Saturday, January 17, 2015

Perro Salchicha

"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." -- Almost Famous

1)  The Town Fair -- my town is currently having a 5 day fair, called La Feria de San Sebastian.  Its your typical fair with rides:


educational demonstrations (here's a guy talking about the awesomeness of yucca, aka cassava):

and of course, a dog show:

Perro salchicha
My counterpart organization also had their own stand/booth at the fair:
I created a Three R's pamphlet as well as a pamphlet
holder (thanks, internet). My pamphlet literally stands out from the rest.
Requisite photo of me with a counterpart
My counterpart organization's booth
2)  Uncle Chan's Redemption?  -- Is Ken Jeong's documentary about the walk-on Notre Dame kicker, Reggie Ho, enough to make up for his "Uncle Chan-ish" role in The Hangover films? 

3)  Incertidumbres -- I've been to the capital 3 times recently because of my shoulder injury and there was a lot of uncertainty about what treatment I would need.  But the results are finally in and I'll just need some physical therapy.  No surgery needed.  On the bright side, being in the capital allowed me to drink root beer and buy some habanero peppers, the seeds of which I just planted at post. 

4)  Landfill or Incinerator -- the recent NY Times article about incinerators and the problems associated with it made me want to comment a little bit about the topic.  Whether you're in the "developing" world or in the "first world", the problem of garbage essentially boils down to this:  people can reduce the amount of garbage they produce.  Many people just choose not to.

Just take a look at Zero Waste Home and (as the NYT article points out) cities like San Francisco and Portland.  If more people did what they were doing, we wouldn't be debating whether or not landfills or incinerators are the better choice. 
Garbage collection at post
5)  "And hey, I met you.  You are not cool." -- I just saw Almost Famous for the first time even though the film came out in 2000.  Can't believe I've never watched it before b/c its pretty awesome.  And not just because Jimmy Fallon, Marc Maron and Mitch Hedberg were in it.  Not to mention the guy who cut off Jamie Lannister's hand. 

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Tranquilo Como un Pepino

1)  You've Been to Guatemala? I've Been to Guatemala -- 

In Boquete with William, a fellow PCRV
in Panama and an RPCV from Guatemala
Joel, I would've worn the San Antonio shirt, but it was in the laundry hamper. 

2)  Panoramic Videos -- I don't know how to take panoramic shots on my camera, so I end up taking 360 degree videos instead:

Cinta Costera, Panama City

3)  Book Reviews -- Since drastically reducing my internet usage recently, I finished 2 books.  Sorry, Luke, the nativity scene is taking longer than anticipated.  Anyway, the books were Joe Abercrombie's Red Country and Jeff Olson's The Slight Edge.  I liked both books overall.  Both easier reads than Plato's The Republic in Spanish, which I've put on hold.  But I'm still undecided about the ending of Red Country.  My first reaction was that the build up to the big showdown fizzled.  Its an unconventional ending though, I'll give the author that. 

4)  No Picante  -- Say what you will about Cameroonian food, at least it was spicy.  Desafortunadamente, in Panama (ie, the town where I'm posted), the food is a tad bland.  Even if you wanted to grow habanero or jalapeño peppers, you won't find any seeds being sold in town.  Hmm… Did somebody say 'secondary project'?  I think so. 

5)  Poco a Poco --  One morning, I was trying to plant some seeds in the backyard, but the soil was very hard since the dry season already started.  I told my neighbor I should've planted the seeds during the rainy season.  She then said, "Poco a poco, se puede ser."  (Little by little, it can be done).  She was right.  The soil was ready later that afternoon.  Poco a poco.  Kinda like development. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

No Obstante ...

1)  Unplugged -- I feel like I've been "too connected" to the internet lately, so I decided not to add credit to my internet key.  Instead I've been using the free (government-provided) internet that they have in the park in town.   Nevermind that it blocks sites like youtube and other "non-educational" sites.  I'll survive. 

2)  Time Left --  hard to believe, but I only have about 6 months left in Panama.  Time to make a list and check off the places I want to visit here and also to prepare for post-Panama. 

3)  Mario Meme of the Day -- "Falls underground through a pipe: fine. Falls 3 feet into a hole: dead"

4)  From NFL Player to Farmer -- First read about this story from a Panamanian newspaper, how a former NFL player turns down millions so he can be a farmer to feed the hungry.  And he used youtube videos to learn how to farm.  See, Panamanian government, youtube IS educational.   

5)  Plastic Bottle Nativity Scene -- I made the trip to Monagrillo to check out the plastic bottle nativity scene:

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Man, A Plan, A Canal …

1) … and an Injured Shoulder -- I injured my shoulder a few weeks back so I had to go to the capital to get it checked out.  Hadn't been there since I arrived in country.  Since I was there, I checked out the Panama Canal with PCRV William:

The Atlantic is that way
A ship heading towards the Pacific
Fans of ships crossing the Canal
The canal isn't just for cargo ships but also
for rich people in their sailboats
2)  Todos Somos Americanos -- Barack habla español.  Well, a couple of sentences.

3)  Anti-Corporate Video of the Day

4)  Christmas Displays in Panama 

Display at my post.  Snowmen in the tropics?  Makes sense.
Display at a mall in the capital
Also in the capital
Product placement much?

This one is also from the capital and has a magi that looks like its from a 1930s racist cartoon:

Of course, none of those displays compare to this one I found while reading the Panamanian newspaper La Prensa online.  Its a display near Chitré, made out of plastic bottles:

 Note to self:  make pilgrimage to visit this display before they take it down.

5)  Se Puede Ser! -- I made the cover of the PCV Panama Newsletter! 

That's me in the top right

I'm holding a tank while a counterpart is using a circular saw to cut open the tank.  We're building an incinerator. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


1)  Day Trip to the Frontera --

2)  Checkpoint Differences -- in Cameroon, the gendarmes at checkpoints always asked for my identification .  In Mexico, I was asked a couple of times for my ID at checkpoints.  In Panama, I've been to 3 checkpoints and have been bypassed 3 times.  Fellow PCVs say I'm well integrated.

3)  Question of the Day -- Can you rail against corporations if you use a macbook and Facebook?  Or google for that matter?  Are all corporations bad?

4)  Where Am I? -- With images like this, I sometimes can't tell if I'm in the Philippines or Panama:

In Chiriqui
5)  Music of the Day -- I sometimes feel like parts of my life are like those 3 minute short films on fast-forward (or 4x speed) with this music in the background:

Friday, December 12, 2014

Lo Siento

1)  Current Music of the Day -- U2's I Feel Free.

2) Wahlberg Forgiven By His Victim -- "What a humble kind soul this man is to forgive."  C'mon, Mark, man up and personally apologize to the guy already.  You know its the right thing to do, so just do it!  And pay for his kids' college fund while you're at it. 

3)  Videos of the Day --  on the way to the mountain town of Guarumal ...

... to go to a fiesta:

4)  Sugarcane

Me for scale
5)  Behold -- Avocados. 

I see guacamole in my future.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

No Sabía Que Fuera Gracioso

Title is from the film El Sexto Sentido.  

1)  One of the three R's -- helping out fellow PCV Kelsey with her school recycling program:

2)  Wildlife --  Saw this iguana running outside the office and up a tree:

3)  Las Palabras Divertidas -- Spanish needs a funny word like 'donc' in French.  I know they're out there. 

4)  Uh-huh -- this plastic bag is supposedly biodegradable:

I'm skeptical. 

5)  Mission Impossible? -- they say that the region where I'm posted is ideal for growing fruits, but not for vegetables.  Therefore, tomatoes should do well, right? 

Improvised version of basket composting using chicken wire.
That's a lizard apparently looking for the tomato seeds I planted.

Monday, December 08, 2014

El Día de la Madre

Just some thoughts during Mother's Day in Panama. 

1)  Wishful Thinking -- Ah, to be a kid again like these indigenous kids.  And have all my hair. 

in Boquete
2)  Music of the Day -- Eric Clapton's cover of San Francisco Bay Blues and his original song My Father's Eyes, both acoustic versions.  Also, Junior Brown's Baby, Let the Bad Times Be. 
3)  Best Comments on the Mark Wahlberg Story --  "I'd give Wahlberg the benefit of the doubt if he'd at least looked up his victims and tried to make some sort of monetary amends (when you have $200 million, you can afford to do that).  After all, 45 days in jail doesn't quite make up for being blinded in one eye.  But he never has.  He's only as sorry as it's convenient for him to be."  Or maybe this one:  "F*** him.  He can't buy him a new eyeball." 

4)  Armchair Quarterback -- I know people are really eager to get rid of 49er coach Harbaugh.  But remember where the Niners were before Harbaugh got there.  Remember the Dennis Erickson days? 

5)  Throwback to Cameroon Again -- found this picture that I've never seen before, back when my group was still a bunch of trainees:

I look like I'm ready to bolt for the exit
Incidentally, I found this photo on a fellow trainee's page, who's not even in the picture.