Friday, April 18, 2008

Cicadas, Peacocks, and Frogs with Bad Timing

We're at the apex of the dry season. The weather is warm bordering on hot, bright and sunny every day. The birds are singing, our resident iguana is growing huge, and Laura and Salma have been making frequent trips to the swimming pool at Aparthotel El Valle, which charges $2 per person for a dip in a pool heated by natural hot springs. Salma wears a flotation device and is gradually becoming more comfortable swimming on her own, with her Mama a feet away watching.

The cicadas have started up and you can hear them all day long. A cicada's call starts out with a sputter like an engine trying to start, then winds up into a long, loud air-raid siren. If you didn't know what it was you'd think it was a machine of some kind.

Summer is mosquito season and the geckos are going to town. They're all over the house, laughing at us with their distinctive call. We've hung a mosquito net over Salma's bed and we make sure to draw it closed every night. I sleep in long sleeved pajamas as protection, with the ceiling fan running on low. No need for AC up here in El Valle, except on the hottest afternoons.

The peacocks at Los Aramos seem to have spring fever. We hear their calls at all hours of the day and night.

We had a few brief rainstorms last week and it seems to have fooled the frogs. Many came out of hibernation and can be seen hopping all around the neighborhood by the hundreds. Unfortunately for them the early rain was a nasty April fool's joke, not to be repeated. The ditches and streams are dry and I'm afraid this crop of frogs will die out. Laura already removed one from our driveway, picked to the bones by black ants.

The termites have shown a few signs of an impending population explosion. We'll see.

Laura is now teaching English two days a week at the public school. It's turning out to be quite an experience for her. You can read about it on her blog,


Fraydoh said...

Hi Wael:

I've just finished reading your blog from the beginning. I read it it during odd moments. I have a lot of odd moments. Very entertaining and informative on life in El Valle. My wife Deborah and I were in El Valle for a couple of visits in January 2007, staying at Los Capitanes. Chef Zilke was German and we loved her food and our waiter Ivan was good fun, although I take it you'd dine elsewhere. :) Too bad I didn't discover your blog before our trip as we would have loved to meet you and Laura and take you to dinner -- elsewhere. We ate at 3 other places in town, including NiƱa Delia, now El Rancho -- todo bien.

The Freight-Train Winds -- it seemed to me such a wind must surely have a name. Two evenings in a row we experienced them -- 15 to 30 minutes of calm followed by 60 to 90 seconds of linear air flow at 45 - 60 miles per hour. Something was causing the valley to breathe like a monster. If you ever hear a name for those winds, please let us know.

You cover a lot of ground in your writing and you write well. You're a very thoughtful man and I've enjoyed your musings and comments on everyday life. Keep it up. It is appreciated.



Wael in Panama said...

Fraydoh, thank you for your generous comment. You read my entire blog? Wow! You must really be interested in El Valle, because I know I'm not that captivating!

Are you planning a return trip to El Valle? Please do contact me if you do, we should definitely get together. You can contact me through the contact form link at the upper left corner of this blog.