Sunday, April 22, 2012
- I started teaching high school again. (I teach Lit.) It's part-time and I'm happy to be back (and happy it's part-time--well I wouldn't have gone back full-time). If you can believe it, I missed teenagers. This is entirely unexpected, as I hated high school and teenagers when I was a teenager. But now I find that I enjoy them. It's all their optimism and angst--they're pretty interesting to be around.
- My kitchen has been demolished. Finally, the reno that's been in my head for years (since we moved into the house) is happening. The crumbling, laminate cabinets have been removed. Walls have been removed. There is a huge hole in the floor (plumbing concerns). But I could not be happier.
- While our house is being tore apart and remade, we are in an apartment. We've never lived in an apartment and we all feel strangely confined. We are beside a park, and there is a nice social area but still... We are definitely house people.
- I signed up for a 15k trail race next weekend. I had my last long run before the race yesterday. I don't know how well I'll do, I'm not feeling super strong. My legs are achey and I'm dreading the cross-training I have to go do after I finish writing this. The race is in Altos de Campana which is a beautiful park that I've written about here. My goals are pretty much to not get lost, and to finish. We'll see how it goes.
- I turned 41. I had lunch with my husband at the cutest little crepe place. The girls wrote gushing letters to me (apparently I'm the best). It was nice.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Fairly major renovations are starting in our house tomorrow (I forgot to take before pictures) and we've moved into an apartment for a month. Oh and I'm starting a new (old) job tomorrow (because moving and renovating didn't seem like enough all in one week). So things have been a little crazy. And this week is going to be kind of nuts.
Blog posting will be light--I think I'll have some time on Thursday.
I am stupid tired and there's a bunch of dirty dishes in the sink...
I'll see you Thursday.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
- There is no fresh water on the islands so bring plenty of water. If you have any water left when you leave, give it to someone (one of the boat guys will surely take it).
- There isn't any wood. So you have to bring fuel for cooking. We had charcoal and a little butane burner. Sandwiches are kind of ideal.
- Each island is looked after by a family or group of families. They collect the trash and generally look after things. While we were there a lion fish swam up to the beach and after everyone got a good look at it, the resident Guna family came and took it away. Lion fish are an invasive species that poses a threat to the Guna fishery and they are killed on sight throughout the islands.
- As I mentioned above, garbage is collected. The garbage is collected but I'm not sure where it's taken and I will be honest here, I was afraid to ask. I did notice a lot of garbage in the mangrove when we were coming back to shore, and suspect that there is a dump somewhere there. All this to say, take it easy on the garbage. Really, people should have to take everything out that they take in. But sadly, Panama is not ready for rules like that.
- It is hot. The ice in your cooler will melt in a day. I think you would need a block of ice for two nights. The best thing would be to minimize perishables.
- Guna fishermen bring fresh fish and sea food to the islands to sell. (NOTE: the Guna fishery observes a self-imposed ban on crustaceans and shellfish in March and April). Also the local family will cook the fish for you. Make sure you have cash with you so can enjoy this.
whinedtalked about music and generators in my last post. It's worth mentioning that holiday weekends are busy on the islands. If you're looking for peace and quiet go some other time, or specify your wishes to your boat driver. And if you do end up beside a stereo, remember, that's the sound of people having fun. I was feeling grumpy about some blaring musica tipica, but when I looked over the people were dancing. How can you hate on people who are dancing?
- Watch out for coconuts. Don't set up your tent, or hang your hammock under a big cluster of coconuts. They will come down in the breeze and they are dangerous.
- Sunscreen. Do not be fooled by breeze and clouds. You will be fried if you are not slathered in it. Swim shirts are great for kids who spend the entire day in the sand and water.
- Be respectful. Guna culture is fascinating. The women's traditional dress is beautiful. There was a boat of Guna women and children heading out as we were coming back to the dock. They took my breath away, the cute babies and colourful molas. I didn't take a picture, it seemed inappropriate--they were just getting on with their day. Guna women charge for photographs ($2 I think). I've heard people complain about this. I think by charging money they set some boundaries. Clearly they don't want to be photographed without permission.
Monday, April 9, 2012
|dawn (it looks peaceful doesn't it)|
So in Panama, people love music. They love music and they like it loud. Reggae, Salsa, Tipico, and really the list goes on. Panamanians love music, and love to listen to it everywhere (can you guess where I'm going with this?) restaurants, buses, stores, and even the beach. Now I knew this. I've been to the beach many times, and I've noticed the big booming stereos (hard to miss really). Usually we just move down the beach (to where you can just hear the faint thump of bass). It has never bothered me, and I've even admired people's obvious enjoyment. But camping on a small island... I did not feel admiration. People had generators and huge stereos. The music was constant and loud. I will be honest, at two in the morning, my feelings about Panamanians and there love of music was distinctly hostile.
So, don't camp on Isla Perro on a holiday weekend. Unless of course you plan to party all night, and then you'll have a great time. Our Kuna boat driver told us, we could camp a couple of islands over--where there were less people. And next time, that's what we'll do. Because it was glorious, and there are 378 islands in the archipelago so I'm sure we can find a quiet one.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Monday, April 2, 2012
|looks like a refreshing glass of orange juice...|
I didn't do anything elaborate this year. Slippery toilet seats and door knobs were as far as I went. But the kids really went for it. My husband and I have standing date with the gym on Sunday morning. I left knowing that the house would be booby-trapped when I got back. There was a lot of shaving cream in the bathroom, and I was offered some very yucky orange juice when I came in and there were Cheerios in the shoes. But the best was the water that crashed down on my husband when he opened his closet. It was fantastic, the best April Fools' Day ever according to my daughters.
My family would be proud.