Saturday night we enjoyed dancing the night away in Coronado, for CASA's Annual Christmas Party. CASA (Coronado Area Social Association) is a social group of expats living in the beach communities along the Pacific Coast. Once a year they party in style in a ballroom at the Coronado Golf Resort Complex. Inside the large ballroom we were treated to air conditioning all night long as we dined on a luxurious buffet, sipped cocktails and boogied to the musical sounds of Poco Loco's Rock & Roll Band. We kicked up our heels with nearly 200 other expats getting the chance to chat with many old friends and make new ones too. Looking around the room at this vivacious group of attractive people dressed to impress, I realized retirement is not what I expected. Women in stiletto heels, short dresses, long gowns with prominent cleavage on athletic, fit bodies is something that no one expects from grandmas.
|View of the event|
A great Rock and Roll Band!
|Yes, We danced|
Yesterday our adventures took us to an open air church in the little of village of Rodeo Viejo for a Panamanian style fiesta. Our young Panamanian Spanish teacher Jasmine has become a valuable source of information of all things local, besides helping us to improve our language skills. A while back she asked us if we'd like to attend a party at her church and pickup a few gifts for local kids from poor families. We agreed to buy for four children, two girls and two boys and said we'd be delighted to attend the fiesta. After all it would be a good way to give back a little something to the community and give us the opportunity to practice our Spanish too. I was a little reluctant to attend since I thought it would only be Clyde and I among a bunch of local kids, but I was wrong. Jasmine said about 30 of her gringo students will attend the celebration too.
|Church in Rodeo Viejo|
Meanwhile back at the fiesta, we arrived to find a group of expats standing around and a table full of presents. Jasmine greeted us with a hug and we soon found seats and watched as the party began. A group of 100 or more children sang songs for us before taking a swing at two piñata's. The girls had one that looked like a little girl, dressed in pink with blond hair. The boys had one that looked like a car, both were packed full of candy that splashed out once broken.
|piñatas ready to be "beat"|
|Ready for the piñata!|
|The girls getting their goodies!|
Jasmine came out dressed in a clown costume with two balloons in her backside to create a round rump. She and another women also donned in a clown costume entertained the kids with skits and humor before handing out the gifts. As Jasmine called up each child us gringo's picked up our gifts to give to them. We were thanked with a kiss on the cheek or hug from each grateful child who will enjoy a little something more for the holidays because of us. Clyde and I picked up gifts for two girls both 14 years old, and two boys ages 4 and 5.
|Our Spanish teacher|
|Never realized how|
"shapely" Jasmine is!
After the gift giving we were served a lunch of boiled yucca and beef along with sweet iced tea. The kids prepared the simple meal with love as their way of giving thanks for our time and money spent to make their holidays a little brighter. Jasmine prepared home-made, sugar free ice cream in coconut and passion fruit for her gringo friends as her Christmas gift to her students.
|Young lady getting her present|
mostly costume jewelry
|What a cutie!|
|You mean I have to kiss her to |
get my present?
|Santa's helper with her|
Carne and Yucca
Perhaps these special times with local kids are a replacement for the lost moments not spent with our own grandchildren back in the US or Canada? Or maybe just a way to leave a footprint in the sand of this beautiful country called Panama that we chose as our home......along the gringo trail.