Travel

Locked Down, Again

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Chiriqui (the province where we live) has been having problems with the virus, so we have curfews again at night and all day Sunday. So, since I’m sitting on the terrace watching it rain, I figured I’d take a moment to write a word or two.

I don’t mind so much. We weren’t planning to go anywhere anyway, but it’s frustrating to see control of the virus going well, and then have things go backwards again. We’re blaming some of it on Costa Rica which is right next door to us. They have required insurance (to cover all your expenses in case you get COVID) but they haven’t required any testing to enter. Opinion is that this hasn’t been good for their virus situation. And the border is a big shopping area where Costa Ricans and Panamanians mingle, so this can’t be helping either.

The recent news has said that the the hospital beds for COVID here in David are full and they are having to rearrange and juggle resources to make space for new cases. Testing is now required to go in or out of Chiriqui, and there are various testing locations within the province as well. The statistics aren’t terrible, nothing like they were at the height months ago, but there is a definite upward trend and before this was hardly noticeable the authorities got right on it, hoping it wouldn’t get any worse.

Curfew was at 8 pm, but the businesses protested so much that they changed it to 10 pm. This whole pandemic has been so hard on the businesses so I can understand why they hated this new curfew. Restaurants and bars are just starting to recover and get busy again, so the last thing they want it to be closed during their busiest times. But, more virus cases mean more deaths. Very recently there were two days with no deaths, the first death free days since the pandemic started. Yesterday there were 7 (in the nation). You can see the May numbers for Chiriqui below. New cases (purple) are outpacing recovered people (blue) and the number of active cases (red) has been steadily rising all month.

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In a province of 450,000 people those aren’t huge numbers, thank goodness, but the upward trend and the stress on the hospitals aren’t good. We generally feel safe doing what we need to do, but we are still super happy to have our first vaccine on board. And, the numbers may not be huge but as we all know, if a death is your family member or good friend, that’s a huge loss.

So, enough COVID! Some day we will look back on this and say – remember when all we could talk about was COVID?

It’s a rainy day here today. I think it started about 12:30 which is pretty early for afternoon rain but we’re happy. There was no rain the last few days and the sun was heating up everything. Right now the rain has stopped but it’s very cloudy and 82 degrees on the terrace at about 3pm. That probably sounds hot to many of you, but for me that’s perfect. I don’t know if the birds are celebrating but they seem to have a lot to sing about this afternoon, and some sound like they are having conversations with others in the neighboring yards.

Now that our vaccination process is under way, I’ve been in touch with our travel agent to book tickets back to the US to see my family! It’s going to be awesome. I wonder how I will feel in the US though. It’s been 1 1/2 years so I’m expecting a bit more culture shock. And, most of all, the kids are 1 1/2 years older and have changed so much, especially the youngest who was only 1 when I saw her last. But thankfully we have kept in close touch with video chats so it should be fine. The other grandmother is with the Seattle family right now, her first visit since the pandemic and my daughter said the kids were fine, as if they just saw her last week.

Well the breeze is picking up and sky is getting darker, so there must be more rain moving in. The paisanos (gray-headed chachalacas, I believe) visited my yard and usually they quietly cheep like baby chicks, but when they get wound up they can get very loud. I don’t know what wound them up today but they seem over it now. The brown birds (thrushes?) continue to have conversations between yards, and other birds, maybe wrens, are chattering next door. There is a bird with a beautiful song that I love, but I’ve only heard it from a distance in the woods so I don’t know what it is. Ooh, now I hear thunder in the distance. Maybe it’s time for kitchen chores and I’ll enjoy the rain out here later.

Well the lights just went out in half the house, and the same has happened to the neighbors. I don’t understand how things are wired and how this can be, but it has happened before. It’s better than losing the whole house, and I’m glad for the neighborhood chat group because I know it’s not just me and it’s being reported. It’s also started to rain again. OK, now, about those kitchen chores… and then I talked with the neighbors, and since I was up I tackled the kitchen chores, and my daughter called, and I had a great chat with the other grandmother too. What do you DO all day?? Sometimes I don’t know but I’m never without things to do.

What I’m going to do next is close this post. You all take good care of yourselves and each other! Hasta la promixa (until next time)

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