Only In Panama….I lovingly say, with a smile on my face…


In my last post I mentioned our latest adventure in buying slabs of granite from Panama city for our kitchen and bathroom countertops. The ‘buying’ was not exactly the adventure but the figuring out how to transport the ten huge slabs from Panama City to Boquete is what I speak of as the actual adventure. You see, I should explain…In case you feel sorry for us that we live in such a remote area that there’s no granite to be had nearby and we have to go all the way to the city in order to buy it. Nope. That’s not remotely the case. There are at least two sources in nearby David to purchase granite countertops. But they refuse to sell us the raw slabs without hiring them to do the fabrication and installation. All our good friends here have had them fabricate and install granite countertops at their homes with much success. But, as we all know Scott loves to do everything himself and even though he hasn’t got much experience in Granite fabrication he has decided he doesn’t have enough projects and he wants to do it himself! Need I say…Ugh! hahaha!

I chuckle as I type this because I know everyone witnessing our project shakes their heads and wonders why he’s so determined to do everything himself. Suffice it to say, the man is enjoying the freedom to dive into projects and learn new things. He’s enjoying each and every project and its really just as simple as that. He has the time and the energy and the desire to make his home his own and even though there are faster and much more simple ways to do things, if he wants to do it, I say….’Why not!’. Of course first I usually try my darnedest to talk him into the easier, faster route but as you all know, I fail miserably and I always find it in my heart to support him as he always figures out a way to make it happen. In the end I know I’ll love it and I’m always so proud of him, plus seeing his pleasure when he completes a project makes me really happy.

Back to the “only in Panama” experience of the day…so…the dilemma this entire week has been, how to get those darn slabs from Panama City to Boquete. Did I mention there are ten slabs? And that the heaviest of the slabs weighs about 675lbs. The store where we bought them called the trucker who they use to transport slabs and he quoted us $1,800.00 to drive them from there to here! Ugh! That seemed a bit steep! So, our next plan was for Scott to transport them in his little truck. We already have a steel rack that he welded up to transport our windows from David. But, the problem with this plan was that it would take him three trips to do this. Last weekend he made the drive and it took him nearly 9 hours! That plan sounded grueling to me, but of course in normal Scott style, he shrugs his shoulders and says..”Oh well”. I didn’t like that plan at all but we didn’t seem to have any other options. Until we told our friend Pablo about our dilemma ….You see, Pablo is very resourceful and he said…”I know a guy!” and in typical Pablo style he said…”Let me make some calls, I’ll find you a trucker to do it”.

A day later we had a couple of other options . We had thought we might look into renting a truck. There’s a place in David where we have rented equipment for different projects up here. But we quickly remembered that almost every piece of equipment we had rented from them had a problem and never worked right. The idea of renting a truck from them and having it break down on us mid way from here to the city was not appealing. We abandoned that idea pretty fast. But Pablo came to the rescue , he called us back and told us he found a guy willing to do it for $700.00! wow! Okay…well…we needed to confirm that this guys truck would make it up to our house, remember that steep drive we have? And we really wanted to see the truck to make sure it would actually be able to hold ten heavy slabs of granite….

We were really hoping this plan would work out and that Pablo’s guy would be the solution to our dilemma . Three consecutive 9 hour drives to the city was sounding very un-fun to me. So, we came up with a plan for Lito (the truck driver) to bring his truck up to our house today. Pablo met the driver at the bridge in town and had him follow him up to our house. I saw the truck drive up past the casita and I was a little skeptical . It was one of these cattle trucks, with about a 20ft bed with solid metal sides and metal bars about 1.7 meters high that cover the bed of the truck. I didn’t think it looked as though there would be enough height clearance for the slabs to fit in the truck. Ugh! Pablo headed up to the workshop with Scott and Nikki (Pablo’s other half) and I were just hanging out at the casita on the terrace enjoying a nice glass of Ice tea and just chatting.

After about an hour Nikki and I decided to walk up to see what was going on. What I saw when we got to the top of the hill made me laugh…and think to myself…”only in Panama!”…A few of our guys were up on the top of the tuck with a grinder and they were actually cutting off the metal framework on the top of the truck! Lito, the guy who owns the truck given his permission and was standing by just watching them remodel his truck! Hahaha! I was right, the metal bars covering the bed would not have allowed our slabs to fit in the truck. But, without the metal bars it works just fine. Scott was able to slide his steel rack that he made to hold the slabs upright for the journey into the bed of the truck. For added support they even did a few welds to the metal base of the bed of the truck to stabilize the rack in place. Now when he returns we have a new project….fixing the truck! hah!

I shake my head in times like this. Not because I think remodeling some guys cattle truck is such a bad or crazy thing but because I find here in Panama that people just always seem to find a way to make it happen! You have to remember that cattle truck is Lito’s bread & Butter. He very likely makes his living hauling not only cattle but whatever else he manages to get into it. So his willingness to let Scott cut it up like that was very trusting and generous of him. I suspect part of his willingness to trust Scott, a complete stranger to him, had everything to do with the fact that he knows and trusts Pablo and here, if you are a trusted friend of a friend than that same trust is extended to you. This , makes me smile. Have I mentioned….I love this place! Of course, now we shall see if our granite makes it to Boquete in one piece…and…lets cross our fingers it doesn’t smell like cow poop! Gasp!


About hollycarter184

Life is Good! But it's time for a change, and more adventure! I'd like to share the whole experience of preparing then actually making a reality of expatriating, and moving to a new country. It's an exciting, and slightly scary move full of possibility . I'm looking forward to learning a new language and making new connections with the people who share our spirit of adventure. This blog is my way of continuing my connection with my friends and family in the States. Sooooo here it goes! :)

6 responses »

  1. That is one great granite step for the casita and one giant leap for Scott!
    What can’t Scott do? He’s amazing wish I could witness all of this first hand Holly! You guys are blessed. What an adventure you are on. And you’re enjoying every minute!

  2. I’m guessing it’s a good feeling to provide employment (bueno dinero) for so many Panamanians! From your writing it’s easy to see what an asset you two are to the community. Well done mí amiga.

  3. Could you give me the fabricators names and numbers you found in David ? I am doing a small kitchen just outside of David and I would greatly appreciate the info.

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