Sunday, February 3, 2013

Wrapping It Up Here in Gorgona!!

We used this week to say "See Ya" to new friends who were heading back home to the states, Chip & Kelly, and Steve & Rebecca all of them to very cold climates!! Brrrr!! A grand pool party was held Wednesday late afternoon and a good time was had by all!

Earlier in the day on Wednesday, Mike & I had taken the bus to El Espino to meet up with Canadian expats, Peggy & Mike.  They run Body & Soul Fitness out of their home and we wanted to check it out. Well, are we glad we did!!

Peggy is a 'trainer' by profession, having owned several workout gyms in her past life.  The system they use here is Whole Body Vibration Training. Anyone else ever heard of it?  If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Also, they are proponents of colloidal silver, which Mike and are, as well.

Peggy spent an hour first with Mike and then me, instructing us through each stance on the machine. An excellent trainer!!!!  She was very instrumental in getting into the right pose that wouldn't hurt our body but only help strengthen it and very encouraging!! 

We both felt we had been through hours of time in the gym and loved every moment!  But, the best part was feeling so good afterwards!  We only wish we would have known about them from the beginning of our stay here so we could have taken full advantage of their services.  They charge only $10/session, which may take more than an hour!  Thank You guys!!

On Friday, we made another day trek into the BIG city and went to Casco Viejo - the Old City of Panama.  What an amazing place!!  They are in the midst of a massive rejuvenation and renovation of the whole area and I mean massive!!  Driving through there is a nightmare and bumper to bumper traffic everywhere!!  Even our cab driver had to ask the workers as went drove through which streets were open.

We were let out at El Centro - the City Center square and began our journey through town.  Our first order of business was to buy Mike's sister, Laura, her birthday gift.  So I can't tell you what we bought her but we feel it's something she'll definitely use and it's unique to this part of the world.  I also had been eyeing Mola bags and finally bought one.  Love it!!  Mola's are the hand sewn art done by Kuna Indians here in Panama.  Their work is extraordinary!


We wandered the streets looking at all the different architecture and amazed at how much it reminded us of New Orleans French Quarter.  Actually, the French did occupy Panama for a time, so it makes lots of sense.  We also had quite a view of the new City from the old city wall. 




 







Our decision was to have lunch at Diablicos, "Little Devil's", a typical Panamanian restaurant but with a very different twist!  A fun place for the eyes with all the colorful masks that are made in Panama.  The food was delicious!!

After wandering for a couple of hours, we finally made our way to the Canal Museum on the square.  They were having a Gaughan exhibit and Mike enjoy viewing fine art allot plus seeing the rest of the Canal history from their view point.  Wonderful!!

By that time, we were ready to head back to a bar that we had found in our wandering earlier, The Tantalo restaurant/bar/hotel.  A truly fun environment for a late afternoon libation before catching a cab back to Albrook Mall for our bus ride home.


Yesterday we walked the beach again. Well, it's Jelly Fish season here!!  From the beginning of February when they arrive like clockwork, for about 6 weeks, they are everywhere!  We saw a huge one washed up on the beach that we got to examine close up but certainly didn't touch.  Mike had forgotten his camera, so no pictures.  But, there were hundreds of small ones lying all over the beach.  Definitely kept the flip flops on for our walk!!  And, no more going into the surf for us!!

Last night we had dinner and drinks back at LaRuina and waited for the church procession that was to take place on the streets of Gorgona.  It was a celebration of the Returning of the Lord and was being celebrated in Rome, as well.  Interesting to see it on TV in Rome at the same time it was happening in our neighborhood. 

So today is our last day to play.  We took another long walk on the beach in the other direction after a late breakfast here at the condo.  And, in about an hour, we'll head back to LaRuina for the Super Bowl festivities. 

But before I close, I want to pass on one more comparison regarding health care to all of you who might be interested.  A local expat just found out that she needed to have a hysterectomy.  Even though she had bought private Panamanian health insurance almost a year ago when she moved here with her husband, there is a full one year waiting period before it becomes valid.  Unfortunately, her doctor insisted that she not wait until March.  And, even then, the insurance company could turn her down because they may see it as a pre existing condition even though her exam for getting the insurance found nothing.  Very much like US insurance companies so far, right?

So before she decided to agree to the surgery, she wanted a full breakdown on expected out of pocket costs.  Bottom line for all doctor visits, lab work, 3 day hospital stay in Panama City, husband gets to stay in room for the full time, surgery room, anesthesiologist, surgical assistant, follow up doctor visits ----- a whopping $4,000!!!  US cost - $30,000 or more with only an overnight stay!!!!  Now, you know why that's a big part of why we're making this move!! 

This evening is Super Bowl back at LaRuina's. Tomorrow will be spent packing and cleaning this place!  Tuesday we will be transported to our hotel in the El Cangrejo district of Panama City, where we'll stay 2 nights and explore the city some more before we leave on Thursday morning for Costa Rica and our 3 month journey there.

So until then, be happy, healthy, and safe!! Pura Vida, mi amigos!!
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