Rotarian Party in Panama
By James E. Sellars
|Panama City skyline|
Our close friend and fellow Rotarian, Gonzalo de la Guardia, a Past President of the local Rotary club, called us to explain that we should be there between 5:30 and 6 o’clock, and that I should catch a cab and give the driver the general direction of Del Golf, after which I should call him, Gonzalo, on his cell and he would explain the rest to the cab driver. It sounded all very fun and very interesting to us so at around the appointed hour we made our way to the street to hail a cab.
Sure enough, the arrangements with the cab driver worked well and soon we were at the house of Quetita, a very attractive lady of approximately 60 years, who welcomed us with, “Will it be Spanish, English or French?” To which I answered, “English would be nice if it is possible.” The introductions were made all around; very friendly and attentive to my wife and children, and we began to take in the home. We were among twenty odd people who were early arrivals, all of who were able and willing to speak to us in English, and were genuinely interested in our comfort and pleasure in Panama. The setting; the beautiful covered terrace of our hostess’ backyard, the terrace was resplendent with plush furniture, and low tables and on a lower level was a 10-metre pool surrounded by more furniture. In one corner was a sushi bar complete with a man preparing all the delicacies of that cuisine, in another a band was setting up and in a third was an open bar offering chilled champagne, with two waiters who quickly met one’s slightest wish. There was even a self-serve frozen Margarita machine, as it was a warm evening after all.
I began to settle in with a glass of cold water, and worked my way towards the sushi bar, I was repeatedly greeted and welcomed by more and more of the guests as they arrived who were also Rotarians and remembered meeting me at a meeting in November of 2005, at the Union Club, in downtown Panama City. After about an hour the teachers arrived from their hotel, the band struck up, and the party got underway in earnest. Checking for the kids I noticed that they were sitting with some other children at a table near the pool, they were clearly enjoying themselves so I kept my distance. My wife, Barb, was deep in a discussion with the wife of a new friend, Carlos, and didn’t need anything either so I felt safe to switch to the chilled bubbly. It was looking like a very interesting evening.
Off to one side all attention swung, as a fellow stood dripping having innocently been brushed into the pool as he passed too near the edge. It was an especially light moment for me amongst a very pleasant evening, as the hostess came over to guide him off to have his clothes dried, he grinning sheepishly. Good cheer flowed freely and everywhere people were engaged in exciting conversations and camaraderie. A little while later, food was served in an anteroom off the terrace, a great spread of ham, beef and seafood, in a buffet that seemed built for twice as many people as the 70 or more who were lined up. It was delicious. And then to add insult to my diet, there was the dessert buffet at another level that had to be investigated. Champagne in hand I bravely ventured forth.
|French Embassy, Panama|
It was all music and drink and friends, with a warm tropical breeze blowing through the trees in the backyard of this beautiful home, a sky of brilliant stars, when my friend Gonzalo asked me, “Did you remember to bring the cigars?” You will be proud to know that I had a box of 25 Cubans I had bought that afternoon for just this occasion, for which my status as instant hero was assured. Gonzalo, Jorge, and I sat amongst the young teachers, and other Rotarians, around a large coffee table enjoying the evening and the warmth of new friends, with a good cigar. What a fitting end to this wonderful evening. For more info about Panama and issues of lifestyle change and retirement opportunities take a look at our web page at www.wealthmanagementcanada.com