Today is "Dia antes de Navidad" or the day before Christmas here in Panama. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining and it's a hot, humid 80 degrees at only 8am.
People always ask us now that we don't work any more, what it is that we do all day. Let's take yesterday for example. We left the house around 9:30am to head for the gym. After working out for a little over an hour we changed and took a dip in the pool with our friend Daniel. Since we were all hungry we stopped for a cheap lunch at "El Pamparo", a typical Panamanian style place where we had grilled chicken and fries for $4.00. From there the men needed to stop at a local "ferreteria" or hardware store for a few things then we stopped at Daniel's house a minute so Clyde could borrow a tool. Clyde and I needed a few things from El Machetazo, Panama's version of a department store after which we made it back home by 3:30pm.
Once inside we threw our wet stuff into the dryer, pulled the workout clothes out of our bag for the hamper and put away the groceries we had bought. I gathered all the ingredients to make a "scratch" "torte de zanahorrias" also known as high calorie, lots of fat and sugar carrot cake. Since we'll have 10 people here tonight for Christmas Eve I opted for the full calorie version instead of the healthier choice which resulted in a much smaller cake. I think the last time I made a carrot cake from scratch my now 30 year old daughter was a toddler. After hours of cooling the cake in the fridge I made cream cheese frosting and spread it over the top and sides of the cake. When I was only half way through
it began to soften and melt due to the heat and humidity here. Good thing I wasn't using a frosting bag and decorating a fancy cake where the frosting needs to stay at a certain firmness. It would never work in this heat. I used to do cake decorating back in my "fat days" when I was in retail management running a craft department.
While I was baking Clyde worked on unclogging the toilets using a toilet snake and replacing the rubber seals, which involved taking up the whole toilet. Then he cleaned the window screens from the house with a hose outside, since they had some sawdust on them from his woodworking projects. We nibbled on some cheese, crackers and meat for dinner before plopping into the lazy-boy to watch a Christmas movie. I fell asleep after a while and finally crawled into bed around 10pm. And people wonder WHAT we do all day!
Thursday was two for one margarita night at our friend's Mexican Restaurant. We joined five other expats for drinks and dinner. Stephanie, one of the owners of the restaurant moved here with her husband from Austin, TX and brought a dog. She was describing how her dog hates his life here in Panama since fireworks are part of everyday life and the dog shakes constantly. The dog is on constant alert, and lives in between the toilet and the sink in the bathroom most of the time. When he's up against her it's like having a personal massager due to his constant shaking and she wonders if he'll ever get used to his new environment. Stephanie, wide eyed and animated went on telling this story with every detail. My silly husband got to laughing so hard that he and his chair fell over sidewards to the ground. He said it was because the leg of the plastic lawn chair he was sitting on got caught in the gravel on the ground and tipped him over. And he swears that it had absolutely nothing to do with the amount of margaritas he had downed thus far. He suggested I add here that he was not injured during the fall, or perhaps was feeling too good to notice? (Clyde here) Actually I told her to "act like a caring wife" and mention that I was not hurt. Yeah right!
Tonight we are having some of our new expat friends over to celebrate Christmas Eve. The evening includes a "white elephant swap" along with a potluck dinner and who knows what else. Included in the group are some Canadians, some Swiss Germans, and the rest being from the good ole USA. Some good food, local rum, margaritas and good company will help make the night enjoyable.
And since the locals celebrate the birth of Christ at midnight with fireworks that probably go on all night long, we don't expect to get much sleep tonight. But I'm sure we'll have lots of stories to tell as we experience our "First Christmas on the Isthmus" here in Panama.....along the gringo trail.
A very Merry Christmas.....Feliz Navidad.....to all of our family, friends, new acquaintances and those we don't know yet, that are enjoying our blog-ful of adventures here in our new home in Panama. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement about the blog and our decision to move our lives here. Keep reading and we'll keep exploring as you journey with us..... Along the Gringo Trail.