Winding Down

I have a ton of photos from the Restaurant Mana Christmas Party to work. Not going to happen for a while.

I have a bunch more photos that I took today and a good story to go with them. Not going to happen for a while.

I have several other things I want to post. Not going to happen for a while.

I seem to have several loose ends I need to tie up and I guess the next couple days are going to have to be prioritized into getting them done.

Friday, I am planning on leaving for Costa Rica and will be there through Christmas. Most of my loose ends are related to getting ready for the trip and checking on item two below.

There are two things that  I do want to mention before I forget.

The first thing is related to the two containers that Tom McCormack is waiting on to be delivered. He is still going to need help to get them unloaded. I have added a friend to the Chiriquí Chatter Author’s list and she will be contacted when Tom knows the date the containers will be released and the dates he will need assistance. Please do your best to help him accomplish this task Check into Chiriquí Chatter. The information WILL be posted.

The second thing I want to mention is related to how I have spent part of the last two days. I received an email about a gringo that had been admitted to the Social Security hospital on the 11th. I wrote the US Embassy and they contacted me last night, after talking to the hospital, and asked if I could meet with the doctor this morning at 7:30 AM.

I met with the doctor and learned that the individual had been brought to the hospital on the 11th, apparently beaten about the head and in bad shape. It is now four days later and when the doctor and I went to the bed, the patient was struggling to breath and was wearing a oxygen mask. He never opened his eyes or knew we were there.

The doctor then took me to a couple other places in the hospital to try to get some more information. I should point out that everyone I spoke to in the hospital today were very helpful, very professional, and concerned for the individual’s health.

The last person I spoke with was an officer that must have been involved in bringing to patient to the hospital. He said the individual had been found during midday in central David (wherever that might be). He said he was alone and no one witnessed what had happened. From seeing him today, he didn’t trip and bang his head.

Before I left, the doctor wanted to escort me outside, where he spent a fair amount of time talking about gringos coming to Panama. He said he felt that it should be a requirement for all gringos to have a training course when they came to Panama, an indoctrination so to speak.

He said he had met gringos that had bought land in Bocas off the Internet only to come here and find that the land didn’t exist or to find out it was owned by four or five other people that all had sales documents.

He said he had seem many gringos aged 65 and above that had been lured to go places with some Panamanians they had just met with stories of cheap land that only got fleeced or robbed.

He said too many of the same aged men travel by themselves when they should go out in pairs at a minimum. He said being by yourself and not speaking the language well and being a gringo could lead to some unhealthy ends.

He said the Embassy should require that all of us elderly gringos should have to contact the Embassy before we married any Panamanian. The implication was young Panamanian. He said he has seen several elderly gringos that were not in good health with a young woman holding his hand saying she was going to look out for him and even helping him sign a document stating that she was his wife.

Obviously the Embassy is not going to get involved. It certainly is not going to give a class on dos and don’ts of moving to Panama.

———Break to go to the Hospital——

I just returned from going to the hospital again at 6:30 PM. With some difficulty, I was able to see the individual. Visiting hours are posted as 6-7, but maybe there have been changes made. I told them that the doctor had told me I could come at any time to check on the patient and was allowed to go up.

I did not find the patient improved and the nurse said they were going to move him to intensive care where he could have better monitoring. I am still trying to identify any local friends. I can only say that the situation looks grave to my nonprofessional eyes.

Now some may say I should not write things like this because I am encouraging people not to move to Panama. That is not my intent. I believe to this point that Panama will be a good place for me to spend the rest of my days. I think it may be the same for others as well. However, I would like everyone that moves here to have the opportunity to die of old age and not stupidity. Many gringos come to Panama infected with stupid. Stupid doesn’t seem to be infecting as many gringas.

If you don’t believe the implied warning that goes along with this post or you want to ignore this post, at least do one thing. Take your identification card out. Cedula, Jubilado card, whatever and turn it over. On the back tape the following “En caso de emergencia, por favor, póngase en contacto con”. After that list one or two people’s names that know you along with their Panama phone number.

That will make it easier for the police to contact someone that can help in identifying the body.

10 thoughts on “Winding Down

  1. Don Ray,
    Thank you for all you do for the folks in Panama and thank you for providing the rest of the world with the reality of moving to Panama.

    Now, take a break, you deserve it. Head to CR, enjoy the season and good friends and put everything else aside for now.

    Merry Christmas and we’ll see you when you get back.
    jim and nena
    fort worth

  2. Every place has dangers. It is important to know the problems as well as the advantages of David to lives well here. Groups “selling Panama” concentrate on the benefits of moving here. It is up to blogs like this to explore the problems. This does not mean we are dissing David just providing balance.

  3. Hi Don,

    Fair and balanced is good, and being alert is another plus no matter where you are in the world. That being said, in the time it took to read your post there was probably at least one senseless murder on the streets (or freeways) of Los Angeles. It’s good to be here.

    Enjoy your trip away and thanks for the great posts about life in Panama. Feliz Navidad.



  4. I lived in East Tennessee for a number of years. When a newcomer arrived, we gave him similar instructions although it was not necessary to mention the marriage factor. The dangers to a newcomer were more cultural than being robbed.

    When you enter Costa Rica, I hope that Koki won’t frighten the border guards. Have a great trip.

  5. J&N, Ray, Dan & Tom. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

    Tom – Koki is going to stay and visit a friend. I didn’t want to have her terrorize Costa Rica. Besides, it would have been a big pain getting the paperwork ready to allow her to go.

  6. I can’t understand why there is continued comparison between living in Panama and the United States. It’s not even logical to compare which is better or worse

  7. It may be a good idea to ensure that at least one of your emergency contacts speaks Spanish, and note the fact on your list of emergency contacts.

  8. as for the comparison factor. Targeting Gringos seems to be as equal as Latinos being targeted here. Where as Gringos are thought of having money, the Latinos are thought of carrying theirs and not having bank accounts, mostly reflecting the illegal immegrants.

    So the crime is identical, and we all know crime and pejudice is everywhere. For those worrying about a move to Panama, just be catious where ever you go in the world.

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