Day Three ~ Does This Look More Like the Campo?

You’ll notice when you “land” on the page today that it looks a little different.  The Day Three task is to change it up a bit with the look of the blog and experiment with new themes, colors, and fonts.

I spent some time looking a new themes but I like the clean look of the theme I’m currently using so I’m keeping it.  I did change-up the header by using a photo from my archives that I think identifies more with living in the countryside of Panama.  I also thought the composition of the photo was kind of neat, almost as if all those vacas were posing for me.

The one thing I’m not sure about is the background pattern.  It reminded me of wheat sheaves which is an homage to the Alberta Provincial Flag but it may be too busy and formal.  I’ll have to live with it for a few days and then decide.

What do you think do you identify more with the campo when you look at the page?

 

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A Question of Weather

I received the following question and I thought it deserved a blog post of its own:

Hi and thnx for your blogging! Friends were talking about Panama as a retirement option. We live half the year in Arizona but avoid the hot summer. We too wondered if Panama was a fit, for us and the dogs, year round. Being from the Pacific coast, in Canada, we can seem too get the real facts on the weather. Yes it should be warm but, being in a rainy climate in Canada, what is your take on how much rain is there? I read other stories, I believe were yours, and it seemed the volume of rain may deter a lot of outside activities??  There is also mixed information when comparing the Caribbean to the Pacific sides, of Panama, regarding rain and cloudy skies. ?? 

Earl

Dear Earl:

Welcome to the big wide world of research on Panama! Although my in-laws also spent half of the year in Arizona to avoid the cold Alberta winters we immediately struck it from our list.  Why? Because we could only stay there for six months of the year and we were looking for a more permanent escape.  In Arizona there are also miles and miles of sand but not too many bodies of water to swim in, in other words we were looking for a place with a beach.

As with Canada, Panama has many places and climates to choose from.  Yes, it rains here but in varying degrees in each area of the country.  There are two seasons, Wet Season and Dry Season.  Wet Season is just beginning again in some parts of the country and will continue until about mid-December when the trade winds shift and it becomes Dry Season once again.

We live on the Azuero Peninsula part of the “Dry Arch” of Panama.  This is one of the driest areas of the country; for comparison think of Saskatchewan in the summer.  Our Wet Season is shorter and of course that makes our Dry Season longer.  Our temperature stays around 30° C year round but wind and humidity vary depending on the season.  During Wet Season the humidity climbs significantly and everything becomes lush and tropical and well, wet.  During Dry Season everything is mostly yellow, brown and dusty and dirty like a prairie summer.  On the other hand we do get some nice breezes over the ocean that cools the air down somewhat.  When it rains in our area the temperature doesn’t change, unlike the rains in Canada it stays warm enough that one can walk outside with an umbrella (a rain coat would be too warm), shorts and flip-flops.

The Caribbean Coast has more rain year-round and is more of a ‘tropical’ climate than a ‘neotropical’ such as ours.  The population is much sparser there also with mostly indigenous people and pockets of tourism.  This area is hot and humid and gets pretty steamy.

Some of the places that are cooler and similar to the West Coast of Canada with more rain year round are the cooler mountainous regions like El Valle, Boquete, Volcan and Cerro Azul.  Someone once told me that the temperature in Bouquete during Dry Season reminded them of Summer in Canada.  I do know that most homes in the higher elevations have fireplaces in them and that long sleeves and long pants are sometimes required when the temperatures dip to a balmy 18° or lower.

When one is researching for a place to live for part or the entire year one of the criteria you have to look at is the weather.  But there are other things to consider also such as access to services such as shopping, health care and entertainment.  It’s always best to visit at least once during each season and investigate several areas of the country to see what the climate is like and what services are available.  In all honestly a little rain was one of the least of our concerns when looking for a place to live.

The skies the last few days are trying to fool us.  We wake in the morning to the gray that quickly turns to blue as the sun rises.  During Wet Season rain fills the rivers once again.  Rain brings the green lushness of the tropics and helps the crops grow.  Rainy season means the return of the whales along our coast.  Bring on the rain…in the campo.

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Ted Talk Thursday ~ It’s Totally Random

While perusing the Ted Talk library I came upon today’s video.  The reason it caught my attention was because it had the word ‘encyclopedia’ in the title.

When one walks into our town library one of the noticeable items behind the librarian’s desk is a set of encyclopedias.  When I was growing up we had two set of encyclopedias, a big red set that had gold-edged pages and gold writing and a little blue children’s set that I think my mom bought a piece at a time at the supermarket.  For all I know that’s how we also got the big version.  The smaller books were colorfully illustrated and substituted for books when there was a lack of reading material in the house.  For many years both sets had a place in our home and was the ‘go to’ resource at homework time.  I found it interesting that the library still had what looks like a very time-worn set of encyclopedias and wondered how current they were.

Today’s talk is by John G. Rives an American performance poet, storyteller, and author. He has five Ted Talks on the site about the power of storytelling and how multimedia technology is changing the way we communicate.  Watch the video and it may remind you of your childhood flipping through the encyclopedias on a boring day.  Or it may inspire you to play the encyclopedia game, electronic version.  Just listen carefully to the rules before you start!

Here’s more about encyclopedias!
http://speakingsilencepro.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/e-is-for-experiment/
http://awkwardturtleworld.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/more-encyclopedias/
http://awkwardturtleworld.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/encyclopedork/
http://gaskella.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/destined-to-be-recycled-but/
http://fifecollegelibrary.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/try-out-britannica-online-encyclopedia-resource/
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Today’s Assignment ~ I’m Talking About My Blog Name…Again

For the writing assignment today my challenge is to make sure that I love my title; and if not to change it, or add a tag line.

‘Title’ can be either a noun or a verb.  As a noun it means ‘name’ whether it is a book or an essay or a blog or a blog post or a job title, or a store.  You get the idea.  As a verb it means ‘to give something a name’ as to commit the act of naming something such as a store, a job, a blog post, a blog, an essay or a book etc.

I have before me both a challenge and a choice.  Do I like the blog name and/or do I want to change the tag line?  If memory serves me correctly I might have possibly written about how the blog name developed.  In any event, as it is such a riveting but simple story I guess it bears repeating for those of you who don’t know the story.  I’ll begin with the word ‘campo’ ,a Spanish word; it can mean a few different things: country or countryside, field (as in farmer’s field) or other fields when you add a ‘de’ and a description such as an airfield (campo de aviación), or a sports field (campo de deportes) I could go on forever (or for at least half a page) or you could look here for a better idea of the many meanings.

The simple part of it is we live in the campo (vivimos en el campo), in the countryside of Panama and there are also farmer’s fields behind us so I guess we also live in the field, or at least on the edge of a couple.  We call ourselves campesinos (country peasants) although the locals would refer to us as extranjeros (foreigners).  ‘In da’ is a take on ‘In the’, I don’t remember whether I was trying to be hip or gangsta I just liked the look of the words together.

My tagline to the right of the title describes who and where I am; A Girl, a Guy and Dos Gatos Living in Panama.  I could change it to say “An Older Woman, An Older Man and Two Cats Living in Panama”.  Or how about “Two Cats and Their Servants in Small Town Panama” or “Two Sleep Deprived Humans and Two Cats in Panama”?  Is my tagline clever and pithy (meaning short and sweet), I don’t know.  I also don’t know that saying my blog name will ever amount to a rhyme that is good enough to put to music and sing, even to tipico music. I’m open to suggestions and comments of how I’m saying my blog name and tagline in the campo.

Campo

 

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Who Am I and Why Am I Here ~ In the Campo?

I am participating in a blogging challenge for the next 30 days titled ‘Zero to Hero’.  The idea is to take part in the daily challenges in the hopes of improving my writing and therefore el blog.  My first challenge is to tell you all who I am and why I blog.  Now, I see you yawning and reaching for the mouse to click that big old red ‘X’ in the corner to close the page but I promise I’ll try not to make it dry and boring.  Notice the word ‘try’ in there.

The first question, “Who am I?” in my opinion is pretty deep.  Maybe I’m reading too much into it but the question makes me think that there is an absolute answer, when I know there isn’t.  My “About” reads as follows: Who: 50 something female What: Canadian Why: I blog about living in Panama and sometimes about anything that burbles forth from my brain When: I try for every day but sometimes life gets in the way Where: Usually from my home in the Azuero Peninsula.

If you looked on the surface you’d see a 52-year-old woman (yes, I celebrated another milestone last month).   I’m five foot six and half inches tall and weigh murmel, I’m sorry I already gave you my age what more do you want of me?  I could tell you that two years ago my spouse (who I refer to as SU meaning Spousal Unit) relocated to rural Panama from Canada to take an early retirement in a country where we didn’t have to shovel snow for nine months of the year.  (Really, after the winter that Canada has suffered through this year I’m not stretching the truth.  Much.)

All that is what one would see on the surface, but of course there is much more to ‘being me’ than what people see on the outside.  I don’t profess to know myself so well that I don’t feel a need to grow and experience new things. I think of myself as a work in progress and each adventure or twist that has occurred in my life is to teach me something.  One of my beliefs is that no matter if it’s been fantastic or abysmal, it is always a good day when I learn something new.

I keep a journal (somewhat sporadically lately) but I started blogging publicly to share our daily lives in Panama with our friends and family.  Most of the time I write about things that are happening in our small town and how we are getting along living in a foreign country very much removed and different from where we come from.  My writing has evolved somewhat with the tempo and time and examination that I’ve done in the world around me.  I live in a place where everything is ‘mañana’, it’s forced me to slow down and not sweat the small stuff.  Many things still make me scratch my head but the Isthmus of Panama has got along fine without me for roughly 3 million years.  Well, maybe there have been a few bumps and bruises along the way, but you get my drift.  When I can find something to focus the lens on I enjoy taking pictures of the country life and the plants and critters that live around and with us, intentionally or unintentionally.

One of the primary things I hope that people take way from reading my blog is that to keep life interesting sometimes we have to step outside our comfort zone.  I’m not saying that everyone should pack up their belongings and move thousands of kilometers away from their friends and family.  For some making one small change such as changing their brand of toothpaste is an adventure.  But one small step at a time.  Or as we say in the campo ‘poco a poco’.

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Happy 105th Day of the Year…Among Other Things

Today’s post is a little random but no more bizarre than sitting at the computer listening to one of the many German language movies SU has taken to watching lately.  I’m finding it kind of odd than hearing all that German being spoken in Panama.  SU claims that there is no good shows on television lately and so is reverting back to his mother tongue, 50% of which is forgotten from his childhood, but between the Spanish subtitles, the action and his language memory he seems to be able to follow the story line.   Me, I’m doing a lot of reading.

Back to today, April the 15th.  Tax Day for those of you who pay some of your hard-earned Balboas to Uncle Sam.  We Canadians don’t have to file until April 30th but this year we’ve been given an extension because of security weaknesses caused by the Heartbleed Bug and the ensuing stoppage of the Canada Revenue Agency’s online services.  The CRA has said it will extend the filing cut-off date and will not charge interest or penalties on taxes submitted by May 5.  Of course all of that is a moot point if the government owes you money.  Then you can take your own sweet time while it gathers interest in the Federal Government’s coffers.  In any event May 1 is normally a day when income tax preparers/accountants get to celebrate the end of personal tax season, this year their gratification will be a little delayed.

I’m always interested in different celebrations and “National Days”.  Some of them are pretty bizarre.  Not only is tomorrow Tax Day but it is also Rubber Eraser Day.  It’s a strange coincidence that these two ‘celebrations’ fall on the same day.  But then, we’ve all had to use an eraser at some time in our lives and taxes are as inevitable as well, having to use an eraser so maybe it makes sense.  So let’s celebrate the invention of the eraser and forget about the other stuff!  Or maybe not if you’ve waited until the last-minute to file your taxes, then just get it done with our friend the eraser to help you out.

eraser picture

April 15 is also National Glazed Ham Day.  Get all that other stuff done with the pencil and the eraser and then have a celebration of ham.  Some may call it National Glazed Spiral Ham Day.  Either way, glazed ham is a traditional celebration food. The call is out to serve a succulent glazed ham for dinner in honour of National Glazed (Spiral?) Ham Day.  Sounds good to me.

honey-glazed-ham

National Take a Wild Guess Day is also today (this may not be an official holiday, although when I Googled it I did come up with a few hits).  The creator of the day is Jim Barber who planned it to correspond with National Tax Day in the US.   Now I’d suggest get your pencil and your National Eraser Day eraser and give it your all on National Take a Wild Guess Day.

question_mark

On a more serious note, today is also Titanic Remembrance Day, devoted to the memory of the Titanic and the over 1500 people who died on this day in 1912. RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton, UK to New York City, US. The wreckage of the Titanic still rests on the seabed disintegrating. After its discovery in 1985, thousands of objects have been recovered and put on display at museums.  Titanic has become one of the most renowned ships in history, her memory kept alive by books, folk songs, films, exhibits, and memorials.  I have a confession to make here, I’ve never watched the movie all the way through and I think it’s because I’ve never had a desire to.

Titanic

With all these things being celebrated today I find it interesting that tomorrow is National Stress Awareness Day and National Eggs Benedict Day.  After filing your taxes and thinking about all the other stuff it will probably be a good day to destress, do a little meditation, and eat a plate full of Eggs Benedict made with good Canadian Bacon or maybe some of that leftover ham.  My mouth is watering as I think about it…in the campo.

eggs_benedict

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The Daily Post ~ Weekly Photo Challenge~Monument~Resting Place in the Campo

My usual place to begin for the weekly photo challenges is the good old dictionary.   When I looked up the word ‘monument’ I found that the word has its origins in Middle English, meaning ‘a burial place’: via French from Latin monumentum, frommonere  ‘remind.’

Most cementerios in rural Panama are along the main road at the entrances to the towns. Going against the norm, our Campo del Reposo (Field of Rest) is just a few streets over from where we live, inside the town proper.  The last time SU and I took a walk around the grounds it wasn’t looking very pretty.  Today when we rode our bikes over we were pleasantly surprised to see that the gate and the surrounding walls had a fresh coat of paint and everything was neat and tidy.

Our local cemetery is still not an expanse of lush green trees and manicured grounds but it is the final resting place for the rich and poor alike in our little town in the campo.

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Click to see more monuments:
http://sayitwithacamera.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/weekly-photo-challenge-monument.html
http://charlottetaiphotography.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/weekly-photo-challenge-they-stand-still/
http://dontforgettravel.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/
http://wp.me/p1Kf3M-p1
http://vosperdruiter.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/monument-of-a-different-kind-weekly-photo-challenge/
http://wp.me/paGem-3f0
http://www.itchyfeetonthecheap.com/2014/04/13/travel-photo-of-the-week-soviet-army-memorial-in-slovakia/
http://mamacormier.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/
http://bellabelle1.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/
http://wp.me/p2N0qn-gN

 

Posted in Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Here a Moo, There a Moo, Everywhere a Moo, Moo…

No, we don’t have a farm but we do live in the campo and it is the tail end of Estación Seca and that’s means the vacas are looking for something, anything green.  And so, when the lovely, lush greenness of our yard tweaks their olfactory nerves after feeding on dry, brown grass they mosey on through the campo:

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This brings great enjoyment to Dos Gatos who like to sit by the fence and watch the show:

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To try to keep the plants alive in the garden during the driest time of the year SU has to water a few times a week.  He’s quite proud of his latest toy:

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The last couple of week’s some of the birds have come to know that just before dusk they may be able to have a bath and get a drink of water and so we have some regular visitors:

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There are plants that do very well in Dry Season and surprisingly bloom abundantly like Bougainvilleas.   Our White Bougainvillea has begun spilling through the fence:

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This plant that is hiding something…

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A Pink Antherium bloom under the leaves:

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We’ve planted a few of these Blue Skyflower vines around the house now, one on an arbor and new ones along one side of the fence.  This one is just a few months old and is blooming like crazy:

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And some of my favourite plants, the Plumerias are in full bloom.  This is one of our latest additions:

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When we wake in the morning and we can sometimes “smell” the change in the weather coming.  The air is increasing in humidity making the high temperatures seem even hotter.  The gray skies roll in the morning bringing hope that we’ll get a little rain sometime soon.  Unfortunately it’s bypassed us so far but hopefully in the next couple of weeks we’ll get a few drops.  But then we remember with the rain comes the bug, frog and toad hatchings and then think that we should be careful what we wish for in the campo.

Read More About Dry:
http://olcoyote15.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/the-heat-is-on/
http://feistybluegeckofightsback.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/a-shift-in-the-seasons/
http://outernotes.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/on-a-boat/
http://awd1970.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/cuba-sizzles-under-strong-winter-sun/
http://climatebysurly.com/2014/04/10/third-driest-summer/
http://opinionmashup.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/dry/
http://ablondeandherbaggage.com/2014/03/27/truck-stop-patagonia/
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Things Panameño | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Not a Ted Talk Thursday ~ Remembering Vimy

The World War I Battle of Vimy Ridge has significant meaning in the formation of the Canadian identity and came to symbolize Canada’s coming of age as a nation.  It was the first occasion on which all four divisions of the Canadian Corps attacked as a composite formation.  The Canadian success in capturing Vimy Ridge owed its victory to a variety of mechanical and strategic improvements, preparation, and planning.  The assault on Vimy Ridge, the northern part of the wider battle of Arras, France began at 5:30 am on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917.

Every year the battle is commemorated on or around April 9th at various military museums, bases and units.  In 1922, use of the land, was given for all time by France to the people of Canada for the park which encompasses the Canadian National Vimy Memorial that stands on Hill 145, overlooking the Canadian battlefield of 1917.

It’s difficult for me not to be reminded of certain events in military history, my father served, my husband served and I have many relatives and friends that have either served in the military or are still in.  I found this lovely video tribute to Vimy on the National Film Board of Canada website.  Even though it’s nowhere near Remembrance Day or Memorial Day or Anzac Day or whatever you call the day honouring your war veterans where you are take a couple of minutes to click the link, hit the “play| button, watch and give thanks.

Vimy-Ridge

More about Vimy:
http://thunderbirdrising.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/take-a-moment-and-remember-vimy-ridge/
http://doingourbit.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/remembering-lt-george-geoffrey-may/
http://awriterofhistory.com/2014/04/09/remembering-vimy-ridge-april-9-1917/
http://thechangingpalette.com/2014/04/09/remembering-the-battle-of-vimy-ridge-april-9-12-1917/
http://thechangingpalette.com/2014/02/24/weekly-photo-challenge-threes-ii/
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Langostinos ~ The Dos Gatos Blog

It’s been a while since we’ve managed to take over the computer from the Woman Servant, while she wasn’t watching we snuck over to the keyboard.

Boomer is the best at using this computer thingy since most days I lie on the tray in front of the Woman Servant while she types.  In case you don’t remember this is me;

b

And this is my brother Bandit:

Bandit

We would like to tell everyone what great helpers we are around the house.  I know that the Woman Servant says that we only think we are helping when really we just get in the way but we really do help.   For instance on Saturday the Man Servant bought some langostino’s for supper from the Langostino Dude that wanders up the street occasionally.  We know how the Woman Servant always needs help getting them ready to eat so we pitched right in:

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We asked the Man Servant to take pictures to prove how helpful we are.  You can see that I was more “hands on” while Bandit preferred to cheer from the top of the stove.  Still, for some reason the Woman Servant didn’t appreciate an extra paw in the mix and she liked having her picture taken even less while she was smelling like prawns and “looking like she’d been pulled through a knot hole backwards”.

At the end of our hard work there was a nice bowl of langostino’s, but we were only given one whole one to share a couple of heads to crunch on.  Even so, it was a good job done by us, Dos Gatos in the campo.

Prawns

 You think we’re cute…read on!
http://nyasnyao.com/2014/04/06/football-night-with-the-male-human/
http://adazedunderstanding.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/i-wish-i-was-a-cat/
http://youngtran.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/toby-winking/
http://cutiecameras.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/pin-of-the-week-an-adorable-photo/
http://luffymoogan.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/potted-cat/
http://sermade.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/charlie-says-hi/

 

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