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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Shopping for Mattresses in Panama. Yikes, lol

Ok, so our day starts like any other, getting up, having our coffee, checking the tide schedule and heading out to the beach for our walk.
Yesterday was an amazing beautiful day here weatherwise.

We walked for an hour and a half and saw 6 or 8 whales jumping. One cannot EVER tire of seeing this. Don and Sadie had a swim in the Ocean (You will never catch me in there. There are all kinds of creepy things in there as well as Sharks, and if I ever did go in, good chance that there would be one lurking right there, lol. Pools are good for me!), and all of this before 10:30 am.
We decide to then go for a drive into Las Tablas as one resident had told us that you can buy mattresses there and also wanted to get a copier/scanner as well.
So off we go!
The first place we went was to the computer store, which I wish I had a pic of, was this tiny little hole in the wall of a store that one would never think of going into, but were told this was the place to buy the printer. It was an old rundown place and beside it was some kind of an apartment that had it's door open with numerous chickens running rampant and at least six people that I could count inside. It truly is amazing how people live here and how content and happy they all seem.

Anyway we go in and of course noone speaks English, but eventually we got out the name of the guy we were supposed to meet and one of the men gave him a call and said would be there in five minutes.
Well it's Panama don't forget.
Half a hour later in he saunters. This place also is no bigger than 300 square feet if that.
He speaks broken English and turns out to be a great guy who fixes computers as well and has Internet service that he sells to the public and does a lot of things that we may need in the future.
The person who recommended this fella had called him prior to us going there and said he had the copier/printer there. Well it's Panama dont' forget, lol
He tells us he has to call and order it and it will be here tomorrow, which is today.
We can't go today so will go on Monday, Lunes, to pick it up. (note my Spanish..it's improving)
It's a great Canon product too and we expected it to be at least $100, but turns out to be $56 and his cartridges are also cheap.
$5.00 for black and white and $9.00 for color. 
We walked out, Sadie in tow, and gave him my most favourite phrase, 'Hasta Luego', (see you later) and he smiled and said your Spanish is good...LOL
This is about all I know yet, except for 'dos cervezas, por favor' :)
All is well!!

Off we go to one of the mattress stores that was recommended to us.
We get to the first one, and we see that there is a lock on it. The lock is not latched tight, but we didn't dare just take it off and go in, so we went into the neighbouring store, looked kind of stupid, (ok, I can here the snickers),  and finally got a man who understood through some fancy maneuvering what we were looking for, took us outside and then into the store.
Once again, no English spoken here, but he did understand 'King' and 'Queen', so we at least got though enough 'kind of' Spanish so at least we could look at the mattresses that we were  looking for.
The mattresses looked like something you would buy at Wal-Mart and I was really not interested, besides it was at least 150 degrees in the store, but Don being the thrifty one, has to look at ALL of them and see if they are ok for us to sleep on.
It may have been the one salesgirl also (turns out to be the owner), who wore 4" high heels, skin tight blue jeans, tight sweater and a figure to kill for, pouty Angelina lips,  hair that looks good no-matter what the temperature or wind may be, perfect makeup, that kept his attention. 
God only knows, but all I know is that I wanted to get the hell out of there.
I want a 'Stearns and Foster' mattress and box spring , 'wha-wha-wha'.
Not Don!
He needs to 'lay down on them'. BOTH of them, as there are two different brands. Wow! What a selection.
Now this store is just slightly bigger than the computer store, so maybe 400 square feet if that, and all of the mattresses were wrapped in plastic and standing on their sides.
Remember it's hot enough to fry a freakin' egg in there and Don NEEDS to try out these things.
My God!
Anyway going through a lot of 'charades' trying to get this guy and 'Miss Latin America' to understand,  he finally understands that he needs him to put them on the floor so Don can lay on them.
Of course the ones, the King ones, are not on the front. No Way! They are way at the back so he has to move four or five out of the way to get to the right one.
At this point I wouldn't care if I slept on a bed of nails.
Finally on the floor it goes.
Don flops down on the first one and I stand there looking at him in disgust knowing full well that there was NO WAY in hell I was buying either of these, but he insists I try it too as he says they are really comfortable.
So down I lay, looking now like some old sweaty hag, with Don lying beside me and of course Sadie right in the middle as she always is in our bed licking our faces.
The 'gorgeous' one of course is looking down at us, and ladies we all know what we look like lying down with gravity as our enemy don't we?
I get up and since we are wearing shorts, and of course are lying on plastic with bare legs, the sound it makes as we get up sounds very close to you know, farting!

This is just great. I have not learned how to say 'excuse me' in Spanish, but at this point I really could care less what they think, especially what the 'man stealer' thinks who of course NEVER SWEATS!!   
'Let's go' I say, and he says, 'No, I really want to try the other one".
Lord help me!

After all of this Don has to go into the other place beside where we first went into to get a 'quote' and walking by he saw a headboard that he liked.
HE liked, not ME liked.
It was an ungodly looking thing, made out of teak, I think they were saying, with some ugly scribing on it and in a shiny paint.
Nope, Don had to go through his negotiating skills although he knows less Spanish than I do which also means that he knows only 'Cerveza' which is I don't think is going to help him much in a mattress store unless they indeed do sell beer here, which wouldn't totally surprise me as here in Panama you can buy beer in almost any kind of store here, and at any hour. 

Honestly I really don't understand men sometimes. He knows that there isn't a hope in hell of us buying these poor excuses for mattress here, but he needs to put me through all of this for what? It HAD to have been the 'sales beauty/model/hubby thief'.
Anyway off we go with me almost foaming at the mouth and into our airconditioned car.
Sadie almost dying from thirst and myself looking more and more like someone or something that just crawled out of a dumpster!

Off we go and have another store to supposedly go to. 
We get close to where the next store is, and Don asks me if I really want to go to another, and I say NO, I have seen enough. I want my 'Stearns and Foster'!  Wha-Wha-Wha.
This store does look better though and did look like it may be air conditioned so I thought what the hell, let's give it a try.
We walk in, and I was wrong, no air conditioning again, but at least I think is a little less that 150 degrees, perhaps 140.
Then who walks towards us to help us out, none other than, I am positive, "Miss Latin America's" twin sister, only wearing 5" stilletto's and perhaps, if possible, even prettier than the other 'man stealer' at the other store, lol
I now look even worse than I did five minutes ago...And yes, that IS possible,VERY possible, lol.

Ok, Miss Panama number two speaks absolutely NO English at all. You think she would at least know how to say 'beer' in English wouldn't you?
So after about 15 minutes of utter frustration with our blackberry translator trying to ask pricing, brands etc, we decided just to leave. It was getting scary:)
Then low and behold the 'gorgeous one' brings this guy down towards us who SPEAKS ENGLISH and who lived in Toronto for 10 years.
Don dropped to the guys feet, grabbed him by his legs and started sobbing uncontrollably.
(Ok, OK, this really didn't happen, but I  thought it sounded good, lol)

So our new friend for life 'Miguel' translated for us and it turns out he is the salesperson for the store and tells us that he has his own place in Panama City where he is now going to be selling the new 'Foam Mattresses' but doesn't have them ready for sale to the public yet.
We begged and begged, and he finally agreed that he would actually sell them to us but we would have to have a look at a similar one that was at the store next door so that we would have some idea of what his mattresses would look like. 

Ok, so we trudged on over to the store right next door, Don, I and Sadie, and this store was like an old dilapidated overcrowed mixture of wal-mart/Zellers/k-mart, and $5 and $10 store all rolled into one, without a mattess department.
What the?????
Where is the mattress we were going to look at? 
Finally Miguel came in and after speaking Spanish to the owner or whatever he was, for 15 minutes or so came to us and said that someone was going to bring the mattress into the store for us to look at.
Bring in from where? God knows.
We stood there, and I mean, 'stood there', as the aisles in this store were so narrow that noone but those 'skinny Panamanian mattress floggers' could ever get down.
After about half an hour this man who could hardly walk or breath, brings this mattress in to the store, literally on his back.
It was of course wrapped in plastic and looked like it had been around for a while, but it did look like the ones we have seen in North America and we were ok with this and I was so thankful now for the the narrow aisles as they could never lay it down on the floor for Don to try it out.

Anyway it turns out this Miguel is a really nice guy and he is going to give us his best quality foam mattress for his cost, as Don and he spoke at great lengths, and knows that he is selling all of the lots in Costa Pedasi and with over 130 families moving in, he has the potential to make a few, if not a lot of sales if his mattresses are indeed good.
He gave us his website and we looked at them on our blackberry and the mattresses really look great and his price is only $400 for King Size including a box spring.
Even if we end up not liking them in a year or so, we can always buy better, but it's going to be good enough at least for our guest room, lol.

We get into our car and drive away feeling pretty good about our mattress situation.
I did have to make one stop at Super store though, as it was now 3:30 in the afternoon, and seeing as Don was driving home, I thought it only appropriate that I have myself one of those$.50 cerveza's for the half hour trip home.
After all, the image of those two salesgirls were still firmly implanted in my brain and I needed something to 'ease that pain' lol.

Anyway today is another day and it's a beauty too. It's 28 degrees, beautiful breeze and no humidity.
I think there may be one of those nice cold cerveza's in my future today too:)

Enjoy your day my friends, and remember to 'Stay in the Light'



Monday, August 15, 2011

You really have to marvel!!!

Living in Panama sure is an eye opener in some ways.
For example, on Saturday there was a tractor trailer delivering 1000 cases of beer to the local beer/liquor store, which I must add is two houses down from where we are living, and seeing as the roads here are mostly gravel (side streets) and quite narrow, the truck had to do some maneuvering to back into the front of the store where he was making his delivery.    He had the traffic blocked for 10 minutes or so and when we went out to have a look, there was a guy who was obviously working for the town and who was directing the driver, helping him maneuver, all while drinking a BEER!!
Can you just imagine? There are just no rules, lol. Today I am hunting that guy down and finding out if there are any openings at his place of employment:)
There are local cantina's everywhere here, and sometimes when you drive by on your way to the beach in the mornings, you can find the locals sitting in them drinking beer, and I mean at 8:30 am.
This can't be good for the liver.

Our house is coming along great. They have almost finished the roof, and then the windows will be installed.
They have begun putting the reclaimed tiles on the roof too, and once that is done, it will really start looking like a house.
They have given us an October 12th date for possession, but for some reason I don't believe them.
We are in Panama I need to keep telling myself, and things just don't happen overnight and we need to learn to just go with the flow.

Our home with the underlying room installed. Now just the tiles and we are good to go!

If you have read my previous blog, you will remember that we went to Panama City to pick out our tiles/kitchen/bathroom etc.
When I think of this and while I am wondering if I got the right colour for the kitchen cabinets and whether or not the floor tiles will match the walls, and if my wall oven or dishwasher, or stove top will look just perfect, I think of these people in the pictures below who live on the beach in this lean-to and would kill just for a set of pots and pans to cook on, if they were lucky enough to have caught a fish that morning to have for dinner. If not, I guess they go hungry.

Their home. Notice the toilet just sitting there in the front

A table made out of a piece of wood probably brought up from the beach

I am not sure what this is for.

This is their sitting area!

This is their view from their humble abode..It's breathtaking
There are six people living in this place. Three adults and three children. They are such nice people too. When we walk by they always give us the biggest waves.
I think my floor tiles will be just fine!
On a lighter note, I just want to say that this town is getting too congested with all of the traffic that is accumulating on the streets. Just this morning on our way to the beach, we had to stop for 3 or 4 minutes to wait for this long traffic jam.
See below:)
Our Traffic Jam this morning:)

I think I will have to move back to Toronto and start using the 401 again. It's a lot less stressful, lol.

Well we are on our way to Chitre now as we need to find a paint store as they need the colours for our home inside and outside.
I am remembering the family on the beach.

Have a nice day friends, and remember to 'Stay in the Light'

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