More things accomplished today! I conquered downtown. Well, maybe not exactly but I managed to find downtown, park the car, accomplish all the errands, and find my way home. For me, that was an achievement! The area is crowded with pedestrians, cars, trucks, and activity, and traffic signs are merely suggestions. Ha! It is surprising how much your sense of direction improves when you know if you forget where you are, it is going to be a problem. Now that I had a successful morning, my confidence has improved considerably. I even made it to the farmers market for some produce. I must have gotten a little off leaving downtown since I ended up more west than I planned, but I found the highway and after that it was easy.
I got to the house about 11:45 to wait for the delivery of my stuff sometime after 12. At 12:15, here comes the truck! Not only am I glad to have my stuff, this frees up a lot of time this afternoon to do other things, like get gas for the stove, and a Pricesmart membership. The two guys were very nice, brought in everything and set it up so it is ready for use. It felt good to have a fridge, stove, and beds! Now the house looks like a place where I can start living.
PriceSmart and gringos
The next thing was PriceSmart, and I now have my official membership card in hand. I looked around the whole store but only did a little shopping. I am starting to get overwhelmed with new stores and new everything and didn’t feel like making decisions. It seemed like there were more gringos and English speaking people than Panamanians in this store. My friends said this is gringo central and people come from all over western Panama to shop there, sometimes even making a weekend trip out of it. It’s funny. I wasn’t enjoying the old familiar American looking people and English as much as I thought I would.
Heading home, more shopping
After PriceSmart I went back to my friends’ house and collected my things. It felt strange to be moving out of this place which had been my home for my first week in Panama, but it felt good to be moving in to my own house. I also felt uneasy leaving my internet connection, which at the moment is my only means of communicating with everyone. The borrowed cell phone was about out of power so I left it behind too, and headed out on my own.
It turns out I didn’t get home for a while. I needed to stop at the shopping area down the street for food and a few things at the DoIt Center, so why not look around a bit. By the time I was done I’d found a deal on two small lamps at a lighting store (who wants to live with only overhead lights?) and, a cell phone! Hopefully this one will work properly.
Buying the phone was another small world encounter. The guy had played professional baseball, lived in Ft Meyers for a while, and had come to Sarasota for training games!
I also got some basic tools at DoIt and a bit of food at El Rey. By the time I got to the grocery store I felt so exhausted I could barely move! It was dark but thankfully not raining hard any more, and I managed to find the house in the dark without any problems. It felt good to stop moving for a little while, though it also felt very odd to be alone in my house in a foreign country. I’m living in Panama? Really? After all the months and years of talk and preparation, I am living in Panama, in my house? People do this? Just go live in a different country? Wow, hard to believe, but it’s me really doing it. Here. Now. I have the car title and rental contract to prove it.