenery, mild temperatures, low cost of living

Boquete Cons: Really big arachnids.

The pros out weight the cons, but believe me, spiders like that are not for the faint of heart.

MARK SAYS:

Our Sunday walk followed a pretty aggressive run the day before, also up in the mountains, but on the other side of town.  I figure that between both days I covered about 18-20 miles in some pretty rugged terrain.  It’s hard to say for sure exactly how far we went because the GPS function on Valerie’s I-Phone has stopped working.  We will have to address that when we get back to the U.S for a visit in June.   I have never been much of a “Gadget Guy” but Valerie has sold me on the appeal of tracking distance, time and elevation with GPS.

What I do know is that by the time we finished the walk, my legs and feet were just about shot!  While there is some validity to Valerie’s claim that I picked up a stick to fend off any possible canine aggressors I was sure glad that I had it for support when we were coming down that last hill.  Not to mention its potential usefulness in turning back any killer spiders that may cross our path.

Until a year and a half ago I had never read a single word of any Harry Potter book.  Nor had I watched a single scene of any of the movies. Valerie kept telling me that I didn’t know what I was missing!  So, while she was away on on one of her business trips I watched the first five movies on successive nights.  When the subsequent,  and final, installments hit the theaters we quickly made sure that we saw them as well.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching those movies and I plan to some day read all of the books.  Nonetheless, there is no way that two years ago I could ever have imagined walking along a trail in Panama, seeing a large spider, and immediately envisioning an Acromantula (Aragog) as depicted in Chamber of Secrets.  In Valerie’s mind, next up is Narnia!  Stay tuned.

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