It’s Summer Here

Summer in Panama, also known as the dry season, starts about the middle of December and end about the middle of April. We had an unusual amount of rain earlier in the summer, which was really nice but now it is definitely summer. We haven’t had any rain for weeks, the sky is an intense blue with a hot sun, and the summer trade winds are blowing. Nights tend to be breezy, cool, and just beautiful but you want to avoid going out in the afternoon because it’s hot and the sun feels like it will bake you.

Summer is interesting because a lot of the trees flower and fruit at this time of year. My neighbor had a yellow guyacan, and now it has a lot of bean type seed pods. Now the pink and white trees are blooming and they are beautiful! The bougainvillea are always beautiful in the summer as well. And, mangos are getting ready. I prefer the rainy season but there is a lot to be said for summer.

We also have these noisy beetles. When I first heard them I didn’t know what was happening. Were the neighborhood kids whistling? The neighbors explained what they were and the whistling or singing intensified every day until the rains returned. I took this video in my backyard yesterday afternoon. There’s nothing to see, only the woods next to the house but turn your sound up so you can here the sounds.

Unfortunately, summer is also a time of brush fires. I think people burn their land to clean it but when conditions are dry and windy, things easily get out of control. Maybe some of the fires are also accidental, but nobody seems to know for sure. We only know that the smoke is really unpleasant, and though houses are block with metal roofs, it is still possible to lose things around the house, plants, and trees. We returned from biking one day to see smoke rising from the woods behind the neighborhood. Thankfully it stayed on the other side of the river but the neighborhood was smoked out for two days. Other than the smoke, the sky was sure gorgeous that day.

Continuing with other random photos here – If you see “Pipa Fria” get some! That’s coconut water and it’s really good. Usually they will fish a green coconut out of a chest of ice water, whack the top off with a machete, stick a straw in it and give it to you for $1. Sometimes you can also buy bottles of coconut water to take home. This particular business, if you are local and want to find him, he’s on Via Boquete south of the bridge across from the ball stadium.

I’ve had a few questions about money lately. The currency here is the balboa and the dollar. They have the same value and paper money is always US dollars. Coins however are a mixture of US and Panamanian coins. There is also a $1, or 1 balboa coin which is silver with a gold/brass center and it’s widely used. It’s handy to have dollars here. You don’t have to worry about exchange rates or do math in your head to figure out what things cost.

I think that’s it for the moment. In other news, the virus numbers have been decreasing and stabilizing, and we didn’t seem to suffer the spike I feared after Carnivales (it was cancelled but people still traveled and enjoyed their time off). Vaccinations are in progress but the supply coming in has limited the speed of progress. But I am impressed that they seem super organized and in frequent communication with the population. Right now they are in phase 2 (people over 60 and people with chronic diseases) and they started in the Panama City area where they have had the most problems. They’ll get to everyone but it’s going to take time, and more supplies. But, meanwhile, most things are open and operating again (with restrictions and protocols) and the city feels very alive again. We’re all so tired of the pandemic and we’re not out of it yet, but any encouragement and positive news helps us look forward to better times. And, we’re still alive and healthy enough to complain, and there’s a lot to be said for that


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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8 Responses to It’s Summer Here

  1. catfriend99 says:

    Any info on when you can expect to receive your vaccines?


    • Not really. There are 6 districts in the province of Panama and I think they are starting on the third. Then there’s 4 districts in Panama Oeste before they get to Chiriqui. So maybe the best would be late April? If more vaccine comes in that would speed things up, and vaccine from a couple other companies is supposed to come in April so that will help also. But that’s the whole world – everyone is trying to cope with having a limited supply of vaccine.


  2. Kevin says:

    You paint lovely verbal pictures of life in David. I hope that if you and Joel ever find yourselves in Pedasi you contact us and let us know you are in town.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your post. Yes, even in the States we are all tired of COVID. President Biden has really ramped up vaccine manufacturing. Hopefully, by September all countries are way on their way to normal.


  4. Thomas says:

    Sounds like they are quite organized in regards to the vaccinations. Not so here in the US – every state is doing something different. None has it figured out yet. Georgia seems to be one of the worst (again!). My 75 year old friend got an appointment with a Kroger pharmacy after weeks of searching, only to be turned away agin when she went there – reason: a glitch with the scheduling software. Insane!!! Then she found another one, this time at Walgreens – same result! Scheduling glitch, sorry no vaccine for you! Terrible!
    I hope they’ll soon reach Chiriqui for you to get it, too!
    I needed to use airmiles before loosing them, so I made reservations to go to Panama in June. Already totally excited! I hope no resurgence or new strain or something similar will cause a lockdown again! We’ll see…
    All my best! And thank you again for the great descriptions and lovely pictures!!!


    • I know what you mean! All my friends in the US are having a very hard time getting appointments, and are needing to search multiple places with minimal success. How frustrating to finally get an appointment and then be turned away.
      June eh? By then I hope things are much better for all of us! That’s exciting and I think you’ll be fine.


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