April 15, 2015
This week my friend Paul flew in from Panama City where he was attending a seminar about retiring in Panama. He lives near LA but he is exploring the possibilities of retiring somewhere in Panama. He was brave enough to get out of the big city and camp here on our mountain hide-away for a couple of nights. Actually, he had no choice since I discovered that the only hotel in town had a “For Sale or Rent” sign on it. I told Paul that our place was still rough, but I think Paul now has a new meaning of “rough” ;-). I am sure that after two days of having to use a shit shovel, showering with a hose, and having a 100 lb German Shepherd leave paw prints on his chest, that Paul will be very grateful that his next trip (in May) is going to be on a cruise ship;-). Actually, Paul was a really good sport about roughing it. He is in amazingly great shape for a man of 66….. don’t you think???
Paul and I visited Rio Sereno when he first arrived. I introduced him to the Chinese family who owns Francisco’s Market. I think my trust-worthiness in their eyes increased when they discovered that Paul was able to converse with them in Chinese. Paul and I also went to the local Chinese restaurant where they have a buffet-style lunch. The owners seemed delighted to meet a Chinese-American and they cooked us fresh plates of some of the items they serve on the buffet.
Gary and Paul took off this morning for David via the bus. Gary is great to travel with on the buses here since he really knows how to socialize with the locals. Paul doesn’t speak much Spanish, so having a translator is a nice perk. Paul wants to check out Boquete while he is here too.
I am home alone for a couple of days. It is hard to get too lonely here when you have Yovany for a neighbor. His head popped up in my window this afternoon after school. He wanted my help again with his English homework. After we finished with that he wanted a banana shake and he wanted me to play music. I discovered he likes to dance a while back and we did some goofy dancing to Sheryl Crow and the Dixie Chicks. He likes my dance move where I put my hands together above my head and move my neck like an Egyptian. He is so cute when tries to move his head back and forth between his arms like I do. He delights in the smallest things (like running my battery-powered vacuum cleaner) and his cheerful nature is contagious. I feel lucky that he has become my little buddy.
Yovany has most likely never heard much American music. Though there are some beautiful Latin songs, most of the music played here is lovesick Latin stuff that starts to get monotonous after while. There was a TV screen playing music videos on the bus on the way to David. Almost every video was a male singer crooning about a woman. All the women in the background had gyrating butts and displayed sexual moves even worse than you see in the US. Panama and most of Central America (from what I hear) is a very sex oriented culture. Most attractive Latina’s love very high heeled shoes and wouldn’t go out to a nightclub in a pair of comfortable shoes like I wear. When in David the night before Paul arrived, I met a Panamanian musician at a local joint where I stopped for a beer. He was holding a guitar and harmonica. The juke box was playing repetitive Latin music and it stopped for a bit. From where he sat next to me on a barstool, the musician picked up his guitar and started singing “Yesterday” in English. He sounded nice but he soon got drowned out by someone blasting another Latin tune on the Jukebox. The musician said that happens to him quite often. I was surprised that often folks aren’t open to a new type of music. Seemed pretty rude to me. Anyway, it would be nice if I could broaden Yovany’s tastes in music and other things. Exposure is the best way.
Sure wish I had had the free time that I do now to spend with my daughter Jade when she was growing up. Unfortunately, working full time in the U.S. to pay the bills and handling my mom’s finances when she was sick took so much of my time and energy that my daughter got shorted. I was searching for a more simple way of life when I came to Panama and I found it, even though it took WAY longer than I could have dreamed it would to get here. I may not live a luxurious life now, but my time is my own and the stresses are much less (except for the border cross and any bureaucratic requirements I have to complete.)
Jade continues to do well in school. She is completing high school and also taking college classes. She has a boyfriend (who is going to college in downstate Michigan) that seems to care about her a lot. In fact, he keeps in touch with me better than she does. I look forward to when Jade is able to come and stay or at least visit here.