Scorpion number 2, this time IN the house !

I have been told that some folks are disturbed by my posts on Scorpions, that bad memories are brought back. I’m sorry you had a bad experience and I do understand that many people don’t like bugs or pictures of bugs, but there are many who are concerned and my posting may save someone from getting stung. If you don’t like the post then move on or delete it.

Last evening (June 20, 2013) around 11:30 I glanced away from my monitor and saw on the floor under the table a scorpion, crawling toward my wife’s feet on the other side.083

“MOVE YOUR FEET, MOVE YOUR FEET!” was all I was able to come up with. I then mentioned the word scorpion but Kris had already spotted it and had pushed her chair a safe distance away and was grabbing her camera.086           Kris got a flashlight and took this shot.

I grabbed the video camera and took photos and a video of the scorpion from where Kris was sitting.

It didn’t move until I encouraged it with my foot, then it took of towards my side of the table. I shut the camera off, went and got a jar, put it down on top of the scorpion. Then I slid a stiff 4×6 recipe cars under the jar, lifted and turned the jar upright and put a book on top. 090

This intruder is smaller than the one that crawled up my arm but I still don’t think that I would like to get stung by it. Here are the two invaders side by side.089 The one on the right is the one caught in the house. I made a short video of it in the jar.

The legs move kind of fast, don’t they?

I want to thank all the people for their comments and advice on scorpions. It seems that one never can predict when a scorpion will be seen.

The main takeaway was that scorpions can be found anywhere and a person should keep this in mind when picking things up off the ground, inside and outside the house.

I hope this is the last time one gets our attention but I won’t be too surprised if we do get another visitor.

As always, be careful.

Later,

j

*El Bosque The Forest- Some photos in the woods on the way to the river*

Kris and I took a walk in the woods across the street from our house on the way to the river. The woods are behind our neighbors home in the photo.104_2755

We always like to take our cameras, we always find something that interests us and might be fun to put on the blog.  It’s always cooler under the shade of the 100′ pines and the fragrance of the pine trees always reminds me of forests back in the States. Here are a few of the pictures I took on the way down to the river. I took pictures along with a short video there and will show them on the next post.

I’m holding a vine, it was the longest one I’ve ever seen. The 2nd photo show it going up near the top of a tree, probably over 50′ to a termite nest.

104_2776104_2777104_2781104_2783These wicked things on a dead palm frond reminded me of sharks teeth.104_2791 104_2790 104_2789 104_2788Feathers are always fun to photograph.104_2782This burnt stump looked a bit like an animal in my imagination.104_2779104_2784The long shadows and trees caught my eye.

Hope you enjoyed our little walk in the forest!

Later,

j

*The Highlands of Volcan, cool and only 1 hour away!*

Kris said, “Hey, let’s jump in the car and go to Volcan!” Why not, Volcan is only 55 minutes from my house in David. We live 6 minutes north of the Pan American highway and just go west on it for about 25 minutes then turn north at Conception and start heading uphill until we reach Volcan. And what a ride it is-I was driving so Kris got to look at the scenery more since I REALLY needed to keep my eyes on the road, two lane and twisty as it was.But I did get to go slow or stop and took a few pictures. Please ignore the incorrect date on the photos:)009005004006007008The last shot is of Volcan Baru, the highest peak in Panama. Volcan the town is at the 4,200′ level, Baru rises to 11,398 and gets down to 30 at night.

Kris will have more on an upcoming post, be sure to take a look, we have some interesting shots of veggies being grown on impossibly steep hillsides!

The trip was good for the body and mind, we saw some friends, cooled off compared to our area (70 vs 90) and saw some pretty magical landscapes. If you are in our area I highly recommend taking the drive, I think you’ll like it.

Later,

J

What gets hot HAS to cool down, doesn’t it ?

David is not as hot as Lancaster, California or Manhattan, KS  but at 97F it sure isn’t COOL! Since we don’t have AC I’ve been taking 2-4 showers a day and that did the trick. Even at 97 it was so dry that I wasn’t sweating, just felt like the oven door had been left open. All that changed yesterday…. M2910006Kris trying out the “computer in a hammock on a rainy day” concept.

M2910005It looks like Kris is  getting wet but the roof extends 5′ past the hammock

Coming from freezing Portland, Maine to cooking David, Panama the extreme climate change took the wind out of my sails last week but then came….THE RAIN!

M2910007Thunder, lightning and lots of cooling rain. They say the rainy season starts on April 15 but if it wants to come early, let it come.M2910008

I’m actually comfortable while writing this post, it’s so nice to have some cooler weather back. Now we get to watch everything green up again,

YES!

Later,

j

* Visiting to the U.S.- a Wee bit of Culture/Sticker Shock*

“I’m in a hurry to get things done, I work and work until life’s no fun

All I really gotta do is live and die but I’m in a hurry and don’t know why”      From the album American Pride “I’m in a Hurry” the American band Alabama 1992-

From Wikipedia: The song is an up-tempo, in which the narrator discusses the rather fast pace of the current society. He states that he is always in a hurry, but has no explanation as to why he is rushing.

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(Kris and I DO rush a bit here in Panama, I think it’s a work ethic thing but we’re trying to get over it!)

As Ma and I walked toward the customs area in Miami hoards of people walked past us. We were not going very fast but not super slow either. It seemed like all the people REALLY needed to get somewhere IMMEDIATELY. Maybe they had connections to make or just wanted to get home, I don’t know. All I know is here in Panama I’m not sure that anyone not involved in a sport moves that quickly! Everything here seems to be done at a more leisurely pace. Ma and I looked at each other, she said “I’m experiencing culture shock!” I had to agree.Welcome to the jungle.

Thankfully, Portland, Maine is more similar to David, Panama. The pace there us more relaxed overall but the wait staff in the restaurants do hustle, the service was great at Gilbert’s Chowder House (Ma had fish chowder and I had fish and chips, FABULOUS!) And 75 State Street has a nice feel, no one rushing (duh, the folks there aren’t spring chickens!) and the staff is calm and cheery.

Now about the food prices….Well, I drove to get some food and had two distinct experiences. The first was at a discount grocery store where you put your purchases in boxes that littered the floor. The temperature outside was near freezing, I stood behind a woman bundled in a floor length black coat and stocking cap. She didn’t appear to be American, maybe a Somali  since many came to Maine to escape the violence of Somalia.  She produced a card for her purchase, a single jar of peanut butter.  She may not have had enough money to afford anything more, it remains a mystery to me. The prices were higher than in Panama but much better than in the next store I went to.M2840001Above is yesterdays haul from the local legumbreria. Weight-49lbs, cost $21.35 which breaks down to about 44 cents a pound. Yum, yum, yummy!

The second food price experience was at the Whole Foods store, If you are not familiar, WF is a high-end organic food chain. The food looks very nice and there is a good variety but the prices were nothing like here in Panama. I can get rib eye steak (granted not as tasty) for $4 lb, I saw rib eye for $29 lb. An apple sized chayote squash was $1.15 (large ones are 4/$1 in Panama). Watermelon was .99 lb vs .20 here. It was obvious that buying fresh fruit/veggies would be out of the range of many people’s budget. Our daughter in Santa Rosa calls Whole Foods “Whole Paycheck”!

Bottom line: Eating good, fresh food is MUCH cheaper in Panama.

These are just a few of the examples of the many differences I noticed. Maine does look like a nice place to live if one can afford it, it’s beautiful, safe, and the people are nice. It should work well for Ma and Panama should work for us.

Later,

j

*Just a walkin’ in the Rain…The Frog Blog*

Kris and I decided to walk rather than bike, we can take time to stand and look at things as long as necessary, and it’s an nice change-up anyway. We walked through our neighborhood, out the entrance to the right, and then headed down to the river. M2650012

The sky was gray and maybe if we were lucky it could break the hot weather we’ve been having and rain. The over cast sky made for some interesting photos, mostly of frogs for me. We got halfway home before we started to get wet, the rain cooled everything off, it’s 84 inside and now I’m actually chilly with the fan on me as I type. Gotta love it! Here are the photos- Click on them to enlarge!

I'm 1/4" long, so what?

I’m 1/4″ long, so what?

Muck in a backwater area

Muck in a backwater area

Rock, feather, flower

Rock, feather, flower Click on me to enlarge!
upside down is good

upside down is good

Something we haven't seen in a while- a rain soaked street!

Something we haven’t seen in a while- a rain soaked street!

Many large bananas!

Many large bananas, looks like 100 or so!

If no one beats me to them, those bananas are MINE! I’ll push the plant over (it’s HUGE, probably 15′-20′ tall!) and chop the bunch off. They’re located across the street from our house in the pine forest. I got a bunch of small, pink bananas last month and they are just now ripening and wonderful. I don’t know about these but willing to bet they taste great. We’ll see….

Later,

j

Su Carne Rib Eye over a Wood Grill = Much improved Flavor!

Ma reminded me of a photo from the 1950’s where I was about 11 and standing watching some women in Guam roast a chicken on a wood fire they had started at the beach. If they could do it, so could I!M2590029I concocted a plan- dig up some large rocks from the yard, scour the forest across the street for wood, and get some sort of metal grill to put the steak on.M2590024I got the rocks and wood and the toaster oven was the grill donor.M2590029I let the fire get down to mostly coals and put on the steaks.M2590032I had run an electric cord out to the tree so I had electricity for my little light.M2590037I taste tested a bite, too rare, back on the fire.M2590048Above- Potato, sour cream and butter, cheyote, Rib Eyes steak and Balboa, YES! The steak was not too rare or done, it was the way I liked it. Ma had a separate piece, she managed to eat half and save some for tomorrow.M2590009Above – This photo has nothing to do with steak, fires or beer, but Kris took it today and I wanted to share all the colors with you. By the way, it was 95+ here today. Definitely a 4 shower day!

The verdict: the steak was a little chewy but the wood fire and smoke VASTLY improved the taste over the last steaks broiled in the toaster oven.

M2590049Kris made some Corvina, I had a bite and wow, she had outdone herself, they were fabulous.

M2590039I almost forgot about my steak. Almost.

I’m curious as to how a nice Porterhouse would taste over a wood fire. I think I’m going to find out!

PS I got more done narrowing down a place for Ma in Maine. More to come….

Wish you were here-

Later,

j

*Un-met Expectations? Not many for me in David,Panama…*

I knew I would like David, Panama, heck, I’d been here 2 times before, I just didn’t know how much.

I like it here a lot, I’ll admit I like all the typical things that are mentioned on the internet, cheap housing, food and liquor. I expected to enjoy the natural beauty but I found that with my camera I found even MORE beauty than expected, even some of the BUGS were pretty!

But the best part is about David for me is… the people. I see happy, smiling, KIND people every day here. If the people here are stressed, they sure hide it well.M2170006

I don’t hear raised voices except when folks are celebrating. We always get smiles and waves from strangers, sometimes we smile first, sometimes they do. “Buena” is used ALL THE TIME, kind of like Aloha, a general greeting, goodbye, what have you. From the young to the old.

There’s a good vibe here in Panama. I feel it even more when I speak to nearly everyone, from the guy pumping my gas to ALL the doctors we’ve met (6) and just about everyone in between.

Smilin'! My dentist Dr Spiegel

Smilin’! My dentist Dr Spiegel

These are many folks who go out of their way to provide not just good, but excellent service-service with a smile.M2200006

So I guess I’ve given up stress and low-level anxiety for a life among happy people and beautiful surroundings. I live cheaper, eat better and enjoy each and every day.M2520005

I have more than I need and want for little more.

Later,

j

*Fresh Fruit and Veggies in David, Delicious and Cheap!*

Kris has found a place downtown not far from the Cervantes Parque where we like to go for our veggies and fruit. It’s further from our house than the fruit stand near El Rey but the produce and selection is good and we have struck up a friendship with the proprietor. Back in Sarasota, Florida we bought a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, these here are as good, sometimes MUCH better, and always cheaper.

Kris sees something good!

Kris sees something good!

When we got home I put the food on the table after weighing it. As you can see, there is quite a lot of food, it came weighed in at 43 lbs and cost us all of $12.70! The watermelon alone weighed 14 lbs and was 20 cents a pound. We bought: Papaya, grapefruit, pineapple, watermelon, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and bananas, The half of a melon was a gift!

Lots of good eating here!

Lots of good eating here!

Great food, great service, great price –  what more could we ask for? One more reason for us to love David, Panama!

Later,

j

Food Shopping at Super Baru

Going to the food store, a normal, everyday experience for folks around the world. Sometimes the experience is better than other times for various reasons. Today was a GOOD DAY, not too crowded, found what we wanted, nice people helping us, and LOTS of good food for a low price.

We went to Super Baru, a great store a couple of miles from my house and a the favorite of two stores for my mom to shop in. It’s smaller than El Rey, the other store we like, not as new or fancy but  with enough nice touches to be endearing. Lots of small packages of food on shiny wooden shelves giving an old timey feel to parts of the display racks. The top shelves aren’t too high, and when you stand 5 feet tall, that’s a nice touch.

They also have a good selection of North American and European foods (cheeses and special meats) and many in small sized containers. If you are a small eater or just cooking for one it’s nice not to have to buy in large quantities if you choose not to.

The vegetable section is much the same, if want to buy a single stalk of celery they have one wrapped up for you. This may not seem like a big deal for some, but if you are tired of throwing out food that you just couldn’t eat and didn’t want to buy such a large quantity in the first place, then you know how nice this is.

Notice that the highest price is slightly over a dollar and many of the prices are less than 50 cents. The store even has tiny plastic bags that you put your four peppers in, hand it to the produce man, he hands it back with the weight and price and there you go. DON’T SKIP THIS STEP, YOU WILL BE SENT BACK TO PRODUCE OR HAVE TO WAIT IN LINE WHILE AN EMPLOYEE GOES BACK AND GETS THE PRICE FOR YOU.  I speak from experience….

Ma likes the store a lot, we’ve only been there twice and we’re starting to get used to it like we were used to Publix in Clearwater, Florida. It’s a much smaller store but with most of all the things that we need so all is well. We’ll learn where everything we need is eventually and until then it’s an adventure with super nice people to help us. A great start to a  new year!

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