When we finally got through the Panama border and back on the bus, we had about 40 minutes until the city of David. Our friend Marshall (whom we met in November on our last Panama trip) told us he would pick us up at the bus stop drop off and take us back to the condo. Sure enough, the bus stopped, unloaded our bags and Marshall pulled right up – perfect timing! He was kind enough to take us to a drive up ATM and to the grocery store for a few items for breakfast. Mark got out of the car (this is at about 9:00 pm) to use the ATM while Marshall & I waited in the car. All of a sudden a dirty looking woman shows up with a child in tow. She waited until Mark was done at the ATM, said something in Spanish and then put her hand out for money. Mark did not give her any, but it was a very awkward moment.
We then went across the street to a big grocery store and got a few items for breakfast. 20 minutes later we were at the condo. The condo is located down a nicely paved road about a mile and a half from the main freeway. There is a gate with a guard 24/7. There are several ponds on the property which are a mystery to the locals. They come here to take pictures of themselves in front of the pond. The ponds were specially designed to hold water in case there is an emergency water shortage. The ground in Panama is very porous and they do not have lakes or ponds, so special heavy duty plastic liners had to be laid in place to actually hold the water.
The large property area of Los Molinos has several condo “packs” as I call them. They are two story with 4 condos per pack – two upstairs and two downstairs. There is a set of doors before you enter the pack and a foyer area. Then you climb the interior stairs to get to the upper units. The top condos also have a foyer area as well that is enclosed with windows that can be opened for air flow. This buffer area is a nice feature to protect the condos from the strong winds that can blow at times. There are several condo packs, individual homes and empty lots still on the property land. There is also a small hotel, restaurant, special bar area overlooking the canyon, a pool with a Jacuzzi (you have to pay to have it heated) and a small gym (that you have to pay extra for). All in all, it is a nice area and has lots of expats.
We like having the top floor because our view is pretty amazing. We can see the canyon over the trees and the sun sets on the back patio light up the sky every evening. It is also nice that the light pollution is very low and we can see loads of stars at night. We have great neighbors next door who are from Santa Clara, California and will be renting for a year.
The condo is very spacious and well stocked with pots, pans, bake ware, plates, utensils and linens. We only had to purchase a few things like a couple of pitchers, tupperware and a cheap computer desk and chair. The condo has a very nice gas range, dishwasher, very nice large refrigerator and a stack washer/dryer. By the way - it is so nice to have a dryer again! The propane gas oven is a little tricky to bake in. The heat is not consistent and it usually takes a higher temperature and longer cooking time. The water is also heated with propane gas and with an instant on demand unit. It takes some getting used to. The first full day we had hot water, but the second day we did not. We had to call the manager who sent a repair guy right away. Turns out the batteries were dead and the igniter switch was bad. You have to run the water for quite a few minutes before the hot water goes through the system. Then the hot water will fade out and come back again really hot. We also realized that while one person is taking a shower, then other person can’t be running any water, because the water pressure goes too low. Oh, the joys of a new place in a different country.
The condo has some very nice wood furniture (rocking chair, end table, coffee table, and entertainment center, Queen bed frame and bar stools) that a gringo made by hand here. The guy was a real artist and craftsman. Too bad he no longer lives in Panama – I think he went back to the States for some reason unknown to us. Some other furniture is falling apart – like the couch. It’s like it has a bad sunburn that is peeling off in layers. Every time we sit on it, pieces stick to our clothes and then it leaves trails of dark flakes on the ground.
The condo has central AC but we rarely use it. The other nice thing is that all the rooms have ceiling fans – yay!! We use those all the time. The condo doesn’t have a dining table, but it does have an outdoor table & chairs in the screened in patio. We have breakfast, lunch and dinner out there enjoying the beautiful view of the canyon– it’s pretty nice! We see the huge vultures circling and gliding on the warm updraft. We also hear the howler monkeys that come by every once in a while in the trees just behind the condos.
I would say the very best part of living at these condos is the friends we have made and all the social activities that we can go to or not go to. There seems to be all kinds of things to do from Trivia night, to once a month neighborhood appetizer, dessert & wine get together, to Friday night happy hour at the bar at the hotel and lots of other things outside of the property as well.
Posted by Tina