When I agreed to rent the new apartment el dueño said that he was having it painted. Well, when I checked in on things Tuesday before going to pay the rent nothing had been done about painting. Yesterday afternoon I got a phone call and he said he’d gotten ahold of the painter and would I please come to his house in the morning since it seems I have the only keys to the place. I got down to the bus stop and chained up my bike just as a bus was coming along. (It’s a real uphill climb from La Barriada to the new digs so I take either a bus of a cab) When I got up to the new neighborhood I stopped at the ATM of the bank that’s about 50 yards away from my new front door to get some cash so I can pay off my movers on Sunday. The bank guard said, “are you moving in to that apartment over there?” (In Spanish, of course.) I said I was and he said he thought he seen me going in a couple of times. Kind of gives me a good feeling of security there. Also, the police station is only a block away and it seems there is always a wagon going or coming.
So, I met Beto who was going to paint the place. I’d never spoken to him before or new his name, but of course over the last four years we’d seen each other quite a bit. I also met Hayde (Heidi) who will be coming in once a week to clean house for me. Ten bucks a day for clean floors and kitchen. Since I haven’t moved any cleaning materials yet there was nothing for her to do today, but I told her that I’d me all moved in my next week and we could start then. Seems she’s a friend of my old neighbor, Maide, from the old place, and we’ve actually said out “buenos diases” a few times when she was over visiting her amiga.
But before all that went down there was a pretty good flow of water here and I quickly was able to get a load of underwear, socks and my Levis washed. I’d been able to fill five one-gallon bottles with water and promptly had to use them for the rinse cycle since the water only ran for about a half hour today. (One of the first things I did when I got to the new place was to turn on the faucet and, wonder of wonders, water came out of it.)
After getting Beto started with his painting assignment I got a bus down the hill and then over to Bugaba to look for a stove. The first two places I lived in down here, Potrerillos Arriba and then in Boquerón were completely furnished. When I moved into La Barriada I had to buy a fridge but there was a stove here. Now, there’s NOTHING at the new place. In Panama when they say “unfurnished” that’s EXACTLY what they mean.
The first place I went to was a strange place called Franklin Jurado. Basically it’s a hardware store that sells some household appliances as well. It’s where I bought the fridge. They had a couple of small Sankey stoves at $107 and $134 but I didn’t like them. The ovens were WAY TOO SMALL. And the next step up from those was $300+. Not going to do that.
The commercial center of town, where most of the stores are located is only a couple of blocks away. I saw one place where the $134 stove was selling for $119. I finally went into Banco Azteca which offered a variety of different stoves and settled on an RCA four-burner with a decent sized oven. It came to $144.44 with tax. I took my order slip to the cashier and presented my cédula and brand new debit card and was told, “solo efectivo.” (Cash only) See. stopping at the bank worked out well.
When payment was settled they called a gentleman with a nice, brand new pickup truck to bring me to the new digs. Cost: $7, and he helped be carry it into the kitchen. I gave him a sawbuck.
By then Beto had finished painting the two bedrooms a ghastly teal color, and the coverage wasn’t very good. Sigh. But at least it was better than the grimy white that was there before. I’m sure I’ll end up repainting the walls something better. I did check out the dimensions of the place. From the front door to the back is 55-feet. It’s 15 feet wide. 770 square feet. About 200 sq. ft. more than the house here at La Barriada. The living room is 18X14.
So that was may day.