Jul 2, 2011

Raining Bathtubs and Garbage

I wish there were a way to capture the  intensity and noise of Boquete rainfalls during “invierno”. 
Invierno means winter, but in Panama there are actually only two seasons, the dry season and the wet season.  The dry season is what they call summer, and the wet season is called winter.   Winter lasts eight months, and is actually the warmer of the two seasons.   Summer lasts (allegedly) four months.  It’s all relative, though, and summer often is only 2-3 months in Boquete.  It’s typified by fierce winds and cold nights. 
But back to the rainfalls.  They are really impressive.  They come on suddenly, like most monsoons, and quickly build to a crescendo that can last 30 minutes or more, frequently accompanied by lightning and thunder, then gradually fade into a typical California type rain for several hours.   The force of the rain as it builds and beats on the roofs  is deafening.  It’s impossible to hear the television, the stereo, a person on the other end of a telephone call, or at times even a person in the same room.    I used to hate rainy days in California, but I enjoy them here.    At least this year I do… I must be acclimatizing.   They haven’t been as unrelenting this year, and are starting to feel like routine visits from a good friend.  I love the way the native plants in the garden perk up and go through growth spurts.  A lesson learned from last year, though---don’t plant fruit, vegetables or flowers during this time.  They are better started in the “summer” and are then able to survive subsequent “winters”.
The only other relevant local news is that the restaurants that cater to the expat community are all vying for the gringo dollar over July 4th, and are advertising specials that sound absolutely artery clogging and brain bashing.  What in the world are “jello shots” anyway?    Lemongrass Martinis? Lots of rum tastings and 2 for 1 beer specials, too.  Entrees include BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Burgers, Fish & Chips, Real Buffalo Chicken Wings, Corn Dogs, Beef on Fried Corn Tostadas, Fried Calamari, Steak with Potatoes and Gravy, and on and on.   Yuck---count me out.  Have to admit, I have a weakness for Coconut Fried Shrimp at Las Ruinas, but I limit myself to once every 3 months or so.   What Boquete needs is a good health food restaurant.  But then, it would probably never survive.  
Lastly,  garbage.  There’s been no garbage pickup in my neighborhood for two weeks.  The bags are piling up along the streets and it doesn’t look so nice.   It may be endemic to my area of town, however, because I don’t see expats griping and fussing their heads off about the matter on the local forums.  If they were affected, undoubtedly it would be fussed about.    Interestingly enough, there’s no garbage worker’s strike, or other labor-related matter creating the problem.  No one I’ve asked seems to know with certainty what the problem is, but speculation has it the garbage truck is broken down again.  Boquete only has two trucks, and when one breaks down, the areas affected just have to wait until things get repaired.  Guess I’m living on the wrong side of the river.   Should I start another fundraiser?  Absolutely not!  There are lessons to be gained here.  Patience, prioritization, tolerance,  and temperance to name a few.