Monthly Archives: December 2005

Happy Holidays From Panama

Photo by Leslie from the Yahoo Panama Forum Group site

Well it is December 22, 2005 and I haven’t sent out any Christmas Greetings. That being the case, I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone that reads this blog the happiest holiday season ever. I hope you can all spend a wonderful time with family or friends. Lets all hope that 2006 brings more peace and happiness into the world. For the ones you hold dear, tell them how much you care. You never know when you may have waited too long and will miss the opportunity.

Don Ray

My thanks go out to Leslie from the Yahoo Panama Forum group site for allowing me to use her photo of this beautiful parrot.

Music The Way It Ought To Be

One of the things I sometimes miss is listening to good ole country and western music. Once in a while the local radio station will play music in English, but even when they do they seem to always have disk jockeys that want to talk over the music.

If I am at home I usually get my C&W fix off the Internet. If you have a reasonably fast connection you can get all the current hits or music from any genre you desire right off the net. I have used Real Audio and Window’s Media Player, but both seem to sometimes get behind on the transmission and the music stops.

Recently I downloaded a product from Live365.com. For some reason this product never has the problem that I have had with the other two players. Live365.com is free, however, it does throw out a commercial every now and then. That really doesn’t bother me. It sort of makes it seem more like the radio stations I was used to in the US. If you don’t want the commercials you can pay $5.95 a month.

If you are moving to Panama, you can either stock up on CDs every now and then or do as I did and head for the Internet.

A Cup Of Coffee And A Blog For Breakfast

I really get a kick out of surfing for blogs on the Internet. One of my favorites is Disarranging Mine. Marie has always been the source of new sites for me to sample. Her post on Five food blogs hit upon two of my interests – food and cooking.

Now the first blog she referenced, taquitos.net, doesn’t interest me much. I don’t need to read about chips I can’t buy here in Panama. I buy a lot of chips manufactured in Costa Rica and other parts of Latin America. And of course there is a limited amount of Frito Lay offerings sold here.

Her second blog, Chocolate & Zucchini, did catch my eye. When I scrolled down the page and saw Gâteau au Chocolat et Pralines Roses, my mouth really started to water.

Cooking for Engineers is an interesting site. I think this site has chosen a clever approach for a cooking blog. If you need a recipe for cooked eggnog (how timely), one is currently listed here.

Then Marie chose a blog on burgers. Has Marie been looking over my shoulder? Marie, you devil you!

And as a finish she tossed in a cup of Starbuck’s gossip blog. Personally, I was never a big coffee drinker until I moved to Panama. Now I have a cup each morning. Panama is producing some of the best coffee in the world. Many people think it is as good as Colombian coffee. I like it with cream and sugar and a dash of cinnamon (canela if you buy it here). What a way to start the day, a cup of fresh brewed coffee and a serving of Disarranging Mine.

American Cars in Panama??

When it comes to the ability to have a car serviced in Panama, it appears that the Japanese cars are the way to go. The Ricardo Perez, S.A. dealership is the largest and best equipped with parts in Panama.

General Motors appears to be moving into second place as the largest manufacture of cars in the world. In an article to The Sydney Morning Herald says the following,

Toyota will probably be the largest producer in the world at the end of 2006,” said Richard Hilgert, auto analyst at Fitch Ratings, citing GM’s slumping sales of large sport utility vehicles in the fuel-conscious market.

That would mean that Ricardo Perez S.A. would be the dealer for the largest manufacturer in the world.

It is conceivable that the US manufactures could completely stop selling in Panama. It is a very small market and I would think that many people are not going to want to buy a US SUV that gets 13-18 miles to a gallon when you can buy a Japanese or even Korean SUV that runs on diesel and yields around 30 miles to a gallon.

At today’s prices, it probably costs around $10 for a round trip from David to Boquete, if you are in an American gasoline SUV. That will probably make a lot more people avoid the US brands. I understand the new 2006 Toyota RAV4 is getting bigger. I wonder if it is going to have a diesel engine. While I don’t need a car anymore, it is still fun to look.

“Progress consists of change.”

I receive an email message from Panda Software usually everyday. I started receiving these messages when I downloaded the Panda software to try as my virus software. It was this software that corrupted my PC and caused me a have to rebuild it. While I would never use this software again, I have kept the daily messages because they alert me to new virus outbreaks and potential vulnerabilities.

Each email that Panda sends out begins with a quotation from some famous person in history. These quotations are supposed to be thought provoking. Not long ago I received an email containing this as its lead-in.

Progress consists of change.”
Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936); Spanish philosopher and writer.

It struck me that this email was extremely timely. Last year, I spent my Christmas all alone and wondering what the future might bring. The only thing I knew was that “change” was in the wind. I made up my mind last Christmas to have 2005 be a better year than 2004. This year I find myself no longer in the cool Boquete area, but in an area that I have found to be more consistent with my personality. I enter 2006 extremely happy.

David is a great place to live, with wonderful people and easy access to everything I need. What a wonderful change from 2004. I hope that 2006 continues in the same progressive direction.

Parroquia de San Félix – Las Lajas Christmas Party (2005)

Today was the day for Club Soroptimista International de David to host their party for the children of Parroquia de San Felix – Las Lajas. Around 8:00 am this morning the members of Club Soroptimista International de David met at Café Ejecutivo in David.
Cafe Ejecutiva

Four vehicles headed out for San Felix. This pickup was loaded with gifts and the four piñatas.
Loaded and ready to go.

I was extremely impressed with the parroquia. The grounds were clean and well kept. The building that that was to hold the party was also clean and ready for a party. Several people were all ready waiting in the building. This was obviously a big day for them.
Ready and waiting.

Even a dog was here hoping for a gift or some food.
Extra guest

It took a fair amount of time to unload the cars and setup. When everything was ready, the Párroco (P. Adonai Cortes Elisha, s.j.) announced to all in attendance that today’s festivities were provided by the Club Soroptimista International de David.
Opening speech

There were two opening games for the kids. The first was a simplified game of thread the spoon. Ten boys and ten girls competed. The version I am familiar with has a spoon with a long string on it given to each team. The idea is to put the spoon down the top of the shirt and through the pants until the entire team is connected. Today, the string was omitted. Here are a couple photos of the kids in action.
Game 1

Game 1

The second game again was the boys vs. the girls in eat the cookie. The object of this game was for each child to eat a half a cookie. When it was eaten, then the next person was to take a half a cookie and eat it. When all the members of a team had eaten its cookie in order then the game was over.
Game 2

Game 2

While the kids and the people watching the contests had a great time, the members of Club Soroptimista had the best time. You just can’t keep from having fun when you know you are bringing happiness into these young people’s lives.
Having fun!

Following the games, all the kids lined up for their treats. Each of the 200+ children received a hotdog, a carton of juice, a cupcake, and a bag of candy. It was a reasonably orderly procession.
Getting food.

After they had had time to eat, then everyone made their way to the areas that had been setup with the piñatas. The areas were organized by age so that all got an opportunity to take their swings at the piñatas. I have heard and read about this activity before, but this was my first time to actually get to watch it.

This was a lot of fun for the kids and of course for all that watched. When the piñatas were finally broken, the kids went for the candy that had been stored inside.
Getting the candy.

Next everyone returned to the main building and by age the kids each received one toy. It is amazing how such a simple thing can bring the smile to a child’s eyes.

I feel comfortable in saying that for many of these children, this may be the only real gift they received all year. This was a special day and I am glad I got to be there. I captured 106 photos of today. The Chiriqui Chatter photo album has more photos of today’s event.

In closing, I will display the Párroco’s business card, which has his phone number and email address. If you want to see what you can do to help this parroquia, I am sure you can email the párroco and work something out

Canine Withdrawl

In my sixty some years on this planet, I have, with only a few exceptions, always had a dog. I have had eleven dogs. The breeds I have owned include four terriers (a Scottish terrier – Scotty, a Manchester terrier – Fritz, a Silky terrier – Taca, and a mixed terrier – Skippy), a Pekinese – ?, one English bulldog -Jeanie, one Weimaraner – Una, and two poodles (a miniature poodle -Carmel and a standard poodle – Pepe).

Of all the dogs, the last two Skippy and Pepe were my favorites. Losing them was like losing a best friend. For that reason I want to have a place next year that might allow having a dog. I am in canine withdrawal.

Chiriqui Chatter Heard/Viewed Around The World

Obviously Chiriqui Chatter is a new blog with a specific niche of interest and doesn’t have much history or many readers. While I started the original Chiriqui Chatter in September of 2003, I just brought it back online the middle of last September.

It has always been interesting to me to see from where the readers of Chiriqui Chatter surf in. Looking at today’s Webalizer statistics for the currant month, I see the following countries, which are derived from IP addresses and arranged by greatest activity:

December Location (November’s rank), (October’s rank), (September’s rank)
* indicates that there were no hits from that area during the month

1. US Commercial (3), (2), (2)
2. Unresolved/Unknown (1), (1), (1)
3. Network (2), (3), (3)
4. Canada (7), (6), (4)
5. US Government (4), (*), (*)
6. US Educational (20), (4), (*)
7. Colombia (*), (*), (*)
8. Costa Rica (5), (*), (*)
9. Netherlands (13), (8), (*)
10. Old style Arpanet (arpa) (8), (5), (*)
11. Hungary (*), (*)
12. Non-Profit Organization (*), (12), (*)
13. United Kingdom (12), (*), (*)
14. United States (16), (*), (*)
15. Germany (6), (20), (*)
16. India (*), (*), (*)
17. Cocos (Keeling) Islands (*), (23), (*)
18. US Military (9), (9), (*)
19. Brazil (15), (*), (*), (*)
20. New Zealand (Aotearoa) (*), (*), (*)
21. Argentina (*), (*), (*)
22. Israel (*), (*), (*)
23. Switzerland (25), (*), (*)
24. Peru (27), (*), (*)
25. Cyprus (18), (*), (*)
26. Mexico (11), (7), (*)
27. Singapore (*), (7), (*)
28. Malaysia (*), (*), (*)
29. Nicaragua (28), (*), (*)
30. Hong Kong (*), (*), (*)

It would be nice if everyone that surfed in said “Hi”.