Summer Flowers

It is the last week of March, the height of summer. By this time every year I am very tired of summer. It’s hot, windy, and very dry. It rained a month ago while we were away but otherwise, since late December, we have only seen a couple sprinkles. It seems like most days we are without water for part of the day which isn’t a huge deal, but it’s inconvenient. Thankfully though, they still haven’t fixed our electric meter so the extra AC isn’t costing us more.  And, thankfully, it seems like there have been few problems with brush fires this summer, and least in this area.

But, for all my complaining there are good things, like new flowers and fruits that you don’t see at other times of the year. I have some random photos of these and other things I found in my camera.

This one isn’t a Panama flower, but I did get it here are La Feria. It’s a carrion plant flower, or Stapelia Gigantea, a native of Southeast Africa. The flower has a mild (thank goodness) smell of rotting meat, but it did a good job of attracting flies and ants. The third photo is of heliconia roots. We had some heliconias just appear in the yard and though they are pretty, they sprouted in places we would rather use for something else. I sure was surprised at the extent of the root systems though! This is only one of many we dug out.

One evening we had a gorgeous sunset. We are in a lower part of the neighborhood, not high enough to see the setting sun but sometimes we see some beautiful colors in the sky anyway.

OK, some flowers, as promised!

We went to Pricesmart yesterday. We got there earlier than usual, and I had forgotten about the rules that say you can’t buy alcohol before 11AM,so I had some time to kill. I wandered over to Chiriqui Mall to see how the construction was coming along. I noticed sertracen was packed and people were waiting outside to get in. This is where you get your drivers licenses. To the right is a bank, and to the right of that the immigration office. Both of these were fairly quiet. If you are looking for these offices, stand in front of the movie theater and they are right across the parking lot.

Since we are checking construction sites, here are a couple more.

I’ve been trying to get back to biking more. I do enjoy seeing what is going on around town and exchanging greetings with everyone. It’s just getting started… it’s hot, it’s too windy, I’m not feeling energetic today… I can make lots of excuses. But once I get out there I always enjoy myself.

In our neighborhood there are a couple mariñon (cashew) trees starting to fruit. I never thought about how cashews grow until I discovered them here. Each nut grows individually at the bottom of a fruit. The fruit very delicate so it doesn’t transport well at all. People here use it to make a fruit drink, and sometimes chop it up and cook it with some cinnamon and sweetener. For me it has an odd almost musky taste and smell, but it’s not unpleasant. The nuts have a toxic substance so they must be heated to neutralize it. Traditionally people roast them over a wood fire until they are pretty black and burned looking, and then crack the shell to get the nut inside. Roasted this way they have a wonderful smoked flavor and I like them better than cashews from the supermarket. It’s no wonder they are expensive though. One tree doesn’t produce that many nuts and they are a lot of work.

The last photo is one of those yellow flowering trees. I’ve seen others with many more flowers that look much more spectacular, but this is our neighborhood tree and we love it just the same.


About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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28 Responses to Summer Flowers

  1. Rudy Neufeld says:

    Kris: About the “purple flowered tree” look up Jacaranda trees. We’ve many of these here in Central California. They flourish in the heat.


    • I love Jacaranda trees! We had a lot of them in Florida too. I don’t think this is one though. The leaves aren’t right, and a Jacaranda doesn’t usually have many leaves when it’s flowering. I have seen one around here though. I should go check and see if it’s blooming. Thanks for the idea!


  2. Sunni Morris says:

    We had Jacaranda trees in CA too but I don’t think they were as thick as the tree in the photo.


    • I went up to Boquete this morning and passes a Jacarada tree in bloom. They are so beautiful! I should have stopped for a photo. You are right, they are a different shape, less compact.


  3. Rainy season is back here in Boquete. We got rain for over 6 hours late afternoon till evening. Wind has switched out of the South. 3/4 inch total.Beautiful weather! Love the rainy season!,8.181,-82.432,8,m:dTNadRN


  4. Kris, your blog has been so inspirational to me! Ty for continuing to describe your lifestyle and sharing who you are~you rock!


  5. Beautiful. Just beautiful.


    • This country is really gorgeous! I think I fell in love the first time I saw those lush green mountains from the plane. So far I have only been through Panama, Costa Rica, and a bit of Nicaragua but everywhere there is so much natural beautiful, it is something to see. I hope you get to travel to this part of the world someday.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely report Kris — There was a hot season in Morocco too. It lasted about six or seven weeks and started in late May or June. Two years ago it coincided with Ramadan and it was a real austerity to fast from both food and water for 17.5 hours a day. The heat, while not over 100F, was so oppressive that I was unable to venture out between 8 AM and 7 PM. Tomas fared better in the heat but with the fasting (and we only did a modified version of what our neighbors did) took all the stuffing out of us. By 3PM we were pretty much lying around the house waiting for sunset when we could eat.

    We felt so much for our laboring neighbors and towns people who continued to work outdoors despite the heat and not drinking water. It’s quite amazing though the support network of fellow Muslims that is palpable during this “holiday.” People encourage each other and they “get through” remarkably well. We chose to fast from 9AM until sunset (7:30 PM) in solidarity with our neighbors. It gave us such an appreciation for the culture and they, in turn, appreciated us for our sensitivity.

    But the heat was truly something to deal with and I understand how much resistance you might have about getting out on your bike in this weather. Sounds like the rain will come to David within a short time and refresh everything and everyone.


    • Wow, I never thought about fasting for Ramadan, though if I was there I’d probably consider it. I didn’t realize it meant no water though. In that heat? I don’t know if I could do that. I go through 3-4 liters a day here, at least, and I go out with 4 liters on my bike, maybe more if I’m planning a long ride. I don’t like being without water!

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      • Tomas and I went through 11 days doing no food or water and then we added water back in. We are not Muslims and thus did not have the conditioning (conviction) that those of that religion acquire growing up in that body of beliefs.
        Our Muslim neighbors countered their thirst at times by holding some water in their mouths to relieve the dryness and then spitting it out. It was common to see men pouring water over their heads in the streets. This is acceptable.
        Also, we learned that in addition to the abstinence of food and water during Ramadan hours, it is also required to fast from alcohol, tobacco and sex! However, the real fast is to learn to abstain from negative emotions such as anger, irritation, violent and lustful thoughts which arise in full force throughout this 30-day period. The Prophet Muhammad taught by example, demonstrating a life dedicated to harmony, peace and brotherhood — no matter what was coming up internally. We learned that this was the deeper level of Ramadan; we learned through our own experience what our neighbors were really encountering. It was not easy but it was growthful.
        We also learned (lol) never to take a taxi home just before sunset during Ramadan — we had one “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” and that was all it took to realize how much strain people could be under after 17 hours of fasting from food, water and whatever their other addictions were.
        And we also witnessed the brotherhood aspect of Islam when someone would “lose it” near the end of the day and another (stranger) would come to his aid, assuring him that “you can do this — only another couple of hours, Brother!” And the upset person would calm down and continue to observe Ramadan. Very inspiring! Not so easy to do. I learned a lot!


        • Thank you so much for sharing that. I know they fast but never thought about the reality of fasting, and didn’t know anything about the meaning and purpose. I think all religions are striving for the same goals (before people mess them up for their own purposes) and these people seem to be working harder than most for harmony, peace, and brotherhood.
          An aside, when we were waiting for our return flight out of Cuba there were some Muslims in the airport and it must have been time to pray. One by one they used the prayer rug they had brought to do their prayers right there in the airport. It made me think about how these people pray multiple times a day and keep their faith front and center at all times. To them it’s way more than just a couple hours on Sundays.

          Liked by 1 person

          • The call to prayer five times a day is one of the aspects of Islamic life that I miss the most. We lived just outside the walled city. Within earshot were about 20 mosques, each one having a “caller” that would begin the call to prayer in a slightly different way at his own pace and timing. It was an ethreal chorus that reached our ears and became my internal “clock” as it is related to the sun’s rising and setting. I could tell the time withing minutes of hearing that call, factoring in the season of the year — day or night. It was lovely and I miss that here in America.


  7. Sorry — I got off on the heat topic and did not acknowledge the beauty of those summer flowers. The trees are spectacular! A great motivation for biking around — to photograph those flowering trees and bushes! Thanks for sharing the beauty in your world, Alia


  8. peggyjoan42 says:

    Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing them. Loved that sunset.


  9. jim and nena says:

    Hola Kris,
    the views of the brown grass reminded me of the heat of David just before rainy season gets started. The trees and plants with deep roots do OK but the lawns always suffer without irrigation. The first rains will fix all that, you can almost see the grass growing it seems.

    Outdoor activities are best done in the morning; the afternoon heat is a good time to be lazing in the shade with an icy chicha naranjada, or perhaps maracuya.


    • If it rains you can see the grass turning green overnight.
      Mornings, yes indeed. I always try to be back home by noon. Even in the rainy season by noon the sun is too high and it’s hot. I love chicha de maracuya. There is some in the fridge as we speak!


  10. oldsalt1942 says:

    It will be interesting to see how many more shoe stores they’ll be able to pack into the newer, expanded Chiriqui mall…What’s going to be better, is the new Xtra that’s being built at Las Brisas on the Interamericana,.It will be kinda like a SuperWalmart


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