It's so nice to be back in El Valle and this house. I love this place. It is peaceful here. Last night I slept nine hours almost uninterrupted, which is really an unheard of thing for me. The only downside is that I miss my daughter Salma very much. I hope that when she is older I can bring her back to El Valle sometimes in summer to visit. So many people here ask about her.
I walked to my next door neighbor's house and before I even got to the front gate they were all rushing out to see me. Senora Teresa, her daughter Maria, and Maria's children Alba and the baby Emily. Another girl I didn't know, probably a niece. All their faces were shining and they were so happy to see me. I had gift for all of them. A little outfit for the baby, a copper bracelet for Alba, and a big jar of mixed nuts for the ladies (from Cosco). Senora Teresa held up the nuts and said, "Ay, que rico!" I saw Elvin hanging back by the chicken coop shyly. He waved at me and I called him over. He came running and I gave him a pack of Life Savers. Even Kissy the dog wagged her tail at me. As I left Teresa told me repeatedly that they were at my service for anything I might need during my stay here. I walked away with a big smile on my face. Later I saw the patriarch, Senor Rufino, sitting on the porch and waved to him. He doesn't get around much anymore. Last year he fell and broke his arm and I drove him to the hospital in Penonome.
I'm spoiled, used to having a car here in El Valle. I need to buy some groceries from the Centro Comercial but don't feel like walking all the way down there, so I've been going to some of the closer but smaller stores like the Yin. I also need to take my clothes to the laundry and buy a cell phone from the new Digicel store here in El Valle. I'm told I can get a phone for $10. That, plus a $10 card for talk time, should get me through my two remaining weeks in Panama.
I met a fellow at Los Nances named Ray Underwood. He sells medical equipment and knows all the doctors in Panama. He told me there are three dentists in Panama who use lasers rather than drills, and he recommended one in particular, a Dr. Felipe Magh who is located at Consultorios Paitilla. I need to have two cavities filled and a thorough cleaining. Ray says that all this can be done easily with lasers and that laser procedures are almost painless. So as soon as I get a phone I'll call him and make an appointment.
Other things that I want to do during my stay here include shipping some of my boxes back the USA and finding a good storage facility for what's left. And of course find new tenants for the house, and list it for sale.
Adam has been trying to get a carpenter for me to do the closets project for the house. There's a Guatemalan fellow named Emilio who lives here in El Valle, and who, when he is not drunk, is very skilled. He's always busy and we've made an appointment for him to come to the house Friday to see the closets.
I also want to buy a bed. We don't have a bed in the master bedroom, just a box spring and mattress that sit on the floor, and while I find it comfortable enough, I feel it doesn't make a good impression on prospective renters. Adam is going into Panama tomorrow and I think I'll go with him and check out a discount furniture store. We could pick up my friend Tracy along the way, and he and I could hang out together. I haven't seen him since last year.
I've been going out for walks every night. I carry my stick to keep the occasional aggressive dog away. The dogs are mild mannered and even cowardly during the day, but at night they seem to think they own the roads. I listen to my iPod, walk the dark roads past the fruit trees and flowers, and enjoy the sounds of the strange night birds.