19 thoughts on “Watch Out For The Traffic Jams

  1. Don, I had remembered you were in David, just after I had hit send. Darn it

    I love the quiet rural scenery there – and all that greenery. Though it does look hot.

  2. Having lived in both Boquete and David, I think temperature is overrated. I prefer the convenience and am convinced that one can live cheaper here than in the more remote areas. I would spend at least 3 days a week coming to David and at todays gas prices, that is a consideration.

  3. Don Ray,

    Kinda reminds me of the sheep we would see regularly in Cairo. I really enjoyed the picture and wish I could be in the tropics.

  4. That’s a good point Don re gas prices and the convenience of living in or close to David.

    BTW Despite often seeing people refer to David as a city, when I see images I just see a village. It must obviously be a lot bigger than the imagary.

  5. Just looking at this photo reminds me the reason why I always wanted to stay in Las Tablas or Penonome after the craziness of the 4 days of carnivals; just to admire the beauty of the rural areas; to sit with people and talk about things other than city issues or problems; to have a moment to reflect on things and breath quietly. It was so peaceful like a kid in Disney World!

  6. David is a great place to be if you want to relax. Plenty of nature. Still has a rural feel to it. No hustle and bustle. I like it.

  7. Tuxi and Rolando, I have to agree with Don. He’s the expert, having lived there for years, but I spent last March and this January in David, and loved it. This year, I rented a 4 bdrm, 2 bath house in Mata del Nance, across from the David DoIt center. I was just down the Rio valley slope, out of sight of the road, with my landlady just in back of, but a story an a half above me, so I had good security and privacy. No houses visible to my right, and 600 yards to the few houses on my left, with nothing but the Rio David, a creek, pasture, and horses and cows between me and David. I had the rancher’s permission to walk on any of his farm roads, and did so, from where I could see right up the valley to Baru.. It was an 8 minute, $.50 taxi ride into town.

    Mongabay.com estimates David’s 1985 population as 85,000. I’m a middle aged, medium sized blonde guy, who lives outside a village of 7,000 in upstate NY, and I feel safer walking any place in David than I do in some of the small towns around here. The people are wonderfully friendly, and the police presence, walking in pairs, and on bicycles, motorcycles, and in cars, is reassuring. They’re friendly and helpful, and I’ve never been asked for ID.

    Last year, I asked a stranger directions to someplace, and he insisted on walking back with me 1 block and pointed it out, up a sidestreet. You don’t get that kind of friendliness up here; you couldn’t ask for nicer people.

    My landlady spoke excellent English, as do her two sons, who are in the area (one in Boquete), and who went to college in the US. They were all very friendly and helpful; one son picked me up at the airport.

    There’s a sort of International flavor to David, and to Panama in general, I think. Those two sons are German/Panamanian Hispanic, and the owner of the Panama Rey, where I stayed in March, was Chinese/Hungarian. We hired an English-speaking interpreter/guide last year to help look for land, and she is West Indian/indigenous/Chinese/white.

    The house I rented was the landlady’s old house. It was a litle rough around the edges, lacking a switchplate, for instance, and a mirror in one bath. I taped some holes in the screens. Two of the four ceiling fans were noisey, and only 1 bath had a hot shower, but the one AC worked great, and was quiet.

    It was unfurnished, but it had a refrigerator and a 2 burner propane stove, and I brought down a Coleman air bed and pump (more comfortable than my much more expensive bed at home, actually), sheets and a pillow. The landlady found 2 chairs and a small table, and I bought a reading lamp for $3.

    For $175/month + $20 electric + $5 for 25 lbs. of propane, I thought it was a steal, even for down there. The landlady’s yard man would sweep and mop the place for $2, and one of her maids would wash and dry 1 pants, 1 shirt, socks and underwear for $1, and hang and deliver them.

    If anyone were interested in such a place, I’d be glad to provide the son’s email, if that’s within Don’s rules.

    James Feltus

  8. While I’m at it, I want to add this:

    I’d broken a front tooth shortly before going to Panama, and knew it’d be cheaper to fix it there. After examining it, and some work that I’d had done years ago up here veneers which needed redoing, and a tooth which showed some movement, plus looking at one back tooth that had started to fall apart because it was mostly filling, I had 2 small cavities filled, plus a cleaning, plus 4 crowns. The work looks and feels great, and 3 of the adjacent crowns are tied together in back, so they’re very strong. Total? $400. The dentist had trained in Brazil, and the technician/appliance buider had trained in America, and spoke excellent English.

    While I was there, I had symptoms of high blood pressure. I went to Clinic Cattan, saw a doctor and had an exam within 45 minutes, for a $5 fee. They wanted to hospitalize me that night, but as I was busy, and had already bought some diuretics (otc there, $6), which were working well, I waited until morning. I saw 3 docs that day, and spent 27 hours in a private room with AC and cable, 40 feet from a nurses desk. I had an EKG and chest Xray, and my internal med specialist made his last round at 2100. I saw him twice the next morning, and was prescribed an ACE inhibitor and a diuretic, and given advice on what to have checked when I got home. He spoke fair English, with a heavy accent, and had a doc available whom he called in twice to make sure we understood each other perfectly, who spoke perfect English with an American accent. I left with normal blood pressure, and feel great. Total cost? $279. Yeah, I love David.

  9. dear don ray,
    may i contact james feltus through you? thank you ellen
    ps frank loves anything coconut cake pie german choco-cake so he was big time green with envy lol

  10. Hi Ellen. It is probably a good thing that I don’t live closer to Vi. When I saw here add Coconut cream pie to her menu, I had to try it. I remember, when I was in college, going to a Toddle House and having a slice of coconut cream pie. I would look forward to going all week. What a treat.

    Not sure I know exactly what you want me to do, relative to contacting James. If you want me to send James your email address for him to contact you. I will be happy to do that.

  11. Ellen Munday,

    As far as the Panama Rey goes, I enjoyed my stay there, and got to know the owner, Wee Yiong Fung, quite well over my month’s stay. My aging memory has belatedly told me that his immigrant Chinese father built the hotel 27 years ago, and married a Yugoslav, not a Hungarian. Wee yiong speaks perfect English, having spent 6 years in Louisville on a scholarship, and is a wonderful guy.

    Wee Yiong, at my insistence, put me all alone, up on the 6th floor, in a room which had not been rehabbed, in a cold water room for $15/night. I wanted the beautiful view of Volcan Baru, 25 miles away, from the town’s tallest building. I should add that cold water in Panama comes out of the showerhead at 85-90 degrees, I’d guess, depending on the time of day.

    I did wander to the top, 8th floor, which was then a construction site. I think I had the best view in town of the David Fair horse parade; I could see them, from my balcony, all the way down the avenue to the the other side of the city, feeding in from the sidestreets, and then going right past the hotel and out to the fairgrounds.

    This past January, the hotel had been sold, and was empty and being gutted; when it opens, the $15 rooms will be history, but the architectural drawings look beautiful, and there will be restaurants and a disco on the top floor or 2.

    I don’t know what Don’s rules are, but I figure that I came periously close to advertising in my earlier posts. I do give Don Ray my explicit and complete permission to give you my email address, and I would be glad to answer any questions that you may have.

    I make no claim of being a knowledgable, experienced world traveler, but in Panama, I’ve personally found a little piece of Heaven, and love to share it. If you go there wanting to find something unique, are mildly adventurous and flexible, and don’t want it to be, or expect it to be, say, just like Ft. Meyers, I think you will really enjoy it. And, on the slim chance that you don’t, at least it can be an inexpensive experience. I spent more boarding my 3 pets up here than I did on the rental house and airfare.

    One bit of advice I have is to use the buses and taxis; you’ll meet more people that way, will have a higher vantage point for seeing the beautiful scenery, from a bus, and you can safely “rubber neck” without worrying about taking your eyes from the road, having an accident, and suddenly becoming involved in the Panamanian legal system. “Less stress” is my mantra. You don’t have to call a taxi in David; they’re ALWAYS there, 24/7/365. Local and regional buses run every 15 minutes.

    Don, I’m sorry that I once again didn’t make the effort to meet you and give myself the pleasure of buying you lunch, and picking your brains. My excuse is that I’m constitutionally predisposed to slide easily and naturally into the “manana” mindset; the time just flew by, and suddenly I was in the snow again. Well, manana, for sure, as they say.

    James Feltus

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