Monthly Archives: July 2013

Comercios Vigilantes

IMG_0303IMG_0304Last Saturday Plaza, I was in Plaza El Terronal in the corner by Casa Gala and members of the Panama National Police were playing music. The purpose of the entertainment was to draw Panamanians to listen to a talk on individual security practices. I took a short video with my iPhone.

The we’re passing out the following pamphlet. (Click to enlarge photos)

Crime (1)Crime - Version 2Crime 1 - Version 2Crime 1 - Version 3Crime 1Crime

IMG_0302 - Version 2The official, in the photo to the left, presented the pamphlet and talked about a growing number of crimes in Plaza El Terronal, neighboring shopping areas, and also mentioned that young gangs that are moving around Chiriquí.

The presentation was given in behalf of Comercios Vigalantes, which is an organization of businesses and is similar to a neighborhood watch (Vecinos Vigalantes).

Let me cover some of the points of the talk and the pamphlet.

As shown in the third photo, of the pamphlet above, a large number of thefts occur in public place such as Parque Cervantes. The primary targets are laptops and all sorts of cell phones (Blackberrys, iPhones, and other smart phones). They watch for people being careless and do a snatch and grab. Often these are done in teams. One will distract and the other in the team will do the snatch and grab.

Another thing that has been happening in the parking lot of Plaza El Terronal and other parking areas, is that they will watch for people exiting their cars. Prior to a person locking their car, they open a rear door and have access to the interior when the individual leaves.

The other warning that was given was related to using ATMs. Again, many of the robberies are done in teams. They may station a person inside the bank to watch for significant transactions. Then they will follow the individual who has mad a large withdrawal and rob them in another location.

They warned to always be aware if someone is watching you when you are getting money. They also said to never get money at night from an ATM.

It has been noticed that many of the thieves are getting more bold. Some are dressing as police and knocking on doors to get admittance into the house. If you did not call the police, do not admit them. Call the police to see if they dispatched police to your area.

Now there is no question but what crime has increased since I moved here in 2003. However, still most of the crime is one of opportunity created by the carelessness of individuals.

Many have windows without bars, which is an open invitation for thieves, and to make it worse, many leave them open and unlocked. Many leave doors unlocked. Many use maids and gardeners and some are foolish enough to allow the maids to have a key. If a maid has a key or a code to your alarm, you might as well assume so does her boyfriend, brother or some other person.

Many single foreigners (both men and women) come to Panama and find relationships with younger Panamanians. Many thefts can be traced to that relationship or friends of that relationship.

Crime increasing has also provided the opportunity of some security businesses to crop up. Some of these companies are using fear mongering as a means of promoting sales of their equipment. My recommendation is to be careful in the selection of security providers. Remember, you are opening your house up to them to know your vulnerabilities and if they are not trustworthy, well you figure it out.

I have found Panama to be a great place to live. However, I live cautiously and recommend you do the same. I took similar security precautions in the US. The only difference was I didn’t have bars where I lived in the US. I do in Panama.

Google: I know everything.

Facebook: I know everyone.

Internet: Without me, you’re nothing.

Electricity: Keep talking fools.

Gas As of July 25

I think all stations in David are now on the Metric system. To get the price per gallon multiply by 3.78.

91 octane (Panama), which is 87 octane in the US would be $3.91.
95 octane (Panama). which is 91 octane in the US would be $4.27.

Remember that Panama uses the European octane system and you have to subtract 4 to get the US octane.

A First For Me

I receive many emails from followers of Chiriquí Chatter. Every now and then one will say they are going to be in Chiriquí and would like to meet me. I always try to accommodate the request if I am in town.

A few weeks ago I received such a request, but it had a twist. The reader wrote and said his wife was going to be in Bugaba visiting family and he wanted her to meet me. I wrote back that I should be in town and gave him my cell number so she could call me.

Last week she called me and we set up to meet at a restaurant in Bugaba on Monday of this week.

Before I get to the rest of my story, let me tell you about the restaurant. It is a small Panamanian owned restaurant called “ta ChiLi”. HERE is a google map to the location.  It is adjacent to the Borinquito Park.

Apparently it is well known by the locals and I understand that people love to go there just to get the Chicheme. That is a favorite corn drink in Panama.

Here is a photo of the menu. As you can see it has a Mexican flair and the prices are very reasonable! Continue reading A First For Me

Honesty is the best policy. Unless you want people to like you.

A New Hospital In Bugaba

I was in Bugaba the other day and was shown a new hospital that is under construction. It looks like will not be finished this year, but it was started under President Martinelli.

This hospital is large. It will be a public hospital. It looks like it will be a fine addition to this area.


I think the Panamanians always complain about whoever is in office, but I have seen more accomplished under Martinelli than I did in the two previous administrations.

I see that the Google Map won’t help much, but I was standing HERE when I took the photo.


What’s Cooking

Last Saturday, I was in Premier in Plaza El Terronal. I like to stop in there to see what new products they have. I have bought several products there and have had good luck with them. All items are under the Premier brand name which is Chinese, but I have found the quality to be acceptable.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

On Saturday, they were demonstrating a new greaseless fryer. These two attractive young ladies gave me a demonstration. I think the price of the unit being demoed was $100. I got to try some french fries and chicken nuggets.

If you drop into Premier, tell them you heard of them on Chiriquí Chatter.

Home Invasion & Assault in Oriana

I received the following from Alto al Crimen.

Home Invasion & Assault in Oriana
Healthy Defense – Why prevention matters:
On Sunday, July 21, at around 7:30 PM, a resident went into the bedroom of his home on the canyon in Oriana and opened the window to let in a little air.
His wife out of the country, he retired to the living room with his three incessantly yappy dogs to watch TV.
Within minutes, he was astonished to see two men, dressed entirely in black, emerge from his bedroom. Within seconds, he was lifted up and slammed to the floor, apparently losing consciousness.

The dogs had no clue about the coming attack and provided no warning.


His next memory was that his legs were tied (with garbage bags it turned out) and a pistol was pointed in his face, a butcher knife from his kitchen across his throat. He was dragged by the arms into the bathroom and tied up further.

Dragged into the bedroom, he remembers the robbers screaming “MONEY, MONEY” into his face. He offered them his wallet, which they cleaned out, leaving behind credit cards and ID.

Then he was gagged, blindfolded and tied to a chair. He could hear them stealing two TVs from a closet, a big screen from the living room and other electronic items, including a desktop PC computer. Finally he heard them loading it all in his pickup truck, taking his keys and driving away.

Some 40 minutes later, he was finally able to escape from his bonds. His cell phones were gone and his land line did not work. He walked to a friend’s house, the Hotline was called and the police arrived promptly.
Read the rest of the post on the Alto al Crimen website.


A Short Note About Hyperlinks

I discussed how a blog works in the Blog Tips Area.

However, as a result of the post, about my daughter and her approaching event, maybe I should make a special effort to clarify how I hyperlinks work so you will recognize them when I use them in posts.

Hyperlinks are used in blogs and many Internet media sources as a means of referring you to another article. When a hyperlink is in a blog post, you can recognizing it because it will be a different color. Sometimes it is obvious because I write “Click HERE”. Sometimes it isn’t. Not all different colored words are hyperlinks, but once you understand how I write, you will recognize them.

Often, if I visit a restaurant for a second time, I may refer back to the original post because that post has the directions to the restaurant. I am a bit lazy and don’t like to write the directions multiple times. Also, If I make a mistake, I only have to correct it in one place.

Wikipedia uses hyperlinks a tremendous amount. If you are not following the hyperlinks in many posts you will completely miss the end of the post or not understand anything about the post.

With that in mind, you may want to go back and reread my daughters announcement.

While I try to practice safe blogging, sometimes I am more careless than normal and I confuse a few of my readers. I guess you could say I impregnate them with the wrong idea. Sometimes it is on purpose because the devil made me do it.