Today’s Guest Blogger is none other than the Divine Miss Sue!
For another perspective on this “winter” paradise! Here she is!
Flora y Fauna, Fruta y Frijoles by Suzy Q
After a hot day of sunshine and blue skies, rain is pummeling the tin roof once again, cooling off our casa. I love the different weather patterns, looking for new birds and beasts, and tasting new treats! So, you lucky bloggees, your “guest blogger” is now going to regale you (or bore you to tears) with the exciting details of cooking mystery ingredients in an under stocked kitchen with one tired fry pan, and of the sometimes soggy slothing (aka sleuthing) I’ve been enjoying as I focus (pun intended) on all the exotic creatures living around us!
The trees here are incredible, with thick underbrush and flowers everywhere. Costa Rica had “Go Dog Go” trees (check the pictures in the book and figure it out), and huge trees with multiple branch/roots that remind me of banyan trees. Here in Panama it’s more an intensity of the colors; like being in a green house where it seems as if you can actually watch things growing. Since it is the rainy season we’ve been treated to all kinds of weather in just a couple of weeks. The rains have been unbelievable; so loud that we literally have to yell to be heard over it. I’ve seen heavy rains in Texas and in Hawaii, but this definitely tops those; I guess they mean it when they say it’s the rainy season! In between the rain showers we’ve had some really great weather too, so it’s been perfect for us to get a feel for the area.
We have this huge covered deck where I spend many hours just gazing into the trees looking for new winged friends. All the different birds are amazing and I’m learning to recognize some of their calls. The parrots are very raucous, and call back and forth to each other; the Oropendolas (my current fav) makes his call while tipping over on a branch and rotating back up, and the Kiskadees are just LOUD! Add to that all the little finches, warblers, hummingbirds and a gazillion others that I don’t know yet, and it’s quite a symphony! Then the howler monkeys start in and it’s a riot to just sit and listen. We wake up each morning to somebody calling the day to order right outside our window; a Panamanian alarm clock!
Here’s a partial list of what (I think) I’ve seen so far….
Grey-necked Wood Rail
Clay colored robin
Blue Grey Tanager
Frigate birds, Brown Pelicans
Gulls, Terns, Sandpipers, Herons
We also have a resident Cayman in the back drainage ditch, a crocodile in the little lake down the road, a tribe of howler monkeys that come by every few days, and a sloth that we’ve seen a couple times. The leaf cutter ants, frogs, bugs that look like leaves, and turtles are amazing too. The birds still intrigue me the most though, and I am constantly looking for movement in the trees. The parrots are the exact color of the leaves, so it’s amazing how well they are camouflaged. Every now and then I’ll catch a flash of color, and my eyes are drawn to a spot where I’ll watch until I find who’s there. It’s really a treat, and I need to learn more about what I’m seeing!!!
The food here is also a bit different than expected. In Costa Rica we had an abundance of fresh fish, but here it seems as though it’s been over fished so we have only found frozen fish so far. We’ve been told that the fishermen have to go farther out into the Gulf to catch the larger fish, where the water isn’t as warm. We have yet to find the fresh local lobster, but we talked to Mercato today and he said “Jueves”…Thursday!! We bought some Mahi Mahi for dinner tonight that we will bar-b-que along with some fresh pineapple, yum!
Most restaurant meals are served with some type of rice and beans, something that I attempted to recreate with a can of black beans here at home; it was okay, but still needs a little work. I’ve also made plantains, which we both like a lot. I just sliced them up and fried them in oil with a little butter – and depending on how ripe the plantain is, it’s either bready or a little sweet. The fresh fruit is great too. I buy a pineapple and a papaya whenever we go to town, and they are so ripe and sweet, nothing like the green fruit that is shipped to the states!
It’s really a treat to have an entire month here, or as we call it, time to do GRT research! It’s important to know if morning gecko droppings will push one over the edge, or if “no see ums” will eat you alive. You learn to put food away immediately, to clean the counters and to make the bed when you get up! Much of that is due to our “interesting” house, but we are settling into a nice balance of exploring, relaxing, and learning. Actually it’s kind of all one and the same, in that we are experiencing day to day living to see if this is a place or a lifestyle that “fits”. So far all is perfect. This is definitely a place where we could see ourselves with a possible land base, as long as Escapade was anchored out front! There are many hurdles to cross before we make that happen (wanna buy a Blue Goose?), but it’s not a stretch to think that we’ll be anchored next to the reef in a few years!
Life is good!!!