What do you do a Rainy Day?

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.

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.

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.

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

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

Orchid Mimicking Spider

Just another day chillin in Panama…

Advertisements

About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
This entry was posted in Panama, photography. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to What do you do a Rainy Day?

  1. oldsalt1942 says:

    The rain doesn’t stop most Panamanians from doing things, it’s so much a part of life here. Nearly all of the kids that go to the elementary school a half click down the street are indigenous children and I see them every afternoon trudging home soaking wet. It’s rare if one of them has an umbrella (paragua in Spanish. Isn’t that great “for rain?” ) In most cases the rain doesn’t stop much of the work that needs to be done, like your neighbor’s gardener. “It’s raining? Really? What’s your point?”

    Like

  2. MickETalbot says:

    Great post, and the spider, AMAZING!

    Like

  3. jim and nena says:

    Hola Kris,
    Put me down for the rainy season too. Nena hated it mostly because she had to walk to school holding an otoe macho leaf for an umbrella. Nature brings the rains, nature provides the leaves.

    When I was stationed at Fort Grant (the isle on the end of Amador Causeway) we could see the rain squalls approaching but they usually hit about 4PM and by 7PM there was just a light drizzle. And the air was SO clean afterwards.
    The only time I wasn’t crazy about the rain was during training exercises in the jungle. Wear a poncho and get soaked in sweat; don’t wear a poncho and just get soaked in rainwater. The other drawback was the mud and the mess it made. I still have one vivid memory of sitting on my helmet in the mud with my food tray on my knees and watching the thumb-sized raindrops dilute my instant mashed potatoes until they ran off the tray. Oh well, I didn’t much care for instant mash potatoes anyway.
    Florida’s rain squalls remind me of Panama’s, sheets of rain for less than an hour followed by sunshine and crystal blue skies. The nighttime lightning storms can be glorious, depending on which mountaintop you are on.

    Like

    • It’s hard for the afternoon school kids because they usually get out of school right at rain time. My friend’s daughter is a teacher in San Feliz, I think, and had to drive home every day in the rain on the highway under construction. Ugh. I’m in a much better position since I almost never have to go anywhere at any particular time.

      Like

    • jim and nena says:

      I should qualify liking the rain. If I’m at the lower elevations, David, Panama City, etc. then I love the rainy season. If I’m in the highlands, not so much. The humidity in the highlands during October/November is awful and the constant cloud cover with no sun is a downer. Nearer the coast, there is almost always some sun during the day and the ocean breezes help with the humidity.

      Like

  4. Yes, friends in Boquete have shared pictures of the “cloud soup” that is their scenery right now

    Like

    • jim and nena says:

      What a great phrase “cloud soup”! haha
      Every time I dropped off the ridge next to the Virgin and below the clouds it felt like coming in for a landing on an IFR day. The clouds actually feel like they are pressing down on you. Easy to see why some folks get very edgy this time of year.
      Cloud soup, soup du jour.

      Like

      • It won’t last much longer. Then, the winds will come and they will be complaining that their laundry is flying down the street.

        Like

      • jim and nena says:

        Laundry, pets, zinc from their roofs, etc. 🙂
        Mima’s house was at the base of the barranco in Los Cabezos and 90% of the time, it was shielded from the winds but one year the storm came straight through the valley. Driving rain and straight line winds that I had never experienced there. And a little scary.
        Mima just sat at the table and sipped her coffee (probably inwardly giggling at the gringo). Later I helped the boys replace the rocks blown off the zinc.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. carole says:

    We went one time in the rainy season, always seemed to rain at the same time. Loved it though, never used an umbrella. We are in Hurricane season now, love it when it rains. Just not when I am driving, love it when I am at home. Our plants are very green at this time of the year.

    Like

  6. It could rain all day, every day, and I’ll be as happy as a tree frog. My standard response to everyone at work standing at a window looking out at the rain who remarks: “Ugh! What miserable weather, rainy and cloudy; wish it would stop” – is “what a beautiful day – it could rain forever, as far as I’m concerned.” Every once in a while I run into someone else who thinks like I do – but not too often. I’m a rainy day person.
    Love this post Kris. And the description of the highlands in the rainy season…close to home (once upon a time).

    Like

    • If it would clear up so I can run errands and work in the yard, I’d appreciate that but otherwise it can carry on with the rain. I love how it cools things off and keeps everything green.

      Like

  7. Of course you have a valid point – my favorite view of the rain is from the inside looking out. Depending on the area though, it can be nice to be out in the rain, as long as it doesn’t involve work of any sort.

    Like

Comments are closed.