Time For Our First Mondongada! The Traditional Celebration Of A New Techo…



Well, the Techo (Roof) is nearly complete and I’ve learned from my new Panamanian friends that it’s customary for us to throw a celebration for our workers. It’s called a Mondongada! I just love a good celebration so I’m READY! Apparently this is a tradition here in Panama. At a Mondogada one serves a traditional dish called Mondongo. It’s a soup that’s similar to the Mexican dish called Menudo, basically tripe or cow stomach soup. Gulp! Here’s a recipe I found…

1 lb. de mondongo (beef guts)
2 cebollas (onions)
1 cda. de vinagre (cup of vinegar)
2 papas (potatoes)
4 tomates (tomatoes)
2 dientes de ajos (garlic)
2 zanahorias, guisantes si lo desea (“petit pois”) (chopped carrots)
2 limones (lemons)
Sal y picante al gusto. (salt and hot sauce)

Well, you know what they say…”when In Rome”….ahhh, well in this case..”When In Panama….” Everyone knows I’m not exactly known for my cooking abilities, although, can you really go wrong with cow guts? Hah! I’m pleased to report that I discovered , one can go to a local typico restaurant in town and simply order it! Oh Yea! That’s how I roll ! So today(Monday) my friend Rosemary and I took a walk into the pueblo and she took me to her favorite little restaurant, Central Park. She helped me order an entire meal for 12 people (7 workers plus our architect and our realtor and a little extra just in case, cuz’ we wouldn’t want to run out of food!), including a side of rice and platanos with the Mondongo and all the plastic plates an utensils as well! All for only $42.00! I pick it up on Saturday at 11:30 and off I go to my first Mondongada! Whooohooo! Of course I will first have to stop and pick up some cold beer to go along with this culinary delight, cuz’ some things are the same as the states…Beer at a celebration is a must! And my friend Rosemary is a huge help, it just so happens her brother owns the local liquor store and she says to go talk to him tomorrow and he will have the beer cold and ready to go! Gotta love a girl who has a beer connection! Hah! We don’t think many of our gringo friends would enjoy the Mondongo so we will have a gathering with all of them a different day. Although Scott just cant let a party go by without doing some cooking so he’s planning to prepare a delicious pork dish to serve along with the traditional fare…..whew…that means I wont go hungry! Hah! We have the most wonderful new neighbors who will join us as well and I’m pretty sure Kat will appreciate the less ‘cow-stomachy’ dish as well! Sounds like fun to me!

Scott has only been working on the casita for about 3 months, so seeing the roof covering the structure already is a miracle here in Panama. Seriously, nothing normally gets done in such a timely manner and not only done fast but done well! Having the opportunity to be the one in charge and to oversee each day of work, is the best thing to do, we are very fortunate Scott is capable of doing it. But, I must warn you, it wont be too long and the casita project will temporarily come to a screeching halt! WHAT? I know! But you see, he really needs to get his workshop up as quickly as possible so that when his tools arrive in Panama he’ll have a place to put them. Tools are of the utmost importance because he will need to make all the cabinetry for the house. And I gotta tell ya, not having a proper spot to keep tools locked up is not good. That, and we have been slowly acquiring more tools that we already own! Ladders and wheel barrows and hammers and drills and all the things we have sitting in our storage space in San Jose! We now have multiples of so many things…it’s killin’ us! But he doesn’t expect the workshop to take too long at all, he thinks it may even be faster than the casita has been.

Today (Tuesday) we drove to Volcan (about an hour drive from Boquete) to talk to a guy who does windows. He was referred to us by my good friend Aris, (she is the one who also got her son and her ex-husband jobs with us! The best of all our 7 workers!). He took us to a few of his jobs and showed us his work and after trying to get estimates from about 4 other window distributers who never even got back to us this guy, Carlos gets our business! He really wants our business and seems to be ready to go. And his estimate was really good as well, $2,300.00 for windows for the entire Casita, including installation. So, as soon as the repello (stucco) is completed and the tile on the roof is on along with gutters, we will have windows installed and the front door and then at that point we can lock up the casita and begin the work up above on the workshop. We still hope to have the Casita ready to live in by early next year. If he didn’t need to pause to get the workshop up we would probably be moved in much much sooner….oh well!

All is well, and moving at a pace that we both feel very pleased with. We’re learning so much during this process and by the end will have tons of information to share. But most importantly…we’ll have a place to call home that we will be incredibly proud of. A home that is a reflection of us and a labor of love. We have so many ideas of things we know we will do in the years to come. If ever anyone wondered what we would do with our time after retiring a little earlier than most…not to worry! We have a list that never stops and ideas of projects that we will have fun with. But first, we celebrate the newly completed Techo with our trabajadores ! Cheers!


9 responses »

  1. Congratulation!!! People in the States have no idea of the miracle you and Scott have achieved. I am so happy for you both. Can’t wait to see it. On another note from a vegetarian, your required soup sounds horrid.

  2. Got to say that the house, er casita, is progressing well. I don’t think that I have that much energy left in me. Let us know about the ‘taste’ of the savory soup

  3. i can’t wait to see all the progress! if you can wait until i arrive for the gringo celebration i would love to contribute food and/or beer! or we can just have our own 🙂 hehe.

  4. How fun to have any reason to celebrate! I do love that about Panama, they really know how to enjoy life. Please post pics of your party and enjoy!

  5. I love that you’ve a reason to celebrate – it’s so…well, you! I had a dream just last night that I was with some people (don’t know who they were!) standing around talking, and up you walked! You’d come to get your storage unit ready to move, and for whatever reason I happened to be there! I think it has been in the back of my mind that I’d love to see you when you come back for that brief visit. 🙂

  6. Where is that adventurous spirit this soup could become a favorite when you try it. Can not believe how quickly things have gone since you posted photo of you and Scott and small walls, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! We only have the beer when the roof goes on but also a tradition here in OZ.

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