Monthly Archives: September 2006

Paying A Little Less For Gas Today

The prices for gas must have changed last Thursday. Here is the price at a Shell station close to me. What is interesting is that this station is 2 cents cheaper per gallon than the Shell a block away. Normally they are the same. This price should be good until a week from this coming Thursday. The last I checked it was about 12 cents more per gallon in Boquete than David was. I don’t know what the current difference is.

Some things Get Lost In The Translation

One of the things that I have had to get used to since moving to Panama is that I can no longer listen to or tell jokes. I am talking about in a crowd or at a party. I still get my daily dose of Seinfeld on reruns. Humor is one thing that doesn’t translate well. If it is a cartoon, then the caption may be able to be translated and have it still be funny. But a verbal joke just loses its entire meaning. I never realized how much of the humor I was used to required a play on words. Continue reading Some things Get Lost In The Translation

Some Observations

Having a maid in Panama is not as much a luxury as it would be in the US. In the US your house is pretty much a closed system these days. It was only on the rarest occasions that I remember having my windows open in any of the houses I lived in after I first had air-conditioning. Because of this, minimal dust and dirt entered the house. It normally never needed a vacuuming more than once a week. Living in Panama, you will find that is very different. It is rare, if not impossible, to find any house or apartment with the windows closed. It is just too expensive to pay the electric bill so the locals leave the windows open. Normally the only rooms that have AC will be the bedrooms. If the windows are open then the dust will come in and believe me there is enough dust that some cleaning each day is a good idea. Continue reading Some Observations

Your Comment May Benefit Others

I get a lot of comments or questions by way of an email that comes via “Contact” at the top of the blog. That is fine. I respond to all emails that I receive. A lot of times I feel that the comment or question would benefit others, if it had been placed as a comment tied to post that it is related to. After thinking about it, I have concluded that maybe it is not evident to the readers how they can leave a comment. For people who read a lot of Blogs, it is second nature, because most blogging systems work similarly. However, I think a lot of people that find Chiriquí Chatter, do so because they are researching Panama and considering it as a retirement location. Therefore, this may be the first blog that some people will read. Continue reading Your Comment May Benefit Others

Spam In The Form of Comments

I remember when I first started blogging that you had to pay attention to all comments that you received. There are spammers that are extremely effective in using spam bots to fill your blog with all sort of nasty unwanted spam comments. To make it difficult to find, the spammers don’t comment on the current posts. They run through your blog until they find old posts and use them as their target.

At first, I had so few people reading my blog that it was easy to just manually delete the comments. Manually isn’t the best way to control it for a couple of reasons. First the delay factor allows the comments to be read by anyone until you get it removed. Second, it is easy to get careless and miss some spam and you won’t know about it until some one reads it and sends you an email.

WordPress has made spam control very easy. It has a built-in plugin, called Akismet, that is very effective. I also use another plugin called Bad Behavior. Between the two, I rarely have to do anything anymore in managing spam.

Below you can see the how these products have helped me.

Akismet has caught 10,023 spam for you since you first installed it.

Bad Behavior has blocked 1039 access attempts in the last 7 days.

If you are blogging and have some spam hummingbird (colibri in Spanish) sticking its beak into your pretty petals of polished prose, then you may want to check into some of the automated spam guards.

Sometimes I Forget To Remember

By Don Ray Williams
September 20, 2006

I know I should feel blessed for all that I have.
Good friends, good health, and a love sweet and tender.
But when life, as it does, throws in something unplanned,
Sometimes I just forget to remember.

It is easy to get caught up in a world of “What if”,
Which starts you living in the past and thinking of what you are missing.
As time goes on you find you are just counting what’s wrong,
And you’re forgetting to count all of your blessings.

One should consider the rest of the world at times like this,
With so many hungry, without a roof over their head,
Finding themselves in a world of total uncertainty.
Living in daily danger, fearing soon they’ll be dead.

Yes, in comparison, I have the world by the tail,
And sad thoughts in my mind shouldn’t enter.
But try as I may, I have to admit,
Sometimes I forget to remember.

Las Lajas September 20 Update

My last update on the tragedy in Las Lajas was on August 31. Below you will find Linda’s latest email on what has occurred since then. It appears that MOP continues to take the approach that they would rather study a snake forever, when the obvious conclusion is that the snake needs killed.

Hi Don Ray,
Its been a couple of weeks since I sent along an update on the situation at Playa Las Lajas – its been a busy time, as you can well understand.

The high tides of the September 8th weekend took their toll, as the attached photo will show. The last remaining wall of the Little Blue Casita succumbed, as did a large number of mature trees behind it. The house shown in the photo is thankfully still standing; sand, driftwood and other flotsam covered the main floor, patio and garden behind it. Very little ‘terra firma’ remains at the front or side of this house.

A member of our group has been in contact with the head of MOP’s Study & Design division, Irma de Leon. This is the division conducting the study on the problems at Playa Las Lajas. Ing. de Leon stated that MOP’s study is nowhere near complete – she advised it will be weeks or months before MOP will reach a decision. AND that whatever work that may be undertaken will be expensive. Can’t help but wonder how much money – and time – and how many homes – would/could’ve been saved if MOP had acted when they were first contacted.

Ing. de Leon also provided her personal opinion (in no way official) that the current construction projects underway at Playa Las Lajas should not continue. Two property owners have shut down construction, putting 10 local residents out of work. For an area like Las Lajas, this loss is significant.

In our group’s efforts to contact Ing. de Leon, we stumbled across Ing. Mena – MOP’s resident hydrologist who had inspected the situation at PLL a few weeks ago – or so we thought. Apparently Ing. Mena was aware that his expertise had been requested, but he advised that he had never received official orders to do the inspection! From the description of the damage Mena received over the phone, he made the commitment to inspect PLL on his own time – he did so on Sunday, Sept. 17th. He was shocked at the extent of the damage and advised he would be filing a recommendation on Monday afternoon, that emergency measures be taken to stop the erosion – similar to the retaining wall the property owners constructed. These comments were somewhat encouraging, but he was quick to note that he had no power to authorize expenditures and that his recommendations were just that. We are attempting to confirm that his report was filed as he indicated.

As always, I wish there was better news.

As always, thanks Don Ray for your continued support.

Best regards,
Stan & Linda