Continue reading to discover what it has been like for me to live in Panama, and later today see a special 10 days of offers I have in store for you...
I don't remember too much about the flight coming here other than we had one layover and because there were so many of us, we were scattered throughout the plane - mom with the 2 babies, me with the other 2 young ones, and then the other older two siblings. Now that I am older, I completely admire my mom for taking on such a crazy thing with so many small children.
When we arrived in Panama, it was late at night. We were all really sleepy, but I wanted to stay awake to see everything I could. The views of the city here at night is absolutely amazing!
Even though it was the end of April, we all got to take a huge vacation from school and basically started summer vacations early. It was heaven basking in beautiful rays of sunshine, swimming in the pool and exploring our new surroundings!
Anyways, a month later, we moved to Panama City, where I have stayed and called home these last 10 years.
However, here are some little quirks of Panama that sometimes drive me mad, or make me think of the days back in Canada...
No Running Hot Water - Sure some fancy, upper class homes have it, but the majority of homes do not. Luckily the heat of Panama warms the water some, so that it is not ice, ice cold. Even so, sometimes it is still really cold! I miss the days in Canada were I could take a hot shower whenever I wanted one. That said, sometimes the cooler water is quite refreshing on a hot day.
Bathtubs - A few places have them, but like running hot water, it is a luxury. Plus, it seems that most don't like to have them anyway due to the high humidity being perfect for mold and bacterial growth. Even so, I miss taking a nice, relaxing soak with candles and soft music.
No Running Water Period - Sometimes for no apparent reason, we get day or two without running water at all! Yeah, those days are no fun. Sometimes there is a reason like pipe maintenance, but they don't always tell you when they are going to cut the water. So, we have to keep gallon tanks filled with water at all times - just in case. Thank goodness it doesn't happen too often in the city, but if you were to go to the interior, it happens all the time.
Speaking of electricity, some of the electrical pole wires here are really scary. The photo pictured is actually a very tame one. There are many that the wires are hanging really low, or are all tangled together.
Craft Stores - Did I mention that there are no Michaels, or Joann's, or any other kind of major craft stores here? This one makes me a little sad because sometimes I want to make something really cool I found on the net, and there is no way to get it here (Panama doesn't have a regular postage system). However, I have learned to be really creative with what I can get, and what I can get lots of is cotton thread in as many colours as I like and for bargain prices too (only $4.95 for 1000m)! That's why all the patterns I make call for thread.
Another way I have had to be creative is with getting polyester fiberfil. You can't buy that here unless you are getting the flat one for making quilts or blankets (not really sure what it is called). The first amigurumi I ever made was stuffed with cotton balls because I really wanted to try it. Cotton balls are not really a good solution for softies considering that it won't wash well, so I got the brilliant idea to open up a $5 pillow. Let me tell you, it was one of the most genius things I ever thought of doing and $5 is a pretty good price considering how many softies I can make with it. :D
Since we are talking about crafts, who would like to see some gorgeous things the native Kuna Indians make here? Yes, I thought so...
So, you've heard about my quirks about Panama, and you've seen some beautiful Panamanian crafts, now I am going to tell you what I love about Panama!
The glorious sun! Even when it is really hot, the sun feels heavenly and warming on the skin. I just love the sun. Okay, I will admit there are some days when it is extremely hot and the sun doesn't feel so nice, but that is really rare for me.
Warm weather - year round! I do not under any circumstance like to be cold. So, I love that here, it is always warm. Bonus, I only need one wardrobe for the whole year. No need to clean out my closet every season as there is only two here and both are warm. Though, I do miss some cold weather fashions, and believe it or not, I actually get cold here sometimes!
Thunderstorms and Rain! Yes, you heard me say I like the rain. Being in a tropical rainforest climate means that for more than half of the year, we get spectacular thunderstorms and downpours of rain.
There is something almost magical about the sounds thunderstorms make. They bring me so much peace. Then, there is the rain. When it pours here, it really pours! The rain drops are huge and the water is warm. I have on several occasions taken a shower in the rain just because I felt like it and even just stood outside and danced in the rain (always makes me thing of the musical movie "Singing in the Rain" - love that movie).
Even though it will rain almost daily during the raining season, everyday will also be sunny too! If it rains in the morning, the afternoon will be sunny. If it is sunny in the morning, it will rain in the afternoon. The rain is such a blessing, not only because it brings new life and waters the plants, but because it helps to cool and freshen the air. I always miss the rain when the dry season comes.
Tropical Fruits and Produce - Mangos, Avocados, Coconut and Coconut Water fresh from the nut, Pineapple, Passionfruit, Sugarcane Juice, Plantains, Yucca, need I say more?
I am a foodie, and I just go nuts for all the glorious produce available here. Though, I do miss my most favourite fruits from home in Canada like cherries, plums and berries. Imported fruits are just not the same as getting them fresh.
Beaches! I don't get to go as often as I like, but when I do, it is so wonderful, and Panama has some beautiful beaches too. Though, you won't want to go swimming in the beaches right in Panama City. That water is nasty! I am not certain if they still do this, but a lot of the sewage water got dumped into the oceans right here in the city. So, if ever you are in Panama City, please go swimming in a pool or make the 2 hour journey to one of the nicer sewage-free beaches.
Flowers and the Scenery! Panama is just gorgeous, and you'll find all sorts of breathtaking flowers and scenery here. My sister has beautifully captured some of the lovely flowers you'd see here, which I have put together in the following collage...
A few years ago, my family moved back to Canada, but I stayed to be with the love of my life! And what a wonderful reason to celebrate, don't you agree?
I hope you've enjoyed reading about Panama. Thank you so much for letting me share it with you!
Now I'd love to know, what are your quirks and most favourite things about where you are? Have you ever had any exotic pets? Share with me below...