Changes in latitude, changes in attitude

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A restored colonial home, converted to a hotel

Well, we’re settled into our one month rental in Granada. This is like no other city I’ve visited, a combination of something you’d find in Europe, and  a stereotype of something you’d read about in a book on an early 20th century “banana republic”.  The architecture is lovely, showing the strong influence of the Spanish explorers hundreds of years ago, although apparently, most is not original –the town has been conquered, burnt and rebuilt several times.

Transportation varies here.At any given time when you look down a street with traffic (and not all streets always have traffic) you might see a taxi, several bicycles with at least one passenger on the handlebars, a bus, a motorcycle carrying a family of three or four, a horse and buggy carrying tourists, or a horse and cart making deliveries of building supplies — our hotel had a new refrigerator delivered that way.

Wish I'd gotten this shot before they unloaded the fridge

Wish I’d gotten this shot before they unloaded the fridge

In the morning, we’ve been woken by the sound of the street vendors walking down the road shouting “papaya banana pina sandia!”  Laundry service is someone coming by on a bike to pick up and deliver your clothes.

The houses aren’t much to look at from the outside — smooth stucco walls painted in a wide range of pastel colors, with 10-12 foot wooden doors, cordoned off with equally large black wrought iron ones. But, when you get a glimpse of those houses on the inside — wow! Dark patterned tile, 20 foot ceilings, with rooms that bring new meaning to “bringing the outdoors in” .

The living space typically surrounds a garden in the middle of the house, completely open, no roof, and the kitchen and living areas have no doors between them and the garden. Many of the restaurants are set up in that style, so that you dine by a lush tropical garden, surrounded by 10 foot door ways, Moorish style arches and 20 foot ceilings.

Temperature-wise, it’s hot — in the 80s. But, there are lake breezes most of the day, and we’ve found it to be pleasant as long as we stay in the shade.

After an interesting ( and exhausting) hunt for a place to live, we decided on a 500 SF room(with a private bath) in one of the old colonial  houses. It’s low tech, and we will end up eating out most of the time, but the feel of it was irresistible.

This is dramatically different from Boquete, but I can see this city really growing on us.

MARK SAYS:

I never believed that adaptability was a very strong trait of mine.  I lived the first 50 plus years of my life within a 10 mile radius in Southern New Jersey.  I spent over 32 years working basically for the same company albeit in various roles.

Sure, I travelled a bit but most of it was for work.  And, I very rarely stopped to sightsee or enjoy any of the extraordinary places that my travels brought me.  Civil War battlefields, for instance, were just places that I passed by on my way to the next meeting, appointment, presentation, etc.  Kind of a shame for someone that considers himself a Civil War buff!

During my career, my first instinct was to cringe whenever I heard the phrase “Change Is Good.”  Believe me I heard it a lot over those many years in the Industrial Gas business.  All of the latest processes in Business Management, from Total Quality Management (TQM) to Six Sigma crossed my path during those three plus decades..  They all had their purpose, and reaped some benefits, but after a while it really did feel like I was just spinning my wheels!

So, the question of how adaptable I really can be started to surface intensely when Valerie and I began to seriously discuss selling most of what we owned and moving to Central America.  I cannot contend that it has not been without some consternation and trepidation at times but overall I am convinced that my adaptability is greater than I previously perceived.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still a creature of habit and feel at my best when I am in a stable routine.  But, what I have learned is that my routines can be changed on a fairly regular basis as long as I proceed with an open mind and have some vision of the end result.

Hence, my satisfaction, no I should say “delight”, with changing residences six times over the last 15 months.   At each one I have been able to quickly establish a routine that was right for me but still bask in the differences that each had to offer.

Now, we have embarked on the latest phase in our journey here in Granada.  The process of developing my routine here is well under way.  I look forward to sharing the details and distinctions with Bocas Del Toro and Boquete as we move forward.

Hasta Luego for now!

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