Monday, July 30, 2012

Jimmy Dean Sausage and Mountain Dew !!!!!!

We went into Panama City yesterday morning to do a little shopping. The reason we went on SUNDAY, not as much traffic and it is easier for "Gringo's" to find their way around. We left the house @ 6:30 a.m. and we were at Riba Smith grocery store @8:30 a.m.. Riba Smith's main store is in Miami, Florida, so there are quite a few stores in Puerto Rico and other areas in the Carribean. We have 3 in Panama City alone.

We went thru the store very slowly and Mike found a 12 pack of Mountain Dew and three pounds of Jimmy Dean Sausage. Life is good!!!!! Now we can have good taco's and spagetti sause.

Then it was off to find Price Smart in the City itself.  We drove down the street called "Tumba Muerte" and after awhile we saw the sign "Office Max" and "Price Smart"....Yahoo

We were there at 10:10 a.m. and found alot of stuff we needed. Besides the usual we bought Bose computer speakers and a Singer sewing machine for me. It felt like money was flying out of our wallets, then we had a Price Smart hot dog and off we went trying to find our way out of the City and head towards home.

Now today it has been raining since 8 a.m. and we just heard it was only 72 degrees in Panama City. It is usually 10 to 15 degrees cooler here in El Valle. Mike is wearing his long sleeve T-Shirt and I am in leggings and a sweatshirt and a pair of Mike's socks. Of course we have the windows and doors open, I love the smell of rain..,

Another adventure in the NOT so Tropics...Wish you were all here with us, I am sure if I look hard I could find a blanket for us to share...

A new house and new friends

     We moved into our new house a week ago, so I'm going to use that as my excuse for not writing sooner. 
    A couple of days ago we went into the City to shop at Albrook Mall.  We were looking for a birthday present for our friend, Harry, and his wife, Ursula, was with us to do some shopping and to give us a few hints.  We wanted to find Harry a new jersey for bike riding, but were not successful...more about that later.  While we were at the mall, we went to our favorite place to eat.  It's called "Crepes and Waffles" and it was great.  Sandy had Beef Stroganoff crepes, and I had something called a "Sensational".  It's made of Dutch cheese, smoked ham, a fried egg and chopped tomatos and onions all wrapped in a crepe.  For dessert I had a "Baby Doll", a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, with a crepe folded over it.  Then they lay bananas on four sides and top it off with walnuts, hot fudge, and whipped cream...Yum! 
     When we were stumped for a gift for Harry, Ursula suggested cheese...Harry loves cheese!  So we stopped on the road home at a little shop that sells nothing but cheese, and we bought some of everything they had.  Harry lit up light a kid at Christmas when he saw what we brought for his Cumpleanos!!!
     Saturday morning my friend and I went to a new surf spot, called Rocky Point.  It's a rock bottom point break at a river mouth and we each got a few good rights...but the real highlight of the morning came later.  When we were drying off and getting ready to leave. another friend pointed out that the local fishermen could use a hand getting their boats hauled up above the high tide mark.  The boats are called Pongas and are about twenty feet long.  They're made of wood and are pretty heavy, and the beach is quite steep.  Since we park right next to the huts where they live, I figured it would be a good idea to help and they would be helpful with watching the truck whenever we were in the water.  The fishermen are extremely poor, living in tin shacks without running water or electricity, but are proud to be their own boss and to be making a living from the sea.  So we talked it over and worked out a plan of action.  I backed the truck up to the place the chose, and, after they tied a big rope to the frame of the truck under the bed, I put it in four wheel drive and up we went.  This went so well that we did it again with a second boat, and again with a third.  The third one was more difficult because of the angle and because I had very little room to move.  So it was back up and tie and pull, then back up and tie and pull, and after the third pull we had it up...all the while being careful not to drive the truck right through someone's house!  They were all smiles and thank you's when we were done, and I think I was the one who got the most out of the experience. 

     We are blessed to have made many new friends here in Panama...There's Harry and Ursula.  He's from Colombia and grew up in a jungle village and she's from Switzerland and worked in an investment bank!  And there's Manfred the German Sea Captain, and John and Stephanie from Maine, and Ty and Michelle from Canada, and Nancy from Nova Scotia, and Neil from Hawaii...all part of Mike and Sandy's Excellent Adventures in Panama.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Another Party to go to!!!!!!

The one thing I remember from living here years ago (for those who do not know, Mike was in the Army and we lived here during the late 60's) is the fun we had as ex-pats living in another country.  You celebrate every holiday with a party or get together. You are far away from your family and close friends so you go out of your way to meet new people.

Yesterday was an afternoon at the beach for LADIES ONLY. One of our owners of a well respected Inn here in El Valle has a beach rental for the off season.  And she will be having lots of these little gatherings.  Right on the beach not far from the resort we stayed at last year on our visit, Playa Palmar. This little "Casita" has a huge back yard and then you go down about 8 stairs and you are on the beach.  The tide was out when we got there and we had little plastic brightly colored  baskets to collect shells with.  Alot of all white shells and pale pink ones too. I left my treasured sea shells with my sister-in-law Kerry in Carlsbad, CA.. So I am starting my new collection here in Panama,

The water was warmer then bathwater and very inviting. There were about 8 of us in swimsuits of all sizes and shapes as well as ages and we had so much fun. Everybody brought food to share and we had a great variety with no menu, just bring what you wanted to make. We played board games under the big Panama Tree and laughed like school girls.

Tomorrow evening is a cocktail party we are going to, so I need to make finger foods to take to it. I want you to know you do not have to be a drinker to go to these parties, so far I have had just water or maybe gingerale and Mike usually has a beer.  Not like when we were young and your goal was to drink as much as you can as fast as you can.

So to let you know, in the last week we have been to 1 dinner, 2 brunches, 1 cocktail party and an afternoon at the beach.  And I am meeting a friend for breakfast tomorrow morning.  And the surprise, you don't have to wait until the weekend to have a party, we are all retired and you can have gatterings any day of the week.

We are off to Coronado, Panama today to get chicken for my finger food for Saturday night and to find disposable trays and dishes for the events.  I  don't want to have to think about remembering to take home my dish after the party.

Also I know we live in the world of computers and I could look on line, but I need a bunch of new receipes you all have used for gatherings...Please e-mail me or answer in the comment section at the bottom of this blog.

By the way, is anybody reading these blogs, I don't think we have any comments?

Another adventure, Sandy is going to be cooking again....LOL

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Another day of errands and a run thru the new house!!!

People always as me "What do you do all day?"

We left the house @ 9:30 this morning, picked up our laundry that we dropped off yesterday.  It was raining so hard yesterday @ 4:00 p.m. we did not venture out to pick it up. We went to our new place and went thru the usual stuff, how the t.v. works, how the suicide shower heads work, every key for every lock and all the little quirks of the house.

The owners are going back to the states this monday (Mike is driving them to the airport) and then when the wife retires in about 2 years they will be returning.

Then we went to Coronado, Panama to shop at 3 different grocery stores for a weeks worth of groceries. They are all in the same area so shopping is easy. A quick stop @ Mailboxes etc, to check what used paperback books they have available.  This is where the ex-pats drop off their books and take others they haven't read. Totally free !!!!!! Isn't that cool? No library check out, just drop off, pick up and go...

So excited, I found Panama brand Italian Bread Crumbs, been on my grocery list for awhile. We have been told there is a store called "Riba Smith" in Panama City, they carry alot of brand names  for ex-pats, prices are pretty good.  On line Mike found Jimmy Dean Sausage and Mountain Dew.  The store is out of Miami and what you can't find here they will order for you and it is shipped to their Store in Panama... I am sure for a price.

After lasagna @ Mia Nonna's (in our Coronado) we headed up and over the mountain to El Valle just in time for the groceries to be unpacked and our friend Manford came by to visit.  He is the proprieter of Los Capitanes Motel and Cafe we stayed at last year. Great old sea captain with lots of good stories. After ice tea and cookies he left and Mike started dinner.

It is now 6:30 p.m. and it is pitch black outside.  Time for a shower and read a little, watch old stuff on t.v. and before you know it...  we are both yawning.

Last weekend we went to our usual sunday brunch @ Ty's and then we went to a nice place for dinner.  One of our ex-pat couple's went back to the states for 4 months to visit family and do a little traveling. There were about 8 couples and we all paid for our own dinners. Had a great time and met a few new friends.

This week I have a "girls only" beach day and saturday night we are going to a cocktail party @ 4:p.m. and then down to Mama Mia's in Coronado for a band @ 8:00 p.m.. They are playing music from the 50's to the 80's.

Where is my husband and what have you done to him?.. Mr Sociable is a busy man down here in Panama. And I am trying to stay up with him.

We have a list of places we want to go and after we move next week we want to start checking those places off.  One of our first one is Costa Rica, another stamp in our passport. We have alot of traveling to do to catch up with our Granddaughter Mackenzie, she is 20 and has traveled almost everywhere.

That gives you an idea of what we do, and I know I have asked my bother-in-law Pat and sister-in-law Kate a hundred times "What do you do all day when you retire?"...
Like everyone told us, "They don't know how they worked full time and got all this stuff done."  I get it, I finally get it...  And I love it...There is a reward for all those years of working hard...We get to spend the last 3rd of our lives RETIRED .....

Saturday, July 14, 2012


We are home from our seperate vacations and trying to get into a routine again. We both loved our times with friends and family and it was fun to run to a Walmart and get the few things we missed from the states. We brought home with us, good seasonings dressing packets, dry lipton onion soup mix, lipton decaf tea for my ice tea, our favorite ovation shampoo and cell therapy (Mike got at the Del Mar Fair with a discount) and a pair of "The Ove Glove" (oven mitts instead of pot holders). Our son carries them at Ace Hardware, they are terrific. I also had fun at the local drug store in Delaware, you know buying "girlie things".
It was a good feeling to come HOME and realizing that this is where we wanted to be. I love our quiet little valley with it's friendly people. Mike has been riding his new bike and I have been busy getting suitcases emptied and hidden under beds.  Because Delta charges $25.00 for the first checked in bag we both left here with just a carry on. Then Mike bought a bigger suitcase to come home with the stuff he bought and the left over clothes we left at our son and daughter in law's house. Plus he had a beautiful bike case he had to check in,  looking at that case I thought "Boy I could pack alot of "girlie stuff in that".  I brought home a big suitcase from "my sister from another mister " Alice. I thought that it was too big but let me tell you I filled it up. So that makes 6 big suitcases and 2 small ones that we now have. One good thing is people here will ask to borrow one to go back to the states, and they return it when they come back in a few weeks or months.  We have a yahoo group in El Valle, anything you want to sell or borrow or give away you post and within minutes you have 2 or 3 answers. That is how we found our house we are renting in August.

We have a couple of weeks before we move, we will miss living close to our friends Harry and Ursala.  They have been so kind to us showing us where to go for everything and helping us with all the paperwork here in Panama. Snoopy their black lab will miss his second daddy Mike,  I swear that dog talks, you know by his squeals and barks what is going on before any person comes thru the gate. Mike has promised he will come and visit with Snoopy.  We are thinking of getting a dog when we move and there are alot to adopt in El Valle.

Enough for now, need to get on with the day.  Mike just came back from the mercado with homemade tamales, a saturday treat. He pops them in the crock pot on low and the whole place smells good.

A special thanks to A and R for showing me a good time and making me feel like family. I am sure in another life we were related.....

Friday, July 13, 2012

catching up...

     On the 26th of June Sandy and I went back to the States for a visit.  Sandy went to Baltimore to see her girlfriend and I went to San Diego to stay with my kids.  The trip started out miserably...the departing flight left almost six hours late and went downhill from there.  Fortunately it all went better from there.  Sandy had a great visit with her girlfriend, and I had a great time with my family and friends.  My grandson and I went to the beach three times together, and he now sleeps in the hammock I brought him from Panama.  Sandy spent a lot of time helping her friend at their craft shows, and I had a great time at my All-Class party.  Funny thing, though...after the first week we were both ready to  come home.                                                                                                       
When we got home this guy was waiting for us in the kitchen...surprise!!!

While I was in San Diego I bought myself a road bike...I need to keep up with my friend "N". so I found a beauty at a great price and brought it back with me.

So, here is your intrepid warrior and his friend, dressed for the part and ready to conquer the world of cycling.  So stay tuned for more to come...from Mike and Sandy's Excellent Adventures in Panama.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mi casa su casa

     We went to dinner the other day at the house that will be ours on August 1st.  Here are some pictures of the inside...
The house comes fully furnished and has two bedrooms, an office, and a "dry" room for storing papers and anything that can mildew or mold.  It also has three bathrooms and a patio that measures over 600 square feet.  We also have a maid/gardener that comes twice a week.

...Not bad for a couple of old retired folks!

We also went to a craft store this week and got a hammock for Connor, our grandson, and a couple of other gifts for the family...
Tomorrow is another surf session, and Tuesday we have another adventure...we're going back to the 'States for a that's all for now from Mike and Sandy's Excellent Panama!