The days still go by, one very much like another, but there are also signs of forward progress, definite signs!
The first big step forward is the vaccine. We are scheduled to start vaccinations here in David on May 10th. These vaccines will be for people over 60, pregnant women, and teachers. They are planning to get the teachers back to work on May 31st, and the students back in school part time soon after that so they want teachers protected. We have heard “the vaccines are coming, they are coming” for so long that I almost don’t dare get excited until it actually happens. But, I am excited, I will admit.
The second step forward is live music. The news came out a couple days ago – “Sucre also reported that since the figures remain below 5% positivity, as of May 3, the presentation of musical groups or orchestras, made up of up to 6 members, will be authorized so that they can perform with the objective of entertain, without dance activities in places such as restaurants and outdoor bars, this with the established capacity of 25% and respecting biosecurity measures.” (MINSA communication #427)
This means live music is finally allowed! There has been some going on already, but low key, dinner music rather than party music. We heard about something going on at Rincon Espanol, a restaurant right down the street from us so we went last Thursday, It was fantastic! What a pleasure to hear live music from a couple excellent musicians. We also talked with some musician friends, had a very nice dinner in a beautiful outdoor setting on a perfect evening, and really enjoyed ourselves.
But wait, there’s more! The same singer said she was performing with Hashtag, other friends of ours, at the Brewery. So, we went up to Boquete and had another great evening. It was so wonderful to see friends we hadn’t seen in ages, and hear more excellent music. It felt like we were finally starting to come back to life!
The Brewery (our usual band venue) has a lot of outdoor space with seating spaced well apart. Everyone was wearing masks except when they were in their seats, so it felt very safe. It made us feel a lot better about getting out there ourselves. With the vaccines coming so soon we’ll probably wait until after May 10th until we have at least one dose on board, but I think we’ll be playing before the end of May.
So, vaccines are coming, live music is coming, and once vaccinated we’ll feel a lot better about me going to visit family in the US. For me, these are all huge steps toward the things I have been missing.
Everything else around here feels fairly normal, as normal as can be while still in a pandemic. There is lots of traffic and activity around town. People are out and about, but always with masks and social distancing has become such a routine that people remark on it when it isn’t followed. You still get the temperature and alcohol treatment when you go into any place of business, but everything is open there aren’t the long lines or complications we experienced months ago. When we went out at night, restaurant parking lots were full and many people were out enjoying themselves, with the necessary precautions of course, but people are definitely out.
Virus statistics are stable, not going down as quickly as one would hope, but stable and improving slowly is definitely a wonderful thing. Even holy week and Easter, and the related traveling didn’t seem to cause any spikes. And more vaccine is coming into the country every week and more people are being vaccinated. When I see the news from other places I’m thankful that Panama has been so conservative and cautious. Yes of course it’s been hard, terribly hard for so many, but we haven’t suffered the terrible hospital overruns and deaths that have happened in some other places, and that tragically are still happening.
In other news, we are definitely into rainy season again, which I enjoy. Most mornings are gorgeous with sun and blue skies, and most afternoons bring cooling and refreshing rain. I know it’s harder for people working outdoors, but when you can sit on your terrace and enjoy the rain it’s pretty nice.
“In other news…” and then I talk about the weather, but that’s pretty much how it is here. You can check the world and USA news and there’s so many bad things happening every day. Here though, conversation is mostly – how are you? how is your family? do you think it’s going to rain? The sun is/isn’t hot today. There’s a lot to be said for this.
As always, take good care of yourselves and each other!