Where in the World….

Where in the world is the blogger on this site?

I don’t know what happens. I keep busy every day and the days fly by. We may be retired in a beautiful place but we aren’t tourists. It’s regular life with chores and errands and routine stuff that needs to get done.

The car is misbehaving. The temperature gage randomly says it’s hot when it’s not. The mechanic nearby fixed everything on the list but this was still malfunctioning. So we took it to our regular guy in the next town which means time to take it in, and time to pick it up, and it’s still misbehaving *sigh*.

The dog needed her nails cut. She has black nails and I can’t see the quick so I’m afraid to cut them, so I get the vet to do it.

I got a new bass. It was a great find brought about by a series of lucky coincidences, but it involved a few days of repairs, cleanup, refinishing, and adjustments. And our Sunday gigs need preparation, practice, load up and set up, an evening of playing, tear down, loading …. you get the idea. And we also managed to have a band practice during the week for the first time in a while.

We had 2 1/2 weeks between our Belize trip and our USA trip for all this. No wonder I haven’t had much free time! We also fit in a supermarket run, some socializing, and some exercise. Hopefully things will be a little calmer when we get back.

Now I am in the USA with family, and we’re having a wonderful time! But we are also plenty busy with two active, energetic grandkids in the family. I have a moment here while the little one is at the doctor about her broken leg. She’s amazing though. She can hop all over on one foot, run around with the walker like nobody’s business, and she has looked up YouTube videos on her own by other kids with broken bones, so she has lots of information and tips on how to cope. It’s interesting to see how both kids use the internet extensively to look up information and learn new things.

The family has returned now with good news. my granddaughter has a walking boot and can start resuming normal activity as tolerated! yay! It’s been a tough few weeks.

I think I’ll close now and go back to playing with the kids. Maybe next week I’ll have some time to check in again. I hope all is well with you all out there! Take good care of yourselves and each other.

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Belize, the Party Boat

Yes, more boating, more time on the water! The main purpose of this trip, along with all the other fun stuff, was to celebrate Jane’s birthday. Tuesday was the day and Jane known how to organize a day in style. There’s a TV show called Below Decks about a luxury yacht. Of course there are various dramas and problems that make the show, but the guests who pay to be pampered hopefully know nothing about that and only have a great time. I felt like one of those guests!

It’s a house boat so there’s room to move around easily and it’s stable and smooth in the water. There’s a kitchen, front room area, a space for sitting on the front, and bathrooms and more space in the back. There’s also an upper deck with a covering for just hanging out and relaxing.

There was fresh fruit and juices waiting for us when we arrived. That’s the birthday girl in the second picture, and the upper deck in the third picture. We also had rum fruit punch, or rum pineapple ginger punch (my favorite) to sip on as we cruised along on the water. Gus was our tour guide and captain again, assisted by Leon and two lovely girls who spent most of the day in the kitchen.

We were taken to a swimming spot where they put out floating toys for us to relax on. There were also paddle boards and kayaks for anyone who wanted to use them. Leon, the assistant would walk out with a glass of whatever you wanted to drink, and chips and salsa was served on the water. Talk about feeling spoiled. Your every wish was attended to just for the asking.

Meanwhile, the girls were inside making a delicious lunch for us – tacos, chicken, beans, rice (with lime and cilantro – SO good), coleslaw, and a large assortment of salsas and condiments. I need to research Belizean food. There’s a lot of things I would love to have at home.

They guys were late for lunch because they went off fishing. But, they came back with a number of good sized fish which they cleaned and cooked on the spot. That’s a fresh as fish can possibly be! And of course, it was also delicious.

OH! I forgot! Yesterday on that boat trip when we went snorkeling, after we left the marine park Gene, the assistant, went diving for conch. He found quite a few, and they were cleaned and chopped and made into ceviche on the spot. They had a jar of chopped cucumber, tomato, and onion. They added the conch and lots of lime juice, and served it with corn chips. It was SO good. Our new comment which was used often is “this does not suck!”

So, back to the birthday party, we swam, ate lunch, ate fish, sipped punch, and hung out as the boat made it’s way through the water on a beautiful day. Meanwhile the girls made really yummy banana fritters for all of us. I’m glad I only ate a couple because then it was time for singing, well wishing, and birthday cake! Happy Birthday Jane, and thank you for including us in this wonderful celebration.

As we headed home, we passed quite a few of these fish traps. Gene explained that the fish swim along the shore, then along the fence which leads them into the enclosure through a funnel, and then they can’t find their way out. If there are pelicans on the fence there are fish, since any sensible pelican will appreciate the ease of catching fish in an enclosure. In the other picture you can see a distant island, Blackadore Caye. It belongs to Leonardo de Caprio. He wanted to make an eco friendly resort but they have been working on it for years and it’s still not ready. We also passed quite a few other resorts. They look beautiful but isolated, and some haven’t been finished or realized their investor’s dreams for whatever reason.

So, after a most enjoyable day with all our new friends, we made it back to the hotel for another nice dinner. We’re very happy with the Sunbreeze Hotel, and with the Blue Water Grill that is on site. It’s really nice to have such a comfortable place to land, and such an excellent restaurant. We’ve gotten to know most of the staff too and we’ve had a great time chatting with them and getting to know them.

It’s Thursday afternoon now, and we will head home tomorrow morning. As always, even after a really fun trip, it’s good to get home again. And for more good news, my granddaughter is doing well with her broken leg and probably won’t need any further treatment. Now her biggest problem seems to be boredom, and they are trying to get her back to school and back to whatever other normal activities she can manage.

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More Boating in Belize

It seems like all we have done is go out on boats, but when you’re in a beautiful place known for the clear water, a huge coral reef, and a marine park, why not.

We had an all day trip planned but we weren’t sure when, until I got a message on Monday to be ready to go at 10:30. The boat picked us up at the dock of the hotel where we are all staying, and headed out to the coral reef for some snorkeling while we snacked on fresh fruit. Many thanks to Sharon and her GoPro camera for these photos, and to Gus, our awesome tour guide, who also took some of these photos. There’s a young nurse shark, a barracuda that we found hanging out under the boat, a turtle, a ray, and other various fish we saw along the way.

The water was relatively calm but you still got rolled around a bit, and eventually it made me queasy. The guys on the boat made me coca cola with lime, and I was surprised at how much it helped, and very quickly.

It was interesting that on our way out we were met by an official who handed us arm bands. That said that our tour had paid the fees for going into the marine park. Our tour guide said they are a different color every day and you never know which color is coming next, which makes it hard to cheat the system.

Next stop – Shark Ray Alley where we could swim with sharks. I know it sounds creepy but they are harmless nurse sharks. They are still pretty big though. They have learned to come when they hear the boat because Gus had fish to toss to them. I was still a little queasy so getting back in the water wasn’t appealing, and I probably had a better view from the boat anyway.

Next, we headed off to Caye Caulker, a nearby island, for lunch. Joel drove the boat, I drove the boat, everyone got a chance to drive the boat! It wasn’t exactly hard – just keep it pointed in that general direction. ha! Gene was blowing on a conche shell, and Gus was conferring with Joel at the helm.

Lunch on the island was a traditional meal passed through a window at a little hole in the wall place by a nice lady, and we ate at a picnic table on the beach. Beans and rice, potato salad, chicken, a piece of fried plantain, and it was really really good. Sometimes you just can’t beat street food.

After lunch we set off to explore a few things on the island. The first stop was to feed the tarpon. They are protected so people don’t eat them, but they hang around in an area where people clean their fish and feed them scraps. We were taught to hold the tail of a fish between your thumb and knuckle of your first finger, and hold it over the water. The fish jump out of the water and smack your hand pretty hard when they grab the fish, but with your hand held flat they can’t bite you.

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/3j1_mbhSq0o (I don’t know why this one won’t embed, but the link works)

Here’s a few pictures of the tarpon area. Then, we walked to another area where they had nets in the water to help the vegetation and coral grow. That kind of striped thing in the middle of the 4th picture is a sea horse. I walked to the end of that dock and saw a ray swimming away.

Then it was back on the boat for the ride home, while sipping delicious rum fruit punch.

This was a very good day! There’s still more to come, but I’ll leave that for another post.

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Boating and More in Belize

We’ve been in Belize for a few days now and had quite a few adventures. Most of them have involved boats and water. We have been very lucky with the weather. They had days of heavy downpours and it looked like a swamp in many areas when we arrived in the Belize City area. But, since we have been here the weather has been gorgeous with sunny blue skies. We were caught in a shower on Saturday but it didn’t last long and the weather cleared up soon after.

We arrived Friday evening. Saturday we had breakfast at the hotel, a traditional Belizean breakfast of scrambled eggs, beans, sausage, and fry jack. Fry jack is made of a flour dough that is rolled thin and fried in very hot oil. It puffs up like a pillow and it’s very light and yummy. They served jelly to put on it but my favorite was stuffing it with the eggs and beans, which were also delicious. The other pictures are views from the hotel restaurant, and some Belizean money we were given in change. One Belize dollar is $.50 US money, but US money is readily accepted everywhere.

After breakfast we walked around town a bit to get a feel for the area and the town. Everyone here drives golf carts. The only vehicles are taxis. You have to watch your step because the golf carts come whizzing down the street, sometimes a lot of them. The streets are cobblestone, and there are sidewalks but not many. But, it was interesting walking around town and checking out some of the shops.

We had fun visiting shops and looking around. Everyone was really nice, but it’s obvious that this is a tourist area and they depend a lot on tourists for their livelihood. It’s off season and they are just coming out of the pandemic so I’m sure a lot of them are really hurting, and they really really encouraged us to buy what they were offering.

When we got back to the hotel, it was about time for the sunset cruise. I don’t know why I don’t have pictures of the boat, but I had a couple pictures of the sunset which was very beautiful. There is a huge coral reef out there which keeps the water calm. We were told it can get windy but the reef prevents waves of any size from forming on this side of the reef.

I’d better get busy and post about whatever else we have been doing because it’s starting to become a blur! Maybe that’s what happens when you spend a lot more time having fun than talking about it.

It is now Wednesday, and we’re taking day to chill and catch up with things. News from home is good. My granddaughter is feeling better and having much less pain. I hope they are happy enough with the alignment of the bones that they don’t have to do anything more to her. We shall see. Monday they put on this cast, the prettiest I think I’ve ever seen. She is up in a wheelchair now and is starting to learn how to manage with crutches. And, last night she had a bath, and real bath in the bathtub! Word is that she doesn’t smell like the hamster any more. 😁

So, that’s a bit more of what has been going on around here. More to come….

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Vacation in Belize

We are in Belize, specifically in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, an island off the east coast of Belize on the Caribbean side. We arrived Friday evening and it’s now Monday so we have been here for a couple fun days.

San Pedro is the blue dot. Right above us is the border of Mexico, between Bacalar Chico and Xcalak.

We were supposed to meet my California daughter and her mother in law here for a birthday bash of a friend of my daughter, but my granddaughter broke her leg and my daughter didn’t want to leave under those circumstances. But, since the trip was mostly paid for and for us, very close by, we decided to come anyway. We took a one hour flight from David to Panama City, then a 2 hour flight from Panama City to Belize City, and 1 1/2 hour ferry ride from there to San Pedro, and then a golf cart for a few blocks to our hotel.

It was a beautiful evening for a ferry ride.

The first thing we noticed is that Belize is very serious about their COVID safety measures. You need a negative test to come in even if you are fully vaccinated. Your info is carefully checked on arrival and social distancing is strictly enforced while waiting to clear customs and other activities at the airport. Masks are required everywhere at all times, unless you are seated at your table in a restaurant. There are sinks with soap and water, or disinfecting spray outside of every place which you need to use before you enter. You can be asked to prove your vaccination status at any restaurant before you will be allowed in. There is a curfew in place from 9pm – 4am.

The first picture is waiting to clear immigration at the airport. The second is outside the airport with a few of the many Mennonite people who we learned live in Belize. The others are a couple of the hand washing sinks around town.

We made it to the hotel and found it’s a very nice one! They even scattered flowers on the bed and in the bathroom. There is a restaurant on site that looks out on to the water. I had shrimp ceviche and a fancy rum drink (hey, when in Belize…) The last photo doesn’t do the scene any justice at all, but the full moon shining through the coconut palms and on to the water was gorgeous. The evening was warm and balmy with a light breeze, and you really felt like you were in a paradise resort.

So, not a bad first glimpse of Belize. There will be more to come!

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Nine Years

It’s a week of anniversaries. Both of my daughters celebrated their wedding anniversaries, and yesterday was 9 years since I landed in Panama to live. In a way it seems to have gone very quickly, and in another way I feel so at home it’s like I have been here a very long time. I think about people I know and things I’ve done, and realize I’m remembering things from quite a few years ago. Some of the little kids I first met are now taller than their parents.

They say there is a honeymoon phase when you move. Everything is new and wonderful and you love everything about your new home. Then reality sets in. It’s been quite the opposite for me. It was hard when I first got here. I didn’t know how to get things done or where to find things. My Spanish wasn’t great and I had a hard time understanding people. Now though, I’ve done most things many times, and I know who to ask if I need help with something new. My Spanish is good enough that I can manage almost any situation, and if I’m missing a word I can usually describe the thing well enough to be understood.

But, the novelty hasn’t worn off either. There’s always something new and interesting. Reloj is the word for watch or clock. I learned it’s also the word for the gas and temperature gages in the car. But, at least I had enough words to describe the situation – the gas and temperature are crazy! He replaced the sensor in one and the line in the other, and now they are no longer crazy. My friend brought me a strange dessert with pieces of jello and bits of fruit in some kind of sweet foam. She explained that you freeze milk, then put it in the blender with jello. Then you get a mold, put in fruit and pieces of jello, and then add the milk/jello part and put in the fridge for a few hours. When you are ready to eat you turn it right side up on a plate, and there you go. Milk and jello? That’s a new one but it makes a very nice dessert.

I still find this country incredibly beautiful, even views I’ve seen hundreds of times. Today I set off on my bike to do an errand, and the sky was gorgeous!

Yesterday we went to Boquete for a gig. When we got part way up the light rain cleared and sun peeked out through the clouds, which caused an intense rainbow in the other horizon. This was taken through the window of a moving car but you can still get the general idea.

I could go on and on about all the things I love to see, starting with my own backyard. I’ve planed a lot of flowers and plants, and I enjoy the birds, bugs, and other wildlife that visits here. The weather is pleasant enough that I can spend all the time I want on the terrace. And, best of all life is generally chill. People are super nice, the pace is slower, and nobody stresses out about much of anything.

Oh, and Panama beat the USA in soccer last night. They had the game on TV in the brewery where we played last night, and we got to see the final score on one of our breaks. I was happy to see this little country get their name and success in the news.

When I arrived I didn’t know for sure that this would even work out, so I never though ahead to this many years. Now though, who knows. We have no intention of leaving and I feel like I can look ahead to many more years here. We are so thankful every day.

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What’s Up?

Regular life, with a few interesting things thrown in. That’s what’s up around here these days.

One big thing was an article written about me on Marketwatch. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/i-never-expected-to-retire-to-panama-but-we-are-living-very-comfortably-on-1-200-a-month-11633001564 You only get one article before they want you to subscribe, so I’m sorry if you can’t see it. Silvia Ascarelli wrote it and we had a wonderful time talking with each other and found we had a lot of interests in common. The article was factual and well written, and I was very happy with it.

It’s funny though when you have a couple days of fame. I heard from people I hadn’t talked with in ages. A big argument broke out in the Facebook group of expats because someone thought you can’t possibly live here on $1200/month (well no, not in Panama City where it’s much more expensive). I walked into the Brewery to set up for our gig on Sunday. “Hey aren’t you…?” Yeah, that’s me. I had a big uptick in blog visits, followers, requests to promote things, and Facebook friend requests (which I limit to people I actually know)

Speaking of Facebook, what was that yesterday?! Messenger didn’t work either, but I can contact people on WhatsApp. Nope, not that either, or Instagram. We had to use old fashioned phone calls! Panama seems to run on WhatsApp for communication so that must have been a problem for a lot of people. Instagram is also heavily used, especially among the younger people. We don’t realize how much we rely on these things until they don’t work, and when they are based on the same business and it all goes down, then we really see it.

Speaking of Instagram, a notice popped up Friday evening that our friend Arya was live. When I went to check, I saw that he was with his band Hashtag at the brewery. We don’t get up there much to see other bands since we drive up enough for our own band, so this was great. We were able to virtually go to their gig and hear them from our living room on our TV. Technology can do some cool stuff.

Panama is doing well with COVID. The numbers continue to go down and the news said recently that 74% of people are fully vaccinated. It was just announced that people over 55 will be able to get booster shots. Curfews have been lifted, and temperatures are no longer taken in every business you enter. Everyone continues to wear masks though and follow social distancing, and alcohol gel is available at the entrance to every business.

Back to the subject of articles, I came across this good one about a guy who was able to retire earlier by leaving the USA for less expensive places to live. He decided to land in Panama. Our friend Jackie Lange from the Panama Relocation Tours provided a lot of information for the article. https://time.com/nextadvisor/investing/retirement/leaving-the-country-to-retire-early/?fbclid=IwAR3a7dyymM9WzQtp9s35ZgFOaIxQciW36CBwSzZ-06FT7g1LXSpt-f75MFQ

I got a list of things done on my bike – new front wheel, new tubes in both tires, painted the front fork, new chain, new brakes, new gear changers, and adjusted everything so it works great now. Total $78, and they even painted the basket on the front. Now that things aren’t squeaking and rattling and it’s so much more fun to ride, I’ll have to take it out a lot more often. I know it’s not fancy but it’s served me well for many years and we have a lot of history together, so I’m rather attached to my bike.

I think that’s about all that’s going on with us at the moment. We were locked down for so long because of COVID, and I think it’s taking a while to get back to living like we used to. But we’re getting out more now, the band is playing again, and I have tickets to see the family again next month. It feels good!

I hope all is well with you all out there! Take good care of yourselves and each other.

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Things that Make You Smile

It’s been a while, I know. But, it’s just been regular daily life around here, nothing out of the ordinary. But there’s lots to smile about every day and we are very thankful.

Today we went for a bike ride, and a cable to my gear changer broke so I couldn’t down shift. We pulled over by the side the road to see if we could figure out the problem. In a few minutes a man walked up to us to ask if we were having a problem with the bike. He said he has tools in his house nearby and maybe he could help.

I’ve talked many times about the sense of community I feel here, the sense that you are never alone. I can’t count the number of times total strangers offered help. I was looking at my tablet one day and a guy pulled over to ask if I was lost and looking for directions. We had a dead battery and it wasn’t 2 minutes before someone pulled over to offer a jump. I could fill pages with stories like this.

Also, there are the greetings. It is customary to exchange a greeting with everyone you pass on the street, in a bus, in a office, anywhere you encounter other people. I don’t know if you can fully understand how this feels until you have experienced it. After living in this culture, I miss it when I’m away.

We have lived in this same house and neighborhood for almost 9 years now, and we have seen increasing prosperity around us. You see fewer old funky cars. So many homes have been upgraded with terraces, extra rooms, covered parking areas, or other improvements. There has also been a lot of new construction. So except for the temporary standstill caused by COVID, it feels like there has been steady upward progress and a middle class that is thriving.

And, speaking of COVID, the country is doing well. The numbers of cases and hospitalizations have been steadily dropping. and the recent news reports that more than 5.3 doses of vaccine have been given (Panama has about 4.4 million people, about 3 million over 18 years old). They also just announced a vaccine tourism program. Anyone over 30 can come and spend two nights in a hotel and get a vaccine (they must follow all the entry and quarantine requirements). Panama thinks this might boost tourism and make vaccines available to neighbors who may be having a hard time getting a vaccine. They think the supply here is good enough that this won’t impact the people here.

Anyway, enough on that subject! We were all beyond tired of it a year ago. Other things – I “redecorated” my room a bit. My grandkids had some art saved for me when I visited, and we did some more together so I recently put it up on the walls of my office or practice room.

Well not really an office since my main office is outdoors on the terrace. How nice to be able to use this outdoor office all the time. Once in a while an afternoon is too hot, or there is some invasion of bugs, but that’s unusual. I can usually enjoy the terrace anytime of day or night. It’s rainy season now and I also enjoy sitting on the terrace and watching the rain. Yesterday though, oh my goodness what a rain that was!

Last night the band played also (thankfully the crazy rain died down before we had to leave). We usually play on Sundays, but the Saturday band was out of town so we covered for them. What a night! There was a good crowd and people were dancing and singing along and having a wonderful time. I feel like we spent so much time practicing when we were locked in the house, and now we have a few weeks of playing out under our belts, and things are really coming together. And then, to be that well received by the audience, it’s great.

So, we have a lot of things to smile about. Right now it’s Sunday, early afternoon, and I’m outside on the terrace. The family next door is chatting on their terrace with grandma who is visiting for the weekend. The neighborhood has it’s usual sounds of birds, a dog barking, a rooster down the street, and a lawn mower. It’s sunny, about 87, so I have a small fan next to me, but the clouds are starting to gather so it will cool off in a while. It’s a good life and we are very thankful!

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Fishing Tournament

No, I didn’t go fishing. I know absolutely nothing about fishing. But, they wanted music in the afternoon for the contestants, so that’s why we were at a fishing tournament.

The day was absolutely gorgeous so we enjoyed the drive down. It was only 30-45 minutes from home on good roads, through pretty little towns and neighborhoods, until we ended up near the water.

First though, before enjoying the scenery, we had to do our thing. A new place is always a bit of a challenge as we figure out where we are going to put everything so it works for us. Then we seem to be plagued with equipment gremlins lately. We were hardly into the first minutes of the first song when we blew the fuses, and they had to run more electric cords to us so share the load. But, that worked. Then part way though one of our PA speakers decided to quit. Thankfully the other one was loud enough to make up for it. (Why does everything work fine at home, and then weird things happen when we are out??)

We were under the red tent and there were some vendors on either side of us. There were also people selling food and drinks on site. The crowd wasn’t big but the people were enthusiastic, and took a lot of photos, selfies, and videos. Many talked with us to say they appreciated the music, told us about some of their favorite songs and bands, and we made some new friends.

I loved seeing the area and I went down to the water on every break to stretch my legs and enjoy the beautiful views.

The clouds were gorgeous in the afternoon! This isn’t open Pacific water so it’s calm and tranquil.

I saw quite a few fishermen with coolers and buckets full of fish. I asked this guy if I could take a photo of his so he spontaneously posed for me. I’ve noticed that Panamanians often love getting their pictures taken, which is fun.

On another break I went back to the dock. The sun was starting to get lower in the sky, and there were quite a few people waiting for fishermen to come in.

On our last break the sky was just beginning to have some color. All the fishermen were in and it was quiet at the dock. I’ve been here quite a few years but I still marvel at the beauty of this country every time I’m out.

Eventually our time was up and it was too dark to play more, even with some lights. It was a fun afternoon though. We packed up happy, hot and sweaty, but glad we had the opportunity to do this gig. I’m lucky that I work outside enough that I’m more acclimated to the heat than the guys, but we all survived. 😁

I know haven’t written much lately. There just hasn’t been much that I’m interested in talking about. But then, we had this great afternoon. Otherwise, it’s just been regular life. We are settling into a bit of a routine with our weekly gig in Boquete, but this was the first week that we’ve had two gigs. Sunday in Boquete was great though, lots of happy people, and lots of dancing people (who didn’t get told to sit down). Is life getting a bit more normal every week? It seems so.

Our virus numbers are slowly going down and they are vaccinating thousands of people every day. Now anyone over 12 years old can get a vaccine (Pfizer), and large amounts of vaccine continue to come into the country to make this possible. It seems like this has been the main topic of conversation for SO long and I don’t want to say a lot, but I’m glad there is good news. And, they have relaxed the curfew again so businesses, restaurants, and our main venue can stay open later. It was nice to play without carefully watching the time.

I’m not expecting much else to go on in the foreseeable future but who knows. Maybe one day we’ll go visit the new stores at the huge new mall hear us, or I’ll see a cool bug I haven’t seen before. My grandson got me hooked on Minecraft so I’ve been having fun figuring out that game. He likes to explore new lands and fight strange creatures, and I’m more interested in exploring the same land and redecorating it. I’ve decided that rollercoasters are a very efficient way to get around, and I made my way all the way to the sea! Yes I know, I am easily amused. ha!

I don’t even want to think about the US and world news, but I am very concerned for you all out there! Please take good care of yourselves and each other.

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What’s Going On in Panama

Things continue to feel better here. For us personally, the band played Friday evening for the first time since March of last year. It was great. We also went out last night to hear the other band who plays at the Brewery on Saturdays and again, live music, people, friends, and good times. There is traffic in town and restaurants are open and well attended. People continue to wear masks (everyone, everywhere) and do their best with social distancing, and reservations are required for restaurants to keep people from crowding and piling up, but life is definitely happening.

As far as I can tell from news reports, the delta variant has not come into Panama, thank goodness. COVID continues to be a problem, of course, but the numbers have been starting to gradually decrease in the last week or two. And, even better news, a large amount of Pfizer vaccine has been arriving in the country, and they have had the personnel and means to ramp up the pace of vaccinations accordingly. In July, 1.1 million doses of vaccine were given! (this is a country of about 4.4 million people) (Plateau of cases and 1.1 million vaccinated in July | The Panama Press (prensa.com) It wasn’t that long ago that we were lucky to get 40,000 doses a week in the country. Now they have opened vaccines to everyone over 16, and those 12-16 with chronic conditions.

We passed two drive up (or walk in) vaccination clinics on our way to Boquete yesterday. The sign says “Vaccinate yourself. We are together in this”

On non-Covid subjects, life continues to be pretty chill in general. It’s rainy season, and we’ve had a number of days of heavier than expected rains and flooding in some areas. But I still prefer the rain to the summer months when the sun beats down, it gets hotter and hotter, and everything gets dry and crispy.

The birds are still singing, the bugs continue to do their thing in the yard (and sometimes in the house). My friends and neighbors continue to be well, and are very happy that the younger ones among us can now be vaccinated. There really isn’t much more to say which is a very good thing.

I hate to see the news from the US though, with more and more people sick and dying, in addition to draughts, fires, and other bad things. You all be careful out there and take care of yourselves and each other!

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