Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Preparing for Travel

With less than three weeks to a visit to Canada, I spent much of last week making appointments, making lists, and planning various social calls. Also, our good friends, Tom and Theresa, were in town for an 11-day visit to their casa. Nice to be so busy!

There are several professionals I need to see each trip to Canada, mostly medical and dental. That is all arranged for now, so I can look to my social agenda. With little time available, and so many people I would love to see, I have whittled the list a bit, and selected those I think I am closest to, and let all know dates and possibilities. Once there, I can call and firm up meetings. This is the best part of going away now; visiting with family and friends, catching up on gossip amid much laughter. I had a great time last Christmas with old high school cronies - and I really mean "old". HAH!

Spending time with Tom and Theresa turned out to be a lot of laughs and sharing. We had a fantastic evening at Segreto, enjoying a gourmet meal plus dessert, and another lazy, marvellous afternoon having lunch at El Sitio in Venao. We were able to watch the surfers as the tide came in, so our timing was perfect. The large cove is perfect for surfing!. There was also a community meeting with the developer of Costa Pedasi, and that turned out to be cooperative and informative. Our development had slowed with the economic downturn but seems to be finally catching up now.

I have begun the research and study for the Conscious Aging course which I plan to facilitate. It is highly relevant to both of us, and I know with the aging demographic, there are many who would benefit and enjoy the workshops. I am eager to get this going, but my market here may be limited, and in Canada, there will be more opportunity. All in good time! I have a few books I need to read for background, plus lesson prep to do, so time is needed anyway before I am ready.

Chris and I still enjoy our pool exercise and daily swim - such a miracle that I actually do swim (sort of!). Mitzi continues to be a little devil at times in her own endearing way, and Cagney has livened up lately -who knows why? Our outdoor kitties visit often, and Spaz and Lucy (renamed Lucius, Luke, Lucas) stay here much of the time with their steady supply of food, water, and toys. We are keen to get them "fixed" and immunized but getting them to the vet may be impossible.

Meanwhile, we are talking of getting some cash together for that wee casita and the back landscaping. Such a wait to gather money! There never seems to be enough lately. Prices are rising in Panama - the influx of foreigners is blamed. Food costs have gone up for most groceries since we have been here. Electricity now costs us about $130 a month, water is around $75 and we pay $71 for satellite. Some rents have risen, but a decent two bedroom should cost less than $1000 per month close to town. We buy a large ice-cream cone for $1.25, and coffee or tea probably costs around $1.35. Beer has risen to $1.00 or more in some places. One local restaurant now charges much more, which is lessening its popularity, even with the gringos! We can get our diesel fuel for the car for just under $1.00 per litre is we shop around, and regular unleaded runs about $1.25 or so most days. These prices do not vary from day to day, and there seems to be no competitive spirit from one outlet to another.

The weather is on the turn to rainy/wet season for sure. The wind still varies, but is reversing direction more and more. The days are a bit cooler but some days are very humid still! Most of the rain falls at night which is ideal, and the daytime rain is usually light with no need for an umbrella. Worse will come later in the year! Our pool thermometer has dropped to around 80F/30C and daily temperatures run around 30C. All in all, not bad!

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