Monthly Archives: October 2012

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Ongoing protests in Panama with possible violence

This is the latest message from the ACS.

This Emergency message is to alert U.S. citizens residing and traveling in Panama that throughout the morning of October 26th, various groups have held protests at multiple locations throughout Panama City.  While earlier in the day the protests were generally nonviolent the news is reporting that they have turned violent in several locations in Panama City and Colon, including at the National Assembly and Electoral Tribunal. There are reports of spreading vandalism including in Plaza 5 de Mayo and Calidonia. Accordingly, the Embassy’s security office is urging all U.S. government personnel to avoid the area around Plaza 5 de Mayo/National Assembly/Calidonia.
The city of Colon also continues to experience violent protest activity and should be avoided as well.  U.S. citizens in Colon should remain indoors, monitor local media, and avoid protests and demonstrations if they must move about the city.

Please monitor media reporting for news of continued road closures and disruptions, and particularly for incidents of violence.


For updated information on the security situation in Panama, please contact the American Citizen Services Unit of the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy at (011)-507-317-5030.  The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy is located in Clayton, Building 783, in the Clayton section of Panama.

The Embassy web site is and e-mails should be addressed to  The after-hours and emergency phone number is (011)-507-317-5000.

For up-to-date information on security, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site at
Further information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Panama are encouraged to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  By enrolling, you make it easier for the U.S. Embassy to contact you in case of an emergency.

1 in 10 people have tried LSD. Probably because it was easier to get than Sudafed.

Day Two

While I described yesterday as not a good day, I will describe today as a day of reality. Reality sometimes means that what you hope for is altered by circumstances beyond your control.

I am going to relay what we went through today because I feel it may help others. When you move to a country like Panama you have expectations based on what you know. If you have no previous experience, then you may buy books on Panama, read magazines such as International Living, or search the Internet.

Depending on the source, you may enter Panama with your eyes open, closed or covered with rose colored glasses. I think the only people that come here and like it for a reasonable number of years have come with their eyes wide open and have reasonable expectations.

In going thorough today’s experiences, I will state that I discussed the possibility of my writing up our experiences for my CC readers. At the conclusion of today the son of the patient said he felt that these experienced needed to be discussed and said do it.

That is to say that I am posting these experiences with the permission of the patient and the patient’s son. Henceforth, I will call the son RG. Continue reading Day Two

Message for U.S. Citizens: Final Opportunities to Return Voted Ballots

U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama
Message for U.S. Citizens
Final Opportunities to Return Voted Ballots
25 October 2012
Embassies and consulates are not polling places. The majority of states require voted ballots to reach local election officials by the close of polls on Tuesday, November 6. U.S. citizens who want to participate in the 2012 U.S. elections should already have returned their absentee ballots to their local election officialsU.S. embassies and consulates are not polling places; same-day in-person voting is not available outside the United States.
Ballot not yet sent to local election officials? All voters who wish to participate in this election who have not yet sent their ballots to their local election officials should consider returning their ballot to the United States via an express courier service such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL. Some states or counties may allow you to return your voted ballot electronically. Check your state’s voting procedures at for guidance.
Returning your Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot by email or fax. The following states allow voters to use email or fax to send signed, voted Federal Write-in Absentee Ballots to local election officials: Arizona, California (fax only), Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia. Check your state’s voting procedures at for guidance.
Returning ballots via express courier service. Voters can hire express courier companies such as UPS, DHL, and FedEx to return voted ballots.  Through October 31, FedEx is offering discounted shipping for last-minute voters in 94 countries through the Express Your Vote program  Ballots sent to local election officials via express courier service do not receive standard postmarks, so voters using this method should confirm delivery on or before November 6 prior to payment and shipment.
Returning your ballot by mail. Ballots sent via mail at this late date are unlikely to reach local election officials by state ballot receipt deadlines. If you still wish to send your voted ballot via mail, place your voted ballot in a U.S. postage-paid envelope addressed to your local election officials.  Drop it off at the Embassy Panama, and we’ll send it back home for you without the need to pay international postage.  If you can’t visit the Embassy Panama in person, ask a friend or colleague drop it off for you. If it’s easier for you to use Panama’s postal system, be sure to affix sufficient international postage, and allow sufficient time for international mail delivery.
You can bring your sealed and stamped envelopes to two different places within the Embassy:
If your sealed and stamped ballot envelope already has the US mailing address on the front, you may simply come in the main entry, show the entry guard your ballot envelope, drive your car to the upper level guard entry point (commonly referred to as the Service CAC), show the guard there your envelope, and someone from the Diplomatic Pouch and Mail Unit (DPMU) will accept your ballot.
This option is available Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm, and Fridays from 8:00 am – 11:30 am. 
If you do not know the US mailing address to put on the front of your sealed and stamped envelope, bring it to the American Citizens Services Unit, located within the Consular section, and we will assist you.
We are open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, and Friday from 8:00a.m. to 10:00 a.m.. You do not need to make an appointment on line in advance to do this, but you will have to take a ticket as you enter the Embassy and wait your turn for assistance with those who do have appointments. We will try to make the wait as short as possible.
Need help? You can get in-person assistance from our Embassy Panama Voting Assistance Officers at the ACS section at the US Embassy in Panama City.

Have Questions? Please contact Embassy Panama’s Voting Assistance Officer at 317-5000, or at

Confirm your registration and ballot delivery online. Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website at

I think all car alarms should be replaced with a recording of a boys’ voice crying “Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!” over and over.

Not A Good Day

What started out to be a good day made a 180 degree turn around 1PM today. I was coming out of Doit Center when I received a call. It was a person from Volcan that had gone to the Regional Hospital to visit one of the two current U.S. citizens, I have been checking in on.

He informed me that the one who had had the knee operation had died. He asked if I could come to the hospital. I said I would be right over.

I was shocked. I had visited with him on Monday and he was doing well. The operations were going well. He had three of the five needed knee operations and had two to go. One being a skin graft and I forget what the other was for.

We had visited for close to an hour Monday and, all things considered, he looked the best I had seen him. He apparently suffered a heart attack, most likely because of the stress of being so far from where he lived and difficulties in communicating with hospital staff. He suffered from diabetes and hypertension and this must have been the last straw. Continue reading Not A Good Day

A Little Disappointing

I watched the Apple announcement yesterday with great anticipation. I purchased the original iPad and really hoped that the new iPad Mini would be an upgrade alternative. Since, I can’t use the latest IOS on my iPad, I miss out on some of the sharing capabilities and benefits of the iCloud, that the new OS offers.

Alas, the $329 starting price, for a device that is only as fast as the iPad 2, sort of eliminates it from my consideration. I would like a second iPad that I could carry more easily, but not at the current prices.

For me, I think I will wait until some of the new iPad 4 devices, the announced yesterday, hit the Apple refurbished area,That is where I purchased most of my Apple products.

I love my iMac and the new one that Apple released is quite an upgrade. The only thing I wished I had on my iMac is the SSD. However, when I bought it, the price to switch to the SSD was out of sight. And with the way Apple builds their products, it is impossible for the average individual to replace the internal workings of any Apple product.

I did upgrade the memory of my original Mac Mini and said that is the last time I will open an Apple product. Still, the elegance and high quality of all Apple products I have purchased keeps me in the Apple camp. Those looking for a new desktop should look at the new iMacs. They appear to be priced well for the quality of the build.

My granddaughters love their MacBook Pros I bought them for graduation and the new MacBooks have improved a large amount.

I was really hoping that a iPad Mini was in my future, but for now I will have to be content with what I have. My original iPad is on from morning till night and is as good as the day I bought it. I expect the battery to go out one of these days and that may be the deciding factor to when I get a new device.

Yesterday’s announcement was a little disappointing from the iPad Mini standpoint. However, Apple made up for it in all other announcements. Microsoft’s product unveiling in a couple of days will be tested to see if Microsoft can get back into growth status or remain in decline.

Whoever said “Don’t cry over spilt milk” hasn’t seen the price of food lately.

A Couple Things

First related to email. I have one reader that has written me several emails lately. I have replied to each of his emails. In each of his emails, he questions why I have not responded to previous emails. I think his last email indicated that he has decided I will not reply and may have something to hide.

If you write me, rest assured that I will answer. One exception would be that your email has gone into a spam folder as suspected spam. Even then, I should reply because I periodically examine my spam folders for non spam. It may just take a little longer.

Now in this gentleman’s case, I suspect my responses are sitting in his spam folder. If you use gmail, hotmail, or yahoo mail remember that they all have their own spam checkers. Since my signature on my email contains my blog address, it can sometimes trigger a spam fault. When you accuse me of not replying and I have replied, it annoys me. Continue reading A Couple Things