This is the rainy season in the tropics, and we have had SO much rain! According to this article in La Prensa, we have broken the record for the most rain in 30 years. David usually gets 179 mm (7 inches) in the first half of November, and this year we got 325 mm (12.8 inches). Other parts of the country have similar statistics. There was even heavier rain in the second half of the month as Otto came though.
With humidity comes mold. This year, especially in the mountains, it has been really bad. Boquete friends told me they have mold growing on everything including walls and ceilings, and there is thick fog that comes though for a few hours every day.
Come and live in Paradise, in the land of flowers and eternal spring…. rainbows… unicorns… they forget to mention some of the real challenges you will face, especially in those beautiful mountain areas. If you have health conditions that don’t do well in wet climates, you may be really unhappy here.
The subject of mold was brought up on a Facebook group today (Expats in Panama). Suggestions have been to remove humidity by AC or dehumidifier. Try to increase ventilation by fans and open windows/doors for air flow. Some recommend cleaning with bleach, but others say this only makes things look better and doesn’t kill the mold. Others recommend vinegar, and someone said tea tree oil works well mixed with water and vinegar. I might try that one. Someone is selling Concrobium Mold Control at this website. I might try that too.
Thankfully we haven’t had too much trouble. We have some things we do – squeegee the shower walls, remove any wet towels or other items to dry outdoors, do not return any worn clothing to the closet (which is the other half of the bathroom, nice idea except for moisture control), and Joel put a small fan above the closet that vents air to above. Anything we don’t wear or use gets cleaned, dried in the sun, and then stored in a plastic bin.
We don’t have much mold, but things do get musty smelling – clothes we haven’t worn for a while, the suitcase in the back of the closet, Joel’s speakers that have wooden cabinets… pretty much anything made of wood and leather? Forget it. Mold loves leather. The dry season isn’t my favorite but at least the dryness has the benefit of discouraging mold for us. In the mountains though even though it doesn’t rain, they still get moist foggy air rolling through.
But, on a positive note, we have had three good days! Tuesday I went biking and made it home just as the rain started. Yesterday I went out again and it was one of those days where a single cloud comes through and rains on everything below. I got wet once but the rest of the ride was wonderful. Today, it didn’t rain until after 5PM! I did errands and even worked in the yard a bit. You can imagine how badly that is needed after all this rain and no care.
It is predicted that we will continue to see rain until the end of the month instead of the usual middle of December. If I can enjoy the mornings and get in some yard cleanup time I’m fine with that.