Clyde is still making sawdust and I'm exercising, writing and buying $2.00 shoes which means, nothing is new here in Panama. Hence the idea that this is about nothing.
A new mall is under construction on the highway near La Chorrera and so far just one store is open. I've never before seen one store open before the rest of the mall, but this is Panama and things are different here. The store is called Madison Store and has four floors of great deals. Upon entering we were enticed with an array of colorful shoes from $1.99 to $2.99. Clyde actually encouraged me to look at them by pointing to some cute ones. I really didn't want to look at them, but to save our marriage and to make my husband happy, I bought, a few pairs of cheap shoes. The rows of shoes went on and on taking up much of the first floor of the store. We also noticed tons of purses, belts and other accessories along with Christmas trees and decorations.
Up the escalator to the second floor which seemed to be more clothing. The third floor was kids clothes along with toys. The fourth floor was housewares, furniture, domestics and more. After fighting our way through the crowds we paid for our stuff and headed out through the empty mall back to the car. On the way home while teasing me about my shoe purchases, Clyde mentioned that "maybe I need to find a job" since I have so much free time to buy shoes. Fortunately for me, because we are here on a Pensionado Visa we are not allowed to work in Panama.
Clyde is building a large computer desk for both of us to sit at, with cabinets underneath. Right now our computer is on a plastic lawn table with the accessories scattered around nearby. So it will be nice to have some order in this corner of our world and be able to empty out boxes of office supplies.
I am ready to hit the road and travel some more and have encouraged him, in a nice wifely way, to get done with the projects already. Yesterday we did take off to get lost for a few hours of exploring. We found a tiny fishing village on the beach, with a great view of the Pacific Ocean. The problem here was that the tide was out so far we would have had to walk for what looked like a mile to get our feet wet.
I had a second visit to the same dentist, this time to fix a small cavity. Since Dr. Luis likes to chat, I asked him how long he's been a dentist since he looks like he's 18 years old. Turns out he's been a dentist for five years after spending SIX years in the university dental program. He went on to say that as soon as kids here graduate high school, they immediately go to the university with no break in between. His schedule during that time was from 7am until 7pm with classes and hands on training, which he said is harder than dental programs in the U.S. According to Dr. Luis, many people from the U.S. come here to Panama to study dentistry because the training is more intense with much more time actually working on patients. In one of my many past careers, I studied cosmetology and was licensed when I lived in New Hampshire. During my time in beauty school I really enjoyed the hands on training on real customers much more than the classroom time. So I understand what my dentist was saying about learning so much more working on real patients while in dental school. Just in case you're wondering, the cost of having a cavity filled was $34.00 and of course that's with no insurance.
We rarely eat pizza but have recently tried a few pizza places here to see how Panamanians do pizza. Apparently they do pizza without red sauce of any kind. They top it with cheese and other stuff including fish since it's abundant here, but no marinara sauce. We stopped at a place called Pizza Express and ordered a Hawaiian pizza which came with the usual ham and pineapple but also included a sprinkling and cinnamon. Another time we stopped an Italian chain called Leonardo's for pizza. We ordered a combo which came with black and green olives, a bunch of meats but no veggies and no sauce of any kind. The pizza here is still good, just no sauce. On a recent trip to the grocery store I priced spaghetti sauce and they are a bit high here. The pre-made jars like Ragu sold for $4.00 and up, so perhaps that's why locals don't use the stuff for pizza.
Yesterday a man came to the door selling perfumes. It's times like these that "no habla espanol" comes in very handy. Clyde listened to his sales pitch then said no thanks and sent him on his way.
Playa Gorgona is a beach community about 20 minutes down the road. We headed over that way this afternoon, parked and walked along the deserted beach. Other than a few stray dogs lying on the beach, we didn't see another human being and had the beach all to ourselves. The sand was a pretty mix of black and cream colors swirled together like a marble cake. Free of seaweed and trash, the pristine beach was inviting as the warm, waves of the Pacific splashed onto the shore.
News Flash.......tonight Clyde stepped outside to put his shoes on. Since I'm a clean freak and don't like dirty floors, we take our shoes off outside. Most of our shoes are flip flops or sandals but Clyde went to put on his boat shoes and felt immediate pain. He pulled out his foot and out ran a big scorpion! I heard him outside sputtering curse words and went to see what was wrong. Just then he said "look what just got me," and there was the scorpion on the ground. We scooped up the scorpion in a plastic container with cover, and got online to research it. Clyde was in pain so I suggested that we head over to the local doctor that he'd seen before. We took the scorpion with us and off we went.
The clinic is just minutes from our house and when we arrived the doctor was just sitting in his office with no other patients, so we went right in. He told us that this particular scorpion was common here and not poisonous. The doctor got up from his desk and rummaged through a pile of stuff on a shelf. He pulled out a jar that contained a huge, thick, furry scorpion floating in liquid. He informed us that this is what a poisonous scorpion looked like for future reference. After checking Clyde's vital signs, he wrote a prescription for a pain killer and Allegra, in case he had an allergic reaction. Next door to the clinic is a pharmacy that sold us two doses of each drug. The doctor's visit was $6.00 and the drugs about $10.00, which was a small price to pay for our peace of mind. And a valuable lesson learned that next time we will turn the shoes upside down before putting them on, just in case there's a furry creature taking a nap inside.
Despite his foot pain, Clyde insisted that we continue with our plans of heading out for margarita's at a local Mexican restaurant. After a half price margarita and some good food, we headed home to elevate his foot.
Living in the tropics we expected to find creepy, crawlers around but rarely see any bugs. Other than an occasional fly, ant, spider or lizard we're rarely bothered by pests. But if we learn something new everyday then today's lesson is check shoes before inserting foot. Because we have to keep our feet healthy so we can keep walking, exploring, and plodding along where ever the road may lead next ....along the gringo trail.