Neighborhood

While we wait for the surveyor to place the corner monuments, I thought I would post a few photos of our immediate neighborhood. (Click a photo to view larger, back button to return.)

Looking down the mountain to the Pacific beaches. There are about 200 curves in the road from here to there. See the oil streak in the road? One night a driver missed our curve and took out his transmition. Oops! Fewer beers the next time!

Looking in the opposite direction, the main road ends in town a few kilometers away.

Our current rental house at the corner of the main road.

Looking up the side road from our current house. This is country living in the tropics; I pick the pipas (young coconuts harvested for the water) and bananas from the vacant lot on the left.

We used to rent this house just around the corner from our current house. It came with a full time gardener and it needed it!

Our neighbors half way up the hill have two quarter horses. Cynthia gets to ride once in a while. She and the caretaker go off down the side of the mountain on narrow footpaths to pueblos where not many Gringos have ever been. It is quite an experience to see the mud houses that have been standing for 70 years or more.

Mangos ready for the pickin'. For coffee break, I'll pick a few off a nearby tree, pull out my pocket knife, and Armando and I will enjoy them until we can't eat any more.

Bob H. asked in a comment below, "What's with the Coke sign?" Here's a closeup of one side of the kiosko. There is something really retro about this advertising, and although my last soft drink was in 1980 (OK, I had an Orange Crush about two years ago...), I have enjoyed living with this corporate blight in our front yard for two years. Bob, as a metal worker, you will appreciate the locking mechanism on the steel door I made; the hasp is welded to a piece of 1/2" rebar that goes down through the round pipe and into a hole in the concrete floor. Unlock the padlock, swing and lift the hasp and the door opens. Thanks for teaching me how to weld. It sure has come in handy here in Panama.

Here is the other side of the kiosko. The next photo is a closeup of the graphic.

Nostalgia. The painting is somewhat faded, and I punched the color a bit for effect.

That’s all for now.

5 thoughts on “Neighborhood

    • Good eyes! You must have enlarged the photo of our rental house. The Coke sign is on a small (12×12 feet) outbuilding at the roadside that the owner used years ago to sell eggs (long time residents here told me that they were sold as “Huevos de Amor” (Love Eggs). She also sold small concrete animal figurines that she made and hand painted. A few of them are still kicking around the property, and the concrete molds are still here in a storage area, ready for the next entrepreneur. The price list is still on the front of the store.

      These small stands, called kioskos, dot the roadsides. Most sell homegrown fruits and veges, although anything is fair game including arts and crafts. Some sell a very limited supply of household staples such as laundry detergent or snack sized potato chips or candy, especially if they are near a school. I put on a new metal roof and made a door for our kiosko, and Cynthia uses the space for her glass bead studio.

      Short story: When we first moved to Panama, we had need for a backhoe. I found a guy, and he had me take him to our house so he would know where to bring the backhoe the next day. We made the left hand turn at a kiosko, and he pointed and said, “kioko.” Confused, I asked him in Spanish, “Is it kiosko or kioko?” He said, “kioko.” Good. I had learned a new word. Then, I noticed that he had no front teeth! Since then, we have learned that local Spanish, as spoken by the more-Indian-than-Spanish natives who live in the mountains, don’t use the letter “S.” So, for example, to ask for “two more,” which in Spanish is “Dos Mas,” is in what I call “Mountain Spanish, “Do Ma,” or said rapidly, “Doma.” Spanish is a relatively easy language to learn, but like English, it has its challenges. Jeet? I mean, “Did you eat?”

      The story with the Coke sign is this: Companies will hire sign painters to drive around an area and find the kioskos. Most kioskos need a new paint job from time to time, but that costs money. So these sign painters will approach the owner and will offer to paint the building for free, but they have to allow the company logo to be very prominently placed. Our Coke sign is quite vintage as the kisoko has been “out of business” for many years. But others are painted bright green with the MoviStar logo (local cell phone company) or other bright combination of color and logo. The sign painters use stencils to get the logo just right. The other place you see this is on small bus stop shelters. There seems to be big competition to be the first to repaint a kiosko or bus stop, but the signs do stay up for a while so I imagine that there is a contract with a time limit, such as a year. Can’t say for sure. I’m going to post another photo, this one of the other side of the kiosko.

      • Funny here in Seattle all the sports stadiums, city buses, rental cars and the sides of many buildings are painted with logos of companies, it’s back to the future!

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