Thursday, March 10, 2011

Panama - The stay in Chica

Dear Mark

We've been in Chica now for about 4 days and we plan to be here another 4. I like being here quite a bit. Now this will not come as a surprise to anybody who knows me, but I just don't hold still very well. Yeah, I know. Shocking surprise alert! Not! I think that is why I like Chica. There really is not a lot to do here. You can't go shopping, there are no museums or historic sites or what-not. It is simply about visiting family, of which Lavi has much of here, and it is about relaxing. It's really forced relaxation because as I mentioned, there ain't much to do.

Now there are individuals that will debate the "nothing to do" aspect of my statement. Individuals will say, "Jeff, you could go for a hike or take a walk" or "Jeff you drive some where close and explore." Others would even say "Jeff, you could at least work out."

Let me refute those points to prove my own though. First, yes I could go for a hike. In fact I do every time we visit the family. The reason why is because this town is as hilly as a stage of the Tour de France (which secretly endears the town to me more just making that comparison). So when ever we go anywhere we go for a hike. In fact we do it in heat that would make a native Seattlite cry in his/her latte like a little girl. So consider this one checked.

Second, we could drive some where close and explore. Let me just say that the first time I drove to Chica we drove on a road that would scare novice mountain bikers into hitting the brakes and slowing down. Things have gotten better and the roads are paved. This town is not really close to much, it's a mountain town. I could make comparisons to Chica being near a town to explore, like Granite Falls is to a metropolis. Anyway, you can nix this idea. I will conceded that with a little bit more time you can get out to explore some neat things, which we've done and I'll write about. But near the town, no, not much.

Last, working out. Let me just pick this one apart in many ways. First, I'm on vacation. I plan to run quickly only to nap and if some one yells "It's Cerveza Time!" Second, the fore mentioned hilly and lack of bicycle rules out a lot. Unless you want to do hill sprints. I also mentioned the heat. Now this final point could be disputed by working out in the morning or night, but I loop back to "I'm on vacation."

Now all that said, I did run when we were in La Chorrera. I did this before the sun came up and ran around a track near one of the schools. Running on the streets down here is not wise. In the states cars will go around you and just give you the bird. In Panama there is just an expectation you will move. I don't want to lose that confrontation. Also, you have to run early. Back in 2002 I ran the same track with Jason, Char, Jackie and Lavi at 11am. I think Jason managed like 5 laps, which was the most, before we all waved the white flag.

Now, with that out of the way, back to my point. Staying here in Chica I'm forced to slow down. I read a lot, watch videos, play with Jack (today we made a train with chairs, it was cool) and talk with family. In the past I've resisted this and been the one arguing the points above against me. But this trip I really tried to slow it down. I think I've had more naps than beer this week (definitely not meeting one goal, but just nailing my other goal). It's been hard at times though. My need to putter and do things is hard to keep in check. Still, I've managed to finish 2 books. I watched a DVD tv series (The Middle. Not bad. I love the Janitor from Scrubs so I was in).

Jack has had a great time. We bought a little kiddie pool which he has spent oodles of time in this week. We also picked up a little scooter for him, which he does laps around the house in. Jack has been fascinated with putting water in a bucket and emptying it into a bigger bucket. He spends a good hour doing this daily. He's quite adamant about it. He also follows Coco (Lavi's Dad, coco is Jack's name for him) around working on "job sites" with Coco. Coco will admit that this is probably only teaching Jack bad habits, but you can tell they both love it.

Here is a collection of photos on the Zenfolio site from our stay in Chica.

Lavi has had a lot of time to visit family. Carnival is going on in Panama. Much of her family has come to town to visit and see the festivities. I'll write about that later.

That's all for now. I suggest you take a day this weekend to slow down and relax. You'll enjoy it. Unless of course Siobhan has a list of work for you to do, in which case I back her up (grin).


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