Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Panama Generosity!

I think I’ve said it before, but living in Panama is much like living in a small, rural town in the US in the 1950’s. Last week, I hired some workers to build a wall to hide the huge, rusting air conditioner fans in the front of the house. Those workers brought me 4 beautiful coconuts as a gift. Today, the gardener dropped by with 10 lovely plants (including Mother-in-law’s tongues...one of my favorites) that fit beautifully in front of the new stone wall. The gardener travels with a machete (as do all Panamanian workers), so he offered to cut into my 4 (soon to be tasty) coconuts. The juice (and it’s unbelievably sweet) filled a 2 quart pitcher. I offered my funky, plastic table/chairs set (basically an eyesore on the back porch) to the gardener. He gladly accepted, so I put them in my pickup and drove them to his house. At his house, his family warmly greeted me and gave me 2 luscious hass-type avocados (you know… the rich, fatty ones that happen to be very rare in Panama).
And then there’s the story of my truck being serviced (60,000 KM) last Saturday. Normally, I drive my Nissan truck to David where I leave it in my lawyer’s driveway (all arranged by my wonderful lawyer, Cesar), and the mechanic Jorje (who has Saturday’s off from Nissan) drives over to service it. Mind you, if I took the truck to the Nissan dealer, it would cost twice as much and I’d have to leave the truck there for 8 hours (it takes Jorje 1 hour in Cesar’s driveway). When I called Cesar last week, he said that Jorje was now working Saturdays at Nissan. Oh no…what to do?? Saturday morning Cesar called to say that he would pick Jorje up in Alanje (a 15 minute drive from David) and drive him to my house (another 15 minute drive) so he could service my truck. And that is exactly what happened. I fetched ice water for everyone, and the service was completed in the shade of my house. It was like a big party with Cesar, Jorje, Chin (owner of the concrete business erecting my rock wall). The only damper to the party was the colony of killer bees who decided to land in the almond tree next to my driveway. I noticed them when I hit a few of them with my body as I entered the driveway on my bicycle. Luckily, I didn’t smell bad or make too much noise (that sets them off) so I didn’t get stung. Killer bees are fairly common here, so I called my very generous, experienced (with killer bees) neighbor, John for his advice. He came to my house after 8:00 p.m. when the bees were huddled together, surrounding their queen. He sprayed a simple solution of detergent and water onto the huge colony, and they dropped off in clumps without a fight. I’ve included a picture of their dead bodies. The ants are having a feast.
The two butterfly pictures were taken by me on the August 13 Boquete Birders walk at Volcan Lakes (the only natural lakes in Panama). The black and blue butterfly is a Grandis Eyemark and the one you can see through is (appropriately named) a glasswing called Pink-tipped Satyr. We saw several Blue Morphos as well, but they rarely land for a photo. Stay tuned! Tomorrow I'll travel with several of the Boquete Birders for a 3-day adventure birding around Santa Fe and Santiago in hopes of seeing a Crimson-collared Tanager (not to be outdone by the Bay Headed Tanager we saw near Volcan Lakes).

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