Jane Thompson Hasenmueller
From the mountains to the sea
I met a man named Brown Sugar this week. He welcomed me to Placencia when I said we had moved here, and thrust out his hand to shake mine. We’ve been greeted many times like that here. People wave and smile behind masks, no matter their age and seem genuinely pleased when we say we are living here.
Getting here, well that’s another story I’ll tell you later, but I’m finding the slow pace of life here growing on me each day. We are staying at a place which offers bicycles for getting around. They are scratched and rusted, but work just fine. However, I haven’t been on a cruiser since I was a kid and I keep forgetting how to brake. I’m squeezing the heck out of the handles, before I remember to simply push back on the pedal and put my foot down. Dragging my feet doesn’t work any better than squeezing the handles, but I’ve tried that a few times too. Cruising is a joy I’d forgotten, and one I’m glad to be remembering.
This is the rainy season, though we’ve had little rain. A steady wind keeps the palm trees swaying and the clouds roll in most every day, occasionally giving us a shower. Sometimes the rain cools things off, other times, the rain makes the humidity soar. Humid heat is definitely different than the mountain heat of New Mexico. When you live at 7200 feet, you can count on the evenings cooling off substantially, but at sea level, the temperature remains within a ten degree range most all the time, and the humidity can add an extra 10-15 degrees to how it feels.
Sweat is a real heat issue when it comes to pulling a sports bra off or a swimsuit on. Thank goodness no one can witness that. Though the heat has not been too much of an issue, at times I find myself sweating like an English pig-dog (name that movie reference) but the breeze then comes and cools me off. A quick dip in the pool works too. Electricity is quite expensive here, so full time air conditioning is out of the question. Bedtime is the only time the AC runs.
Placencia sits at the end of the Placencia peninsula. A village of less than two thousand, navigating on foot, on bike, or golf cart is easy. There’s many good restaurants, and lots of small places that sell the national dish, beans and rice, with stewed chicken, or pork. We generally don’t eat meat, but I might try the chicken some day. We have had lobster, as we arrived during the Lobster Crawl and the opening of lobster season. Usually there is a huge festival, but it had to be canceled again this year due to Covid. Last night I had the smoked fish spread at Rum Fish, and I have to say, I thought it delicious. Sometimes you just have to go with the fish.
Food is plentiful here, but lacks much variety. I think I’ll adjust, but those of you who know me well, know I love to cook many different dishes, so this will be a big change. And weirdly, all the grocery stores are owned by the Chinese. They do not carry fresh produce, which I buy from a lady on the street, but have canned goods of all kinds, and a lot of it comes from Costco, or so it seems. The prices are at least double the prices I paid in USA, but a few things are local and more affordable, like really good peanut butter.
On to more important matters, rum. Coconut is my favorite and then there are numerous brands to choose from of regular rum. My favorite drink so far is coconut rum with soda and limes. Can’t beat it. I’m not a frou frou sweet drinker and most the fruity drinks are quite sweet, so limes for me...you put the lime in the coconut and shake it all up...yum is what I’m saying.
We joined the beach gym and go three mornings a week at 6:30. I walk on the other days. Then we both get to work at our respective jobs. Late afternoon a dip in the pool is nice. There is no place at our point on the peninsula to take a swim in the sea, but to be honest, I prefer the pool most the time anyway. A plan for a weekend snorkeling trip is in the works or a tour of Monkey River, where we hope to hear the Howler Monkeys and see a little jungle.
Living tropical is a real change and a definite change of pace. I think I can get used to this, but until I do, more coconut rum, please!