David being the city 35 km south of us, not my spousal unit. Going to David is a necessary trip for people who live in Boquete. Unfortunately, it’s not always pleasant. Not because David is a bad place to go, it’s just confusing, crowded and hot to newcomers. I don’t mean that in a bad way though. We normally go to the necessary “gringo” places to get the things we can’t get in Boquete about every other week. PriceMart, El Ray, Arocha, Super99 and Conway are stores equivalent to Costco, Publix, Walgreens, Dollar Store and a small department store. But after living here permanently for almost 3 months, it was time to explore the “inner” city of David.
We found out earlier that to park on the street, you must have a parking pass. I suppose they are available in many places. Kris took us to the municipal building to get a stack several weeks ago. They are only 10 cents each and prevent you from getting a much more expensive parking ticket. If a police officer walks by your car, he/she will check off a time on the pass. If you return to your car and nothing is written on the pass, you can use it again. That happened to us. Yippee, we saved 10 cents!
The starting place is the large park in the center of town. I understand there is free wifi there which explains the large numbers of people relaxing under the trees. Around the park there are every type of tiendas imaginable from food to car repair. There are a number of fabric stores nearby, which I was escorted to a few months ago by my friend Kris, who lives in David.
On Friday we went to David unescorted to wander the streets and poke our heads into stores just to see what’s there. With Halloween coming up, we needed ideas for a costume. We found some stuff at Daisy’s. I don’t even know if Panama celebrates Halloween but I do know that the expats dress up. Since Halloween is my favorite holiday, the shopping must begin. We also found “The Shopping Center” which is a 2 1/2 story department store. They have clothes, (which are so tiny they probably wouldn’t have fit me when I was 10), shoes, and housewares. Because our rental looks like a generic rental, we bought some things to make it a little homey.
We wandered into many stores. To a relative newcomer to Panama, I find it odd how helpful the sales help actually are. I’ve noticed that at some of the stores in Boquete too. “Solo estoy mirando” (I am only looking) does not stop them from following you around and pointing out many items in the store. We ended up with several bags of stuff so we decided that we had had enough ‘adventure’. We had lunch at Super Baru’s cafeteria and were the only gringo’s there.
In David, most people do not speak English. Good for us as we had a chance to practice/mutilate the language. It’s amazing that the Spanish that sounds perfect in my head as it leaves my mouth results in nothing but utter confusion on the faces of the Panamanians. But I just keep plugging along.
Walking the central area of David is not as confusing as driving the streets. People are friendly. You can get a pedicure or manicure on the street. Food is available everywhere. It is a lively town that is so unlike a US mall. Eventually the heat won out and we moved from downtown to the outskirts of town where the gringo stores are located. Kitty litter, ginger snaps and chicken breasts and on our way home.
Thirty-five kms later, we were back home in the cool mountains.