Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Beach Walks/Migrations/People (the Rich & Famous)

My morning beach walks continue to be quite enjoyable (especially at low tide). I think about previous beach walks and what I have learned along the way. Lately I've been finding 20-30 sand dollars each morning. I bring them back to my lanai where they are bleaching in the sun. Soon I'll paint them with Elmer's Glue to preserve them from cracking. I joke with my neighbors that I'll be using the sand dollars to pay my mortgage. This sign was recently erected between the beach and Las Brisas Del Mar. Apparently locals were showering and washing clothes in the shower by the pool.

I continue to meet pretty interesting people (often in some pretty weird circumstances). On Monday, I drove into David to meet my lawyer's assistant Khadine (so we could go to the Migrations Office & get my Provisional Visa). It's always nerve-wracking driving in David (traffic, horn-honking, one-ways). I was feeling pretty confident until I missed my turn (to the Gran National Hotel where I always park). So picture me driving around the streets of David frantically looking for something familiar. Luckily I saw the lawyers office & parked before I had an accident (at one point I was driving in the left lane on what I thought was a one-way.... blaring horns & oncoming traffic got the point across). We waited in the Migrations office for nearly 2 hours (typical). They call it Migrations (instead of immigration)... maybe because of all the migrating jubilant Americans. While in Migrations, I got talking to a Cuban (with the help of Khadine's helpful translating) about salmon fishing in Alaska. Then I saw an interesting guy with solid tattoos on both arms. He heard me talking about Alaska and chimed in that his brother lives in Homer. I talked more with him & found out his name is Paul. He's from Hollywood (where he ran a tattoo shop and supplied marine animals to zoos)... kind of a combination tattoo artist/marine biologist. Now he lives in Volcan and runs a Thai restaurant. I had just heard about the Thai restaurant the previous day from Annette. It turns out that Annette & her husband Dan along with Mike & Susan (more friends from Playa La Barqueta) just ate at his restaurant the night before. When I saw Dan (after Migrations) he said that Paul's Thai food is definitely the best in Panama (& possibly the world). Paul even makes his own coconut milk because you can't buy that in Panama. Dan & Annette (on the 3rd floor of my building) will be leaving for Queens, NY next week & won't return here until December. Dan said that Paul's Thai restaurant is better than most Thai restaurants in NYC! Back to Migrations.... After all that talking and waiting, I didn't get my Provisional Visa (good until I get the Pensionado Visa in October) because my file was in a supervisor's hands & the supervisor was gone. Wish me luck... I head back tomorrow & hope for easier parking/less waiting.

The other picture is Leslie's house. It's a mansion on the "villa" side of the beach (east of my cheap-seat condos). I just met Leslie yesterday. She's from Pennsylvania and renting the condo next door while she checks on the progress of her villa. Even with such a nice house, Leslie will only live down here part time because she is raising 3 kids in PA. I also met her friend Karen (from Canada by way of PA) who was amazed I was from Alaska. I probably "got in" at just the right time. Yesterday, an Italian was here shopping for a villa (& of course, money is no object). He wants to move his family from Italy, build a big villa and open a fabulous Italian restaurant in the commercial section of Playa La Barqueta. I can see it all now... golf courses/fancy restaurants/loads of vacationers. I'm going to enjoy my little piece of heaven while I can. I checked last night (stands for vacation rentals by owners) & noticed that the next door condo is for rent. The banner said "Summer Sale -- only $995/week". Wow~~ in the high season (Nov-April) that condo rents for $1995/week!! I wonder how successful they will be asking for such high prices. Maybe I'll go live with Mom in Winlock & rent my place (which is a corner unit & should go for even more!!). Come visit before things get too crazy around here.

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