This morning was the end of a 4-day, 5-night Carnival celebration. Having been to 3 previous Carnivals here in Pedasí, I opted out of going to any of the activities in town other than one parade on Monday. That certainly doesn’t mean I am against participating in the celebrations. I would say that just living 5 blocks away constitutes still taking part, at least to when it comes to hearing all the noise from the music and fireworks which would start around 8-9am each day and continue on through the night until 2-3am. As usual, it was party central. And if anyone comes here to visit or moved here in the past year, I would tell them to go and enjoy. But for me, the pounding of the bass through the wall of speakers, the cherry bombs and mounds of firecrackers firing off, and the solid walls of people (most who do not live in Pedasí), was enough to keep me home this year. The one time I did venture out only confirmed my reasons for staying away. Yes, the floats and queens are beautiful, but the crowds can be a little too much. Another reason, I realized later, is that last year during Carnival, my youngest sister Debi went to be with the Lord; so those memories were brought forward. But my sister would want me to move beyond those memories of her dying while I was at Carnival and keep celebrating life. So I did take some pictures to share that one day along with a few from some of my Facebook friends.
Sunday was Super Bowl in the states. Many of us expats came together at Los Vientos Beach Club for a party and to watch the game on TV. And, of course, chicken wings, hamburgers, beer, etc. were served. Some of us enjoyed swimming in the pool; a few of the women played a card game while waiting their husbands to finish watching the game. All-in-all, the party was a great success and certainly got many of us away from what was happening in town.
A few candid shots before the Big Game:
But on a more solemn note, the next morning we were shocked by the news that one of our dear friends, a young local Panamanian woman was killed in a single-car accident the night before on her way home. We had met Noemi (who was about 30 years old) when we first started renting cars at Pedasi Tours. She always greeted us with her beautiful smile and found us the best prices for car rentals. When there was a problem, she was more than willing to help us resolve it. She even reimbursed us out of her own pocket when she admitted she had failed to tell us about adding money to the “Panapass” necessary for traveling on some of the toll roads in Panama City. We became friends and whenever we saw her around town, at the beach club, at the market, Noemi again would always give me a hug and a beautiful smile. So this morning, with the celebration of Carnival ending at around 6:30am, we joined several hundred others at the church in nearby Mariabe to pay our respect and celebrate her life. The church itself was packed and probably more than who were in the church stood or sat outside listening to the priest and singing. I had never been to a Panamanian funeral, but it is similar to those in the U.S. After the service, many walked or drove their cars, following the car that transported the casket to the cemetery, about a mile outside of town. Noemi will be truly missed. May you rest in peace my friend.
So this just reminds me that we need to live life to the fullest. Our life is short and we have no idea how many days we have here on earth. So celebrate life in whatever way that means to you.