October and November are the rainiest months of the rainy season in Panama. Usually the mornings are sunny and beautiful. In the afternoon the clouds gather and by late afternoon it is likely to rain, sometimes with a huge downpour. That will soon settle down to a calmer rain though, which will stop sometime in the evening. People worry about the rainy season thinking it is constant rain but this is not the case at all.
But, the weather doesn’t always follow “the rules”. Yesterday morning was overcast and thunder could be heard in the distance. I took advantage of the cool, cloudy day to work in the yard and had a great day. It didn’t actually rain until very late in the afternoon. Today looked the same, cool and overcast so I put on my gardening clothes. I hardly got them on though and it started to rain, and it has been raining steadily ever since.
Rain isn’t cold here, just wet, and the temperature isn’t cold either. (It’s 75 at noon which for us is quite cool.) The gardener is hard at work in the neighbor’s yard (though I see he has a yellow plastic grocery bag over his head😀 ) and I’m sure other outdoor work is going on as well all over town.
The neighbor’s gardener wearing a grocery bag hat.
But, when it rains and you don’t have to go anywhere, what do you do? It’s a perfect time for relaxing in your hammock with a good book. For me, it’s a good time to catch up on correspondence, surf the net, sort photos, write on the blog, and do computer related things. I’m also getting organized for my upcoming trip to the US, and I can finish my latest painting that needs some final touches.
When I was sorting photos I found these of a parade downtown.
The religious parade passes in front of a casino.
Traffic is always bad downtown but this day with roads closed for the parade, it was all I could do to get through on my bike. The cars were having a much worse time of it.
This float was following the parade. Saint Francis?
I prefer the rainy season over the dry season. The rains stop in December which is convenient for Christmas. People can shop, visit, and celebrate without worry of getting soaked in the process. Schools are on summer vacation too, and don’t resume classes until early February. People tend to enjoy outdoor activities like swimming in the river and hiking in the countryside, and small temporary swimming pools pop up in people’s yards.
A squirrel checks out our bananas and decides they aren’t ready yet.
But, after weeks of no rain all the vegetation turns brown and crispy, and the days get hotter and hotter. Often water is in short supply and there are rolling water outages and restrictions on power usage (much of the power is hydroelectric) On some days the trade winds blow, and people in the mountains complain that on especially windy days they can barely get out of their houses. With the dry vegetation comes the brush fires. Houses are made of block with tin roofs so they don’t burn, but your plants and trees won’t fare so well. Last year a fire came up from below and went a little into our yard. Our citrus trees lost all their leaves from the heat and didn’t flower this year, so we don’t have fruit. They have recovered well though and should be back to fruiting next year.
By April we have been through a month or two of the hottest days of the year and we are anxiously waiting for the rains to come back. It’s a joy when the clouds come, the rains start, and the vegetation starts to turn green again.
The woods behind my house on a rainy day
I will close with a picture of this fantastic spider. Someone on the Panama Expat Facebook group posted a picture of one of these asking for help identifying it. It is an Orchid Mimicking Spider and one of the coolest spiders I’ve seen. I found this photo by google that lead me to a Pinterest link so I’m not sure where it originally came from.
Orchid Mimicking Spider
Just another day chillin in Panama…