This unusual phenomenon happens every time I go to David, just 45 minutes from Boquete, Panama. The mornings up here on the side of Volcan Baru are cool and the landscape is often spotted with bajareques, tiny puffs of white clouds. This morning, the Pacific Ocean can be seen from my kitchen windows and Volcan Baru from the terrace, it’s a lovely day.

Most folks up here don a light jacket in the early morning, and sometimes a knit cap to fend off the morning chill. It’s about 60-65F degrees when David and I decide to make our way down the mountain to do some specialty shopping, visit my dentist, and get the car tuned up.

Our little town is quiet at about 8:30am, as most shops here don’t open until after 9am, nothing seems to be a set routine for opening or closing. But, by the time we get to David, the capitol of Chiriqui Province, everything will be up and running.

No air conditioning is needed in our car up here in Boquete, it’s still a bit chilly as we begin our journey. But slowly, I can feel the heat creeping into the car, just about the time we get to Dolega, a small town about half way to David.

This morning I dropped off some “Boquete Gourmet Community Cookbooks” with Harold at The Bookmark Bookstore in Dolega. The bookstore is open early, set with tables of bargain books on the front patio. Harold has enlarged the store with several small rooms stacked with hundreds of books in English, nicely organized for easy shopping. My autographed cookbook is available there for $8, including a collector bookmark, of course.

Then, it’s time to turn on the air conditioning for the remaining 20 minutes of our trip down the mountain to David. We slow down through Algarrobos, drive over the Chiriqui River, past a couple waterfalls, and we’re soon entering the lush residential neighborhood of El Terronal in David.

Yes, the temperature is now 95F degrees, the sun is beating down in the city and people are everywhere. This place is alive! As we pull into the Cuidad de David Hotel parking lot in the center of the city and open the car door, the heat hits us like we’re in a totally different part of the world.

The streets of the city are teeming with happy shoppers dressed in light-weight clothing, some carrying umbrellas to protect themselves against the tropical rays. The new city park is full of residents going about their busy lives.

The day is mine to enjoy, I can “shop ’til I drop”! It only took me 45 minutes to totally change my environment from cool, quiet and laid-back to hot, vibrant, and hustle/bustle.

I’ve noticed that the meals offered at restaurants in both locations are quite different, as well. In David, we can have nachos at a casino, fast-food at KFC or McDonald’s, or eat in an open-air cafeteria. Could choices like that be coming to Boquete one day soon?

David is fun to visit, but I like our little mountain town up in the clouds best.

The cool view from the top is awesome, wouldn’t you agree?