During the winter months of 2015/16, I decided to try wintering in Panama. I was living in Kelowna BC at the time, and not looking forward to another cold Canadian winter--and yes, believe me Kelowna gets full-on winter. Boquete Panama seemed a destination. In spite of my Spanish lessons, it also seemed prudent to start somewhere with plenty of ex-pats. Having traveled worldwide, I have learned to start any relocation by finding my people, which turns out to be a moving target. When I lived in New York, my people were folks from the blind community. In Boquete Panama I dare say there were few other blind people to be found, and none of them local, but I slightly digress. In Boquete, my people were artists and art enthusiasts. While there, I offered workshops in drama and the visual arts--too much fun, really.
One day in January, I traveled with friends to a nearby town that was hosting a jazz concert. I love jazz! So, there I was, sitting at a table with my pals, grooving to the music, looking pretty cool with my sunglasses. I don’t need to tell anyone from the blind community about light sensitivity, but at a jazz concert in a small town in Panama, I guess I just looked really into the scene. Having lived in New York, where I listened to a lot of really great jazz, I learned to just listen, rather than chat with table mates. All this to say, apparently, I had been staring at a very interested man all evening! I learned later, he could see I was really into the music, but he also assumed I was really into him! At least that was what he thought, until at evening’s end when I stood up, whipped out my white cane and exited with my friends. Busted! Said man, Mike, noticed me a few days later at an arts event, and decided to tell me the whole story. We both had a good laugh and enjoyed the final six weeks of my time in Panama together.
IMAGE ALT TEXT: image of traditional style buildings in panama; there are string lights running across the street from one side to the other.