Driving Through Pedasí

With more and more construction of homes out by the beach and within the pueblo of Pedasí itself, comes more and more large vehicles hauling equipment, supplies, and workers and the owners who are building. Dry season will be ending in another month or two, the window to build before wet season arrives is getting smaller.  And tourists still keeping coming through, although it has slowed down somewhat after Semana Santa. The only holiday to look forward to before several months without is Labor Day-May 1st. With all this, traffic has increased.
snowbird-rural-panama-streetWhen driving into Pedasí, whether from Las Tablas to the north or Playa Venao to the south, the highway (Calle Principal) narrows down and the speed limit decreases. Homes and businesses line the highway almost to the curb (sometimes with no sidewalk, forcing you to walk in the street). The same is true through most of the streets through Pedasí. And along this main highway there is no room for parking without blocking the lane, forcing other vehicles to go around in the oncoming lane. Large semi-trucks, construction vehicles, tractors, and dump trucks come to and through Pedasí, along with passenger cars and buses. Many truck drivers here seem to love to use their “jake” brakes which you can hear all over town when they have to slow down.

Calle Principal (highway through town)
Calle Principal (highway through town)
Not so straight yellow lines on the edge of the road where there are no curbs.
Not so straight yellow lines on the edge of the road where there are no curbs.

In order to assist in slowing down vehicles coming through town whether on the main highway or the side streets through the neighborhoods, the municipality of Pedasí has done two things. First, the curbs, or where there are no curbs, the edge of the road have been painted with yellow lines indicating no parking allowed. This includes the main highway and a narrow road lined with small businesses off the main highway in town where parking has caused difficulty for vehicles to pass, especially the trucks that drive through toward the beach properties under construction.

Second, since people walk down the streets with no sidewalks and children play in the streets of the neighborhoods, something I think is rather practical and ingenious has occurred. Being a fishing village and yet having no speed bumps throughout, old fishing boat ropes (3 to 6 inches in diameter) have been placed across the roads, hopefully to slow down those who are speeding through town. Just before Carnival, I notice a rope across the road just before entering the town square. I thought it was there as a border for all the Carnival activities and booths that were going to be set up during the festivities. But then I started noticing other ropes being placed across the streets throughout the pueblo even after Carnival. I don’t know who is doing this, could possibly be private individuals or the city, but it seems to work somewhat. The ropes are not as effective as speed bumps, but it has a similar purpose, and certainly saves on the cost of building regular speed bumps. There are a couple of ropes on the street around the corner from us and three have been strategically placed on the road to Playa El Toro and Playa Garita where many new houses are being built. Others are randomly on different roads throughout. The street we live on, although short, does not have a rope across it. I wish it did because some vehicles tend to speed through on their way around to and from the sports field at the end of the street or to other neighborhoods. Lots of children, teenagers, and their families walk up and down past our home on the street. And a couple of our neighbors are in wheelchairs. Although no one has been injured, it would be nice for those vehicles to slow down. Many of the fisherman stop next door to have their catch cleaned and filleted by our neighbor daily. Perhaps an old rope will suddenly show up stretched across our road some day.

Nevertheless, even with all this increased traffic, it seems the population of Pedasí remains about the same. People come and go; some move in and then others move out. And with wet season on its way, many of the “snow birds” from the U.S. and Canada are returning back to their home countries to enjoy the warmer weather their summer has to offer. It is always hard to say goodbye to those good friends who have decided to move away for whatever reason. However, some will be returning for the dry season again and new people will be moving in. I enjoy meeting new people. For us, Pedasí is our full-time home, at least for now. God may have other future plans for Mikkel and I, but for now, we love living here, even if it means slowing down a little as the car bounces over the rope or finding a parking space around the corner from one of our favorite restaurants. I guess we should just walk some more.

One thought on “Driving Through Pedasí

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *