No matter whether a Panamanian service provider says “Tomorrow” or “A week from next Tuesday”, it invariably translates into “When I have nothing I’d rather be doing, and need the money.”
Nothing works dependably, human or otherwise. The electricity and the internet go out at least once a day, sometimes for just moments, and sometimes for hours.
The public water system is also doomed to frequent failure. Mountain
water – it is clear and delicious – flows by gravity down plastic PVC pipes. The system is such a hodgepodge that even Rube Goldberg would shudder. The pipes are sometimes buried, and sometimes simply laid across the surface of the land. There are unexplainable L joints zigging the pipes into unnecessary detours, incomprehensible junctures, dead-ends, and my favorite – frequent breaks that send geysers of water spurting into the air, and which remain unrepaired for weeks on end.
When the water system fails, most residents, even the gringos, rely on barrels they’ve had under their roof runoff downspouts to collect rainwater. Curious, I asked what they if the water system fails in the Dry Season, and the rainbarrels are empty. “Oh,” I was told, “we just go down to the river with a couple buckets.”
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As they come to me to be written, new chapters will be added to this blog, so stay tuned! But the blogs up to a certain point are now chapters are now in a book.
So, to read more, you need the book A WRITER IN PANAMÁ.
The book is available in three formats:
HARDCOVER (large-size edition, photographs on nearly every page)
SOFTCOVER (large-size edition, photographs on nearly every page)
SOFTCOVER (smaller size edition, no interior photographs)
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