Visiting My New Home

I visited the house where I’ll be living for the next six months. It is seriously in the middle of nowhere, about a 30 minute drive from David up in the mountains. I started out from the hostel, and instead of being smart and turning around and going a couple of blocks to the Interamerican Highway I decided to go in a different direction that I had taken before when riding a bus into downtown David, figuring I could hang a left and getting onto the Interamerican. Well, it didn’t work that way. I got lost, of course, and ended up in downtown David in spite of myself. Trying to get out of there I hung a left turn into a one-way street. Since the Panamanians try to save money by not posting signs on their streets I didn’t know and naturally coming right at me was a police car.

The cops pulled up next to me and I rolled down the window and immediately played the gringo card. They said it’s a one way street and I said, “I know,” in English. I’m lost. Where is the Interamerican Highway? The sergeant who was driving started to tell me and then made motions that I should follow him. Actually I was quite a ways from the highway. When we got there he stopped and rolled down his window and I thanked him profusely and went on my way. I was lucky, because I WAS in the wrong and he COULD have been a dick about it, but he wasn’t.

The ride up into the hills was beautiful. Most of the houses were well kept and the scenery was extraordinary. Clouds hid the tops of many of the peaks and in places had dropped down into the valleys. Ascending you cross several small rivers with plenty of white water, but I’m not sure if they are used for sport though I did see some advertisements for white water rafting.

I met the people who own the house at the only restaurant in the area. A little roadside place with a half dozen outside  tables but under an extended roof so they would still be usable if it were raining. The lunch specials were a choice of chicken or beef with beans and rice and a “salad” which was actually a few strands of spaghetti with a light tomato sauce. The cost was $3 a plate.

We then went up to the house which was another three or four kilometers up the paved road and then turned off onto a small, muddy, rocky dirt road with a couple of native houses. You drive a few hundred yards through an orange grove with no clue that a house is anywhere around until you make a left turn and there it is. It’s about a year old. Three bedrooms, two baths with one of the bedrooms made into an office. The roof extends quite a way around all four sides of the house providing protection from both sun and rain and there are four hammocks in strategic places.

The views are really spectacular. Out the back and on the sides are views of the mountains and from the large windows in the office, kitchen and guest bedroom, where I will be staying, you can see the Pacific Ocean.

The owners are leaving a week from this coming Monday, the 17th. I stored two of my big bags there and will go back on the 16th to get final lists of people I need to know and wave goodbye to them the next morning. I don’t know how all this is going to work out without having a car, but the buses run on the nearby road quite often, at least during the day,  judging from the number of them I saw on my ride today. No pictures today, but they will be coming.

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One response to “Visiting My New Home

  1. It sounds perfectly splendid. I laughed at your reference to the “muddy, rocky dirt road” because just yesterday I read an entry by a photographer who lives in a county in Kansas with 90% dirt/gravel/mud roads and he was trying to sort out the differences among them. It sounds like you don’t have to do that – you get everything together.

    Knowing nothing about Panama, I have to ask: electric grid or generator? What about internet access? Grocery stores or markets? Do you have to travel all the way back to the town for purchases?
    Household help, or completely on your own?

    Perhaps I should let you do the unveiling 🙂 I’m just so curious, wondering what the similarities and differences are with my own overseas living.

    The house is on the grid and I have internet access and t.v. There is a grocery store that has “most of what you want” a couple of miles away and there are a couple of towns closer than David, but it’s definitely going to be a hassle until I figure out transportation other than the bus, but a large part of the population in the area depend on the buses so welcome to the third world, I guess. Fortunately the buses run very frequently and are really cheap. There is a maid who comes in on Thursdays ($10) and a young guy every couple of weeks to do lawn, etc.