The backache is gone, so back to exploring and enjoying life in Pedasí. This week was very quiet in the pueblo, perhaps resting up for anticipation of Carnival starting Friday night. Instead of exploring more of the Azuero while Nely cleans the house, we spent a few hours at Playa La Garita, swimming in the ocean and basking in the sun. The surf was not choppy and the temperature was in the mid-80’s with a mild breeze. We were virtually the only ones on that beach except for a couple of fisherman who walked by and a few gardeners cleaning up around a home behind the trees down a ways. I was reminded of watching a past movie of a couple on an abandoned beach and thinking that it happens only in the movies. But now it is real; the beach was not totally abandoned, but close. Daily, Mikkel and I talk about how blessed we are, never imagining such a life for retirement.
Friday night Carnival began. It is 5 days of partying, music, dancing, parades, fireworks, etc.-Panama’s Mardi Gra (same time frame cuminating on Fat Tuesday, before Ash Wednesday). In comparison to Las Tablas and Panamá, the Carnival in Pedasí seems a little toned down, more family-oriented, at least during the day. We were here for Carnival in 2012 and we had a great time. Then it was all new and we were tourists. Now we are residents and I look at it a little differently, although I plan to go to the townsquare to see what’s happening at times.
Our friend Tim spent Friday night with us. He wanted to leave his car with us while he traveled back to the states for a month. So he joined us as we walked down to the plaza to see the parade which was to start at about 11pm, followed by fireworks. There were not as many people as we thought there would be, but Carnival was only getting started. Still, the loud music blared (we can hear it at home) and those who were there seemed to be having a great time. The two floats dawned with their queens, one from Calle Arriba and one from Calle Abajo, circled on the roads around the plaza, followed by singers, dancing in step to the bands of horns and drums played by about 20-30 men on another tiered float pulled by tractors. Bricks of firecrackers were lit and blasted loudly on the street. At midnight the fireworks brightened the sky. We left about 1am, but the music and fireworks continued on until about 3pm. I drifted off, only to wake up between the loud booms from the fireworks.
We all slept in late (very rare for us now). Had our coffee and breakfast. While Mikkel took Tim back to Las Tablas to catch the bus eventually for Panamá, I walked back to the townsqare to watch the next parade of floats, totally different from last night. There were many more people now; a town of about 2000 people turns into 10 to 20,000 or more. Unlike 2 years ago, the roads leading to the plaza were taped off and police and security were patting everyone down as they entered from one of the four corners. Street vendors and food booths lined the streets all around. Children were running around with their super-soakers squirting water at anyone passing by. Four water tankers were parked around the plaza with a few people on top with hoses, drenching many standing nearby. I walked by one, thinking I was far enough away, but got hit with a blast of water. No problem; it felt refreshing and the sun would easily dry me off. I watched the parade as it headed around the corner from the central highway down the street toward the townsquare. But when the first one arrived, it stopped. Apparently the width of the float was not taken into account with two large water tankers parked on the side of the road. There was no way to move them. So the parade stopped. I am not sure what was done because I decided at this point to walk back home. But when I heard the bands starting to play again, they must have figured out something (maybe they folded or cut off some of the overhanging decor in order to pass). The tankers will be gone tonight to refill, but back the next morning. And the celebrations will continue; a parade each night and late morning through Tuesday with differently decorated floats each time. If it is like 2012, Tuesday will include a parade of Polleras (the Panamanian folk-dress). But the partying, loud music, firecrackers, fireworks, etc will continue each day and late into each night, non-stop through Tuesday. I expect not to get much sleep, or sleep in late each morning. For some, it’s crazy and annoying; they stay home or go away for the week. Some locals rent out their homes for a great price. For us, we choose to except this as part of life living here in Pedasí, and we choose to enjoy every moment. But this year, we can always go home and enjoy a little peace, although not so much quietness.
I have posted a few pics from last night and today; will be taking more and planned to post with the next blog sometime next week. Looking forward to see what new adventures we encounter.
OUR DAY AT PLAYA LA GARITA
PREPARING FOR CARNIVAL
FIRST MORNING OF CARNIVAL