Christmas in Panama was about visiting old friends. It started with Carlos, my wonderful taxi driver who picked me up from the airport. He took me to Anne and Howard's apartment, which I was to be house-sitting while they visited family in the US. Imagine my surprise when I arrived and they were still there. Howard has suffered a stroke so wasn't traveling. I was still able to stay and was some help, especially useful to Anne who needs another hip replacement - postponed until Howard is stable. For my birthday, they took me to an amazing restaurant in Casco Viejo. When the lights went out, I thought we were having a power failure, instead the waitress sang Happy Birthday and a candle topped a flan. The best flan I have ever had.
Annie Laurie took care of me for Christmas Day and most of the time I was not with Anne and Howard. Here she is sporting an attitude while cooking. Isabel, her maid of umpteen years, is in the background.
We did a walking tour of the renovated/non renovated cobble streets of the French Quarter of Casco Viejo. Annie Laurie does not hesitate to ask strangers ot pose with her...
I am more reluctant to approach strangers, but wanted a picture with this wonderful iguana.
With Anne I went to the Canal Museum in Casco Viejo which had a display of hundreds of molas from the 1950's. Anne is the one to see molas with because they are her passion. Afterwards we went to the Cuna market to look at Diego's molas - I bought two and Anne bought one.
Anne and Katrina (standing) and Jutta (the director of the school in Mexico where I'll be working next year) gathered at Katrina's new house not far from The International School of Panama, where Anne and I used to work and Katrina still works.
I also got to see Cheryl whose husband, George, died in a car accident a year and a half ago. I needed to confirm that she is all right and has a game plan in place since I knew that her income is greatly diminished with the loss of George, though the demands of the property near Las Uvas on the Pacific side are the same. She is OK.
Approaching Cheryl's front door, one is met by orchids and a friendly snake.
Cheryl's place is high on a hill, at the foot of which is the beach. I do not have a picture of the beach but it is worth describing. I walked down about 40 steps carved into the hill, through this jungle (about a ten minute walk) then onto the beach. As far as the eye can see in any direction not another soul was to be seen. Cheryl's dobermans accompanied me. While I swam in the gentlest water the ocean is capable of, one dog sat next to my wrap and shoes and watched me, while the other turned his back and watched the path. I was in the water for an hour and the dogs stayed in their positions the entire time.
One night was spent at Mi Ranchito in Amador where friends gathered so I could see everyone. Well not everyone, almost as notable were the people I did not see: I had hoped to see Padre Mickey and Mona, various former colleagues and students, Maritza Kitras, Egbert Leigh, and...the list could go on and on, but I needed to spend extra time with Anne and Howard since I had not seen them the last visits and they needed someone to run up and down stairs for them as well as listen. I loved being that someone.
Well, this should catch me up on my part of the blogging. Megan is so patient with me.