Plaza El Terronal

The new Plaza EL Terronal is really making progress. There were workers working on Sunday in a pretty good rain. Today would have been a great day to take a picture since all the fences were down. Unfortunately I had forgotten to take my camera with me, so you will just have to take my word for it.

The tremendous parking lot looks like it is about done. It looked like there were windows in the entire bottom floor. The real question is how much has been done on the inside. It still looks touch and go to me for it to be ready by December.

I saw a billboard today that said that Furniture Store was going to be in the new plaza. That is a well-known furniture store in Panama City. It sounds like there will be a good place to buy reasonable priced quality furniture in David.

SuSE 10.0 Needs A New Home

SuSE 10.0I have to tell you that after playing with the new SUSE 10.0 Linux system for about 15 days, I am very impressed. The only thing that isn’t impressing me is the performance I am getting running it on my old Dell Dimension XPS D233 PC. While it has provided an environment to evaluate the product, is painfully slow. The good thing about having a slow PC is that it is giving me an excuse to upgrade to a faster box.

Since this is a PC, that I do not consider my primary PC, I do not want to put a lot of money in it. I am limiting myself to $500. Luckily I am going to use the hard drive that I have in the Dell so that cuts out about a $50 expense. My main PC is in a large tower made by Cooler Master and I do not want, nor do I have space for, another large tower. I have been looking at the new SFF (Small Form Factor) PCs, but they want too much money and I am a little concerned with the cooling capability. I think the case I want to go with is built by Aspire and is the X-Qpack model. I haven’t decided on the color so you can help me choose. I am leaning toward the black.

For the motherboard, I think I will go with a new board from Gigabyte. It is built for the new AMD 64 processor and that should provide all the horsepower I want for Linux.

The CPU I will probably go with is the AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Venice 1GHz FSB 512KB L2 Cache Socket 939 Processor. It will make my primary PC look as slow as molasses, but that might be justification to upgrade it also.

I think I will put in 1 gig of memory and DVD writers have gotten so cheap, I will use a DVD writer in place of a regular CD drive.

Since the motherboard provides both audio and video, the system is complete. Current prices, using NEWEGG as a source, brings this upgrade in at $449. I will check with Alex at INFOX, but since I am specifying exact components, it is unlikely that he can get them in Panama. Having to pay duty and shipping from the US will bump the price up a fair amount, maybe as much as 30%. However, if I am right this has the possibility of using this as a media PC in the future, so I will look at it as an investment.

Óptica Lopez

Another post that I lost in the shuffle was related to my eye care provider. When I realized it was time to get new glasses, I went to every optical shop in David. I mean every one. I have worn bifocals for years and have the non-progressive kind. Everyone except one put on a hard push to have me change to progressive bifocals. They were so pushy on the subject that I became convinced that their real motivation was to sell the more expensive frames and lenses to the “gringo” rather than provide the best eye care at a reasonable price.

The only provider that asked what I wanted and solely went into the role of providing information rather than trying to do the hard sell was Óptica López. nullI have sent several people there and everyone has come back to me and thanked me for the recommendation. Doctor Susan and her two assistants (Carla and Yajaira) are really good people. Doctor Susan speaks very good English so those of us that are Spanish challenged need not be afraid. I have enjoyed them so much; I stop in every now and then just to practice my Spanish. So if you need glasses, contacts or a 3-minute class in Spanish give them a try. Carla, Dr. Susan, Yajaira

Hankerin For Some US Fast Food in David

If you have a desire to get away from the normal Panamanian food for a meal, then you have several to choose from in David. You will find the same taste you are familiar with in the states. The menus will look very much the same. The good news is that all prices are in US dollars.

First is the home of the Big Mac – McDonald’s: It always has a fair number of people eating there, but on Friday evenings and weekends there are a lot more people.McDonalds - Home of the Big Mac

Second on my list is Kentucky Fried Chicken or as everyone knows it here KFC. One thing you will see on the menu here, that you will not see in the US, is Sancocho de Gallina (Panamanian Chicken Soup). This is one of the favorite things that the Panamanians eat. It doesn’t matter that it is 92 degrees out, they will have a big bowl. Yum!KFC Kentucky Fried Chicken

Since you can still watch football on Sunday, what is better than a little Dominoes Pizza. Also there is always two for one on Tuesdays.Dominoes Pizza (2x1 on Tuesdays)

And last you have SUBWAY. This is the one fast food restaurant where I have never seen many people. I also have noticed that it is very possible that the more exotic items on the menu are not available. While we are looking at SUBWAY, you can see PARS Computers to the right. This is one of the better places to find computer equipment (CDs, DVDs, motherboards, etc.).SUBWAYNOTE: While I wasn’t looking, SUBWAY closed its doors in 2005.

Hey Santa. That Plasma TV Would Look Good Under My Tree This Year.

One post that I lost, in this crazy urge to change publishing platforms, was on several of the places I shop in David. When I moved to Panama, I was not accustomed to bargaining to get the best price. In the US, when an item is marked with a price, that is what the item sells for.

In Panama, for many items, such as kitchen appliances, televisions, cameras, etc., I have found that the price in the store is the starting price. One phrase I learned soon after coming here, was “¿Ése es su mejor precio?” (Is that your best price?) Now, I hardly buy anything before asking that question.

Some of the stores I have always gone to are AudioFoto, downtown next to the park, and SONITEC, which is on the intersecting street of AufioFoto. They both carry household appliances as well as cameras, radio and stereos and other items.

I also go to Rodelag for plumbing and electrical needs and it also carries appliances and other items. Another store worth going to is Casa Gala, which, besides appliances, carries a lot of furniture and beds.

However, a new store has recently opened in David that I had recommended to me. It is INFOX. If I look at the other stores in David first, and then go to INFOX, I invariably find a little better price. They have quickly come to be known for having fairly priced products and providing very good service. They specialize in small appliances, refrigerators, washers and dryers, air conditioners, kitchen stoves and my favorite “Plasma televisions”. I bought a microwave from them and found the same microwave priced $40 dollars higher at other stores. I am still drooling over the plasma TVs.

Alex and Melissa run INFOX. They are two fine people. If you do not speak Spanish, you do not have to worry, because Melissa’s English is very good. I have been in a bind a couple of times and telephoned Melissa and asked her to act as translator for me.

Alex is also a builds computers, so if you are in need of a faster PC, have him give you a quote and he will build you one.

If you are shopping for a new stove, refrigerator, or what ever, stop into INFOX.
It is right across the street from Rodelag.INFOX

Say “Hi” to Melissa and tell her Don Ray sent you.Melissa at INFOX

BOOKMARK in Dolega

BOOKMARK
If you want to see a version of 1/2 Price Books as it might look in Panama, you have to go to BOOKMARK in Dolega. You will find a good selection of paperbacks and also some hardbacks at prices 1/2 of retail price.

I usually keep one Clive Cussler or John Grisham book in progress and when I finish, I head back to Bookmark.

If you go by, tell them you hear of them from me on the Internet.

Life Is What Happens, While You Are Making Other Plans

Life Is What Happens, While You Are Making Other Plans
By Don Ray Williams
October 24, 2005

When I was a baby in my mother’s belly,
I thought life was great, kinda like floating in jelly,
I always was fed, I had nary a worry,
Never thinking of leaving, I was in no hurry.

But as I got bigger, my mom would complain,
This kid needs to leave; he’s causing too much pain.
So I was born, and I started to understand;
Life is what happens while you are making other plans.

As a child I grew up still very carefree;
There wasn’t much that bothered me.
My dad was my greatest pal and I was always by his side.
I thought we would always be together, until the day he died.
So life taught me one more lesson, and I continued to understand,
Life is what happens while you are making other plans.

Through grade school, middle school and high school, I thought a kid I would always be;
Then one day as I looked in the mirror, I saw a man staring back at me.
Soon that man had his own family, and I continued to understand,
Life is what happens while you are making other plans.

My family grew, two girls and a boy,
And each of them was my greatest joy.
Now one never thinks of their child going first,
And when my daughter died, that day was the worst.
I guess I am a slow learner, but someday, I’ll understand,
Life is what happens while you are making other plans.

My son and daughter have also grown,
And now they both have families of their own.
I wonder if they realize, how fast this life does pass,
And that you need to live each day, cause each day might be your last.
Some things you must experience, to help you understand,
Life is what happens while you are making other plans.