Other issues beyond the more pedestrian ones of cost and location when trying to pick, from a great distance (say the distance between Des Moines, Iowa and Boquete, Panama), a hotel/inn/B&B to stay at in a foreign country:
– SIZE – Is it a better bet to stay somewhere with 16 rooms then somewhere with one room? Or three rooms? That’s the options we’re looking at for the moment in Boquete.
– AMBIANCE – Do we want the relatively bustling-with-people-and-activity “eco-lodge” or the secluded inn that bills itself as perfect for honeymooners (which we are not)?
– AUTHENTICITY – Do we want the hotel that seems to be run by locals rather than the inn run by expats who have set up shop in paradise? Do we want the perhaps more authentic experience of staying at a hotel where we have to struggle to communicate (thanks to our inability to speak the local language) or the relative ease and comfort of staying with hosts who speak our language? Do we want to be travelers or tourists?
This tends to happen – I narrow down our choice of lodging to two options, then am completely torn on which to pick. And I’m left parsing guidebook descriptions and over-analyzing website photos. My choices in Boquete boil down to two places – one a little more upscale and expensive than the other. Do we go for the small inn – only three bungalows spread out across a six-acre coffee farm – for $145 per night, with gorgeous grounds or the larger livelier less-secluded eco-lodge/old farm-house w/16 room on a 500-acre coffee farm- for $99 a night, not quite as gorgeous grounds but still stunning views, with more people around and an on-site nature guide? Oh and one more thing – we’re running up against the non-refundable deposit issue. With the inn, if we have to cancel we’re out $145 (our first night’s stay); the other place doesn’t have that kind of penalty.
Would you drive to the middle of nowhere to visit a National Tornado Museum? Or to go on an eco-tour?
Maybe not – but the Tornado Museum does sound pretty cool, especially if it’s located on the very site where a ferocious tornado struck. Apparently this is part of the ambitious thinking of Greensburg, Ks. – the town I wrote about yesterday that also is trying to revive its fortunes by creating a museum out of its erstwhile leading attraction: the world’s largest hand-dug well.
The tornado museum doesn’t sound as far along in the planning as the Big Well Museum but one idea is to leave a block of Greensburg tornado-ravaged so people can see for themselves the real destruction caused. Interesting.
Last I drove through Greensburg – in late December – several new buildings had been built, some that looked a tad out-of-place, more akin to the architecture found in a suburban strip mall. But it was heartening to see some new building and growth, 21/2 years after the tornado almost wiped out the town and killed 11 people.
As for that eco-tour – it’s available now! No joke. “Greentown Greentours” (a free self-guided tour or a $5 per person guided tour) are being offered by Greensburg GreenTown, a local nonprofit helping Greensburg reinvent itself as model for green living and sutainable building. For more info on the Greentours see: http://www.greensburggreentown.org/greentown-greentour/
p.s. Am I the only one who is suddenly humming the theme song to a certain 1960’s TV show?
You guessed it:
Green acres is the place to be
Farm living is the life for me
Land spreading out,
so far and wide
just give me that countryside.