Boquete is a place that I refuse to say adios too, only hasta luego! I have a feeling I will be back in this mountain village, placed perfectly in the middle of a valley that oozes energy, life and new ideas. Horns honk to say hello. Indigenous dresses with beaming smiles behind them stroll the streets. An array of wildlife, flowers and terrain situated outside of the town waits to be explored. Doors open to shops filled with an eclectic selection. Nothing lit me up more than talking to someone who is straight up Panamanian. This means I could practice my Spanish; they could practice their English, and let the endless roll of questions begin with Carri’s curiosity. The questions of public vs. private education for children, labor laws, their health care system, the general consensus on Martinelli, and how they view foreigners starting businesses here. It seems that most are open to the migration of foreigners to Central America because they create jobs for Panamanians and business models they can follow themselves. I think the Panamanian government is spot on to develop rules for Ex-Pats that they must employ a majority of Panamanians. Of course the loving term Gringo had to develop somewhere and I would be lying if I said foreign migration is loved by all. It is the foreigners that come in with a good heart, not a greedy heart, that make ex-pats welcome. Of course, Boquete is mostly represented by Panamanians, and I think their culture, language and traditions should always come first. However, the fact that so many ex-pats come here not only to retire but to become pioneers, entrepreneurs and to make a life shows the diversity of the area. French, Canadian, American, Dutch, Brits, South African… that’s only a start. But it is refreshing to see a community like Boquete stay true to itself but welcome and support new ideas and business. I mean as delicious as the rice and beans are, it would be impossible to have an appetite for them every night. Cleary, Panamanian food runs the gamete; there is chicken, steak, corn, tamales, ceviche, yucca and more and more! And bless them for platano maaduro, a plantain cut it small pieces and fired. However, here you have Mexican and Italian. Or you can venture into authentic Israeli, Argentian, or Japanese cuisine… and the authentic face behind it, making it fresh everyday. It’s not just about the food but the stories, backgrounds and open hearts people bring. The valley of Boquete is one of those special places where you will find exactly what you are looking for, and even a bucketful of surprises along the way.