Monthly Archives: December 2009

Pura Vida – Part 1

I have returned from my 8 day visit to Costa Rica and will have some posts to cover the trip. I brought back company with me, so it is going to take me some time to get organized. Just thought I would let you know I have returned.

I will title the Costa Rica posts “Pura Vida”. If I heard “Pura Vida” once, I heard it a thousand times on my trip. If you travel to Costa Rica and don’t hear it at least once, you obviously have not been meeting any real Costa Ricans.

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia that will tell you a little more.

Pura vida literally means “pure life”, but the meaning is closer to “full of life”, “purified life”, “this is living!”, “going great”, or “cool!”[2] It can be used as a greeting, as a word of farewell, to express satisfaction, or to politely express indifference when describing something.[2] The phrase has become widely known; this highly flexible statement has been used by many Costa Ricans (and expatriates) since 1956.[3] Some foreigners view the phrase as an expression of a leisurely lifestyle, of disregard for time, and of wanton friendliness. However, Costa Ricans use the phrase to express a philosophy of strong community, perseverance, resilience in overcoming difficulties with good spirits, enjoying life slowly, and celebrating good fortune of magnitudes small and large alike.

I had a great 8 days in Costa Rica. I got to do and see things that I hadn’t been able to do on previous visits. Stay tuned. I will try to get caught up soon and post part 2, which will be the Paso Conoas experience.

American Legion Meeting in David

I received the following from a Chiriquí Chatter reader. I am assuming the poster meant Hotel Puerta del Sol in David:

The American Legion will be holding its Department Meeting in David on the 20th of January 2010 from 9:00 am till 5:00p.m. at the hotel posada del sol. Veterans interested in learning about the type and availability of benefits in Latin America may want to contact me at. We will be in David on the 19th and 20th and then go on to Panama City.


The World is Our Sandbox

While searching for something that I could schedule for posting on Christmas Morning, magically I received an email with a video on sand painting. I had never heard of sand painting. But if you search the Internet and YouTube, you will find many such videos that will amaze you.

Today is a special day for Christians around the world. However, I really wanted a message that transcended any religious sect. The following video is not the most dramatic or the most fantastic of the sand drawing videos that I watched, but I enjoyed it.

During these troubled times that the world is enduring, it would be interesting if we all saw the world as our very own sandbox. What is created with this sandbox is up to each of us.

For me, 2009 has been an outstanding year. I expect 2010 to be even better. I consider myself to be like a single grain of sand, just like any other grain of sand in the video that follows. But as you will see, with enough other grains of sand something beautiful can appear.

I hope you enjoy the video and I hope you will become inspired to help create a beautiful 2010. Remember, the world is our sandbox.

ACS Message

Date:        22 December 2009

To:             U.S. Embassy Warden System

Subject:    Half-day closing of U.S. Embassy on December 24, 2009

Dear Wardens:  Please disseminate this message to U.S. citizens in your area.  Thank you.

The U.S. President has issued an Executive Order excusing executive branch employees from duty for the last half of the scheduled workday on Christmas Eve, Thursday, December 24, 2009, except those who, in the judgment of the head of the agency, cannot be excused for reasons of national security, defense, or other essential public need.

Please note that the American Citizen Services, Federal Benefits and Visas Units will close at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 24 and will not reopen until Monday, December 28 at 8:00 a.m.   In the event of an emergency involving a U.S. Citizen, an American Duty Officer can be reached by calling 207-7000.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site at where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, can be found.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

For updated information on the security situation in Panama, please contact the American Citizens Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy at 207-7030. The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy is located in Clayton, Building 783, in the Clayton section of Panama. The Consular Section fax is 207-7303.   The Embassy web site is and e-mails should be addressed to  After hours and emergency phone number:  207-7000 or 207-7200

This email is UNCLASSIFIED.

Oteima and Christmas Carols

I received the following email about Christmas Carols at Oteima this evening. I can’t make it, but maybe others might like to know about it.

From……: carey

Don. Como estas? I thought I would let you know that Oteima (sp?) University is putting on a small show tonight to sing Christmas Carols at 6pm. I believe it is part of their grade. I know this because my fiancée is in the class.

To humor you, I tell you this because I’m always looking for pictures of her in other events that I know she has been part of. 🙂

She use to attend Latina previously and the one teacher you always help with, I forget his name, was also her teacher for a while.

Organic Produce sale at Restaurante Maná

I just received the following email from Jorge at Restaurante Maná

From: Jorge Luis Cedeño

To: Don Ray

Hola Don,

Just wanted to inform you and your readers that starting this Saturday, December 19th at 10AM, Finca Santa Maria and Restaurante Maná will pair up to sell organic produce at our restaurante every Saturday. This is an effort to bring our community here in David, healthier and chemical free food.

At Restaurante Maná, Vicky and I are working on a new menu that will integrate as much organic food as possible.

Please come and help support our efforts to a healthier eating life style!

Thank you!

From Finca Santa Marta Continue reading Organic Produce sale at Restaurante Maná