After all of the men were in their work clothes they climbed over the fence, passed over their machete's and weed whacker's and began to cut the grass. A while later an older man with a large belly pulled up in a nice car and unlocked the gate to the property. For Panamanians it seems the larger their belly the more money they have, so we assumed this man was either the new owner of the house, a realtor, or banker. Turns out he works for the bank that owns the home now, since the previous owner defaulted on a loan. We know this for a fact since I suggested that my friendly husband go over and find out who he was and what was going on with this vacant house. The previous owner of our house told us he'd heard that the house across the road was owned by a lawyer, it was his weekend home from where he was selling drugs. After getting caught he was thrown in jail and the house was taken by the bank, and apparently that's whom it still belongs to.
Clyde was allowed to go into the vacant house and look around, carefully exploring both the inside and outside of the property. He reported back to me that the home has two bedrooms, one bathroom, no electrical outlets, no appliances, and no sinks or toilet. The kitchen is nothing more than a small counter top with no cabinets. The living room is also tiny with wires hanging out of the electrical outlets, as if someone ripped out the wiring. The backyard is small and taken up by a tiny in ground swimming pool and hot tub, that may or may not work. The front yard has an outdoor storage building and garage. Clyde said since the house seems to have no electricity it probably has no plumbing properly installed either making it a major fixer upper. The bank is offering a special deal on the house for the next 30 days at the low price of $90,000 and after that it goes up to $107,000. We're happy to see they want so much for the house which means it'll sit vacant for a long time giving the neighborhood more privacy.
If you remember we paid and unspecified amount for our house which has four bedrooms, three baths and sits on one acre of land. The inside is about 2,000 square feet we estimate, with a large kitchen that holds 18-feet of counter space and many cabinets. Outside we have a large, covered bohio area with barbecue that seats about 15-20 people. We have a caretaker's building to the back of the property with another full bathroom, along with another storage building. There's an outside sink and shower area for cleaning up after a day at the beach. The large wrap around porch is about ten feet wide and offers plenty of space for outdoor living close to the house. And let's not forget the hundreds of mature fruit trees, plants, shrubs, and flowers that line the fence line of this large, beautiful property. And some of the vintage furniture even came with the house like a mahogany dining table with eight leather and cherry chairs. A large hutch filled with handmade ceramic pottery that was made special for the previous owner, a well known name in the country. A large leather and cherry artisan type of bench sits in our entryway along with some other local handicrafts that came with the home too. So compared to the price of the house across the way, we got a bargain on this place.
Recently I asked our Panamanian Spanish teacher why workers change clothes on the job site, instead of just arriving in work clothes. She didn't really offer an explanation, just said that workers like to look nice and smell nice too. Panamanians seem to take much pride in how they look, regardless of how poor they are, they put their best food forward when out in public. Never do we see them looking dirty or disheveled, and they're clothing is always neat, clean and pressed.
Yesterday we took a break and went to see a movie at Westland Mall. We saw the movie "Gravity" for just $3.00 each, since we get in for half price being retiree's here. The movie was 3D in English with Spanish subtitles. We splurged an extra $3.00 for a large bucket of "Carmelo palomitas" or Carmel popcorn with another $2.75 for a large drink. So for $12 we had a day out at the movies with friends. There were maybe eight other people in the theater including the three other gringos sitting behind us. So from watching someone change clothes to watching someone in outer space it was just another busy day in Panama.....along the gringo trail.