Back to Panama

Well, here we are back in Panama for another season. I am a bit late with this update as we actually arrived on the 2nd of November and will stay through about the end of March.

My excuse for not posting earlier is that we have been busy! I’m going to stick with that! We have three projects planned for this year.

  1. Complete the only remaining upstairs room that is not finished. This will be our second bathroom, and laundry room;
  2. Install ceramic tile on our outside deck; and
  3. Figure out and build/buy/install a railing system for the outside deck.

Now this may not seem like that much work to do in 5 months but keep in mind that this is Panama where everything seems to take longer than expected. Oh and did I mention we have a hard timeline as we start getting visitors right after Christmas.

Last year we could not get our workers until late February. They were busy with other projects, so for this year we booked a 1 December start with them before we left. They actually started a little early, on 20 November. Now this all sounds pretty good but we had not picked tile or come up with the design for the bathroom tilework. Once again we made the rounds of the tile places and tried to find something that was to our liking. We were also shopping for the tile for the outside deck work at the same time.

Here is what we picked

Eventually we found a stonework pattern tile that we liked for the outside decks. Our first estimate was that we needed just about 100 square meters. The next problem… delivery! Our first thought was to just throw it into the Rav and drive it back up the mountain. After all, it would be the Panamanian way… if it fits you load it up and go. Something didn’t seem right about that so I checked and found that each box weighed about 75 pounds. This meant that the total payload would be just over 3,000 pounds… way too much for one trip with the Rav, we would need three. We talked with the store and they got us a quote and made the arrangements for a 4×4 pick-up truck to haul the load up the mountain to us. It arrived, all in one load! According to the Internet, the payload for a Toyota Hilux 4×4 is about 2,000 pounds. All 3,000 pounds arrived on a single load!

The next tile purchase was from the store where we bought our tile for the rest of the house. We needed about another 100 square meters of tile to complete the bathroom walls and shower. We ordered the tile, mortar, and grout and asked about delivery. Now, if you remember our last delivery from this supplier resulted in a five ton truck, grossly overloaded along with an inexperienced driver that could not make it up the hills once into the park. This was a company owned truck with a driver and three swampers, who were all needed to unload and reload parts of the load due to the inability of the driver to get the rig up the hill. It seems that the store has learned something! The truck they hired to take the load to us was a privately owned truck, operated by the owner. He was a very capable driver and had no difficulty getting to our house and unloading, all by himself. No swampers needed when you know what you are doing.

Keeping in mind that it is still the rainy season here, we will start the inside work.  Our workers, Sebastian and Pablo, worked for us last year and are meticulous tile workers.

The unfinished bathroom was quite dark as there was only a small window. We decided to knock a hole in the outside wall and put in glass blocks to let some light in. The room is quite large as it also is our laundry, with a stacked washer and dryer. It will be large enough for a three-piece band, when we have a party. Here are a few photos of the progress. The white tile makes the room quite bright, with the new window. Once the vanity and toilet are installed, I will update the photos to show the finished job.

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