Happy Panamaversary!

Well today is the day, our anniversary. It was one year ago today that we arrived in Panama. A year in the tropics, a year living right on the beach. It has been amazing but believe me not everything has been peaches and cream – just like anywhere. The not-so-amazing are not things I care to dwell on.

Reflecting back on some of the amazing things that struck me (us) over the last year, these come to mind. We have lived on the 23rd (top) floor of this beach front building. We look out the windows of our balcony, main room, and bedroom and see right down the beach and over the water, as well as out across the Gorgona Bay with some mountains in the background. The amazing thing has been the daily views. The sunrises have been nothing short of breathtaking. This has led us to almost always be up shortly after 5AM while it is still dark to see it get light. We are high enough so that everything looks absolutely beautiful. Remember, things close up can be quite different then from afar. The light from the sunsets shining down on the mountains and beach is unbelievable also. And while we are discussing celestial views, the night sky is usually amazing – the full moons shining on the water, clear views of various planets, tracking the space shuttle as it goes overhead. These are all memories we will always cherish.

The other most amazing thing is more personal. When we arrived in Panama we didn’t speak Spanish, we chose to not have a car and only use public transport and taxis, and didn’t really know anyone. In a lot of ways this was tuff and limited us. Throughout the year Denise and I have spent basically 7 x 24 x 365 together. We went everywhere together, shopping, swimming, beach, happy hours, eating, sleeping….. We both had challenging days as you do get home sick, you do get board, you do get lonely and hot and sticky, etc…. We have had only few days where one of us may have been less then communicable with the other but I am amazed how truly well we did together. Knowing me, I thought there would have been times when my life insurance would have looked attractive but I must say that during this time we have grown closer and never been deeper in love for each other. Our patience has increased, our acceptance and consideration for each other has grown. This time alone has made this year more valuable than we could have ever imagined.

There are other amazing things but I think now is the time to say that after a full year in Panama, we have decided to leave (for now at least). We plan to go to Florida for at least 4 months. The storage unit of our remaining items that we kept needs to be gone through and pared down a good bit more if possible. This will take some time. We have a number of events coming up that we may participate in and we also very much would like to spend time with Lisa, Katie, and Sean. After these four months the current plan is to set up a ‘home base’ somewhere on the coast in Southern Florida and use it as a launch point to other places. Where to and what next? Who knows. No shortage of ideas and options. One great thing about what we are doing is it can change any time or with any opportunity.

Lots to do, never a dull moment. ‘I would rather die while I am living then live while I am dead’…J. Buffett

As always….these are my rambling thoughts and opinions. You can ask questions or comment but you just might get a response so be careful.

Happy Anniversary and enjoy the few pictures.

RB

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The big things are called Guanabana fruit. Supposedly a miracle fruit that can cure lots of ills. The long thing is a fruit or veggie that is like a bean pod with these big white fuzzy type of beans. You take them and can suck them off of the internal seed. Very tasty and good for you.

 

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Guanabana fruit – there is also a Tiki Bar by the same name in Jupiter, Florida
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These are either local avocados or Frankenstein neck knubs? 
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Panama has an excellent reputation for its coffee. This is our daily brew.
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Sunrise I mentioned…..
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Sunset
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This is a bathroom door. Something must be lost in the translation since a ‘push’ is not a ‘pull’ especially in Panama. A Push is something very different.
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Lisa is arriving home from Paris today after a vacation visiting our friend Victoire and her family.
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This was the Blue Moon the other night and the little light to the right of it a few inches is Mars. With binoculars it is very red.
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Denise enjoying our roof top pool! See the beach below?
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These are friends of ours, Tammy and Al from Canadia. We celebrated their 25 wedding anniversary the other day.

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Denise is always cookin up something good!
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A giant choco chip n oatmeal cookie. All mine…get back…I bite!

 

To Church or To The Gym?

While living at the beach this choice has been a stressful one for me. Both are good options but the problem is I feel I am going to the gym way more often then going to church. I really desire the church but I know we also need to do the gym thing. I also know Denise prefers the gym but she at times also really embraces the church.

OK, if you have read this far you are probably saying; what the ‘hell’ and isn’t this a bit ‘unorthodox’ for Ron (church puns intended)? Well, these are actually some of my rambling thoughts that are more directed towards beach walks. Now, I am sure you are really confused. Good, because so am I. Let me explain.

We have well over 1 mile of open uninterrupted wide sandy beach that we can walk on. Every single day we go about 1 mile down the beach and one mile back, sometimes further. If you have ever walked with Denise you know this is not just a walk. For Denise this is her trip to the gym. She takes off and sets the pace. I am always 1/2 to 1.5 steps behind. I almost have to double time to keep up. I feel like a 4 year old running behind mom trying to keep up. Sometimes she will slow a bit for me to catch up, then vroom vroom, she picks up the pace again. IMHO this how she walks everywhere, not just the beach. Whenever she has the opportunity to incorporate something into an exercise she does. I am sure this is one way she keeps her great figure and I admit I need the exercise also but….my preference is to go to church.

What? Well, to me, being on a beach is a religious experience, a daily spiritual renewal, a healing peace. I walk at a nice calm pace. I watch and listen to the waves. I breath in the air. I watch the gulls dive for food, watch the fisherman pull their nets. I look at all the different colored shells, get my feet wet. And yes often pray. I find it very hard to be renewed and to pray while at the gym. To me this is the main reason for the beach. Denise’s main use of the beach is a ‘gym’.

Our challenge is that we do these walks together and one type of walk is not easily compatible with the other. I am not saying Denise does not also at times like the ‘church’ walk. We have had a number of church walks together but we are at the gym 9 times out of 10. My best times in Panama, hands down, has been when we have been at ‘church’ on the beach.

I guess and I admit we need to continue going to our ‘gym’ most days and if I want to go to ‘church’ more often I either need to do additional walks or head out on my own. I also agree this was one weird analogy. It has been rumbling around in my head for weeks now as I tried to rationalize why I felt disconnected and frustrated while at my favorite place in the world – the beach.

Again all thoughts are my personal ramblings. Your comments or questions are welcome. Included below are a bunch of pictures. If you have read this far you are either interested or need to get a life. Enjoy!

RB

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Going to church!
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Behind the wall is an Tiki Bar overlooking the beach behind me.
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Going to church!
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We call this the Jumanji house. For some reason it reminds me of the house in that movie where all the vines grow through. The center area that drops down a little from floor 2 is the wall of an Infinity pool. How do you like Denise’s wind swept look?
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Miles of pretty empty beach going west from our place.
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Miles of empty beach heading east from our balcony.
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From our Balcony. Can never have enough film for the sunrises!
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From our Balcony. Storm moving in. Makes me think of the pic of Bali Hai in the movie South Pacific.
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Sunrise from our Balcony
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Sunrise again. Guess from where?
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Sunrise over Bali Hai from our balcony.
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This is a sunset from the roof top social area.
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Our building from the beach.
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Believe it or not, Denise painted the pictures. Way cool ‘and I helped’!
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Partial snap of our condo.
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Denise made this also! Way cool.
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The Dude! Notice I don’t tan the bottoms of my feet.
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A Panama pedicure. $12.50 each, as good as back home and you can bring your own drink if you want.