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