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:

Saturday, December 20, 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. 

Wednesday, December 17, 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:

Saturday, December 13, 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.

Thursday, December 11, 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.

Tuesday, December 09, 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. 

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Sin Título

1)  Split Personality -- I work with a counterpart who acts differently when he and I are with a bunch of people versus when he and I are just by ourselves.  Its like when he's with a bunch of people, he has to be a stand-up comedian.  When its just us, he acts like a normal person.  Reminds me of someone I met in Cameroon ... 

2)  Quote of the Day -- "How about owning up to your past, claiming your mistakes and living with the consequences? And then make good on your supposed redemption".  And I LIKE Mark Wahlberg. Say it ain't so, Mark?

3) News Articles Recommended By Me --  concerts moving away from plastic bottles.  The concert article is awesome because the comments in the original article led me to this:  Klean Kanteen and pickathon.  Second recommended article:  How cool is Stephen Curry?  So cool he rode BART.  Respect! 

4)  Mother's Day -- this holiday is celebrated on December 8, which is incidentally also my mom's birthday.  Anyway, I had the following interesting conversation with my counterpart the other day:

Counterpart:  Cuando es el Día de la Madre en los estados unidos?
Me:  No sé.  Mayo, pienso.
Counterpart:  No sabes?  Es un día importante.
Me:  Cada día es el día de la madre.
Counterpart:  Ah, buen respuesto.  Todos los días son El Día de la Madre.  

Good save, right? 

5)  Panamanian IGAs -- funny hats:

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Insert Preferred Holiday Greeting Here

1)  Bike!  -- bought a bike.  Unlike in Cameroon, where PCVs get bikes from PC Cam, PCVs in Panama don't get one unless they buy one themselves.  Looking forward to checking out the nearby towns.   And do an environmental bike tour project perhaps??

2) Happy Holidays! -- that's my preferred holiday greeting.

3)  Old News -- Green Seoul, an old story (2 years old), but still pretty cool.

4)  Comment of the Day --"I have no faith in the justice system. It is broken."

5)  Things I Didn't Know -- according to a vendor, most of the vegetables at my post come from Boquete and are not locally grown.  The weather at post is apparently not that great for growing vegetables.

In Boquete

Monday, December 01, 2014


1)  Biking in Boquete --  Peace Corps gave us two days off for Thanksgiving, which gave me the chance to check out a bit of Panama.  In this case, the cool climate of Boquete with fellow PCRV William:

2)  Staged Photo of the Day

"Reading" Plato's The Republic in front of a church
3)  Hmmm...  -- according to this Coke poster in Boquete, 2 liter Coke bottles are now returnable:

4)  Quote of the Day -- "Life is too short for me to be piddling around."

PCRV William's translation into Spanish
5)  Music of the Day -- Sublime's Santeria, only because I heard music in Boquete that sounded like the song.