Cloudy skies this afternoon after a few really hot and humid days, feeling like thunderstorms may be approaching, which will be a relief, as well as some showers to top up my rain catch hopefully. It's now day 52 of lockdown here in Panama and while some measures have been relaxed, we are still confined to our houses most of the time.
A few of the restrictions have begun to lift, such as the 'dry law' or alcohol ban which has been in place since late March. We were all pleased to hear that, though the region's mayors overturned the ruling and it was briefly re-instated! Local stores now seemed to have decided to make up their own minds whether to sell it or not. From tomorrow, we are also allowed to exercise during our shopping hours, though as beaches are still closed, swimming is banned.
My 'time slot' to go out is between 5.30pm and 7.30pm on women's days, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This makes a trip across to Bocas Town rather difficult as at the moment, boats do not run after 6pm. If I need to get across to town for anything, I have to pay a boat to wait for me, or risk being stranded there. There are a few tiny shops here in Bastimentos where I buy most of my food, though the choice of fresh produce is rather limited.
I had an unusual visitor to my house one evening which gave me a shock. It was a female elephant beetle, according to my friend John who is an Entomologist. As you can see, the beetle is almost the same size as my hand, and when it flew towards my face it sounded like a helicopter. They tend to bounce around noisily inside a house crashing off the walls, so I caught her in a large bowl and released her onto the balcony.
In the last few days, I've been keeping busy doing some website work, adding a new page for my decorating services. Though my festival work in England is cancelled this summer, I'm grateful to still have some exterior house painting work scheduled.
On Friday an extension was announced to Panama's international travel ban. There will be no flights leaving or coming to the country until 22nd June, apart from repatriation flights, though this may be extended again, as it has before. I've decided to wait for commercial flights to restart and I can re-schedule my return tickets before I risk travel, and the possibility of getting stuck somewhere I would not choose to be. For sure, the islands of Bocas del Toro are the safest place for now.
There's a festive atmosphere this Sunday in town, with lots of people playing loud music from this morning onwards. Some of my neighbours have sound systems louder than the bar across the street. Sunday is the traditional party day here and it seems increasingly like we are on the road back to some kind of normality, though most would agree here, it'll likely be some time before the tourists return.