Thursday, January 7, 2010


I need to buy some proper hiking or athletic shoes for the wildlife tour on Saturday.  This will be an all-day affair through the Waterfall Trail in the Volcan Barú National Park to fulfill my fantasy of seeing a Resplendent Quetzal.  The Quetzal Trail is closed temporarily, but the tour directors say they have seen Resplendent Quetzals on the Waterfall Trail during the past week.

The Resplendent Quetzal is reputed to be the most beautiful and one of the rarest birds in the world.  Its habitat has shrunk to the point where it is now found only in the Chiriquí Highlands at the upper elevations.  It was the royal bird of the Aztecs and is today the national bird of Guatemala, whose currency is the Quetzal:

This tour will involve some hiking at high altitude.  I'm very trepidatious about it, but hopefully we will be able to rest a lot while looking for sightings.

Back to the shoes:
Boquete is a small town of only about 6,000 population.  The main street is lined with small storefronts.  I don't recall seeing a shoe store.  Gosh, I hope I don't have to drive all the way to David (about an hour each way with those three police checkpoints) just to buy some shoes.

A check on the Business Directory said that there is a department store downtown, La Reina (The Queen).  I walked the few blocks because parking would be tight today with the Festival of Flowers and Coffee going on.

Sure enough, La Reina is a lovely store, much larger than it appears from the street.  All the employees, who are mostly women, wear a distinctive uniform like a business suit with a plaid top - easy to spot.

I strolled around and found some women's athletic shoes.  They even had hiking boots!  Mustering up my best Spanish, I asked a saleslady to try on a pair of Reeboks and Nikes in size "ocho" (large to allow for possible swollen feet on the hike).  Only the Nikes were available in that size.  Then I communicated with hand motions that I also needed some socks.  I had forgotten to look up the word for socks.  But I did say "blanca" (white).  She kindly walked me over to the socks, which were in a different department.

Then she said in perfect English, "Your Spanish is very good."

I had to laugh out loud, and replied, "Well, your English is a lot better than my Spanish!"

She then walked me over to the cashier and made sure I was taken care of.  She said "Hasta luego" (Until I see you again) as she walked away.

I got a beautiful pair of Nike Shox for $61.95:

Price in the States:  $115 - $120.

Hmm...I may need to get a new wardrobe down here.

Then I would need to buy a new suitcase to carry everything home.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Betty,
    Glad to see you are getting about (love the botanical photos) and hope that you enjoy the hike. I'm green with envy--would love to be away from this cold spell--and almost inspired to hike to church this a.m.!
    Enjoy your discernment process and good coffee,
    David Carl Olson