Thursday, February 19, 2015

Esa es Vieja Noticia

1)  You Like Cameroon or Panama better? -- RPCV Mac recently asked me that question and with 3-4 months left in Panama, I think its a good time to reflect on my brief time in Panama.  The first thing that comes to mind is how similar Panama is to the US.  I sometimes feel like I'm doing AmeriCorps when I'm in Panama b/c, well, it IS part of America and its pretty developed in ways like the US.  Panama seems like its just 2-3 motivated counterparts away from not needing any outside help, if they're not there already.  Cameroon, meanwhile, seems like it has a long way to go with so many challenges in its way.  I can go on, but I think this topic is better discussed over a cold beer (warm if you're in Cameroon). 

2)  Todos Estan Pasando … Finalmente.  Parece. -- the megafight between Pacquiao and Mayweather is apparently finally happening:

Front page news in Panama

The topic of Pacquiao always comes up when I tell the locals that I'm Pinoy.  They may have no idea where the Philippines is, but they know who Pacquiao is:
Cross-cultural exchange: discussing the fight with community members

3)  Mountain Fiesta -- I was recently invited to a counterpart's fiesta out in the mountains:

Yup, its pretty deforested, mainly due to cattle ranching and agriculture

A cow was slaughtered and its meat dried in what is called a talanquera

Giants pots for sancocho (a type of soup) and also for yucca, aka cassava

Dancing and music
With my counterparts

Large pots, a big meal, music, hard liquor and dancing.  Reminds me of the mountain fiestas in the Philippines, minus the accordion. 

4)  In Hot Pepper News … -- the eatery nearby finally had some real hot sauce, locally-made:

And my habanero seeds in the backyard are showing signs of life despite the heat:

5)  Everything Causes Cancer -- a guy at the nearby eatery was preparing a charcoal grill and he put some plastic in the grill and burned it.  Not really sure why he did that, but it made me wonder:  if burning plastic is bad and if grilling is also bad,  then the combination must be incredibly lethal. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sé Honesto y Despiadado

1)  Garbage on the Front Page  -- it all starts with admitting there's a problem.

2)  NPR Stories --  I don't know why, but its only now that I've started reading NPR's website.  A lot of interesting stories.  For instance, they have an article about how turning off smartphones will supposedly make you think better.  So does that mean that smartphones make you dumb and dumbphones make you smart?  This is an important study, given that I have a dumbphone.     Another story is about the growing popularity of street vendors selling food using redesigned bikes as food trucks.  Sorry to break it to you, NPR, but they already do that in Panama:

 Selling a coconut drink

3)  Third Goal -- Interviewing a former Queen of the Manito Festival (La Reina de la Festival del Manito) for a Peace Corps video:

4)  Book Review -- I'm not saying its because of less time spent on the internet, but I've now finished another book, George R.R. Martin's A Dance with Dragons.  I started it a few years ago, but got bogged down by way too many details in the story.  I thought the book could've done with a bit more editing.  Overall, the book was ok, but I'm wondering if it would've been better if Martin had stopped with A Storm of Swords. The subsequent books have paled in comparison after that classic.

5)  Feeding Time -- every afternoon, the fish vendor throws out his leftover fish in the lake, by the bridge.  That's when the alligators show up …

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

¡Todos Estan Pasando!

1)  Take me to the River

2)  Mosquito/Scorpion Net -- Found a scorpion hanging on to my mosquito net:

3)  Pretty Surreal  -- I was recently in an air-conditioned, multi-storied mall in Panama City.  The song Freebird was playing in the background.  I had just bought coffee and a brownie for $2.65, paid with US dollar bills.  There was a Calvin Klein store nearby with a giant poster of Justin Bieber.  There was a commercial for one of Michael Bay's films playing on the nearby television.  Sometimes, Panama feels exactly like the US. 

4)  Diversión -- This video makes me want to pick up the guitar again.  Or go to a karaoke bar. 


5) Como se Dice 'Tinnitus'?

Heading back to post in a Panamanian party bus.  Well, seems like one.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Estoy Salao

1)  Bien Integrado --  PC staff came by the office to talk to my counterparts and one of them didn't know that I was a PCV.  He thought I was a Panamanian staff member.  "Parece Latino."  ("You look Latino").  Integration complete. 

2)  Panamanian Sayings  -- A colleague at the office said "Echar pa'lante", a shortened version of "Echar para adelante" which he said means someone is proactive.  Literally, it means "to throw oneself forward". 

Another one I learned is "Estoy salao", a shortened version of  "Estoy salado".  Literally, it means "I'm salty", but its supposed to signify, "I'm unlucky."  I was wondering where the phrase came from.  Maybe from the story of Lot's wife who turned to salt.  That's pretty unlucky, right? 

3)  Flag Football -- Where Do I Sign Up?  And can I count it as part of my physical therapy?

Bill Walsh's West Coast offense in Panama City.

4)  The Journey is Better than the Destination -- Fellow PCRV William and I walked to the Biomuseum in Panama City, not knowing that the museum was really far from the hostel.  It took us about 2.5 hours to get there.  On the bright side, we got some interesting photos from the walk.  It was also good cardio.
Boats and skyscrapers
birds above the fish market
View of the rascacielos from the museum
As for the museum, it was ok. As they say, "The journey ..."

5)  Bikes in Panama -- there's no shortage of bike aficionados in Panama:

In the capital
Bike race at post