I am still alive. I’ve been using this phrase a lot lately because I’ve ignored correspondence, the blog, and whatever else I usually do. There hasn’t been much to say and I’ve been occupied with other things, so writing has taken a back seat.
We’re still fine down here in Panama, nothing much new with us personally. In the country, it’s Carnavales time, party time! Traditionally it’s a big holiday with parades, gorgeous traditional costumes, music well into the night, and tons of people out having a good time. If you want to know more about this, check out this very interesting and informative article. Carnival in Panama – The What, Where & Whys (livinginpanama.com)
This year Carnavales festivities are cancelled because of COVID, but people still have the time off from work., What I’m seeing on line isn’t encouraging. The main highway was almost at a standstill with so many people leaving Panama City to spend this holiday in the interior. The virus numbers have been dropping so I really hope this holiday time doesn’t turn that around like it did after the November holidays. I guess we will see. But, right now the numbers of new cases are down, the number of people in the hospital has dropped a lot, and the number of deaths has also dropped. And, more vaccine is expected to arrive this week.
Here at our house, we are hopeful! Maybe one day the band can play again so we’re gearing up. We had a fantastic practice yesterday and just blew through 2 sets (a normal evening is 3 sets of 10 songs each). I’ve had to do a lot of relearning of songs we haven’t played in ages, and we’re not used to being on our feet and on point for extended time, but we’re coming back. I feel SO much better now knowing that we could probably go out tomorrow and do well if we had to. And, we have probably 4 more sets of material to rehearse, including even more new songs, so with more time we’ll be even better. And, I’m also having discussions with my family about visiting, when will we all feel safe, when could this happen. After all this time it’s almost hard to believe there is real hope! Please please don’t mess it all up and do a super spreader holiday. But whatever happens, the vaccine is coming and it should be our turn soon, which will make us feel much better about traveling.
There have been some good things that have come from this crazy time. Many of us have learned to use ZOOM! I’ve had some wonderful family chats, and last week a bunch of my friends from Florida got together on zoom. Most of us hadn’t talked since I left eight years ago (except maybe Facebook which some of us use more than others). It was great seeing everyone and we hope to do this again every month of so. I hope so, because I still have lots of questions and want to hear a lot more about what has been happening! You know those friends who are friends if you talk, or if you don’t talk, or if you are apart for literally years, and they are still friends just as much as ever? Yeah… those are my friends. I know you all read this blog so I want you to know that this really means a whole lot to me! Thank you.
What else? Rain! We’ve been getting a fair amount of rain. It’s summer and usually very dry from December to April so this is very odd, but thank you. It’s much appreciated. It cools us off and the plants can thrive.
And mail… we have a new mailing service and they seem to be working out very well. There are some things we can’t get here, mostly clothes (I’m big, and even more so by Panamanian standards), music related stuff (available but with very limited selection and higher prices), and assorted odds and ends (always an odd list – spices, colored duct tape, etc). Usually we pick up stuff on visits to the US, but since we haven’t visited in so long we’re happy we can have things sent. PGT Logistics | Envíos de Miami a Panamá – Compras por Internet en Panamá This company is half the price of the one we were using, nothing has been lost in transit for weeks, and it’s right down the road so no going downtown and fighting traffic. It’s interesting though. I see these “buy on the internet” mailing services popping up all over town. Apparently people are discovering the advantages of internet shopping and it’s becoming quite a thing.
People are also discovering the advantages of curbside pickup and delivery services, as people try to avoid in person shopping and possible exposure to the virus. We tried curbside pickup at Pricesmart (our version of Costco) and it worked out well. You can see motorcycles all over town delivering food from various restaurants, and deliveries from hardware and other stores is becoming more and more common. I have a feeling that both here and in the US, this will persist after the pandemic is resolved. Many people here work long hours and keep very busy, so if this kind of shopping is faster and easier they probably won’t want to give that up.
That’s about it for news from here. One of these days I need to post some photos I’ve taken over the last few weeks (includes bugs – you have been warned. ha) But, for now I’ve gone on quite enough. You all take care, and stay warm!! I see all the news of frigid winter weather and remember how miserable that can be if you don’t like the cold. Take good care of yourselves and each others.