As mentioned in the last post, we wanted to spend at least one full holiday season in our “Slice of Heaven”. As in the U.S., the Christmas season in Panama means decorating. I’m disappointed in that I forgot to take photos of the beautiful exterior decorations our neighbor and friend, Lupe Abrego had. Her Christmas lights were simply spectacular.
I’m not sure why, but I was a little surprised that many of the traditions we enjoy in the United States are also prevalent in Panama, even including the sale of cut Christmas trees.
We found the cutest little “faux” Christmas tree with Santa sitting on his sack of toys, checking his list (bonus points that one of the names on the list was Emily – the same name as my niece). It fit perfectly in the alcove by our front door. We also strung lights across the fence in the backyard, which really added to the holiday feel of the area where we spend most of our time. And of course, the dry, hot weather was very conducive to spending quality time in the hammock.
All of the presents under our “cute li’l tree” in the photo above were for the young daughter of our good friends, William and Xiomara, whom we call “Princess”. They, along with Princess’ brother and Lupe joined us at the “Slice of Heaven’ on Christmas Eve Afternoon.
After catching up over appetizers and wine, we all enjoyed watching “Princess” opening her presents. Her sheer joy and excitement was wonderful to watch.
The next day, we were invited to Christmas dinner at Lupe’s home. Her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter, (Mayling, Kevin and Peyton McGowen) were visiting from London (many of you may remember the McGowens from Bullhead City/Laughlin, as well as Lupe Abrego who also lived and worked in the Laughlin casinos). Also at the dinner was Lupe’s granddaughter Morgan, and Morgan’s daughter Leighton. It was a great meal, terrific food and awesome catching up with the McGowens. Again, I’m embarrassed to admit I completely forgot to take pictures.
One short week later, on New Year’s Eve, we called a taxi to pick up neighbors Lupe and Peyton along with the two of us at 10:30 p.m. at the “Slice of Heaven”. Our destination was downtown Las Tablas, where we’d arranged to meet Kevin and Mayling on the rooftop of their hotel to watch the fireworks. What a spectacular show we saw. There are two “factions” that good-naturedly compete with each other to see who has the best fireworks display, the most beautiful girls, and the best/loudest band.
The girls ride on incredibly elaborate floats, followed by the bands and the people of the area, parading and dancing in the streets all night long, around the Town Square. In fact, when we decided to go home at 2:30 in the morning, the parade was still going strong. The photos below show the number of people in the street and one of the floats.
We thoroughly enjoyed our holidays in Panama, but sorely missed some of the traditions we both enjoy, particularly cooler temperatures. We managed to enjoy some hot cocoa while watching “Holiday Inn” with Bing Crosby and Fred Astair, but it just wasn’t the same in 90-degree weather!
All too soon, it was time to travel back to the U.S. and our home base in Livingston, TX. We flew from Chitre, Panama to Panama City, and then connected to a direct flight to Houston. The flight from Chitre, which is a small city about 20 minutes from the “Slice of Heaven”, is always an adventure. It’s a small prop engine plane with room for 11 passengers plus the pilot and co-pilot. The day we flew, we were the only passengers, so I was able to get some really interesting photos.
we had an uneventful flight to Houston, a night in a hotel and then a rental car to Livingston and the RV. We are now settling back into life at Escapee’s Rainbows End RV Park, busy planning our next adventure. Until the next post, hope you all had a great holiday season too!