Saturday, August 23, 2008

Our first guests in Panama!

His son Jack-o came back to Panama with us after we were in Denver for about a week in late July, early August. It was really great to have him. We have moved to our second place – another apartment – in Panama City, on the Amador Causeway. Thankfully, there is a lot less noise – while the original place in Punta pacifica was beautiful and right on the ocean, it was loud – with Corredor Sur and 12 other high-rise buildings next to it, all under construction. With the concrete and steel shortages here, when concrete arrives, no matter what time it is, they start pouring. And,when steel arrives, they drill caissons, even when it is 2 AM and so forth. Aw, well, this is Panama.

No matter, we did decide that it was too much for us – that, and the fact that our international landlord had not had anything fixed in the time period we had agreed to in our lease. So, we gave our notice and got out early and found the new place that we really like in Amador.
The new apartment on an isthmus (not sure if it really is, but it sounds cool) – surrounded on three sides by water, essentially – overlooking the Panama Canal, the Pacific Ocean and back to Panama City. Some photos show the views, which we think really must be the best views in all of Panama.

We like to sit up on our 7th floor social area and watch the huge ships come through the canal. It truly is spectacular to see.

Anyway, Jack came and he and his dad did a bunch of exploring the city together while I had to go back to work for a couple of days right after we returned from Denver. They had a great time, even getting over to the Caribe side to have lunch one week day. Then, they had a 4.5 hour ride back (only 60 miles) because the construction on the one highway between the city and Colon shut the highway down to one lane. And, then of course all the Panamanians got impatient and there was no one moderating the traffic, so everyone started pushing through trying to get through and it turned into a crazy standstill for literally hours. They were so stressed by the time they arrived home, he said, ‘I will NEVER go that direction again,until that highway is finished.” So, we may never see the Caribe again while we are here unless we fly. It was interesting for Jack, no doubt, to see the stupidity that exists around no traffic planning for a major construction project. Bottom line, we take all that type of thing way too much for granted stateside.

My sis Hannah came in from NYC which was really special. She arrived Thursday night, and I took off Friday so the four of us could go the beach. We drove up to a tiny beach called El Palmar – about 60 miles west of Panama City – a great tiny hotel there with 30 rooms, very rustic but clean. The beach is good for learning to surf, which originally we thot Jack might enjoy. But, instead, we all did a lot of hanging, which was lovely. We ended up drinking a lot of beer, eating a lot of fish and lazily wandering up and down the beach. It was a really nice day and a half.
The next morning and afternoon, more of the same. Again, lovely.

Then mid afternoon, we packed up and drove further west – 15 miles or so, maybe – to Playa Blanca. This is an all-inclusive resort, probably the second nicest in all of Panama. The grounds are really nice, the rooms are pretty nice, and the food is the expected middle of the road, all inclusive crap you get at most all-inclusive places. We tried to get into the nice restaurant there, but it was a busy weekend of holiday-ers (kids were out of school, we had no idea, so the place was booked), and we could not get it. Drat. Anyway, we enjoyed the two pools and the beach too and all got some more R & R in, and some sunbathing. After dinner, Playa Blanca has its own theater for entertainment and they do a kids show first, and then a pretty erotic adult show. It was a bit of a shock for us, when we walked back through around 930 PM and the adult show – mostly mimicking videos by Beyonce and stuff like that – but with the ladies on stage in thong swimsuits and such – going on and dancing like strippers…..and all the kids were still there! I guess maybe in North America we are pretty tame, according to Latin American standards, no one else really seemed to mind it. And, no, I did not take any pictures.
Jack and Hannah left early the next week. We both were sad for a few days because we had enjoyed their visit so much. It really was special to have both of them.
Now, we are getting adjusted to the new place in Amador. We love it because there are a mating pair of Toucans right outside our apartment. We probably see them about once a week, flitting around and sounding like frogs. They are beautiful birds, such pretty beaks. For those of you that do not remember what a Toucan looks like, think of the bird on the Fruit Loops box. That is them. Pretty frigging cool!

I am back to work. He has started his company and already has two clients, which is really exciting for him.

Now, back to hanging our new hammock on our porch……and we are having some new friends from Columbia over for dinner….should be fun. It is nice to be making some social contacts and getting a little more acclimated to life here. The first few months were really lonely, and we missed our friends.

Til the next time. We love you all and are thinking of you!