January, 2018 has been very different compared to the previous years in Pedasí; not that it is good or bad, just different. For one thing, the weather. It is supposed to be dry season which means after about the middle of December, no rain until wet season returns in May or June. I think God has decided to skip dry season. We have had several days and nights this month of light to heavy rain, some accompanied by thunder and lightning. Some one has claimed that it has been 40 years since it rained in January in Pedasí. A couple of times when the skies cleared up for a few days, we would start the drip irrigation system in our garden. And then, Murphy’s law applied and it would rain again that night. For the last few days it has been sunny and windy, so maybe dry season has finally arrived for good. It’s cooler than normal as well. Mornings are in the low 70’s (20ºC). When you’ve lived in Pedasi, you get acclimated to the warmer weather. But I am not complaining. I love that it is still green everywhere.
The second thing is that there have been 2 earthquakes, magnitude 5.7, off the coast of Pedasí this month. The first one was last Saturday, January 27th. I was sitting on our sofa and suddenly the sofa & windows started shaking and moving. (The next day, there was a much smaller one in the very early morning; could have been just an aftershock.) Four days later there was another one. I am not sure I felt this one, but I do remember looking up because the wind felt like it was stronger than it had been this morning. Neither one caused any significant damage though. Coming from California, these are small tremors compared to some of the ones I have experienced before.
Besides crazy weather and earth shakings, I have kept busy with many different activities this month. We have gone to a couple of “soft openings” of some new restaurants in town along with trying out a new food wagon. All have great food. And there is a small Argentine Tapas bar that recently opened along with a coffee restaurant that will open in February. And I just discover La Taqueria that will be opened soon. There are so many good and different choices for such a small town for dining.
We have met lots of new people who have come to Pedasí this last month; some as visitors, some who have come to live permanently full-time or part-time, even some who have lived in or near Pedasí for awhile but we just have never met until recently. We have had some of them at our house for dinner, and some we have met at various activities.
The first part of this rainy month started off quietly giving me a chance to take a break from all the holiday activities. But soon by the middle of the month, I was busy again with many activities. Animal Advocates conducted another small spay & neuter clinic in nearby Los Ascientos. 26 more cats and dogs will have healthier lives, preventing less unwanted kitties and puppies.
On January 19th, WWW (Wine, Women, & Whatever) group once again met. Several different or new women came to a different location at my friend Bev’s house this time. We created signs and coasters this time. I am still no artist, but it fun just getting together.
The next evening was the annual Animal Advocates “Gala”- a very successful fundraiser with great food & drink, music, prizes, and friends (several new, many the same). Our theme this year was different as there was no dress theme as in the past. It was called “Bone Appetit”. The funds raised at this event will significantly help finance the sterilization of many dogs and cats and educate many toward responsible pet care giving a better chance for a healthier and happy life.
We came to Pedasí to retire. Many think retirement means just kicking back and just relaxing. I am pretty sure that if we were still living in California, we would still be working, at least part time to make ends meet. If not, I am sure kicking back and relaxing would get old soon. Well we get plenty of relaxation in between all the activities that are offered here. I choose to enjoy life, help others when I can, and do things that I was not always able to do while raising a family and working full time. Not that my life was not enjoyable or full before, but now it is a different kind of life with so many new adventures and experiences. We have met so many people from all over the world, probably more than I have known in the states. For the most part, people are happy here and are enjoying life as well. We feel blessed.
That being said, there was another event in January that I participated in with the “Free Spirits” – “Cheaper Ugly Prom Dress” Girls Night. This was wild and crazy and so much fun. “Cheaper” is a chain store that sells new clothing, accessories, and some household goods sent in bails from the states. The merchandize is leftover from clearance and out-of-season stock that hasn’t sold in the stores such as Macy’s, JC Penneys, and Target. The clothes usually have the original price tags attached and are sold at “Cheaper” for significantly less. There are other similar “Americana Ropa” stores throughout Panama as well. Well, the idea behind this event was to find the ugliest, craziest prom, bridesmaid, or evening dress to wear to the party. There are 3 “Cheaper” locations in the Azuero Peninsula along with “Cheaper Outlet” stores. So, many of us set out in small groups to find an ugly or outrageous outfit to wear for the party which was held at Tortuga’s Restaurant. There were contests of several different categories: best use of flowers, clashing colors, headdress, sexiest, ugliest, etc. My new friend Sue and I went together with our husbands and after looking and trying on several outfits in 3 different stores, laughing as we showed them off, we found something that would work for this occasion, spending less than $10. I think the store personnel didn’t understand why we were actually laughing; they would make comments when they saw us showing off our choices to our husbands – “Muy bonita!”. So off to the party that night all dressed up for the special occasion, and us girls really had a lot of fun showing off our ugly, crazy dresses. I wore a shiny gold & baggy pantsuit instead of a dress and received 1st runner up for ugliest outfit.
We had so much fun that we couldn’t just end it there. We all decided to join the men (and other women) at Smiley’s afterwards, surprising the owner John as we walked in on everyone for “Live Music” night.
The month ended with another “Music Bingo”. It is getting very popular as we had more participants than ever before, which means bigger money prizes along with more funds raised for Animal Advocates. Since this night was the Super Blue Moon with an eclipse, the music for the first round of 3 games was base on the title, lyrics, and/or artist that had the word “Super”, “Blue”, or “Moon”. Amazing how much music there is with these words. The 2nd round was music from the top Rolling Stones magazine 300 best songs list.
But wait! One more thing I did that night. After enjoying the evening at “Music Bingo”, I was talked into joining a couple of friends to walk over to Santosha Hostel for “Henna Night”. I know I am a little older but I have been contemplating getting a tattoo; even have a picture of the design. But I am afraid of the pain. So I went ahead and got a “henna” tattoo. The design I want is a little more elaborate and colorful, but since henna is only black, this will suffice. No pain, but it will fade in about 2-3 weeks.
No one can say my retirement is boring. On the contrary, sometimes I welcome the days that I can just “veg”. This girl does have fun in her “third life in Pedasí”. And February looks like to be starting off with a bang. More on that in the next post.