We've never heard of Burns Night until we came to Panama. Jim and Heather are hosting the Scottish tradition every year. We thoroughly enjoyed last year’s, our first one, and everybody was wondering how they can outdo the last one.
Boy I tell you this year’s, was truly a success and blew the last one away. Everybody was dressed to the hilt (or the kilt), the table setup and decoration very elegant and the Horsd’oevre as delicious as ever.
|Heather took Burns night to literally and burned her hand, wrong Burns!|
|Jen, Cindy, Pat, Manuela and Renee|
|Heather, Pat and hubby Jesse|
|Charley, Dan and Sarah|
|Binnie, other Sarah, Manuela and Cindy|
When time came for the Haggis to be introduced to the guests, Heather carried the tray across the threshold of the door with the biggest grin on her face. A few second behind her Jim followed and then this doodelydoo sound exploded. Jim had been practicing for two months secretly to play his new bagpipe. Wow what a surprise and well done, the cheer was enormous.
Jim takes notes every year to make his speech better each year.
It was actually very interesting how he went from introducing Burns to Burns love for women and the poem he especially wrote for his true love which was turned into a very pretty song “Ay Fond Kiss”. Last year when I started practicing guitar I promised that I would learn a Burns’s song for the event. But then when we found out we had to return to Florida in January and missing Burns night, I gave up on the idea. Until about one week before we left we found out that we actually were returning the day before the event, what now?! There was no way to get a song in with the guitar but Heather talked me into singing Ay Fond Kiss and how can you say no to her. Poor Sid during the 3 weeks driving in the States the Ay Fond Kiss song was running continuously. I thought for sure that by the time we would come back it could be a great acapella duo!
The introduction of the love song “Ay Fond Kiss” was followed by my acapella rendition. I guess I did OK as there was a standing ovation after I had finished the song. Wow, maybe they thought my shaky voice was a vibrato?!
Jim then introduced 3 guests, Pete, Tom and Steve which each had to read a poem. They did not just read the poem they jumped right into it and explained the poems. Pete researched his Poem “The Mouse” it was great and very funny. Then Binnie’s Sid did the toast to the Lassies and Pat replied to the toast to the Lassies, it was hilarious.
|Tom "Gri Gri"|
|Pete "Cherokee II"|
The food as always was wonderful, especially the haggis. Haggis is made out of oats and lots of innards and not too many are fond of it except me of course. All 5 on my table shoveled their haggis into my plate and I ate that instead of the ham, I was in Haggis, oops, heaven.
|Hmmmmm, haggis!!! Renee, Jim and Sid|
|Jim, Pete, Renee and Sid|
|Julie, Dooger, Jen and Binnie|
After most had left I brought a bottle of Champagne out and Renee, Heather and I toasted to the success of the evening. I told Jim that when I was in Scotland in my youth I almost bought a bagpipe but trying to play it was more complicated than I would have ever thought. Immediately he brought the bagpipe out explained a few things handed it to me and…. I tried and to everybody’s especially my own amazement I actually got some pretty good sounds out of it, it sounded like a Scottish song. I want one!!! After the bubbly was gone Heather craved for some more so I brought a second bottle out. Which unknowingly then made me figure out how to get out of clean up the next morning. I stayed in bed until almost noon and when I finally came back up to the patio, with dark sunshades on, all the clean up was done. A little more haggis got me back on my feet.
Renee needed to go into town to pick up a new motor for their water maker including the membrane which had just arrived at the shipping company and I was in dire need of food as the refrigerator was still empty after our return. Together we ventured into Panama City. On our way driving through Portobelo a white van (public bus I thought as it looked like one) tried to pass me with his horn honking. It was a very narrow part across some speed bumps at that time so nowhere to pull over to let him buy but then, hey!! Don’t rush me either after all these are speed bumps. They had added a whole bunch of temporary speed bumps after towns end and so it was slow going. Finally after the last bump he passed me and was in pursuit of the blue truck a couple hundred feet in front of us. Van and Truck slammed the brakes, 6 camouflaged guys with assault rifles jumped out two guns pointed at us the other 4 at the truck in front of us. We could hear each other’s heart pumping and my first thought was “my gosh a little harsh for not having been able to pull over and let him pass”. I immediately fumbled for my driver’s license, then opened the window and put my hands on the steering wheel not moving a muscle from that moment on. One of the mean looking camouflaged guys approached looked at my driver’s license; looked at it then looked concerned into both of our faces and asked if we were OK. I assured him once the heart stops pounding like crazy we would be OK. He laughed and told us they had mucho problema with the guy in the truck and motioned us to pass and go on with our trip, wishing us a good day. We really didn’t need such an adrenaline rush this early in the morning LOL.
Sid’s back was sore for a while from the fall, but that did not stop him from starting to work on the new hard dodger. He molded the nidacore and, wow, did an incredible job. It’s taken him a while to prep work but he’s ready to glass over the mold. Sid makes my coffee every morning and one morning as I walked into the living room with sleepy eyes I thought Sid looked a little depressed but did not look too close. As I said my eyes were still in sleep mode as I sat down, had my first sip of coffee when Sid turned around in the computer chair facing me. Jiminy Christmas!!! A strange man was looking at me, well didn't look like Sid that was for sure. Somehow below his nose everything looked different. His mustache was sticking up, the lower cheeks were puffy and his upper lip looked like he just had some restaline injected in his lips, they were huge.
|Look at his upper lip. Doesn't even look like him!!!|
He said that around 3am he went to the bathroom and took 3 tumms. About 20 minutes later he said his upper lip started feeling strange. He looked it up on the Internet and it said that some medication could have a reaction to his cholesterol pills. We were not sure if it was that or a bug bite, he could not find a bite mark nor did it itch. About a week after that, sitting in front of the TV something bit Sid in the lower lip and immediately it swelled up. He immediately took an antihistamine and that seemed to do the trick. A couple of weeks after that while working on the dodger again, same thing happened again, but the mystery of his fat upper lip is still not solved.
Just the other day we finally took the Christmas lights on the back porch down and somehow it disturbed a nest of ants which were living in the wood beam. All came out at once fell on Sid and started to bite the living sh*t out of him. He couldn’t take his T-shirt off fast enough. Actually I had to help as it was clinging because of sweat, to his body. I immediately ran for the ant spray while spraying the area another one of those big ugly spiders with orange legs came crawling out, yikes. I guess this is all part of living at the jungles edge. This part I definitely will not miss.
Super Bowl was watched at Cindy and Reeds with a yummy BBQ. Look at the cute little “Poopies” (how Panamanians call Puppies)!
|View from our house to Cindy and Reed's|
|My new Jalapeño roaster. Thanks Francine!!!|
|Reed, Cindy, Heather, Sarah, Sid and Jim|
In the mean time Sid’s been working his little butt of between the dodger and projects on the boat. Did you know that as men get older they lose their butt? That is why older men have suspenders, to hold their pants up.
|Making the pattern out of cardboard|
|Cutting the nida-core|
|Fitting the nida-core to the bows|
|Moving it to clean the car port|
|Epoxying the dowel on all the ends|
|Laying on the fiberglass matt|
|"Don't know what I am doing, but it's working!"|
|Sanding to a fair finish|
|Rounding all the ends|
|Damn that is a lot of work, I need a break. Rum and Coke PLEEEEASE?!!!|
Sid with Luna and Oli
My sewing machine was rattling across many fabrics. One of the many projects is finished while the second one is started.
|Lither color is old fabric|
|Fold-able storage containers|
My brother Marco and family are coming to visit us the end of March so we are trying to get as much done as possible so that the boat is livable again. The way it looks now it’s not going to happen!
CLOD life in Panama continues. Rainy season is gone and perfect dry and sunny weather for varnish and other projects is upon us. Of course in between working we find some time for fun and always enjoy the Sunday ping-pong get together.
Runner came back with broken water maker, we all feel sorry about the water maker but not sorry that they are back.
Renee and Pete have been trying to leave for the San Blas, but also this or that breaks on the boat and they have to ship parts in. It worked out good for Renee as her Birthday came up. The domino Diva’s had a little surprise party for her, so she thought that was it. Little did she know that her hubby was behind a Birthday Party at Cindy’s the following Sunday. 20 people showed up and it was a success.
Monday 25th I was driving Miss Binnie to Panama City for doctor appointments and shopping. While at Discovery Center the power went out but no problem the generator kicked in right away. El Rey was next and our last store and we forgot already about the power outage as there was light in Rey (generator was running unknown to us). Our shopping days are usually long days without even stopping for lunch but on our way home we stop at any fast food place for Binnie to bring dinner home. This time we decided to stop at McDonald's in Sabanitas so that dinner will still be somewhat warm when we get home. We needed to fill the tank so we pulled into the gas station just before McDonald's. The pumps were blocked, now that’s odd, hmm! OK, let’s hit McDonald's and as I tried to turn into the parking lot we noticed that was blocked too. What the h…!!! No customers were in McDonald's just a few employees cleaning. Wonder what happened here?!! So I suggested Pio Pio which was just at the corner of the turn towards Portobelo. We pulled into the parking lot and noticed the door to Pio Pio open then no lights inside. It hit us both and almost simultaneously we said “power outage!!!”
I then drove to the last gas station before hitting the long stretch to Puerto Lindo but no gas either. Bennie’s “Roger B” had less than a ¼ tank, so Binnie suggested to drive to Colon for gas, they can’t be out of power at the same time. Wrong, we did drive by a gas station on the opposite side with a huge line for the pumps. A further gas station on our side had their pumps blocked too so no power in Colon either. This could not be a nationwide power outage, could it?? It sure was, so we stood in line at the only gas station that was operable. Just about 20 minutes before we arrived at home the power came back on after being out for over 4 hours.
A cold front was predicted to come way south to Panama on March and 3rd and 4th . No kidding, a gale developed off the coast of Belize and was heading straight for us. We had wind gusts up to 35 knots which knocked the power out due to falling trees. The power was out from Sunday at 5 pm until Monday at 4 pm, just good we have a generator. Of course the heaviest of any weather hits at night, no difference in this one. One boat ended on the reef and several dragged in the anchorage and amazingly nothing happened in the bay Paradise is, the waves headed right into it. Paradise is pretty well protected behind the reef but all the other boats are not so lucky. Big waves (5ft) were crashing over the concrete pier in front of our house and onto the shore and reaching into garden.
|Where the waves is breaking is our path through the reef. Not in this! Paradise is on the very left|
There was no way we could get out to our boat, if something should happen. Our neighbors fishing pangas came ashore, one brand new one pretty damaged. The boardwalk into town littered with pebbles and rocks from the beach and lots of trash.
The governor of Colon, Pedro Rios, confirmed that the upper (eastern) and lower (western) coastal area of Colon had been hit hard by a cold front that brought strong winds and 5 meter waves causing flooded rivers, high tides, roofs being blown off houses and six ships have washed ashore onto the beach in Colon. The governor asked people to stay from shores.
It took a few days for the water to calm and also the sky stayed cloudy with lots of rain showers. This is very unusual weather at this time of the year, especially very unusual for a cold front to come this far south.
March 5th Chavez dies! Hopefully this will change Venezuela for the better. One of our friends still living in Venezuela wrote that Chavez actually had died on December 30th but that they kept it quite (no one knows for sure)and that his successor Maduro was blaming the opposition to have planted the cancer in Chavez. I think this Maduro guy can’t make up his mind who to blame the opposition or the US. I can’t believe Shean Penn and some other famous US citizens seeing Chavez as a good friend to the US. Some news channels plus the European press stated that Chavez was a saint and helped his people getting jobs and food. This is not what we’ve seen while in Venezuela for nearly 3 years. He destroyed companies; took ranches away from farmers; then while a cargo ship filled with cattle was 5 miles off shore Chavez ordered the military helicopters to hover the deck resulting in a stampede of the cattle then he sank the ship with the dead cattle, while for weeks dead cows washed up on shore; shut down local radio and TV station that were not on his side; any opponent that was a threat to him, he found a frivolous charge against and put them in jail for life; rationed milk stating that it’s not important for babies anyway; rationed flour, sugar, rice, milk; took over any foreign owned company or any big company owned by opposition; took over the oil companies and had Chavistas with no experience run it in the ground and many other businesses; anybody ever voting against him is not able to get work; never fixed any of the broken power plants then blamed the dry weather for it and started unnecessary daily power outages, resulted in food spoilage; food shortage as he confiscated shipments of food and let it rot in warehouses; corrupted all the elections; the many protesters he killed. Not to mention his Halo Presidente show he ran and interrupted any TV or Radio station so that they were forced to listen to his speeches. I could go on and on and on. We just hope that opposition is ready for the election which as to be held within 30 days to win it back and turn the country back around to what it once was.
Sarah and Bill former S/V Cheval organized a fun day at their house, which due to the storm had to be postponed for a few days. There was some 20 people total and when we all arrived the games started. Quite a few started with Crockett while others started with Boccie Ball and the rest for horse shoes. Everybody had a lot of fun. Sarah had slaved in the kitchen for days to prepare a Greek appetizer spread, dinner and dessert, she outdid herself. Everybody had a good time and towards the end of the party prizes were awarded for the best in each category. It was a ball and we hope they will host another fun game afternoon.
|Different type of papaya plant|
|Champagne for the girls|
|Sarah and Bill|
Other than that, all is good here, except for too much stuff to do. Don’t you feel sorry for us?!
Here a few photos of nature around us:
|Our little house|
|Our Cocktail Patio|
|View from patio|
|Spot crowned Barbet|
|A Neighbors kid|
|And his poopies|
|Scarlet Tanager building a nest in front of our kitchen window|
|Palm Tanager also visiting our kitchen window|
|On ceiling in house|
|Ahh, life is good!|
|"How you're doing buddy?"|
|"Oh can't complain!"|