Wednesday, May 21, 2008

From our balcony

I decided today to take some photos from our 16th story balcony, so that you can share with us what we see every morning and every night.

When we might have a moment of 'why did we leave our organic dog food behind?', it is good to go out, grab a seat and breathe.....
This is a fabulous opportunity, and a beautiful place. We are incredibly blessed.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

April 1st, a few weeks late

Where to begin….
I have had so many emails asking about where we live and what we like most about Panama, that I thought perhaps I should start from the very beginning.
They thought they had rented a place for us in a high rise in an area called Punta Pacifica, an area where there is a lot of new high rises and even one going up named after some guy named Trump. We thought we were all set to move in the night we all arrived from Colorado. Furniture was to be delivered two days before we all arrived, so that we would have beds to sleep in, and places to sit, and so on. (Ahem, let me clarify, ‘they’ would have beds to sleep in. They packed my two dog beds and thus I was subject to sleeping on the tile floors on a blanket. As if this were ever a substitute that I would have approved!)
At any rate, being the A types that they are, we all thought we were set.
Ha. The fun began
24 hours before we got on the plane (again,do not fall for the ‘time to go to bed’ trick when the kennel has been placed in the yard.), she received a phone call. The new apartment had had some issues. Of course she freaked out, and there was a lot of anguished calls and words and a bunch of stuff that I did not understand, except for a bunch of high pitched exclamations.
At any rate, some arrangements were made and when we did get here, the five of us spent a week in some very small place. Seriously. My dog bed was more spacious. And, I was left there much of the first few days we arrived here by myself,so they could begin the process of finding us a new home. I did not approve of this either, but I conceded so that we could get out of there as soon as possible.
A week later, we moved into another apartment in the same part of town where they originally had found the first one. She kept saying how karma worked things out because the new place is even nicer, and I had four acres just for me to walk in. (As it turns out, this is not entirely true – the ‘just for me’ part – because we keep running into a bunch of smaller dogs in my four acres.)
The new place is really nice and really big. Plenty of room to chase the cats and lots of windows, so I can lay in the sun in the morning. And plenty of tile floors, which is a new experience for me, and nothing to hold me back from sliding around corners while chasing the cats. Evidently they get some level of fun out of the sliding action because they are always laughing about my running efforts. Some comment about the road runner, which I do not understand.
He especially likes the deck, which looks out to the Pacific Ocean, facing southeast. He and I spend a lot of time there in the evenings, he with a cigar and me with a tennis ball. Well, at least I did have some nice tennis balls out there, until I pushed one under the fence and it fell 16 stories down into the swimming pool. Now for some reason, tennis balls are taboo on the patio. They don’t allow the cats out there either, though I personally think it might be a lot of fun to see one of them jump out there. (He made some comment about the exorbitant cost of getting the cats down here as being a reason not to see them do some fun acrobatics off the patio….I am not buying it.)
After five weeks, the rest of our stuff arrived yesterday from the U.S. I was not too pleased to see a bunch of strangers in our place bringing in a bunch of boxes, but after they unloaded my two beds, I forgot all about them. She always makes comments about ‘it is the little things’, but frankly, sleeping on the cold tile on a blanket for five weeks is not a little thing. It does make Panama more like home to have your own bed.
For some reason, when I go on walks in the four acres behind our building, there are a bunch of kids playing in the street around dinner time. Often they ride by on their bikes while we are walking and appear to talk to me, but I can’t understand a word they say. One little boy keeps using a word that sounds like mohair (muerta) and evidently that means do I bite. I would like to show my teeth as a badge of honor but neither of them will let me do that, so I ignore him. She keeps saying she is going to reply that I only bite in the apartment, but she never has. (I am not really sure why the boy would be coming to our apartment, but I do not ask questions.)
A few weeks ago, she came home one day and said she figured out why the kids keep asking if I bite. They went to a party and at two of the homes near the party, they saw dogs like me behind the gates (everything is gated here). When they turned around in one of the driveways (directions here are a whole ‘nother story), she said the dog went nuts and attacked the fence and showed teeth and so on. (If I had been there, I am sure it would have been different, but alas, I was not invited to the party.) Anyway, apparently, mine and similar other fierce looking dogs are not kept as pets, but only used as watch dogs and guard dogs, and so I am generally taken for one of those.
I do not understand the word ‘princesa’ or ‘nina’ but I have heard her describe me that way when she is talking about me. As long as people know I rule the roost, then they can call me whatever they want. Now that I have my beds back, I am feeling much more like the one in charge!
It is April 1st today. April Fools Day does not exist in Panama, but this day does officially mark the end of the dry season. I do not understand the ‘dry’ description when I get wet every time we go outside. This thing called humidity really wears me down. She and I used to walk for hours and now I can barely manage 20 minutes.
Anyway, back to the weather. This ‘dry’ season is actually really hot. It is summer time in Panama and it lasts from December to April. It has been so dry here this year though, that there have been some mild fires. Not anything like what used to hear about on the news back home (you know,the governor saying the whole state was one fire), but fires here (anywhere) are pretty unusual.
Now, we begin the green season. She laughed because she says someone in marketing came up with this name. At one time, it was called the rainy season. We have heard it rains every afternoon for months on end, and that at times, it can become a deluge with street flooding and things like that. Really, we have no idea, but supposedly it does get a bit cooler. Like maybe 80 degrees instead of 98 and so on. Anything cooler would be nice. I have never liked the rain, and I am hoping some other arrangements can be made for my walks when the rain starts (involving someone other than me, walking). However, no commitments have been made.
Next time, I will tell you more about their recent trip to the beach. Some place called Coconuts. And they left me alone with my new buddy Joel all weekend. It was strange but Joel and I bonded, which was good. It is nice to have a new friend.
I forgot to mention that while they were gone that the cats and I had a party on the patio and I took some photos. One is of the cats hanging from the balcony edge. But of course I can’t post it because they will find out and then there won’t be a next time. But we did have fun.
Hasta luego! (Until next time)
Ps. Gosh, we are way behind. I think I have begun to embrace Panamanian time. This has been on my computer for a really long time and I just did not get around to posting it. They are on me tonight to write a new one, so I figured I should get this one up first. A new one later.