Wednesday, 20 April 2011

"Bye Bye Panama-a-a-a-a-ahh...And Hullo Florida...Again"

Ok, ok, I know...I've been terribly lax on the blog-front for the past couple of weeks...but seriously...sometimes you are so busy living it's hard to find a moment to plop oneself down in front of a laptop and tip-tap-type about your adventures.

Well the obvious news is that after a whirlwind three weeks in Panama we're back in Florida, staying with my father at his beachside condo and finding ourselves strangely rather content these days.  Two weeks today we conclude yet another chapter of our "Year Plus A Bit" family adventure, and fly back to...nope, not London - not just yet - but Toronto, Canada to give the rest of our family a look-in.  After all, why not?  It's not like we haven't spazzed a veritable fortune on airline tickets already this past year (take overpriced high season tickets and multiply by four...groan).  Moreover, it's not like there's a terribly pressing need for us to return to the UK asap.

Last time we checked, a rather troublesome type from Wandsworth School Services summarily informed us that our boys not only remain devoid of a spot in either school nearby, but are not even on the waiting lists - given the audacity we demonstrated by fluttering off to North America after only a few brief nights stay in Ol' Blighty.  Oopsy daisy.  We'll continue to hope and pray that by some miracle September finds the monsters suited and booted, sat in an institution of greater learning nearby and not at our dining room table - enrolled in the 'Home School From Hell'.  Doesn't bear thinking about.

But back to Panama.  It was amazing.  We re-connected with our best friend from University (the three of us were inseparable back in the day) and his lovely wife.  A few times the crazy passage of time dawned on me, what with the three of us 'all grown up' now(!) and both parents of two (lively/naughty/precocious) little boys.  But we were quick to remedy that, what with the help of their three staff, much sneaking out at night for lush dinners (at night nannies turn into babysitters dontcha know), fun cocktails and much frivolity.  It is safe to say that during our three week stay we made up for lost time (clocking under four hours sleep most nights proved to be very handy at achieving this goal) and quickly found ourselves reverting back to shall we say, slightly more juvenile behaviour at times.  FUN FUN FUN!

One of the highlights of our trip was Dumpie amazingly teaching himself to swim one day as we lounged about in a resort pool, sipping Pina Colada's and stuffing our faces with amazing Sea Bass baguettes.  He just shrugged off his water wings, informed us that he was going to swim...and by george he did it.  It was amazing!

As for Egg, he got to ride a horse, by himself, for the first time unaided (I was alerted to this by his panicky screams of joy/terror as his horse took up a little canter behind me in an attempt to get out of the rains!  There was nothing to do but seek shelter in an Irish Pub of all things, after the kindly geriatric manageress of a lovely upscale elegant dining room took one look at our assembled four little boys and wisely concluded that perhaps we should dine elsewhere (Eggie flipping the restaurant lights on and off erratically as she pondered, I think helped seal the deal.)

Our friends also had the good fortune to live beside a lovely family with eight kids.  Let me say that again:  EIGHT CHILDREN!  Puzzlingly, we noticed that those eight kiddies (ranging in age from four to sixteen - four of them adopted and with special needs) proved less troublesome and more well behaved than our combined four.  Go figure.

Our last week in Panama we rented the most divine beach house.  Perched on an empty bit of coastal property, and featuring four bedrooms, a guest house, mini playground and private pool, it was the perfect way to end our divine stay.  (Fyi there is no better hangover cure than to emerge puffy-eyed from ones bedroom around 9am, find strong coffee already brewed, pop an Advil and 1000 mg Vitamin C and stumble out to a chaise by the pool to crash out for the next few hours while an assortment of nannies tend to your children...bliss)

All in all Panama was amazing and the icing on the cake of our year away.  It was a total indulgence in every way, but deliciously so, and several mishaps (Dumpie continually locking our friends' three year old in dark closets and Egg cutting up all the television and video cables on the tv's one morning at the beach house) did nothing to detract from what was, in the end, a fantastic trip.

(I'm not sure our friends would entirely agree however.  On our last night, as we attempted to plie them with loads of pizza and glasses of Chianti in the old town square whilst conveying our thanks for their hospitality, they did mention that they hoped that they would soon regain use of their downstairs bathroom.  When I enquired further, they sheepishly admitted that it had somehow been locked from the outside by Dumpie almost two weeks ago and that their maid wasn't too happy as she couldn't use that bathroom anymore and they had lost the key to open it.  Oops.  For all I know it remains locked to this day - a tribute and testament to our youngest and his burgeoning locksmith skills.)
Horseback riding...Panama style

Cables?  Who needs cables? (thanks Egg)

Budding equestrian

Thrilled that Dumps has just learned to swim (equally so by my welcome cocktail it would appear)
View of the warm Pacific from our beautiful beach house...

So expansive and serene...
Outdoor barbeque...fountain...jacuzzi had it all (sigh)
Little Lord of the Manor...
View from indoors...everything so light and airy
The newest little swimmer (bless)
Our little beach bums...
Relaxing in the Old Town (Panama City)
Our gorgeous hostess Wynter...
Still "BFF's"...after all these years (only it's martini's not Tim Horton's coffees!)
Last day in Panama...outfitted in traditional garb