I subscribe to the El Valle Yahoo group, and I noticed in a recent posting that Jackie Johnson, a Zonian who lives in El Valle, was going to be in Panama City on Friday. I emailed her and asked if I could get a ride back to El Valle with her Friday afternoon, and she agreed. I was so happy that I did not have to take a taxi to Albrook mall in order to take the noisy, crowded bus to El Valle, lugging my suitcases with me. Jackie told me she was getting her car fixed and she'd pick me up outside the hotel at 3pm.
I checked out of the hotel Friday at 3pm and waited for Jackie. Time went by. I listened to my iPod: first a Spanish lesson, then an episode of Talk of the Nation from National Public Radio. More time went by. I don't have a mobile phone and could not call her. But I was not worried or agitated. I know how things are in Panama. It could be that her car was not ready when they promised it, or she was stuck in traffic. Jackie showed up around 4:30 and as I suspected, she had had a difficult day. We got on the road, and we talked along the way. I've spoken to Jackie more than once in the past but never in depth. So I got to know her for the first time. Like me, she has had a difficult year, but hers was a matter of fate while mine was more of my own doing. Anyway, we found a lot to talk about.
I was going to be staying in Los Nances, high on a hillside above El Valle, but Jackie didn't want to drive that steep road up to the inn, so we called Adam Brunner and he met us in the center of town, in front of the Supermercado Yin. Adam picked me up, I had dinner at Los Nances, and settled into a very comfortable room for the night.