I'm on the fly posting from an internet cafe in Panama. Waiting for my brother-in-law to get his internet installed. Can't post pics for some reason but here's our next instalment...Happy New Year everyone!
We've met some wonderful people on our trip to Panama, mostly through my brother-in-law who has met up with them while on previous visits. Juan Carlos and his wife Marcella are a delightful couple who live up the hill here. They have a striking house with the central part of the house's interior open to the skies. Out in the backyard they've got their own pool - like the 5 other pools on site aren't enough for them - and they have a fantastic view of the rest of the complex, overlooking all the residences below, the beach and the ocean. On New Year's eve they invited us to their place for a dinner party, along with about 45 other people. I was surprised that so many people spoke English. The neighbour next door, for example, was actually American and her father had been in the armed forces stationed in what used to be the canal zone. Her grandfather actually worked on the efforts to build the canal, Thomas, a good friend of our hosts, while now a resident of Panama is originally from Sweden. Juan Carlos's wife Marcella's family hails from Bagota, Columbia. It was most interesting to encounter these folks and socialize with them, all of whom went out of their way to speak English to us.
Earlier in the day, my brother-in-law and I helped Juan Carlos out by driving down to a nearby restaurant and with the help of Juan Carlos's nephew Miguel brought back 4 banquet tables and 30 chairs in the back of our van. We took them back to the restaurant the next day on what had to have been the hottest day we've encountered thus far on our holidays. So we not only attended a party but we got in a good work out too.
One of the first people we met upon arriving at the party was Miguel's father, Juan Carlos's brother, also named Miguel. He was quite jovial, spoke English, and seemed to have had a wee start on the celebrations. But nevertheless a nice guy. Mrs D and I met so many people that night we were glad there wasn't a test later to see if we remembered their names.
Midnight was spectacular. We had a great view of the resort's fireworks on the beach, the fireworks from the nearby hotel The Breezes to the left and those of the Royal Decameron resort down the beach to the right. As well we could see more fireworks behind us from little towns down the highway. From our perch on the hill it was a fabulous panorama of pyrotechincs. And of course the champagne was flowing to toast in the new year. Which was a good thing, considering what had happened to me. I'd spent a rather dry evening you see. We'd been told it was a BYOB party so Mrs D and I dutifully packed up a bottle of wine for her and 3 Balboa beers for me. We arrived. Met the father and son duo of Miguel Sr. and Miguel Jr., and stashed our booze. I poured a glass of vino for my wife, opened a beer for myself and my brother-in-law, who doesn't drink, settled in to his customary cranberry juice. We began to circulate and socialize and tried our best to avoid Marcella who desperately wanted my brother-in-law and I to dance.
Oh, time for another drink. I poured my wife another glass of white wine and went to pull another Balboa from the cooler. But there weren't any. What the..? Don't tell me somebody's gone and swiped my beer? That hasn't happened to me since my college days. It was a long, dry party until the champagne came out at midnight. My brother-in-law had done a little investigating and determined who had swiped my beer…the effervescent Miguel Sr.! Oh, well. I let it go and chalked it up to not keeping an eye on my beer. Besides there'd been enough fireworks already. But guess who shook my hand and wished me "Happy New Year" about four times before we called it a night…a wobbly Miguel Sr. I think good old Miguel's new year started just a little bit earlier than the rest of us. And he rang it in with Mr. Balboa!