Friday, January 25, 2013

La Playa – Uverito

Everyone was sniffing and coughing, and we missed the Big blue so badly. Joe organized us a taxi to take us to the fresh air and salty Pacific Ocean, and half an hour later Marco was flying his kite, a gift from Diavellis. Already he felt better!

We played in the warm water, and I made sure to dunk Marco`s head under the water many times, and we realized how much we missed the Ocean.

We walked down the long black beach, and we knew within a couple of days we’ll be back on Catlyn!  Catlyn? Oh dear, that is another story…

I don`t want to think about that already!

So we ended our day with good food! We chose one of the three restaurants, and were surprised by a huge fish on Joe`s plate, for only 9US$!  Good food, good people, a good life!

Here's a video Joe quickly put together to give you a feel of Panama; our adventure on the Quetzalles trail, christmas in Boquette and the Thousand Polleras Festival in Las Tabals.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Santo Domingo

My neighbor was asking about Janlie, and every time my eyes filled with tears, and she decided to get me out of the house. I got into her car, and Joe joined, not wanting  to miss out.  We went to visit her family, and maybe she thought that will make me feel better, but it didn`t. I missed mine even more, while sitting with her people under a tree.

 She battled down the tamarind from the big tree, filling a bag for us to make a sauce.  We actually did make a sauce, and it was delicious.

Joe tasted the little ‘manzanitas’ (apples), as we chased the geese away.

We walked over to more family, and sat down under the tree, on big stumps, eating and drinking coconut juice, while the man chopped open more and more for us with his sharp machete. 

Diavellis sipped on hers in the hammock, while I sat with the women making the tipico lace work again.

Our next visit was the old people, abuelas(grandparents) , at the little blue house, and we spend some time just being with them, sharing their lives and their time…

And later I met this old women, and when I came into her house, she started smiling at me, and she took my hands in her soft wrinkly hands, and she kissed them, over and over. She asked for a chair to be placed right next to hers, and she pulled me next to her, and as I sat next to this old women, she kissed my hands, over and over, and hugged me closer, with her head on my shoulder….  It was there, something, and eventually when I left her side, I wondered….’Have we met before? Have we shared a life? Have we….?”


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Saying good bye too soon!

A month has passed too quickly, and we were trying to drink up all the love to keep us for the next three months, until we see each other again. She gave me a manicure, she plaited my hair in hundreds of little strings, she baked us her banana bread,

 and I made her, her favorite South-African  ‘melkkos’ ( milk dish), and she flew Marco`s kite with him on the square! And she sat with us, teaching our Spanish neighbor to play Uno, the card game! And we laughed and we played…

The mall in Chitre was the place to be, and we enjoyed a big plate of papa fritas and carne(chips

and meats) together,

and I was delighted to find a barber to cut Johan`s hair! Check out the hair of previous heads on the floor around his feet, but for 2,50$, he sat quietly.

We  enjoyed soft creamy muffins,  and then we said goodbye! And she flew to her brother, Jaco in Florida for a week of fun, before returning to her studies in Stellenbosch, SA. Good bye, our Girl, and Good Luck!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Love Life in Santo Domingo!

We were busy. Joe was working hard on the website for the guesthouse, here is the link to his creation  Johan was playing accountant, Marco was stuck in the house with a very sore throat and swollen glands, and Janlie and I enjoyed shopping in the town only a short distance away with the taxi`s. She loved the clothes in the shops, and we went home with something nice every time.

Johan was still the main chef in the house, to the delight of the children, and especially, Janlie, missing her Dad`s food.

By now the neighbor, Davellis has smelt the gorgeous smells coming from our little house, and sit down every now and then for a taste of our South-African way of cooking.

She invited us on Sunday for a tipico Panamanian meal, with chicken and soup, and we found the Canadian Italian, Lorenzo, and Canadian French women, Huguete, also enjoying lunch with us.

They have a house on the beach, and we popped in one day to say hello, with the two sisters, showing us around.


Huguete, Lorenzo, Marco, Diavellis, Dialis, Janlie, Joe, Johan

This was the beginning of a ritual. We will cook something nice, and send a plate over to Diavellis and her mother next door, and soon they will send us a plate to taste their food. This was fun! Soon they  tasted Johan`s Thai Fried Rice, and came into our kitchen, hugging him! “RRico, RRico!” It must have been really good, because the next morning they came to fetch him to cook, Thai Fried Rice in their kitchen! I dragged along, being Johan`s translator….although this was not new for me, you know, always talking so much….   Olga, her ‘secretary’ was getting the rice ready,

while we were sipping on her home made sangria. There,  Johan was in her kitchen, cooking in Afrikaans, and she was loving it in Spanish!
She laughed when I told her, that I am the ‘Chica’ only for ‘comida (eating), but soon I realized that she wasn`t keen on cooking either, and we became the ‘two chicas por comida!’  I took this photo in her kitchen with the lovely smell of the rice filling the air, and she quickly went searching for an apron, brand new in a drawer, and a red cloth to hang onto the pot!

We shared food around a table, with not a lot of words, but a lot of laughter. Love and good filled said more than words, and even Johan made a Spanish joke!  He left her in her house with his words….Mi cosco, su cosco! (My kitchen, your kitchen!) 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Desfile de las Mil Polleras!

We were preparing for this festival with the whole of Santo Domingo! The Festival of a Thousand Polleras!  And by now, you know the traditional dress of Panama, the Pollera (Pojera).  The women were walking around with their hair set in colorful curlers, and the children were walking around delivering a freshly ironed linen embroidered shirt to a house. And our dear neighbors were busy preparing us for their festival! Janlie had to go over to Dalise, the sister in town a couple of times, and Diavellis, next door was smiling all the way.


It was the morning of the festival, and Janlie got dressed up in a tipico Panamanian blouse, and colorful beads in her hair, and they found a beautiful linen embroidered dress for me in a cupboard.

They hanged us with jewelry, and even our other neighbor came over to put a golden comb in my hair, and a chain around Janlie`s neck. Our men in the house dressed up in their only long pants and a nice shirt, and Joe got a sombrero from Hector, and we bundled into Diavellis car, off to the festival!

What a beautiful experience, with the song and dance of Panama, and the most beautiful women and girls dressed in their Polleras!

The streets were filled with the people, not minding the heat of the sun baking down, only enjoying the parade.

We snacked away on the ice, sliced into a cup with condensed milk and sugar sweet flavorant.

We even got a glimpse and a friendly wave from the President of Panama, not having difficulty spotting the only two blondes in the crowd! 

We were told that people have seen us on their TV`s….enjoying Panamanian Life!

Standing on the corner, the four of us, beautiful women among more beautiful women shared a wonderful day. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Santo Domingo

Oh yes, my Espanol is growing rapido! With our neighbors, there is no sympathy for someone with limited Espanol! Joe and I are forced to listen, and forced to speak, there are just too much to miss not to understand. Our dear neighbor, Diavellis, is a professor, and her sister, Dalise, a teacher, and she comfortably forgets that my Espanol is still limited. By now she knows to slow down, and I don`t have to calm her down with, ‘despacio’, but after repeating herself, and still looking at my dumb vague expression on my face, she clicks her tongue and walks away! Oh, I just love her!
Janlie and Davellis
Diavellis lives on our left, and the Negro`s on our right. I don`t know what their real name is, but that is what they are called here.

Janlie and I walked with Diavellis to meet everyone in the little town of 3670 inhabitants, and I was fascinated by the old people sitting doing the most beautiful embroidery for the “polleras”.  We spend time with the lady renting and selling the traditional dress of Panama. I loved the linen dresses, and wished I could sneak one into my bag for real life one day.

As we walked over to a house still with walls of mud, and raw cement floors, I met a wrinkly lady, 94 years young, and she laughed and showed me how she works every day making the lace inserts for the “camisettas’ and dresses. Her fingers were so use to the wooden pens, clicking away to weave a beautiful pattern. This tradition is carried over from generation to generation. I felt so poor, being a South-African women, with no tradition left to teach my grandchildren one day.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Our home on the Plaza

We lived in so many places over these past three years, and still this little home, is making a memory forever!  We get up in the morning with a cup of tea, and then wait for one of us to motivate the rest to get into their gym clothes, and then we start our insanely Insanity program! The patio at the back of the house, is just big enough for the five of us, sweating and jumping around, as soon as when we moved all the furniture into the garden.  I move around and jump around more than usual, hoping the mozzies will slide down from my sweaty body!

Breakfast and the cold water in the shower come next, and then everyone start his own day.  Joe is busy doing a website for a guesthouse, just finished off a website for a property in New Zealand…….., making sure he has his travel budget for the next six months.
Johan is making plans for our going home to our country! Soon I will let you into that!

Janlie is soul searching, and reading and loving the sun and the two of us love sharing the special moments of time lost between us!

And Marco, battling to find a chance to get onto a computer between his working father and big brother, to play his games, and lost without Internet in the house. But still happy to know that he is still on his permanent holiday!

Good news for me is, that with a lot of help, Brainline send the CD for next year to my sister in law,  Anriette, and she is taking it to our friend, Margaretha, who is flying back to Trinidad, to her home.  For the first time in a long time, Marco will start school on the scheduled time, hmmm, close to his scheduled time…his teacher has to enjoy her Carnival first!


Las Tablas, Panama

And then we were on the move again! What am I going to do when I am back home not moving anymore? With a truck load of luggage we got into our shuttle, ready and excited for the four hours to Santo Domingo, the very small town, close to Las Tablas.

We drove to this area a month before, and we loved the tranquility and green pastures of the farms with the white Brahman`s roaming the fields. That was the time we stayed in Martha`s Guesthouse, La Casita de Los Kimmel. She welcomed us with a glass of wine and snacks, and we felt at home sitting around the table. She is originally from Panama, but because she lived in the USA for some time, we could speak English. We were looking for a place to stay in the area for January, and her friend, Carlos showed us a little house on the plaza belonging to a doctor.

I peeked through the slit of the curtains, and fell in love with the little house. This is where I want to stay with my family, in this two bedroom house, among the people. Everything felt so right! And this was where the shuttle stopped, and we opened the door to our new home for the next month! It was small and cozy, and the kids were bundled into one bedroom, and we had our room. The kitchen was small with only the necessities, the lounge had a two-seater couch, and some rocking chairs, and a table for dinner. And a bathroom with a cold shower, and when the electrical wires hanging around made a short circuit, you were spoiled with slightly hot water! Our home! But I felt it! Love was overflowing and each one of us was touched by the healing of our home. Our neighbors came out onto their patios, and greeted us, so happy for new happenings in their neighborhood, but the ‘poco Espanol’ (little Spanish) got stuck in my throat! No need for language….we laughed and hugged each other, like neighbors coming home…..