Saturday, May 11, 2013

Still "dry" season

The weather seems to tease us at times; several sunny days with a light breeze, then the clouds roll in with the anticipation of rain. Nada. Up to 10,000 cattle could die in the Azueros alone if the rains don't start soon. Everywhere is looking brown and tired. The humidity isn't overly bad, and we all love the sun, but some days of rain would so much better for those cattle, the grass, the flowers, and the dusty roads. The winds are now consistently from the south-east so all is set for the next season.

There is no reason to complain about weather here. Yes, the extremes of heat and rain may trouble some, but overall you will hear very little about weather except when it concerns the crops and cattle. I am anticipating our landscaping start, and all we have so far is a drawing! My dream for the back area (which looks huge!) is still a little further off, and I wonder how we can swing a start on it.

The water issues seem to be resolving nicely. This past week, pressure has been consistent and the water is a tad cooler since it has been drawn directly from the well(s). Our own system is working a little better too now that the pressure is constant. Our builder must have cross-wired or something, but Pedro wants us to await the final electrical connection before interfering with that pump. We are  the only house with this problem - why me? A few more houses complete over the next few months, and in fact one couple are scheduled to move in next week. The community grows slowly but steadily. Unfortunately, we now know that some lots were bought with no intention to build! I thought we were buying into a residential development, not an investment opportunity. We'll see how this plays out.

Our cats are interacting more and more as Cagney slowly improves, and Mitizi grows bigger and more daring. The entertainment is worth any movie! Mostly, a little chasing, some rolling over and over, a bit of chewing on arms, legs, necks or whatever, and the occasional complaint in the form of a squeak. Mitzi has discovered the cat toybox, and we frequently find piles of litle toys everywhere in the Great Room.

Daily life has a rhythym now...the highlight of the week often being the visit of the 'vegetable truck' on Thursday. The driver stops at several locations around town, loaded with freshly picked veggies and some fruits. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a firm lettuce, a cucumber, two tomatoes, six carrots, and a pineapple for under $5.00....a bargain as food prices have been steadily rising in Panama over the past two years. The trick is to find that darn truck each Thursday am as there is no time frame and once empty, the driver leaves. There are also 'fish' trucks that visits our development from time to time; they usually have huge prawns, and sometimes white fish, so I am on the lookout for those guys now. Groceries here probably compare to the US. We have a choice of where to shop; the little local markets carry some basics, but prices fluctuate and we have to rely on whatever arrived that week; The 'Super Carne', the '99' and 'Rey' are set up similar to a North American supermarket, but we found the odour in the first two took some getting used to. Beef and pork are not aged for 28 days here, and the meat is fresh - sometimes killed the same day as it is sold - so there is that pervading odour of bloody meat. 'Rey' does not have that odour problem although they also have a huge meat and cheese counter. I have found that to buy anything wrapped in plastic (for the pleasure of the expats) I will pay at least twice what I pay when I go to the counter and request my chicken, meat, cheese etc. As the servers rarely know any English this was a challenge at first, but now I am an old hand and if all else fails, I just point and hold up fingers to indicate how many.  I estimate we average about $75 per week for all supplies, including groceries. In Canada that amount was climbing well over $100 each week!

The house grows more comfortable each week. We now have draperies as well as blinds in most rooms (not bathrooms) and the finished effect is an improvement. My sewing machine has had a goodworkout, and I am delighted to have it here. Soon I can get back to my knitting - still two sweaters to finish before Christmas! We are on the lookout for a small dining set for our dining area, but there is no hurry as we eat outside all the time anyway! Our artisan pal, Israel, will make us a couple of benches for the outside table soon.

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