Saturday, February 28, 2009

Peace Corps Panama Packing List

Here is a list of the essentials of what you need to pack:
+ Headlamp. You will use it all the time
+ Tampons. They are expensive here.
+ Make-up. You will use it. They dress up here, it´s not like you permanently live in the jungle. And it´s more expensive over here.
+ Chacos. Bring a pair or two. I live in them.
+ Longchamp purse. It´s made out of a canvas/nlyon/waterproof material. It´s functional, easily cleaned, and fashionable.
+ A sleepsack. Mine´s silk and packs up really small.
+ Sleeping pad. (Unless you go to a ye-ye sight, you will use it alot).
+ Victoria´s Secret Underwear. The underwear is really cheap here.
+ A pair of sheets. (Do you really want to sleep on polyester sheets??)
+ Sunglasses.
+ I-pod
+ Crappy lap-top.
+ I brought a bunch of cds and dvds (I still use them to update my ipod.)
+ A pair of flip-flops, and a pair of wedges. (Don´t bring hiking boots, you don´t use them. I brought a pair of running shoes and they are just molding under my bed.)
+ A pillow. (I love my pillow)
+ Airplane blanket. It does get cold here sometimes.
+ A water-proof, crush-proof camera. Go with Olympus.
+ A thumb drive.
+ Swimsuit. A must.
+ Swim goggles. ...but only if you swim alot.
+ Backpack. I have a Dueter. And I love it.
+ Jewlery. Bring the cheap stuff. Leave the good stuff at home.

+ A couple of pairs of cute clothes, and then just clothes you don´t care about. You will wear your crappy clothes in site, but in the city, you should dress up.
+ I bought a mountain hardware skirt. I practically live out of it. Buy one.
+ Tank tops from Wal-mart. Like 5. You´ll be good.
+ 2 Polos.
+ 5 Skirts.
+ 2 Jeans. (One for when you are skinny and one for when you get fat)
+ 3 pairs of Shorts.
+ One dress. (You will wear it to swear in and that´s it)
+ 3 Long sleeve shirts. I live on the beach and it does get cold.
+ 1 Northface jacket.
+ 1 Umbrella. (Rain jackets are ugly and bulky).
+ 5 T-shirts.
+ 2 pairs of running shorts.

That´s it. Don´t pack a ton of clothes. You will regret it. Mainly cause you will have to haul it all around. In Panama you can buy alot of stuff, so don´t worry. Unless you are a larger person, most clothes will fit you. If you have questions, holla.

True Story of the Ngobe Description Variety

The other day I was at the phone trying to call a friend and make plans for surfing for the millionth time when the phone rang. I answered it and the conversation went something like this....
Jamie: Alo?
Random person: Alo, blah blah blah, spanish, spanish, spanish, want to speak to spanish, the daughter of Adino.
Jamie: Great, wait a minute.

So I put the phone done and go to the nearest house to find out who is Adino and where they live to give the message.

Jamie: There is a call for Adino´s daughter. Where do they live?
Ngobe: Por alla (translation, over there)
Jamie: Where?
Ngobe: Por alla! (followed by a lip point in some random direction)
Jamie: Sorry that doesn´t help. Which por alla?
Ngobe: Pues, por alla, arriba. (translation,¨well over there, up there¨
Jamie: Thanks (for nothing)

So I walk and search for someone else who is more descriptive.
Jamie: Where does Adino live?
Ngobe: Por alla.
Jamie: Can you be more specific.
Ngobe: Por alla. (lip point) alla, alla. (more lip pointing).

Frusterated I ask the person next to them.
Jamie: SO what house?
Ngobe: Por alla, the big house.

Glancing at the houses, none of them look very big.

Jamie: Which big house.
Ngobe: The one with the cross.

Ah finally the answer I have been searching for. Thank you for being soooo descriptive.

Want another example?
This one also happened when I was by the phone.
Ngobe: Jamie, who was that gringa that was here that day?
Jamie: Which day?
Ngobe: You know, that day.
Jamie: Um... what did she look like?
Ngobe: She was a gringa.
Jamie: Ok, was she tall?
Ngobe: No
Jamie: What was her hair like?
Ngobe: Her hair is like yours.

Realizing this isn´t going anywhere because none of my girlfriends visiting me have my type of hair, I end up guessing names. And finally I picked the right one. (The gringa they were talking about has dark chocolate brown hair down to her waist. Last time I checked my hair is blond, shoulder length and curly).

Yay for descriptions

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Somewhere in between

Lately I´ve been feeling like Alice in Wonderland who fell down the rabbit hole. One minute I´m eating boiled bananas, chatting in ngobe/spanish with my host mom about my host father´s latest dalience and the next minute my world is transformed into a world of professional surfing and yachts.

Now I really didn´t sign up for Peace Corps for this. No latrines, ameoba ridden water, mud up to my knees...well yeah. I mean it is Peace Corps right? But I didn´t expect the yachts and surfers.

On Valentines day I get a call from some friends who were in the area and suggested that I stop by and see them. ...They just happen to live on a 35ft wide yacht. They are soem of the nicest people I know adn have been more than generous with their cheese platters and sound tourism advice.

On my way to visit my friends in the bay I stop in Nidori and see about 8 surfers and a bunch of of film equipment. Apparently they were making a new surf video. Along with them was some guys from Surf magazine souting the spot for a feature. I guess we are lucky after all.