So, here we are closing in on the end of our 4.5 month stint in Panama. I have to say it has been quite an adventure. Through a friend, we were put in touch with the owners of this island paradise who required someone to act as caretakers while the resort was closed for the rainy season. Please understand, we came in with our eyes wide open. We have spent a significant amount of time in quasi remote locations and dealt with language differences in many locations. However our full emersion here with Spanish speaking staff, remote, as in 40 minute boat ride to nearest town, and the jungle environment has allowed us to grow like few other places have given us the chance to.
Our self confidence and willingness to go someplace new has increased dramatically over the last 6 years of travelling. But the shear volume of new situations and skills that this latest stay has provided us has been outstanding. From pool maintenance on a large scale to living with electricity for only half of the day as there really is no need to run the big generators full time for just the two of us. Also being careful not to dally underneath coconut trees as we have seen first hand those big buggers drop at regular intervals and you wouldn’t want to be hit by one.
As is the case everywhere we have been, the people are the most memorable. The small number of staff who have been working at the resort are incredibly patient with these two bumbling gringos. Most know enough to talk slowly to us and use simple words and phrases. One of the things I truly appreciate is that a few of them will actually correct us when we say something incorrectly. That is not something that occurs regularly when you are viewed as a jefe (boss).
We have even managed to fit in a little experience with the health care system here and I have to say that North American physicians could learn a ton in communication skills and customer service from the doctors we have encountered here.
When I noticed my odd bumps on my arm I wasn’t concerned. When skin started dying I became concerned. However, it just took a WhatsApp call to make an appointment, the next day. Tissue tests, medications, daily contact with the doctor with photos on WhatsApp as well as a referral to an Infectious Disease specialist who reviewed all the info and confirmed diagnosis left me feeling very impressed. And it all cost less than $250 US. Turned out to be a sandfly bite leaving behind a parasite called leishmania. Nasty little bugger, but it all turned out well. I am sure my steady diet of alcohol had something to do with my successful recovery.
Have we enjoyed ourselves here, yes. Would we do it again, absolutely. Sometimes life isn’t about having everything, sometimes it is about experiences and being put outside your comfort zone so you can grow.