|Too many delicious coconut drinks = cavities.|
Well, maybe coconut drinks haven't hurt my teeth too badly, but just to make sure, we decided to brush up on our dental hygiene while in Bocas. Yesterday I went to Dr. Alvin Wong's office for a cleaning, and the dental hygienist scrubbed down my pearly whites, which was great and in Spanish. I can't tell you how much fun it is to mix foreign languages and medical care, especially if you're like me - understanding a bit but speaking in a painfully slow, jumbled mass of incorrect verb conjugations. Anyway, the cleaning was a typical dental visit that you would get in the U.S. and, at $50, less than half the price.
Unfortunately, the hygienist informed me that I had three cavities. Crushed, I went back today to get them filled, and Dr. Wong told me that actually it was my old fillings getting, well, older, and that only one of them had turned bad. He replaced it with a better filling (again for $50, a quarter of the price you would get in the U.S.) and told me to have the dentist check the others at my next check up.
Vlad will not fare so well, I'm afraid. He has actual cavities that have to get fixed, and two of his fillings fell out. He's still at the dentist's office, and I left him there an hour ago, not a good sign.
And, just in case anyone is curious as to why my new favorite dentist has a Chinese last name, it is the simple fact that many Chinese people live in Bocas, transplants from the Canal building days. In fact, Bocas is actually a fascinating cultural mixture of Chiriquí Indians, Caribbeans, Spanish, Chinese and American ex-pats. And from what I can tell, everyone seems to pretty much get along. Go figure.