Monthly Archives: May 2015

Don’t you wish karma was like pizza and could be delivered in under 30 minutes?

Happy Graduation Noah

My grandson Noah has his high school graduation on May 30th. Unfortunately, I will only be there in spirit.

His sister, Lindsay, made a video for Noah remembering the past and pushing him to do great things in the future. He is evaluating colleges where where he will pursue his goal of becoming a minister.

Noah is a special young man. I am very proud of him.

I am also grateful and proud of Lindsay for making this video which brought tears to my eyes. I am sure it will do the same for Noah and everyone who loves him.

Here’s how my mother taught me about the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
“I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”

No Free Ride

The news this morning was talking about something that will be of interest to all who use the small gas containers from Tropigas and Panagas.

You may not know it, but the government subsidizes the small tanks. That is why they are so cheap. It costs me $5.12 when I pick up my tank at the local Chinese market. I think the subsidy on the small tanks is around $10.

People using the large tanks of gas always pay market price.

The news today said that the government had not been paying the subsidy and the companies were going to stop providing the small tanks until the subsidy is paid.

I need to get my tank exchanged today or no more hot showers.

Rose Colored Glasses

If you are reading this blog or other Panama blogs to get a better understanding about living in Panama, take off your Rose Colored Glasses.

I think many people read into any blog post what they want it to say to justify their decision to move, if Panama is under consideration as a retirement location. You certainly would not want to move someplace worse than where you currently are.

If you read many of the newer blogs, it may be hard to find any post that doesn’t portray what a great time the blogger is having. I am not saying they are not writing how they feel, but when you are experiencing something new, then it is exciting. Fun things will be amplified and not so fun things will be downplayed. It is human nature.

I have said it numerous time and will repeat it again here, the only way to see if Panama fits your retirement plans, is to live here 6 months to a year, prior to making a permanent move.

If you were going to buy a pair of shoes, you would try them on and walk in before spending any money.

If you were going to buy a new car, would you pay for it prior to driving it? No Way!

The same is true in evaluating living in a Latin American country.

I pick 6 to 12 months so that you can live in both the dry and the rainy season. One or the other may not suit you. You need to experience all aspects of Panama life before you can evaluate it from your perspective, which is the only perspective that matters.

You need to pay bills. You need to experience healthcare services. You need to visit hospitals. You need to understand crime and crime prevention. You need to drive on the country roads. You need to experience water and electricity outages. You need to experience Panama television and Internet availability. You need to experience customer service.

That experience will be much more valuable than anything you may read or think you read (ROSE COLORED GLASSES), in any blog, Yahoo group, or book.

You may think that the tone of this post is intended to convince retirees not to come to Panama. To the contrary. If Panama is what you want and will be good for you, then come. If I didn’t like it here, I would not have stayed for 12+ years.

I just don’t want people to move, be unhappy and complain in 10 months because they were wearing Rose Colored Glasses.

The eyes of a woman can say it all, especially the eye roll part.

Message for U.S. Citizens: ACS and FBU Closed June 3, 2015

Here is the latest ACS Message.


The American Citizen Services and Federal Benefits Units of the U.S. Embassy in Panama will be closed to the public on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. No routine service will be available those days in the American Citizen Services or Federal Benefits Units. If you are an American Citizen and have an emergency, please contact the Embassy at 317-5000 and they will put you in contact with the appropriate officer.

On Thursday, June 4, 2015, the Consular Section will resume full operations with its regular schedule (please see

By the volume of the pans clanging in the kitchen. I think I’m supposed to go volunteer to help with something

S.O.L. In Paradise – Beating A Dead Horse

As I mentioned in the previous S.O.L. post, it will be worth following the thread in Boquete Ning.

Today, Bonnie Williams wrote a comment that I don’t want to get lost in the midst all the other comments on the ongoing thread. While she limited it to ExPats in Boquete, I would expand it to all of Chiriquí.

Here is her comment.

I think we’ve beaten this subject to death. To summarize, I see expats in Boquete having essentially four options for healthcare:

1) Have no insurance in Panama. Go to Hospital Regional for medical emergencies, but be aware that it may be difficult to receive timely attention. And you will be billed upon departure. Non-emergency surgery will be delayed, perhaps forever. Plan to return to the U.S. for any needed medical non-emergency services.

2) Enroll in the Hospital Chiriqui co-pay plan. This will pay for many routine, preventive procedures, but it will pay only part of the cost of hospitalization and/or surgery, and there is a relatively low cap on how much it will pay annually. It pays for no bodily appliances such as stents and pacemakers. This can result in the patient owing a significant amount of money.

3) Buy comprehensive national or international insurance. It is expensive. But it has a high payout limit and, after the chosen deductible, pays most or all medical expenses. There generally is no required deductible for emergency or pre-approved hospitalization or procedures.

4) Self insure and hope that you have enough put aside to cover a catastrophic medical event such as heart surgery, serious automobile accident, etc.
As routine medical care in Panama is relatively inexpensive, most expats can meet those expenses without incurring significant financial difficulty. When considering health insurance needs, it is my opinion that particular attention should be given to catastrophic medical events which, without good insurance, could subject one to no care, poor care, and/or financial ruin.