I cannot believe it is almost six months since I left Calgary. It all began last October with a visit with my cousin in San Diego on my birthday. Next, a fifteen-day Panama Canal cruise from San Diego to Ft Lauderdale with my brother. We stopped in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Colombia and had a long awaited Panama Canal transit to wind it up. My brother and I got our land legs back in Ft Lauderdale for a week before heading to Panama to meet up with our San Diego cousin again to show off a little bit of Panama. Andrea joined us in early November and after the family left, we moved up the mountain to Cerro Azul to begin building our house.
We bought a car, a Mango plantation, got my Pensionado visa, made some new friends and almost finished building a house. We hosted visitors, friends and family from home and shared our little knowledge of Panama with others. I completed my first paying freelance photography project and have been asked to do some freelance writing for Live and Invest Overseas. We took a side trip to Cartagena, Santa Marta and Tayrona National Park in Columbia using the unreliable Ferry Xpress service from Colon. Oh, and I took 4,221 pictures, some of which I have shared with you and wrote and posted 47 blog entries which are being followed by people from all over the world. My best day had 575 hits but it is more usually between 200 and 300 hits after posting a new entry. I am humbled by the following and would like to thank everyone for their support.
The only thing that comes to mind that I wanted to do but was unable to actually accomplish was to connect with the local Red Cross in Panama to offer them my photographic services. I tried several different ways and finally made a connection that went silent in February. I will have to try to do this one again next trip.
Last, but not leased is to update you on the house build. My first photo of the build looked like this:
As I leave for Canada, it now looks like this:
The finishing of the walls is under way this weekend and should be complete by early next week. This makes a giant improvement on the look of the house. This is the process, called plastering, where they apply a layer of cement to the walls effectively hiding all the blocks and services. If done right, the result will be as good as a layer of gyproc wallboard.
We have had some difficulty getting the proper build of the arches that will join up all the columns. A proper arch is half a circle supported by two verticals. You cannot tell where the arch ends and the columns begin. When complete, this will give the house the Spanish colonial look we wanted. We went through some iterations of what the arches looks like but now seem to be on track to build the correct shape. The arches over the windows are different to allow as much height as possible for glass.
Well, that pretty much winds it up for now. At home, I already have some photo shoots lined up for my regular clients and will need to wade through six months of mail. Oh, and then there is taxes! I want to go back to Panama.