Before I visited Panama for the first time, I imagined it would be full of locals who spent every afternoon enjoying a siesta in their hammock. The reality of Panama is much different.
Panama City is as cosmopolitan as any big city around the world, and the Panamanians put in 45-hour workweeks. They work eight or more hours each weekday and even work a half-day every Saturday. That schedule doesn’t allow the average Panamanian much hammock time.
After a year and a half in Panama, I realized I was working too hard and not spending enough time relaxing. The answer I knew was simple–I had to buy a hammock. After all, the great weather was why I moved to Panama.
Finding the perfect hammock was easy, but hanging it on my balcony was more of a challenge. I only have one regular wall because most of my balcony “wall” is made of glass to take advantage of my spectacular view.
It took us a while to figure out how to hang a hammock on our balcony, but with help from a clever handyman, we hung one side of the hammock to the wall and the other side to the ceiling. I had special hammock hooks couriered down from the US, but it turned out I didn’t need them. The handyman installed rounded re-bar hooks into the cement wall and ceiling and then cemented them in. My hammock is now sturdy enough–and big enough–to hold my entire family–myself, my sweetheart, and my two furr-babies.
I’d had a really nice padded hammock from Brookstone that I’d used in the US on the few days a year it was temperate enough for me to be outdoors in Dallas, so I was no stranger to the joys of hammock time. As lovely as that padded hammock was, my Panama hammock is exponentially more comfortable. Not only does the thick cotton fabric stretch to hold my body in a comfortable shape, but the hammock actually swings. One or two pushes will keep me going for several minutes. When I’m swinging in my hammock, I instantly fall into the full-level of relaxation and contentment reserved for just-fed babies who are swinging in their mothers’ arms.
One of my favorite things to do is to swing in my hammock during a heavy rainstorm. Unlike Dallas where the crazy thermals mean that it rains sideways–making it impossible to sit on a balcony without getting wet–Panama rain comes straight down. This means I can be just inches from the edge of my balcony and not get wet.
There is something intensely relaxing about being just inches from a heavy, warm rain. I love the smell of the ozone when it rains, and I love watching the lightning and listening to the thunder. It typically rains for about 20 to 60 minutes each day during rainy season (May through December), and then the sun re-emerges.
In my life, the rain is cause for a mini-vacation in my hammock. If I’m in my apartment when the rain starts, I drop what I’m doing and run to my hammock to enjoy a few minutes of relaxation.
I’ll be honest. I have a good life. And it got even better now that I added hammock time to my daily routine.
If you’re thinking of giving Panama a try, be sure to put your feet up and enjoy some hammock time. The great climate means you can enjoy your hammock every single day of the year. I’d love to stay and chat, but that handsome man you see in the hammock wants me to join him for some hammock time.