Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The End is Near

It's Wednesday morning, November 28, 2013. That means it's Panama Independence Day!!

That's why the huge parade last Sunday held in the torrential rain ALL day and high, high winds. Those fabulous children and parade participants who played in their bands and walked the route.

Our understanding is that the parade had every school band in the whole Chiriquí Province play, which is why it last sooooo long!



As it was the nastiest day here yet, I didn't venture down out of our casita. Mike went with Rick, our neighbor, and watched a bit and then hit Mike's Global Grill for an afternoon beer.  I worked on our accommodations in Costa Rica.

Monday was an official holiday and most everything was closed and the weather wasn't great again, so we just puttsed around here. I was finally able to solidify our first accommodations in Lake Arenal - a 1br/1ba apartment attached to a house with a magnificent view of the lake!!  We also confirmed that our friends, Craig Hinman and Lesley Chapman, will be joining us for a night in San Luis while they're on vacation in CR!! Fun!!

That evening Rick, Lesia, Jim and us went out for dinner to The Rock.  The Rock is a higher end restaurant on the river and Lesia and Jim had never been there before. Monday nights are the live Jazz music and we enjoyed the same trio (only is was a duo that night) that we'd heard at Escondido.  The mean was scrumptious and quite reasonable considering the venue. Only $38 for both of us with drinks!

Yesterday we learned that the huge storm was not just a "local" storm! It was a massive storm that tore through the whole country causing mudslides, flooding, 650 homes destroyed and a few deaths. I now feel awful that we were complaining about our bad luck with the weather. Seems the storm has now headed toward Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and then will go into Mexico. Be safe everyone!! This is a really nasty storm!

We awoke to SUN and warmth yesterday and it felt soooo good!! We were excited about spending the day in town and soaking it all up! Off to market we went and met up with many fellow expats that we've met during our stay here.

We had some actual errands that we had to run around and do. Felt like we were settled and blending in AND we actually knew where we needed to go! Mike's Nextbook tablet had stopped accepting the power cord so he couldn't charge it. On recommendation, we went to the little cubby shop with the cobbler and a mechanical technician. He took one look at it, got out his tweezers, poked a prodded in the hole and voila it worked!! A very great event!! Cost? He wanted to know if Mike had anything to eat in his backpack. No...but here's $5!! Enough for lunch !!

I needed to buy hair coloring. Yes, I'm giving away my secret! Not much gray but enough to want it to go away until I can go all gray. Anyway, I'd been searching for my product since I got here to compare prices, as well as to know if they even carried it locally. After realizing that a blond color is very difficult to find but the actual product wasn't, I found a color that was close enough in the local department store at a very reasonable cost, so it got purchased.

On our way to the phone store, Claro, we stopped and had a late breakfast at Olga's, where they only serve breakfast. Rick joined us and we all had terrific omelets! It was pretty pricey for here at $8/each but a really good meal!

Our visit with Claro proved pretty fruitless. We wanted to learn how to record a voice message on our voice mail but didn't get anywhere with the young lady except how to contact support. Haven't had time to do that.

We then walked the back neighborhood roads enjoying all the beautiful flora everywhere, chased a horse down the road who had gotten out of his yard, and found the cemetery up on a hill overlooking town. It was actually very beautiful with all the bright colored flowers placed on all of the graves, which are above ground New Orleans style.

At 1:30pm I had a neck, shoulder, back massage again performed by Mark Perren-Jones. Ahhhhh!! I so needed it! While Mike waited for me out in the garden, he enjoyed a nice glass of wine provided by Mark. Such service in Paradise!!

From there we walked up the road - not an easy thing to do with no shoulder or sidewalk!! Sometimes having to be in the ditch to avoid being hit, we plodded along. Our mission was to go back to Valle Escondido, the golf and country club resort with homes in a beautiful valley, to see it in the daylight and enjoy Happy Hour! We had eaten dinner here our first week and enjoyed the Jazz trio.

We certainly enjoyed the walk in, which enabled us to meander through the beautiful grounds! Stunning landscaping!!  Rick joined us for a drink and gave us a ride back home in time to get our food and drinks together for our dinner date at Bill Parke's place.

Again, everyone's hospitality has been incredible! We sat out on Bill's balcony overlooking the main road and talked and talked. Bill cooked up our steaks and he had prepared bean soup and mash potatoes. Along with the salad that we brought, it was a complete meal!! Yumm! So sorry Bill's wife, Priscilla, wasn't there to share it with us but she's down in South Africa enjoying her new grandbaby!

So, while I've been writing this the sun has gone away and the clouds, mist and winds have reappeared. And, there's another parade going on down in town. As we sit up the hill overlooking town, we can hear everything!  We should be leaving in an hour or so. Maybe it'll clear up a bit by then. We'll see....

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