That describes our little house in Panama. It’s located in a housing development between the towns of Las Tablas and Guarare on the Azuero peninsula, about 15 minutes from the Pacific ocean. We had it built in 2007, and are now doing some pretty extensive remodeling, including upgrading nearly all of the fixtures, window coverings, refrigerator and building an “outdoor room”. I plan to wait until the exterior is done to include before and after photos of the entire thing, but Jim posts almost daily updates on his Facebook page.
Below are a few random photos of settling into life here. Things are definitely different (and our Spanish is improving daily). It’s a slower pace, and the ice cream man still rides a bicycle into your neighborhood. Street vendors sell HUGE bags of vegetables, freshly caught corvina, shrimp and lobsters, for a very reasonable price, all on street corners. For those of you who know Larry Sinagoga, send him a messsage and ask him about the fresh chorizo available roadside here in Panama – it’s quite tasty, when eaten in moderation 🙂
They do have “bomberos” – firemen – who made a visit to our neighborhood the other night when the foliage on top of the power pole caught on fire. Some of the flaming debris dropped on the ground and caught other foliage on fire, but was quickly put out when Jimmy tossed a bucket of water on it. The fire department arrived and called the electric company who repaired the minor damage to the top of the pole.
Below are photos of the town square. The first one was taken in February of 2011, the other two were taken yesterday.
The town square is the site of all the area’s festivals – and Panamanians really love their festivals! There are two main ones (near as I can figure out): 1. Carnival in February and 2. the National Festival of the Pollera (traditional dress).
Here’s a few photos from the Carnival we attended in February of 2011, and a photo of Morgan McGowen (who many of you may know – she’s from Bullhead City), who was crowned Queen of the Pollera in 2015. During Carnival, floats circle the town square, again and again, with HUGE crowds of people dancing around them. We had a great time at the Carnival festivities, but those of you who know Jim and his “lack of affection” for crowds…will understand why we don’t plan to attend another one.
There are two “main” supermarkets in Las Tablas – the Super Mercado is the largest and newer of the two. Then there’s the “old” market -Super Rosa. In fact, nearly every mini market (and there are a ton of them) are named Super-Something. We can get almost everything we want or need right in Las Tablas, but sometimes we just need to find something uniquely American – like dry italian salad dressing for a special receipe Jim wanted to cook. We drove the 20 minutes to Chitre – a much larger town – to visit Riba Smith’s – the “Super Market for Americans”. Never found the salad dressing, but found a lot of other things we didn’t know we needed.
This time of year is the rainy season…it rains A LOT, but not every day. In fact, there were five sunny days in a row just last week. Here’s a couple of photos from yesterday, though:
Early mornings are the very best time to go shopping – the fishermen bring in their fresh catch of the day, will filet it for you on the bed of their pickup truck. The farmers line the main street with their fresh fruits and vegetables. After picking out your fresh food, we can then pop into the Super Mercado to purchase anything needed to round out the day’s meals.
While our plans don’t include living here full time, we could certainly slip into this way of life very easily and permanently. However, we still have a lot of the US to see, so will be coming back to our awesome other slice of heaven – the Tiffin Phaeton RV that’s waiting for us in Livingston, TX.
The next post will include more about our exploration of the surrounding area.