Monthly Archives: January 2006

ARROCHA In David, Chiriqui

ARROCHA in David, Chiriqui

ARROCHA has opened and I made my first visit to see how it compared with the ARROCHA stores in Panama City. It was packed with people. Not many buying, but a lot looking. I guess the newness of having this high-end store in David brings out everyone.

I walked every aisle and the store is nicely laid out and carries good brands. PriceSmart was cheaper on all the appliances that I saw, but I guess that is to be expected. For David, it is a very nice store.

Il Gelatiere Revisited

As promised, I made another trip to Il Gelatiere in Panama City and this time I took my camera

Il Gelatiere is at the corner of Ave. Belisario Porras and Calle Porras in San Francisco.
Il Gelatiera

Opposite Il Gelatiere is the a car wash that will put a shine on your car while you are polishing off some of the rich ice cream across the street.

Carwash 1

Car wash 2

When you enter Il Gelatiere you are going to have some tough decisions to make.

Il Gelatiere entry

Don’t worry. Take your time. You can have pizza, sandwiches, or other specials of the day, or you can head direct to the dessert area like me.

Since I considered this an epicurean dessert expedition, I decided to try out several things. I think it was also a scientific experiment to see how much stress my belt could handle. My first decision was whether to try the pie or the cheesecake. There were several other cakes and also brownies, but I narrowed it down to those two.


I chose the cheesecake.


Next I felt that cheesecake might need some ice cream and I took a look at the flavors available for the day.

icecream 1

icecream 2

icecream 3

Some days you just have a tough time making decisions and this was one of those days for me. Then I noticed that I could get a banana split and that was my choice. Then came the question of what ice cream should go on the banana split.

You can always go with the standard vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, but I didn’t feel like standard. Instead I took a dip of Favorite
(my current favorite), a dip of Mint Cookie, and becoming stressed with these tough decisions, reverted to standard Vanilla for the last scoop. Now I had to decide on the topping (Chocolate syrup, Strawberry syrup, or Caramel syrup). I went with Strawberry.

Cheesecake and a banana split – the perfect stress test for my belt. Now that I have turned this into a scientific experiment I have an excuse to go back and see if changing the flavors has any effect.

Gosh, I didn’t know science could be so much fun.

The JASON Project

If you have children, grandchildren or are a child at heart then have a look at the current JASON Project. If I remember correctly, when I moved here in 2003 their project was in Panama. This time it is heading to Mars to provide their latest learning experience. Here is EDS’ Press Release.

EDS Enables Students Worldwide to Experience ‘Virtual’ Research Expedition to Mars
Monday January 30, 1:48 pm ET

Satellite Communications and Digital Lab Key Components of JASON Project’s ‘Mysteries of Earth and Mars’ Program
PLANO, Texas, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — More than 1 million students worldwide will participate in a real-time, educational science and technology program with leading research scientists as they explore the “Mysteries of Earth and Mars” — The JASON Project’s newest expedition. Using a satellite-based broadcast system and multimedia digital lab developed by EDS (NYSE: EDS – News), middle school students worldwide will be immersed in the interactive, experience-based learning program of Mars exploration.

The JASON Project, an award-winning, internationally recognized educational program, will expose students to science and exploration through multimedia-enhanced instruction and hands-on activities. This year’s expedition will be broadcast from the National Geographic Society’s studios in Washington, D.C., from January 30 to February 4, 2006. A live webcast will also be available at .
Working with NASA and research and academic institutions, students and teachers will investigate robotic space exploration, compare the geology of Earth and Mars, examine the forces that shaped the Martian surface, and theorize about the types of life that could exist in the extreme conditions of Mars.

“For 17 years, EDS’ technology has enabled millions of kids to experience firsthand the excitement of science and exploration by transforming the classroom into a virtual adventure,” said Steve Schuckenbrock, EDS co-chief operating officer and JASON board member. “The JASON Project is putting research and technology in the hands of young people to help shape the great minds of the future.”
Founded and chaired by the renowned explorer and RMS Titanic discoverer Dr. Robert Ballard, JASON sets the benchmark for experience-based learning through the use of satellite technology, videostream live broadcasts and an online curriculum that enables students and teachers to become virtual members of the scientific expedition team. As with every JASON expedition, participating schools will feature live broadcasts (powered by EDS) with interactive Q&A from Ballard, his team of researchers, and student Argonauts in different locations worldwide.

“Without the technology backbone EDS provides JASON, we wouldn’t be able to connect students with leading scientists and take them on exciting learning adventures,” said Ballard. “EDS technology is the delivery system by which JASON dispenses the tools and standards-based resources to help teachers meet the demands of 21st century education. A founding partner of JASON, EDS continues to help us develop cutting-edge classroom technology that will bring the thrill of discovery to more students and teachers.”
For the “Mysteries of Earth and Mars” expedition, EDS brings an added dimension to its digital lab with involvement from the EDS Virtual Reality team and NASA experts. By combining technology, 3-D capabilities and multimedia, students, teachers and scientists will be able to realistically experience the launching of a rocket to Mars and the use of Newton’s laws of motion to control satellites and determine how and when to use solar panels.

JASON is an independent subsidiary of the National Geographic Society. Through partnerships with agencies such as NOAA and NASA, it develops and distributes multimedia science curriculum and professional development to over a million middle-grades students and 20,000 teachers worldwide. Learn more at .

About EDS
EDS is a leading global technology services company delivering business solutions to its clients. EDS founded the information technology outsourcing industry more than 40 years ago. Today, EDS delivers a broad portfolio of information technology and business process outsourcing services to clients in the manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, communications, energy, transportation, and consumer and retail industries and to governments around the world. With $20.7 billion in 2004 revenue, EDS is ranked 95th on the Fortune 500. Learn more at .

Barbara W. McCann – EDS

Challenger Remembered

Can you believe it was 20 years ago that Challenger had the misfortune on finding the flaw in the seals that caused a massive explosion. I remember watching the blastoff and then in disbelief watched the TV as it was announced that something was wrong.

It takes a lot of courage to climb aboard machinery with that much power that is built by the lowest bidder.

If you are interested here is a website with more information of the Challenger accident.

Reflection on Evolution

I spent yesterday reading “Learning PHP 5” by Donald Sklar for O’REILLY books. It is a very well written book and I understand a lot more about the language that WordPress is written in. I plan on trying a lot of the exercises in the book as soon as I get my Linux PC put together. WordPress is the product I use for Chiriqui Chatter.

However, the real reason I mention this is that I was reading the book on a patio here in Panama City and it was rather warm. I could feel sweat running down my arms and the expression “sweating like a pig” popped into my mind.

Well I associated this thought with the fact that I was continuing my pursuit of PC knowledge, which in turn made me think of my previous post about the evolution of man. This made me think that perhaps there was some truth in the two theories, but somehow I had come upon another path which was the merging of the two. What a frightening thought – a fat pig sitting front of a keyboard.

Upon further thought I remembered that pigs really don’t sweat because they don’t have sweat glands. This gave me some consolation. Nonetheless, I still think I will take a walk today to try to loose a few pounds that I have put on over the last month. Maybe I put on a few pounds this month, because I have been eating like a horse and horses do sweat. Hmmmm, another theory emerges.

PriceSmart / COSTCO

I went to PriceSmart here in Panama City yesterday. This was my first opportunity to compare the one in David to the one in Panama City. I had thought that the one in Panama City might have more items, but from what I saw, the one in David had everything that is here in Panama City. In fact I looked for a couple items I had purchased in David that the Panama City PriceSmart didn’t have. That doesn’t really mean anything since items that you want seem to disappear quickly.

On another subject, I recently went to a COSTCO store in the US, which is PriceSmart in Panama. A COSTCO / PriceSmart card may be used in any location and each recognized by the other. I did notice a tremendous difference in the items offered in the COSTCO store vs. the items here in Panama. It was my first time in a COSTCO store and it was so large, I wondered how it compares now with the SAM’s club.

It is probably a good thing that I have returned to Panama and have a smaller selection of items to choose from. My mind hates the stress of making tough decisions on what to buy.

My Panama

My Panama
By Don Ray Williams
January 24, 2006

It is 85 degrees, and I’m in the shade.
There is not a cloud in the sky, for this heat to degrade.
The streets are packed with people rushing here and there,
And not a one of them of this heat is aware.

The sounds of the traffic flow through the air,
A car siren, some horns, I hear them quite clear.
It is the sounds of the city only a visitor can hear,
But for those that live here, of these sounds, they are never aware.

As I look across my view of the city,
I see trees quite varied, furs, palms, others, quite green and quite pretty.
I see high rises, low rises, some new and some old,
I bet each has a story that craves to be told.

I see boys at the street corner, with rags and water,
Hoping to wash a car’s windows, for maybe a quarter.
I see another with newspapers under his arm,
Yelling out what is printed about what’s going on.

I am always amazed at the things that I see,
While Panama is a city and country with much history,
It is more than a canal that bridges two oceans.
It is a mingling of cultures that stirs one’s emotions.

It is a country with people, most friendly and kind,
Who will give you a smile and the shirt of their back, and yet not have a dime.
They will offer you a bed and sleep on the floor.
People like this, you rarely see anymore.

I, for one, consider myself very fortunate,
To be in Panama and to be a part of it.
If you have a chance to come, even just for a visit,
Someday you’ll look back and be glad you didn’t miss it.

Furniture City is Open!?

My sources tell me that Furniture City is now open in Plaza El Terronal in David. I also understand that with all the construction, that there have been many electrical and telephone outages in the area close to the Plaza. Well, nothing is perfect – somethings less perfect than others. While I have been here in Panama City, I have learned that the city has been working on the water supply and for the last few weeks. They shut off water on Friday night and turned it back on Saturday night. That was until I got here. For the celebration of my return, they shut off the water on Friday night and didn’t turn it on until yesterday morning.

For 1 ½ days I have smelled like a walking deodorant stick. Hey, it could have been worse. Since this isn’t that uncommon a situation, the citizens of Panama City are usually prepared (for the water outtage – not my smelling like a deodorant stick). They have buckets of water to take care of the inessential things such a bathing, toilet flushing and water for drinking. Hotels, hospitals, and many homes have reserve tanks that have water that will last for several days. While it is a small nuisance, it does allow you to become much better acquainted with your neighbors.

Today I have hopes to go to my Panama Italian Ice Cream parlor and sample a few more flavors. I have my camera, so photos will follow when I get to David and have time to post them. Enjoy your day. I think I will take a shower while I know there is still water.

The Wanderer Returns

I have just returned from a short vacation and hope to be back in David soon. It is always good to return home. I am anxious to see the progress that has occurred in Plaza El Terronal. I wonder if any stores are open.

I am in Panama City and will take a day or two to get over my trip. I hope to take some photos of Italian ice-cream location that I wrote about in the past. I did promise some photos and it gives me a good excuse to try some more flavors. 🙂