Sunday, February 22, 2009

One more week

One more week until we leave David. Brian and I are looking forward to clean water to anchor and swim in. The water here in the estuary is a greenish brown. Brian is looking forward to surfing again, and not spending any money for a while. Shopping tip: Panama's prices are 1/3 to 1/10 of prices in the States, except for health food.

In case y'all are wondering, I ended up buying 8 liters of olive oil and 3 liters of corn oil.

Here's some interesting things I've learned about Panama:
1. Their currency is called the "Balboa" and it looks suspiciously like American money. Actually, it is. Yup. All dollars here say, "official note of the U.S. Federal Reserve" or however that goes. Occasionally when I get change back I'll receive a penny, dime or quarter that is the right size and shape and color of ours at home but it has a Panamanian picture and Spanish words to tell how many cents it is.

2. Women here don't wear tampons. How I know this is that there are aisles and aisles of feminine products but only in one store have I seen tampons included. More info than you ever wanted to know.

3. Many people don't own cars. Makes things easy for us. There is a very easy, consistent bus system to get you anywhere in town for 30 cents.

4. There are multiple political parties here. Currently they are having elections for president and 4 parties made an alliance to support one candidate. 2 other parties allied behind a second candidate, and the last candidate is only supported by one party. What a novel idea, more than 2 viable parties.

5. When you enter a store in Mexico they often greet you by saying, "pasale" which means come in. When you enter a store here and approach a clerk, they all say "diga" which means something like "say it" (is that right Erin?). This makes me laugh inside. They're so direct. No fussing around with, "hello, how are you?" No, "What can I do for you?" Just "Tell me what you want".

6. There are lots of security guards here in stores, in front of stores. They carry guns. I don't like this. It feels like a police state.

7. About 25% of the food in the grocery stores is labeled in only English. This seems odd because few of the people we've met in this city even speak English.
How are the people going to read the labels to find out how much MSG is in everything?

8. I am taller than about 90% of the women and taller than more than half of the men. Brian towers over everyone.

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