Jul 4, 2014

Post from Panama

I love the days in my life when I am so relaxed and so much a part of a different life rhythm and environment that I have to think when I wake up if the day is Thursday or Friday.

My nephew, Roger, quickly reminded me at 5:30am when he was having his Trix breakfast that it was indeed Friday and that he was very happy. And he was glad for several reasons, the weekend means no school, the Brazil/Colombia futbol match today at 3pm and this weekend Roger is participating in the Debutants, he is the "caballero" or gentlemen escort to one of the 55 young ladies that will participate in the event.

The Debutants has a long history and tradition and it is a big time for everyone involved. The girls have to be seniors in high school, so most are 17 or 18 years old. I was in Panama the year that JoAnn participated in this event, I am glad to be here when Roger is also participating. He will be in his "James Bond" tuxedo, I will post some pictures for sure. He is very excited.

Yesterday was a splendid day. I was up early spending time with Juan Carlos and Rogelio when they have their breakfast. I then went for a walk with Mari. Many people who live in La Cresta are out walking in the morning, the younger children waiting for their school buses to pick them up with their nanas. And a few doggies are also going for their morning excursions. If we walk at the same time everyday we see the same people.

We did a few errands and also stopped by to see the progress on La Casa de Ronald McDonald. Mari is working with the group that is establishing the RM house in Panama. It will open sometime in August and have room to house 32 families whose children are being cared for at the Children's Hospital in Panama City. The building is a 2 blocks walking distance from the hospital, everything is brand new, every area of the house is filled with natural light, it will be painted with bright murals for the children, there will be a room for study and computer access, a terrace for the families to have social time, a dinning room, offices, etc. The project started four years ago, they are almost ready to open the doors.

I had lunch with Tia Laura yesterday and it was wonderful. I love her so much. Her daughter, Eugenia and Mari were also with us. We had lunch at her special table at the Union Club, we all enjoyed delicious Corvina lunch and Tia Laura toasted the occasion with her traditional Grey Goose martini with 2 olives on the side and a glass of crushed ice. At 86 years old, Tia Laura is filled with life and joy and our entire family is blessed to know her and her family, all of the De Albas.

She had a special treat for the end of the lunch, she had arranged for the signature dessert of the Union Club, Baked Alaska. The bring the dessert table side on a beautiful cart and the waiter drizzles the cold cold cake with flaming brandy or cognac, I am not sure which. For a few seconds the cake appears to be on fire, it is delicious ! ! The last time I'd had this famous dessert at the Union Club, when my Dad hosted a large family dinner when he first came back to Panama in the late 90's. Lunch with Tia Laura and Eugenia and Mari was memorable, the dinning room overlooks the ocean, it was a beautiful clear afternoon, I was happy for many reasons. My Mom and Dad were there with me for sure.

In the evening we had tickets to a concert at the National theatre in Panama. The Panama Lions Club hosts an annual fundraiser and we were treated to evening of wonderful classical music by the Orquestra Sinfonica Nacional and selected songs from known operas. In all my visits back to Panama I 'd never been to the theatre and the building is beautiful. It's like the world famous Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on a much smaller scale. All of the performances were wonderful, the opera singers all with gifted voices and talent. It is a gem in Panama City.

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