Monthly Archives: February 2011

Volcan March Town Meeting


The monthly Cerro Punta/Volcan Town Meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 at our NEW venue, Valley of the Moon Restaurant in Volcan. The Valley of the Moon Restaurant should not be hard to find as there are several signs along the way to their location. Just make a left at the Round Restaurant off the main Volcan road across the street from the gas station and follow the final signs to the Restaurant. The meeting will begin at 10:00 AM. For your calendar, Town Meetings are always held on the second Wednesday of the month.

Last month, we featured Mr. August Heim who talked about the attempted murder of himself and how he would like to bring those responsible to justice. We also featured Mr. Jon Bischel, an international tax attorney, author, University Professor and tax authority and Bill Faiferlick, an nationally known financial strategist, author, and radio personality. We were quite fortunate to have these two experts speak on the economy, taxes and the dollar, and answer many questions from our audience.

This month, we will feature three speakers. In past meetings, we have talked about gold and silver as commodities and this month we will have Larry Scher talk about a basic survival necessity, food, as a commodity. He will share insights about how fiat currency inflation is affecting food prices, and its availability, and specifically in talking points such as: Continue reading Volcan March Town Meeting

ATIVA Paper Shredders

Ativa brand shredders are sold in Panama by Office Depot. I strongly advise you not buy one of them. I purchased one several months back and had my friend Omar send it to me. He purchased it in Panama City at the Office Depot store.

It says it is made in China and imported by ACCO Mexicana. S.A. It decided to stop working last week. I took it into Electronica Nacional to get it diagnosed and the problem is the main logic card in the unit. I called the Ativa service in Florida and was told that there are no parts for these shredders. Of course the Florida help number connected me with a help desk in South Africa according to the lady I spoke with.

While I think that the company of Ativa and its service capability is the poorest I have ever seen, I would like to compliment the service I received from Electronica Nacional in assisting me diagnose the problem with the shredder.

The last time I needed help from Electronica Nacional was in 2008, when my LG monitor/TV had died. They were most helpful then in getting LG to provide a replacement monitor.

This morning, as I was carrying the shredder into the shop, they called me by name. Now I have a hard time remembering a person’s name 15 minutes after I hear it, but they remembered me after 3 years. I was impressed.

Now here is what you should walk away with from this post.

First – avoid Office Depot’s Ativa line. The manufacturer carries no replacement parts and you wind up with another Chinese paper weight when it decides to break. I suspect that it is poorly manufactured as well and not equipped to handle the fluctuation of voltages in Panama.

Second – Many electronic products you find in Panama are old and outdated products when you buy them in Panama. When they can no longer be sold in the US, they may find their way to Panama to be sold. If at all possible, buy a product with a name that typically has a reputation for service. Even with that, it is hard to get parts in Panama. I have an Amana double door refrigerator (bought in David) that has a bad ice-maker and it can only be found in the US. It is on my list of things I need to do. I will have to get the part myself, because there is no Amana service in David anymore.

Three – Remember Electronica Nacional when you have an electronic product to be repaired. They do the majority of all flat-screen TV repairs in Chiriquí. However, if it requires a part that cannot be ordered, don’t expect them to work miracles. I do believe they will give you an honest evaluation of what the problem is and I trust their work. They work on all sorts of products from washers, to Sony PS3s. For any electronics other computers, that is where I go.

If you drop into Electronica Nacional, tell then you heard about them on Chiriquí Chatter.

First Impression is that The Cable Onda Channel Changes Changes Suck

UPDATE: I am going to leave this as a page one post for a while to get more reactions and to get feedback from people that have C&W or other Panama Options. If you have C&W or Astrovision, did you lose your CBS, ABC and NBC networks?

Today is the day that the Cable Onda changes go into effect removing ABC and CBS network channels. My first impression is that it is not an improvement, but that I am getting less for my money. I have scanned today’s offerings of the replacements and I don’t like the change.

Not anything I can do other than register my complaint and keep my eyes open for other options. It looks like the number of English language channels and offerings may have been reduced. Of course, as I said, this is my first impression. More use of SAP (secondary audio programming) would help.

I think the real impact will come with the evening shows and weekend sports. I am pretty adaptable, but I like to see some shows at the same time that the rest of the world see them. That would include all sports (I prefer to see them in English) , Survivor (reality shows are only good if you don’t know the outcome), Oscars (it was on last night), Jeopardy – Watson match (already happened), etc.

Most weekly serials can be watched anytime, but some things just need to be watched at the intended broadcast time.

My first impression and my impression with a week’s experience will determine if I start looking for a Cable Onda replacement. It just may be enough to force me to go to the basic option and pay less. I may shift my time to other diversions and that will lower my payment to Cable Onda.

What A Great Week and What A Wonderful Life To Be Living

I really had a great week, this week, and it reminded me that I often forget to give credit to those that bring so much enjoyment into my life. Sometimes music helps me to relax and sets my mind in the proper state to say the things that should be said and ofttimes are left unsaid.

Below is one of my favorite pieces. Maybe if you play it, while you read the rest of this piece, your time will be better spent. If my words lack meaning for you then just close your eyes and enjoy the music.

It is so easy to get wrapped in thinking only about ourselves and our needs, to the point that we completely forget about others and their needs. I know I am often guilty of that and it is good when some unplanned event brings me back to realizing how lucky I am.

Here I am living a life that many can’t even dream of or imagine. I have the best companion that any man could ever hope for. One that provides me with love, conversation, understanding and a smile that raises my spirits on the saddest of days. Thank you Lilliam.

I have a blog that has provided me with friends that have taken the time to write me from all over the world. It has provided me with entertainment and in some small way, I believe has provided some insight in what time in Chiriquí might be like for others. Thank you readers.

I have had the opportunity to raise awareness of others in need in Chiriquí and have sometimes assisted in seeing that those needs are being filled. I have been able to meet people like Tom McCormack who is truly a person that gives to others without expecting anything other than a smile in return. Thank you Tom.

I have been able to meet people studying English in several classes around David. Being able to assist them in conversational practice and seeing the gratitude they express for this simple giving of time is so fulfilling. Thank you students.

I have a great family back in the US that keeps me apprised of what is happening in their life and they take the time to share it with me. Thank you family.

I have been provided with good health and the opportunity to smell the roses. Thank you God.

There was a post I did a long time ago called Life Compared To A Thousand Marbles.  It was very instrumental in helping me to realize that all the money in the world can’t bring you happiness and that you need to take a little time every now and then to pay attention to the important things in life. You might enjoy reading it.Thank you to the person that sent that email to me.

Now go out and have a wonderful day, but not before you tell someone you love that you love them.

Organic Life Liquidation Sale

Organic Life is announcing…


On March 10, 2011, Organic Life will be converted into a vitamin- and supplement-order service.

We are inviting you to come to the store in David for its last two weeks of business. Your orders can be made at for weekly deliveries in your area, including Tuesday mornings in Boquete.

We really appreciate your friendship and business; and hope to see you in route!

* Brittany Wilhelm

Side note: Contact us for your interest in

M-F: 10-5:30 pm purchasing any store furnitures. 6776-1034




February 24 ACS Message

Following is the latest American Citizen Services Message from the US Embassy in Panama City.


Date: February 24, 2011

To: U.S. Embassy Warden System

Subject: Foreigners Promoting Mining Ordered Out of Comarca Ngabe Bugle

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

The U.S. Embassy in Panama City alerts U.S. citizens that the Panamanian government has ordered all foreigners promoting mining activities to leave the Comarca Ngabe Bugle no later than March 9, 2011. The government indicated in a statement (
that the measure was designed to prevent non-members of the indigenous groups residing in the region from causing confusion or provoking disorder.

The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens that there are ongoing protests in Panama against the recent adoption of legislation governing mining. These protests have the potential to severely restrict traffic and emergency services. Other protests on this or other issues may occur at any time and be repeated with little or no warning. The Embassy continues to caution its employees and all U.S. citizens to exercise heightened security awareness and avoid crowds and any areas where there are demonstrations or where confrontations could occur. During previous periods of unrest, there were isolated incidents where disgruntled construction workers threw bricks and other objects from structures under construction. Special caution is urged when transiting through urban areas or when driving near any tall buildings.

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.

InterAmericana Hwy. Shutdown in David due to Protests…


Received from a Chiriquí Chatter reader.

Protesters from the Suntracs Labor Union have effectively shut down traffic from entering and leaving David on the InterAmericana Hwy. around Noon today. Traffic was backed over several kilometers on each side of the InterAmericana as Protesters were centered around the Chiriqui Mall area of the Autopista. Police told motorists that they were not intending to intervene to clear the roadway and would let the protesters carry on. The Protesters were lighting tire fires in the middle of the InterAmericana roadway.

The timing of the Protests seemed designed to inconvenience as many people as possible with the Noon time commencement of the Protests. Those traveling to David this morning on business will be unable to get back in a timely manner this afternoon to their homes, while those going to David this afternoon will not be able to get in.

The Suntracs Union Protesters are in collusion with the Ngobe Bugle Indians and other indigenous peoples over the Mineral Rights debate over their lands.  The offer from the National Government for payment for mining rights  appears most unsatisfactory to the Indigneous peoples and now, Suntracs.

Suntracs is perhaps, the most powerful labor union in Panama, and represents many of the country’s construction workers. There appears to be enough anarchists and nihilists on both sides of the political spectrum in the Union that they wish to show solidarity with the minority Indians in their dealing with the National Government in shutting down main traffic routes and basic transportation services.

This is only an initial report based on my experiences trying to access David just earlier. I am sure that as more information develops, that we can determine just how long the protest may last, and if there will be a continuance tomorrow or the next few days.

Joe Spickard