Sometimes there's a man... I won't say a hero, 'cause what's a hero? But sometimes, there's a man - and I'm talkin' about the Dude here - sometimes, there's a man, well, he's the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that's the Dude. And even if he's a lazy man - and the Dude was most certainly that, quite possibly the laziest in Bocas Del Toro, which would place him high in the runnin' for laziest worldwide - Sometimes there's a man... Sometimes, there's a man. Ah, I lost my train of thought here. But... aw, hell. I done introduced him enough.
The Dude abides.
I don't know about you but I take comfort in that. It's good knowin' he's out there. The Dude. Takin' 'er easy for all us sinners.
Keepin' it chill through the Apocalypse.
November 6th 2009
Still living with no basics. Haven't had a shower in 11(?) days. Haven't had a hot shower in almost 2 months. Days we aren't correcting shoddy workmanship, I come over to Bocas and internet. I will go with a different carpenter for the rest of the job. Mine has not been truthful with me, and that is worse than making mistakes on the house. The house won't be perfect, but it has charisma and one hellava view, baby! I need more money, but my card won't work in the ATM, and the local bank won't do any transactions for me. It may be another trip to Changuinola. They have an HSBC Bank. I accidentally grabbed a tree that had quills all over the trunk. Most were easily removed except one. It looked like just a speck, ... read more
October 28th 2009
Well, finally hit some problems with the house. It's too long to go into detail on the blog, but unbeknownst to me, one of the days that Juancho (proper spelling, not Wanchow) and I went to Almirante for supplies, he let his crew work on the finishing the framing. As far as I can tell, he was having semi_skilled laborers try their hand at some unsupervised carpentry in our absence. You know that's gotta turn out well. They didn't follow his instructions and cut some corners - literally. When the floors and walls were put in, it became evident something was seriously cockeyed with my house. Advice - if you ever build in Bocas, bring your own tape measure and level, so you can personally check work. These guys just have their eyes on the finish ... read more
October 25th 2009
10/18 Wanchow and I went back to Almirante where I can use my credit card as money is flowing like water into my house. I bought a water tank, toilet, sink, inflatable mattress, mosquito net, plumbing, and some varnish. I bought Wanchow a fridge and washer/dryer in lieu of some cash. We had quite a load in our little boat. 10/20 Patty and Tim left. They're hopping a sailboat out of Pa City to San Blas, then Cartagena, Colombia. Believe it or not, Columbia is the nicest spot in Latin America these days. Tim and I got along great. They will be missed. Tomorrow windows will be put in at the shack. I decided I want them to open upward to the inside. Then when I shut them, I'll slide a plank across to lock them, ... read more
October 20th 2009
10/17 4 days of down time. Last night Tim, Patty, Algo, and I boated over to the marina for a meal and some makeshift music. For the videos, go to http://video.yahoo.com/mypage?s=6613427&public=1 Today, Tim and I went to Bocas Del Drago. Nice area. For some nice videos of live starfish go to http://video.yahoo.com/mypage?s=6613427&public=1... read more
October 16th 2009
Day 7 of actual construction and I have a roof. It still needs to be painted. Unfortunately, I missed roofing day, as I was enjoying an interesting day traveling to another town getting more cash. I thought the bus ride over the mountains was thrilling. That was a warm-up for the bus to Changuinola and the bank. And, theres nothing more thrilling than walking through a foreign, marginal, shanty town to the bus station, with thousands in cash on your person. Being stared at, machetes gleaming in the hot sun. OK, Did I say walking? I was running. As I requested a steeper roof pitch than the original plans (so I could make a small loft area - you know, for when Mom and Dad visit), Wanchow had to tie a rope around his waist. I ... read more
October 13th 2009
I met a cool couple at my Hotel, and they wanted me to show them around some, as well as see my shack. We hiked through the jungle and saw my site, Javier's spread, 2 beaches, and some of The Red Frog Beach Project - the marina.... read more
October 11th 2009
So, it was a down day and I was craving a salad. They're not big on salads at the cheap, local eateries. I went to the produce stand and got lettuce, pepper, tomato, onion, cucumber, carrot and took em back to my room. It was then I realized that I am not in a hostel with a kitchen anymore. All I had was a butter knife. Try peeling and cutting the aformentioned veggies (which were washed in the bathroom sink) with a butter knife, and then cutting out a bowl from a water jug with the same knife. A little mayo and vinegar. The salad was delicious. I washed it down with fresh coconut milk, and busted open the coconut with a hunk of road concrete for dessert. ... read more
October 9th 2009
OK, nobody's checking out the videos at Yahoo videos copy and paste this http://video.yahoo.com/mypage?s=6613427&public=1 They're pretty cool. They're just like pictures, except they moooove. Ooooo! And they have sound. Aaahhhhh! Dozens of new ones, over 80 in all.... Today, Wanchow and I went to Almirante (where they takes those new-fangled credit cards) and bought roofing, nails, and other sundries. Now, I wait for my sister in Chicago to come to the rescue by wiring some money, as the lack of credit card usage causing excess cash usage has got me in a financial pickle. What's the matter with these Panamanians? Haven't they heard of good ol' American REVOLVING DEBT!? Imagine, living within your means. Just spending what you have instead of blowing anticipated future income now. Unthinkable..... The first 5 pics relate to this blog. ... read more
October 5th 2009
Day 2 - Wanchow had quite a crew today. My labor is through the roof (not really. Most of these poor unskilled guys make $15 a day). Making concrete the old-fashioned way. You can build a foundation with a plumb-bob, string, L-square, wheelbarrow, shovels, trowel, wood, rocks, sand, cement, and sweat. Some of the 70 lb. bags were carried by men up a steep slope, then down into slippery jungle, then back up same slippery jungle - about a half mile. Price -$1 per bag. 105 bags. I carried 2 three pound shovels up this route, partially on all fours as it was so slippery and steep, and was sucking wind. Some bags came up by horses. These poor horses. One was in such bad shape that I put a stop to it. Animals are treated ... read more
October 1st 2009
Found my builder, Wanchow. He has built many houses on this island and the other islands. He works hard, and is quite fast, according to my sources. When the TV show “Survivor” filmed a season on these islands several years ago, Wanchow was the guy who built the houses for the crew. The money is starting to flow now - various permits and plans will run over $1000, and material for foundation, including human labor to haul it up the ridge, will be another $1000. If Wanchow is as fast as he appears, I will be broke in 3 weeks. ... read more