Written on a sleepless morning a few days ago. A new post to come soon, as I will be in Panama City at Casa Hispania once again this week! Until then, loves…
Currently writing this at 4am on a fresh, new Thursday because someone moved my hammock a bit, which doesn’t sound like much, but now it’s much lower to the ground and my bug net is super messed up and I cannot sleep for the life of me. As always, the past week has been interesting.
Last Thursday was my actual first Netflix and Chill night. We ended work on Thursday afternoon and had Friday off, so literally all of us just stayed in the city for the rest of the weekend. I bought a bottle of wine and drank it while watching How I Met Your Mother (yes, I am living my best life). I tried, at one point, to be social and learn poker because the guys in my program that I was at the hostel with were playing it, but I gave up after about a half an hour and went back to my wine. Friday and Saturday both definitely had their ups and downs, but collectively was probably the best weekend I’ve had here. There were many good talks walking around Casco Viejo at 5am, staring out into the angry Pacific Ocean as it crashed against the walls of the twenty-foot platform we were standing on. I got to know some people extremely well, and they, me. It honestly feels kind of weird to have someone here know so much about me, but since I don’t normally share a lot of things, I guess it’s just new so it feels weird. Vulnerable? Is that the word I’m looking for? Maybe. It’s 4am, don’t listen to me.
Anywho, business in the city was fantastic, and coming back to the valley was honestly a bit stressful for me, just because of the lack of wifi with some recent events that have happened at home. Also, in the valley, everyone is amazing, don’t get me wrong, but there’s nowhere to be truly alone. In the city, I can go off by myself at any time. As a very intrapersonal being, it doesn’t need to be silent or anything; just no one interrupting my flow of thought. No familiar faces. I can be alone in a sea of people, no problem. If I know that sea of faces, however, that’s when things get a little funky for me. As someone who is alone literally all the time at home, being in a small space with over one hundred other people at all times is a big adjustment to make. I’ve been working on it, and I’m not there yet, but I will be… hopefully. If not, I have a really great group of people that I consider close friends here that I can talk to about it, and those individuals have been, and are, truly incredible.
This week, we began building the water reservoir that we wrote proposals for last week, which would have been a lot more fun if my ankle wasn’t sprained! I tried working the first afternoon, but my ankle hurt more than it did the previous three days after working, so I figured it probably wasn’t the best idea for me to continue if I wanted this thing to ever heal. So instead of working on that, I’ve been doing a couple random things around Town Square, like helping Gabby with her tiki bar signs or reading in my hammock, which is honestly dope. And yes, tiki bar is FRIDAY and we are all super hype because tiki bar last time was just wild. Willie supplies most of the alcohol which he distills on sight and they run a little bit of a bar. But don’t misconstrue this – the alcohol is not sold, because that wouldn’t be right. However, you can make a charitable donation, and then be compensated for that donation, as such… you feel? It’s a good system we’ve got going here. Willie also has recently made a ginger beer that a few of us got to taste yesterday, which was lovely, and he made some kombucha, too, like last time. So delicious, y’all.
Yesterday in itself was honestly a pretty productive day. Everyone took a day off from the work site and got to work with Zouheir a bit on our personal projects. We also talked about projected incomes and forecasting problems that we may run into along the way, which definitely spurred some critical thinking on all of our parts. Business, I have learned, is approximately 70% poking holes in your own ideas and seeing if they still hold up; if they don’t, you need to figure out how to patch up the big ones so that your business can stay afloat. Josh and I are definitely making some headway on our project. Last weekend, we went to this cool bar/art gallery in Bella Vista to find Insano, a popular Panamanian street artist that actually had also painted a mural in casa Hispania, Kalu Yala’s place in the city. Not only did we find Insano, but it actually turned out that he owned the bar/gallery that we went to, and got to talk to him about his work for about an hour. Josh got his contact information and we plan on reaching out to him to see if we can line up a studio visit. We were honestly just really glad to be able to have a breakthrough within the local art scene in Panama City. Our plan is definitely to keep networking and finding other artists that might potentially want to work with us.
A lot of plan on going into the city on Saturday morning, after tiki bar, of course. The business program is in the city again from Sunday night to, I believe, Wednesday afternoon, and then we come back to the valley. I want to go in on Saturday because I found this apparently world-renowned jazz club in Casco Viejo that I would just love to go to. All I want in my life right now is to drink a glass of red wine at the bar in a beautiful jazz club, to be honest. Can you blame me?
Also, a notable anecdote from yesterday morning. Yesterday morning, I started reading I Am Malala. I had just gotten through the chapter about her attempted assassination, and everyone else around me was also very deep into their books and readings and such. We looked like quite the serious bunch. All of a sudden, Esteban, our head honcho, so to say, here at Kalu Yala, slams down a speaker on a counter top, starts playing this very funkadelic song, and begins to dance for us all. “Happy Wednesday, guys…” he said with a very sly smile. We were all losing it, it was so ridiculously funny. Definitely was not about to go back to Malala after that one (no offense girl; you’re awesome).
It just sort of dawned on me how often I talk about Casco but have never really defined what that place is. Casco Viejo is the historic district of Panama City. It’s old, with a casual ruin church that’s probably around 400ish years old, and it also has a banging party scene and some of the best hostels around. If you’re trying to go out and party, you stay at Luna’s Castle, and if you’re trying to chill, I definitely recommend Magnolia’s. We stayed at Casa Areka in Punta Pacifica last weekend, just because we had some things to do over there, and that was pretty good, too. Situationally, it was perfect, actually, but if I wasn’t staying in a room exclusively of people I already knew, it wouldn’t have been that great, to be honest. Casco Viejo has the best bars, coolest restaurants, and the most dope dance clubs in Panama City. Casco is essentially where the action happens. After the insanity that was last weekend, we even rewrote a bit of a Kanye song in honor of it…
No more parties in Casco; Please, baby, no more Casco Viejo…