March 13th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Balboa’s monument

Our first task of the day, once breakfast was done – it’s so nice to be in a place where one can buy fresh, cold milk again – was to exchange our room for an ant-free one.  The unending battle was tiring us – we are the most powerful, certainly, but they have the advantage in numbers.  The people downstairs didn’t seem to mind us changing, but the men whose job it was to clean the rooms were a bit put out – took it as a personal affront, I suppose.

Next job was the washing.  A laundrette seemed difficult to find, so we tried at a regular laundry, who, after pulling out all our dirty washing onto the floor, gave us an estimate of $15, later educed to 10 as a special concession.  Naturally enough, we still said no – the guy seemed upset, + told me to pick it up myself.  I wasn’t proud – I hadn’t asked him to pull it all out in the first place.  After a  bit more asking, we did find a laundromat – 60c to wash, 60c to dry… just a touch different.  Incredibly hot in there tho’ – they’re bad enough at the best of times, but in the heat of a Panama noon!

That chore done, we went for a stroll in the afternoon, first along by the waterfront, stopping at a statue of Balboa (first European to see the Pacific?  I don’t know) to take his picture, + then a gradual amble back thro’ the city, stopping at a supermarket (mainly because we like wandering thro’ them,) thinking of all the things we would like to buy if only we had a kitchen to keep them in,+ marvelling at things like Lea + Perrin’s, made in Worcester – I’ve been there – but also to buy one or two things, chiefly 2 pots of coffee-flavoured yogurt, which we ate on the steps outside, + at a Dairy Queen, (where I bought a cup of foul-tasting coke), + then home, discovering it was much later than we thought.  Cooked a pot of rice + beefy soup, + sausages for tea.  It was OK, but there was far too much of it, + it was a bit bland, even tho’ I did drink a beer or two to give me an appetite.

A pretty event-free day, largely devoted to getting our clothes washed.  Launderettes/laundromats are another of those things which seem largely to have disappeared, at least in the developed world – a short-term solution to the introduction of mechanised laundry, but when people did not have them in their own home.  

Otherwise, just relishing being in a country with supermarkets, and the opportunity easily to find familiar foods.

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