Holidays in Panama
Although it’s been two years since Mark and I moved to Central America, this Thanksgiving (also our 4th wedding anniversary!) was the first we’ve spent here. Friends hosted a traditional Thanksgiving spread at their house. We took a cab to their neighborhood, and could smell the food as we rounded the corner to their house. Yum! Our contribution was a key lime pie, not a typical Thanksgiving dessert, but the dessert that I felt most confident about making. It turned out well, even though the limes here aren’t “real” key limes. And, the other couples our friends invited were interesting and friendly, so (from our end of it anyway) the social part of the day was just as delightful as the food. 🙂
Then, on Friday, Holly and Scott invited us up to their house for an impromptu dinner party with them and their house guests, Kris and Joel, who are bloggers from David that I’ve wanted to meet for ages. Watermelon gazpacho for the appetizer — wow, who does that for an impromptu meal?? The food was exquisite, and afterwards, we sat on the deck sipping wine and gazing at the bajaraque coming through the hills. Another perfect evening with new friends.
But, it’s wasn’t only Thanksgiving. It was the weekend of the Panamanian Independence Day festivities. Yes, there was another Independence day earlier this month, but that was from Colombia, and this one is from Spain, the big one apparently. Dozens of buses have unloaded in Boquete for the celebration, which during the day consists of lots of marching bands (heavy on the percussion) and tons of street vendors selling all sorts of meats on a stick, gelato, souvenirs, umbrellas, you name it. All of which is delightful, like going to a huge street festival in Philly.
But night time? Ay yi yi yi yi. A different story altogether. About a half mile from us, is the big disco in town. And for the holidays they make it even bigger constructing a HUGE outdoor stage and dance area. And a half mile may seem like a long way, but apparently, sound travels across the river quickly, hits the hill that our house backs into, and bounces right into our house. It sounds like we’re there. I suppose that could be a selling point .. “Experience the thrill of a Panamanian disco without leaving the comfort of your living room”but when the thud boom thud of the tecno music starts at 9, it doesn’t SEEM like a selling point. It’s was 4 nights in a row now until 3 am. I hear the DJ shout “ARE YOU READY?? and ARRIBEN LOS MANOS!! Seriously — people really party from 9 until 3? I thought that was just an urban myth.
(By the way, for anyone else dealing with this sort of thing, we found a website (www.simplynoise.com), that streams free white/pink/brown noise. We turned it up super high, high enough in fact, that the volume alone raised my adrenaline for a while, but after a while I got used to it, and it really did drown out the disco noise.)
Sigh. So you see, in spite of wonderful friends, a plethora of fabulous cooks, and beautiful views every where you look, Boquete isn’t quite paradise. But still — it’s close. 🙂