Two Month Try-out – Week 1

We are staying at Villa Lorena, a long-term rental unit. Our laundry is being done by the girl who cleans the apt. David is cooking an omelette with fresh onions and green peppers.
We woke up very late today after a busy day yesterday. We decided to see Prometheus since this is opening weekend. We didn’t know how long it would take us to get from the bus stop in David to the cine, so we left early. It’s only a few blocks to the cine so we ended up there very early. The movie started at 2:45 and the ticket office didn’t open until 2 so we walked around. Being Sunday and Father’s Day, nothing except McPato was open so we waited with the group in front of the cine.
When we purchased the tickets, we were not asked for our Jubilado card. One advantage of being old, they assume you are old. So, tickets to the first run movie with spanish subtitles was $1.85 each. They do not run commercials and never-ending coming attractions. One for 21 Jump Street and another for Spiderman and the movie started.
What is it like to sit through a movie in a Panamanian theater? First, no one gets a babysitter. The children don’t cry but they are kids. Constant moving, talking, eating etc. The adults and children talk – in regular speaking voices – all through the movie. Perhaps because they read the movie, it’s not necessary to be quiet. They also let their phones ring, answer calls and carry on complete conversations on the phone during the movie. We met an English speaking couple working with the Peace Corps on the way out. They said that this movie was actually one of the more quiet ones they’ve been to since arriving in Panama.
TIP: Pick your seat AFTER the movie has begun and stay away from the other people if possible and never go on Friday or Saturday night.
On the way back, we stopped at Rey’s, the big grocery store, before catching the bus home. Perspective. At home, going to the movies and a quick grocery store stop would be about 2 1/2 hours top. In Boquete, walking to the bus stop :10, going to David :45, another :10 to the cine, 1 1/2 hour movie, :20 to Rey’s, shopping :20, waiting for the bus :15, :45 coming back to Boquete, :10 walk home. About 4:30 IF all the parts are in place.
The rest of the week was all in Boquete. We walk in the morning every other day. The first walks were up the big hill in town. Major stairmaster time. The problem is that it is boring after a while. Yesterday we walked toward Los Naranjos and up toward Alto Lino. On the road about 2 hours so a good workout.
Two days we went out with Yasmine to look at property. There was an interesting parcel that is now used for growing onions. The owner wants $38-40 sq. mtr. It’s nice but since it will be divided into 6 parcels, who knows what will become of the other 4 – assuming we buy 2 to make 1/2 acre. I think it’s too much money but owners play GringoBingo. That’s where they put an outrageous price on a property, hoping that some stupid gringo will plop down the money. Unfortunately, they are pretty lucky with this game. Prices are higher than in Fort Lauderdale. Many gringos bought when the housing market was peaking in 2007-08. They want to sell at the inflated price they bought. We are lucky that we can wait them out. We will definitely rent for an extended time.
Another interesting property is also being divided. It has 1 acre and a casita. The garden is beautiful but the casita is almost unusable. You have a choice of having a dining table or a couch – not both. The 2nd bedroom has a toilet in the bedroom shielded by a half-wall. We also saw what looked to be a great house from the outside. Inside though, it was obviously designed by a man. Lots of wasted space but no pantry. Nice jacuzzi tub with no hot water A too-wide foyer that is too small for a living room. A greatroom that is just awkward. No place to put furniture – again. Nice master and great lot but the downstairs would have to be gutted.
So, you should be wondering, WHY do we like this place that seems to be so hard? We wondered the same for almost a year and came up with this conclusion. It reminds us of when we grew up. In the 1950s and 60s not everything was available or perfectly manicured. People here appreciate what they have and aren’t climbing over bodies to get more. They speak to you on the street and ask if you need help. In many ways things are harder, particularly if you want the niceties of ‘home’. If you go simpler -buy corn and green peppers from the back of a truck, watch the birds, garden, chat with others over coffee for an hour, enjoy an Abuelo at Happy Hour with friends – this is the place.

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