This past weekend was a loud one, but typical by Panamanian standards. We are getting used to it with firecrackers being shot off day or night unexpectedly, car horns honking up and down the streets to either say hello or sell something, dogs barking and roosters crowing. But sometimes it may be a little noisier than usual.
We live about about 3 blocks from the covered basketball court near the center of town. Another block further is the town square. So when certain events occur in town, we are in hearing distance, especially when microphones, loudspeakers, and air horns are used. It started Friday evening. Mikkel and I were having a nice candlelit dinner in our patio. But apparently there was an outdoor religious camp-meeting at the basketball court. We could clearly hear those who were preaching and the music. All in Spanish, of course, so I mostly understood “Hallelujah”, “Jesus”, and “Amen”. Being a little curious, after finishing dinner, we took Bella on a walk to buy an ice cream cone in the town square past the basketball court. We stopped there to observe and listen to the music. I noticed that most of the women who had attended, sitting on the bleachers, were probably from the Ngöbe-Buglé indigenous tribe of Panama, based on their traditional dress. We were invited in to join by one of the musicians, but declined since we had Bella with us. Back at home, we continued to hear the preaching and music for another couple of hours.
The next day, starting in the morning and throughout the day, many fireworks were shot off. Apparently there was a wedding celebration, or maybe it was two weddings (not sure) with the traditional parade of car horns blasting throughout the pueblo. And then the loud music accompanied the party well into the night until about 3am.
Sunday was no exception. We live a 1/2 block from the soccer/baseball field. As on many Sundays, there was a soccer game, but today seemed exceptionally more vivacious with spectators rooting and screaming for their teams, especially when a score was made. Perhaps there were more in attendance for this game; perhaps it was with rival teams or a playoff. After the game, many walk or drive up our street while leaving. Soon after, again at the basketball court, the microphones and loudspeakers were turned up for a political rally. 2014 is election year for a new presidente and other political offices, so we will be hearing and seeing a lot regarding the candidates and parties. Large and small billboards line many of the highways now as well as political party flags posted in front of many homes and businesses. Obviously, I am not a Panamanian citizen, so don’t get involved with the politics here in Panama. But I do know that the Presidente serves one 6-year term and there are a few political parties with their various candidates running for this office as well as many other offices, even down to the local level.
With all this noise, it didn’t stop Mikkel and I from adding to it. The last 3 weeks, we have been joining others at Smiley’s to watch the San Francisco Forty-Niners play in the playoffs for the Super Bowl. John, the owner, has satellite TV so we can watch the games live from the states. It has been fun with our many friends, some who were rooting for the other team, some who rooted with us for the Niners. Mikkel and I both get a little loud along with others. Unfortunately the Niners lost this last playoff game, but it was a really good game and a really loud one at that. We will still watch the Super Bowl, but we will miss rooting for our team until next year.
Monday, Pedasí is back to a quiet sleepy town. Most restaurants and bars are closed on Mondays here. The only sounds in the morning besides the roosters and dogs might be the “basura” (trash) being picked up, but the truck doesn’t always come on Mondays. It didn’t this Monday, or Tuesday; maybe Wednesday or Thursday. The streets are lined with bags full of basura, and sooner or later, it all gets picked up. It’s the way of life here.
Religious Meeting at the Basketball Court