Do you wonder where our US ambassador lives? This week we found out!
(We don’t have an ambassador at the moment, but Roxanne Cabral is Chargé d’Affaires, or the boss, since the last ambassador resigned https://pa.usembassy.gov/our-relationship/our-ambassador/ )
Some embassy employees heard the band in Boquete and liked us enough to hire us for a party in Panama City. The event was a good bye party for some employees who had finished their time in Panama and were moving on to other positions and other countries. We were asked to set up in the afternoon so we had the run of the unoccupied place and I was able to take pictures.
We were told that nobody is currently living at the residence but it is used for events 3-4 times/week. There was a whole staff cleaning and preparing in the afternoon, and at the end of the night they were all busy setting up for a wine tasting event the next day.
We were on the outdoor terrace and it was HOT! We were all dripping by the time we were set up, and it was great that we had the rest of the afternoon to shower and rest.
The evening …. the party started around 7. We were asked to play 7-9 with a break in the middle for announcements. So, at 7 we started playing but the guests (about 300 of them) all stayed inside in the cold air conditioning. They were all dressed in good clothes, the men in long pants and jackets so I’m sure the hot, humid outdoors was unappealing. Joel popped in with his guitar for a moment and said even with the doors open, the noise of the crowd made it impossible to hear the band outside. But, we played as instructed until announcement time.
I was surprised that all the announcements were in Spanish, but everyone seemed to understand. The security people and the people tasked with taking care of us all spoke English also, but I thought in a US embassy function English would be the language of the day. But, all the better that it was Spanish since we are, after all, in a Spanish speaking country.
After announcements we went back to playing to an empty terrace, and went back to sweating. Even after it got dark it didn’t seem to cool off at all. Finally after 30 minutes or so people starting trickling out on to the terrace and the fun for us finally began. One of the guests of honor and his friend who met us in Boquete came out, and a bunch of other people who loved the music joined in, and the serious dancing and partying happened! Now this was fun.
We were supposed to quit at 9 but we couldn’t stop now that people were finally enjoying the music, so we ended up playing until almost 10:30. By then the crowd was getting thin and we were exhausted. That is tiring anyway but in that heat, it was worse. The staff brought out some more really big fans but that didn’t seem to make much difference. We were all soaked, as were the guests who were dancing. But, we all had fun and they were so appreciative. Apparently they have jazz and other music sometimes, but good old American rock by a group of US gringos is something different and they loved it.
I think it was midnight when we finally left. A lot of people wanted to talk, take pictures, and of course we had to do the puzzle of getting all our gear back into the car. Chris had rented drums from someone Ricky (our manager) knew which made it possible to use only one car but it was really tight.
After such a slow start I’m glad the evening ended on a really high note. And, the staff was super nice to us and did everything they could to meet our needs, which was very appreciated.
And, we got asked back for next week, an early 4th of July party on Thursday afternoon! How nice, and it would be really cool if we could do it but we are booked on Friday and Saturday, and the whole trip exhausted us more than we expected. It’s now Friday and we are just starting to come alive again. It was a big undertaking to manage a gig with that much planning and travel and we wouldn’t want to do it often, but it was a real honor to be asked to do this one and I’m glad we were able to do it.