Saturday, February 21, 2009

Completed House Pictures

On December 10th, 2008 we transfered our lives from our 400 square foot apartment in downtown Boquete into our very own home in the near by mountains of Alto Quiel. The long yearned-for move came almost exactly 9 months after breaking ground on Mañana Madera. What an accomplishment and how FANTASTIC to finally have our own home! It will take time to usher the INTERNAL part of our hacienda into the "nestled in" stage inside but we are happily conquering it little by little, or as is said in Panamá-poco a poco. Recently added were the bromeliads for the log planter in our dining room (left) and our coffee table.

More pictures in the Photo Gallery under Casa de Pigott FINAL...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

First Mañana Madera Coffee Harvest for 2009

Our coffee has begun to ripen. First come the delicate, white, barely fragrant flowers. Next, clusters of green beans form and eventually turn red. Dark red means ripe and time to pick. Some of the beans mature faster than others and recently, the first batch was ready to be plucked. Omar, our gardener did a sweep and gathered the ready reds. We took the sacks full of coffee to our neighborhood coffee beneficio, Cafe Sitton.
Coffee is measured by the "Lata"....see the little blue container? That's a Lata. Our preliminary pass yielded 7 Latas. Prices change and usually increase as the season progresses but this early in the game we got $4.55 for each Lata. We will continue to harvest through February when the season concludes. We are thoroughly enjoying being Coffee Baron and Baroness Pigott and savor a delightful cup of Mañana Madera coffee from our 2007 harvest each morning. Come on down and try it for yourselves!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Mother Nature Twist

Took a trip to Panama City to pick out some furniture essentials for our new home which is supposed to be completed in early December. The shopping experience was quite different than it would have been in the US to say the least but all in all it was a successful, fruitful journey and to put a positive spin on it, a learning experience.

Upon our return, Mother Nature decided to throw a big twist into the mix to keep things exciting and dumped tons of rain in the mountains above Boquete. The rivers began to churn and eventually rage and ultimately flood. We were evacuated from our little river side rent apartment last night by a Bombero (fireman) who told us to GET OUT "Ya" which means RIGHT NOW in Spanish. Now refugees, we've been taken in by our kind friends Thomas and Michelle who fortunately have electricity and water and are being most hospitable indeed.

We checked on our rent apartment today and it thankfully did not flood. It is without electricity/power though and will likely stay that way for at least two weeks. Not exactly sure what the game plan is from here, but we're just feeling thankful that we're okay and that our rent house and future home are survivors too. Check out some of the pics, pretty amazing. The power of water is certainly not to be underestimated:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

NoDik Strikes Again

A blog from a few months back poked fun at the name of a Panamanian over the counter anti-parasite medication that Randy brought home to ease his tummy troubles. "NoDik" would obviously NOT sell in English speaking countries as it suggests a condition in which no one, at least no man, would want to find himself.

Yeah, it's funny until YOU'RE the one who gets a stomach bug and has to swallow NoDik to oust an unwelcome guest. At first, I stuck fast to my "let things run their course and don't take any medications unless you absolutely have to" mantra. But, after researching my symptoms on the Net and reading about how some types of parasites can lay MILLIONS of eggs A DAY inside their host, I ditched that theory and we made a trip to the store STAT. Rand ran in, came back with NiDik in hand and recounted what the pharmacist had said, "NoDik, twice a day, one in the morning, one at night".

For some reason I remember him saying two in the morning, two at night. Gulping down the two flourescent yellow NoDiks, I had unknowingly put myself on the accelerated program. When taken as prescribed, one at a time every 12 hours, NoDik eliminates the intruder. My unwitting double-down begat a hellish night shift and at one point I remarked to my sleepy husband that this must be similar to what I imagined the after effects of chemotherapy to be.

Good news is that I feel better today. This is probably because the parasite(s) are out now, completely anhilated by the 1-2 sucker punch I gave them of NoDik's yellow flourescent horse pills. Rand bought me lemon/lime Gatoraid this morning to replenish my lost electrolytes and the NoDik coming out the other end is the exact same color.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Third Time's A Charm

Recently, random road inspections on some of the main Boquete thoroughfares were conducted by the Police. We called it the Gring-Sting as the cops were checking the Gringos, and other foreigners, for valid visas AND Panamanian drivers licenses. We were stopped in the sting and detained for about 20 minutes because Randy could only produce a US license. They eventually let us go because we were just barely still within the 90 day grace period that is given after receiving a permanent visa.

The city of David is 40 minutes south of Boquete. It is a very hot city that we try to avoid but in order to get your Panamanian license, you have to go to David. The first time we made the attempt was last Thursday and the systems in the drivers license office were down. The second time we went, all the "appointments" for the actual driving portion of the test were full. With a little fussing, Randy did manage to get his license that day but I was still out of luck meaning we would have to return a THIRD time with no guarantee that I would emerge with Pan license in hand.
Thankfully, the third trip to David did prove productive. Now, not only can we both drive hassle free in Panama, we can also use our new licenses to drive with complete impunity when we visit the States. SWEET!

Monday, September 1, 2008

First Fire

The first time Randy and I saw our land, now called Mañana Madera, was a year ago today, September 1st 2007. We celebrated by giving our chimney, now complete with fire bricks, a first flames christening.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Birthday Mac Cracked

For my-Congratulations on Your New Job/Happy Birthday-present, my ever thoughtful Randy placed an order to procure me my very own MacBook laptop. I was overjoyed with such an exciting, functional gift. He placed the order back in June. I couldn't wait to finally have it in hand! The plan was that during his visit to the US to see family, he would pick up the Mac and hand-carry it back down to Panama. Rand carefully packed the sparkling, new machine in his backpack and boarded the first of several planes that would transport him back to Boquete.

He arrived safe and sound. We're not sure where or how it happened, but unfortunately, the computer did not arrive in the same, splendid shape as the husband. When I opened it, it looked like the screen had some bunched up, protective film on it. I booted it up and saw that it was not protective film at all. It was actually several mammoth cracks in the LCD screen. I had to talk myself down in order to not start crying....months of anticipation were met with a shocking and crushing discovery. The screen was so badly shattered that it was completely unusable. Logistics. It's not like there is a neighborhood Mac store around the corner here in Boquete.....

We think the story will have a happy ending though. The 3rd party supplier from whom we purchased the computer had pity on us and is replacing it at no cost (except the $350 to get the cracked system back to the US and the new one back here to Panama). We will certainly take it though. At least we're not out the cost of a whole new machine. We are holding our breath that Macbook Numero Dos one will make it to us unscathed. Keep your fingers crossed for us, Chums!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Reverend Machismo

Across the street and up a few houses from our little rental apartment lives.....The Reverend. The Reverend is in his late 70's and wears glasses and almost always a hat. Often times his hat is red to match his truck. His truck is a little red two door ride that can really make a statement when pushed.

After renting here for 6 months, we've learned The Reverend's morning ritual, yet it still makes us wonder, "what the hey?" He is not called The Reverend because he is a pious man but rather because he is a revvv-er. Each and every morning, without fail, he is up at 5:30 and gets into his little red ride, starts it and then revvs the gas. LOUD. Obnoxiously and ridiculously LOUDLY and for 15 to 20 seconds. Not 15-20 seconds and then he is done, 15-20 seconds per rev. He revs over and over. With the cost of gas being so high, we just don't know how he can afford it. The strange thing is that he only sometimes goes somewhere after all that revving. Other times he just sits inside the red ride, revs and stays right there in front of his casa. Guess he just wants the whole neighborhood to know that he is still very much alive and kicking and...revving. With each break-of-dawn growl of the little truck, you can almost hear his Machismo roar.
Ah Reverend, long may your revv reign supreme.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mondongo & Boxing Match Box In

In Panama there is a house building tradition in which we recently took part. When the roof on your house goes up, your construction crew erect a bandera roja (red flag) and won't take it down until you throw them a Mondongo party to celebrate the milestone of being under roof. The fiesta gets its name from the meal traditionally served at the party. Mondongo is tripe, ie. cow stomach. Needless to say when the mondongo part of the celebration ended up not materializing, I wasn't exactly crushed.

In addition to the food and beer (they specifically requested Budweiser and Tecate) we gave the guys tickets to the 2nd Annual Panama Regional Boxing tournament that night. Randy used to box back in the day and I had never been to a boxing match live so we decided to splurge and get a Super VIP ringside table for $15/person. Before the bouts began, we got to hear the Panamanian anthem for the first time. Suitable timing as we recently became official card carrying Panamanian residents. YEAH! Though the fights were entertaining, by 10:30ish, I was ready to head home. We thought Rand would run me to the house and return to see a few more fights. But that was not to be. As we neared our vehicle in the parking lot we saw to our dismay that were securely boxed in by another car. Yes, boxed in at a boxing match.
Rand sent me home in a taxi and remained until the evening concluded at 2:30am when the offending boxer-inner came slowly sauntering out of the gym. Obviously, he hadn't heard the several announcements made over the loudspeaker about his license number asking him to move his ride. The very tired Randy was certainly glad to be finally free.