All posts by Don Ray

About Don Ray

US retiree living in David, Chiriquí Panama. David, Chiriquí Warden for the US Embassy in Panama City.

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.

Announcement for those Interested in a Panamanian Amateur Radio License

I received this today, which may be of interest to others.

Today at 8:50 AM

Buenos días señores radioaficionados
Estamos convocando para la aplicación de exámen a los aspirantes a licencia de radioaficionados, el 9 de junio en el Salón Ejecutivo de la Gobernación de Chiriquí y el 11 de junio en la Sala de Reuniones del Edificio Interseco, piso 1. La aplicación del examen inicia las 10:00 am en ambos casos y los interesados deben llevar el slip de pago de B/2.00 en timbres fiscales (Se pagan en la Caja de Ahorros o el Banco Nacional).
Materiales de preparación para el examen:
Manual del radioaficionado, se puede descargar desde:
Decreto Ejecuti vo Nº 205 del 7 de julio del 2004, “por el cual se reglamenta el servicio de radioaficionado”, disponible en:
Decreto Ejecutivo Nº 843 del 26 de noviembre del 2013 que modificó el Decreto Ejecutivo Nº 205 de 7 de julio de 2004, disponible en:
Para mayor información puede llamar a Pura Ramos al 512-2165 o escribir al correo
Agradecemos la difusión amplia que puedan hacer de esta convocatoria.
Clara Inés Luna Vásquez
Directora de Medios de Comunicación Social
Ministerio de Gobierno
Tel: 512-2088

Clara Luna Vasquez

ENGLISH Translation follows:

Today at 8:50 a.m.

Good morning gentlemen amateurs
We are calling for the application of test to aspiring amateur radio license, on June 9 in the Executive Lounge of the Government of Chiriqui and June 11 in the Meeting Room of Building Interseco floor 1. Application of examination starts 10:00 am in both cases and applicants must take the payment slip B / 2.00 in revenue stamps (are paid at the Savings Bank and the National Bank).
Preparation materials for the test:
The amateur handbook can be downloaded from:
Executive Decree No. 205 of July 7, 2004, “by which the amateur service is regulated,” available at:
Executive Decree No. 843 of November 26, 2013 which amended Executive Decree No. 205 of July 7, 2004, available at:
For more information, call 512-2165 Pura Ramos mail or write to
We appreciate the wide dissemination that can make this call.
Clara Inés Vásquez Moon
Director of Social Media
Ministry of Government
Tel: 512-2088

Continue reading Announcement for those Interested in a Panamanian Amateur Radio License

I once had a job as a store greeter.
But apparently “You again?” wasn’t the greeting they had in mind.

Follow Up on Premier Smart TV Box

I have had a couple people ask me how my experience with the Premier Smart TV Box was going.

I decided to answer the questions here.

To the best of my knowledge, the only places in Chiriqui to get one of these types of devices are Premier ($49), Multimax (Has an android smart TV on a stick – $69) and Smart home Security ($249).

I haven’t read many good things about the Android on a stick. Most of my research was reading the comments on the devices in Amazon.

Basically they are all about the same. I was in Premier the other day and noticed that they have raised their price to $49. When I bought mine it was $39.

The main features to compare are the amount of memory and storage and the processor. Mine is a dual core processor with 1GB of memory and 4GB of storage.

I can’t tell what Smart Home Security’s box has. It may be similar to mine or may be like this one in Amazon with a cam.

I do see theirs has a cam, but I have no use for that. I ordered THIS for my daughter to test of me. It cost me $48. Continue reading Follow Up on Premier Smart TV Box

Traffic Advisory

An advisory posted on one of the Chiriquí Yahoo Groups.

Panamanian friends who commute daily to David have informed me that there is now a traffic camera set up at the Boqueron/Las Lajas intersection. It takes photos of cars, including their license plates and speed, then is checked to see if you’re speeding. If so, you’ll come up on a checklist at any traffic stop (checking for insurance/license/registration, etc.) and you’ll be issued a ticket for speeding at that time. There may be other intersections now monitored with cameras, but that’s all I’ve heard about so far. Just a word to the wise…….Jerry

Do Your Homework!

Sometimes I make mistakes and when I do, I try to correct them. I get very unhappy when people try to use the my blog to promote things I later find out may be unethical.

Today, I received the following email, related to a previous post on the Chiriqui Activity Club. Had I done more research I would not have posted it. However since I did, I will post a portion of this email which raises concerns.

I will admit, I had some concern about the Chiriqui Activity Club when I read the area in the site about fees to join. I thought that fees could be a red flag, but I ignored my intuition.

Normally, I might just remove the post after reading this email, however, if they want publicity, then I will just let the post stand with the disclosure that you should be careful how you trust anyone that is asking for money.

Anyone with positive comments and experiences is of course welcome to comment.

Following is what I received today that was more than a red flag:


Beware of Karen Walter motivates with the Chirqui Activity Club.  She has stolen money from her customers who paid for a tour

This was posted by me on
This is my 4th year of doing Panama Relocation Tours.   These are 6-7 day tours all over Panama aimed at showing people what life is like living in Panama and how to relocate here legally and with the least amount of hassles.

You can see my web site at with many testimonials from statisfied customers and many photos from the tours.

Panama Relocation Tours, Inc is a Panama company and a Texas corporation too.

I also have a trademark registered and a book by the same name copyrighted and the content of my web site, including the name is copyrighted.

Richard Detrich often joins me on the tours too and has written about them on his blog at

Bob Adams of usually meets with the group and my tour company is the only one he endorses because he knows I deliver what I promise and we do not sell real estate or have any other financial arrangement with the places we go during the tour or the people we meet with the tour.

Last October 2013, Karen Walter from Arizona started advertising Panama Relocation Tours on her web site and her marketing partners Randy Hilarski and Michael Drouillard are also advertising for her on their web sites, facebook pages, pinterest, youtube,  google+ etc.

They have even used my testimonial videos on their web site and my photos on their web sites.

I have contacted them many times telling them to stop.  But they did not, so I have my attorney in Panama and in the USA send them a Cease and Desist.  Yet they presist.

Last week I got a call from two couples demanding a refund for the tour they never got. I had never heard of the people before. They did not sign up for MY tour.  Karen took their money, did not deliver a tour, then refused to refund any money.
Panama Escape Artist told me about another couple who had the same problem.

Today, I learned that a couple came in to Explora Ya complaining that they signed up for Panama Relocation Tours but a week before the tour were told that the tour was postponed because not enough people signed up.  Since they already had their airplane tickets, they came to Panama on their own anyway.  They also paid for a tour they did not receive and never got a refund.

Needless to say this was NOT MY tour!
There is no telling how many people have been affected. I need to stop them before more people are hurt.

Recently, she was at Las Lajas Beach Resort telling the owner she has a new bus for her tour business.  She showed a photo of MY new bus.

Dr. Bullen’s Office is Open

Like the butcher that backed into his blade, I have been getting a little behind in my work.

As I said I would in my previous post, I went by Dr. Bullen’s office on May 16 and took photos. Unfortunately I took them with my real camera and not my iPhone and forgot about the project and didn’t post them.

His office is easy to locate in Hospital Chiriquí. Take the hallway directly across from the Pharmacy and the first office on the right is his Office. The sign on the office follows:

Click to enlarge

I talked to Dr. Bullen and asked if he could do everything as if he were in Panama City. He said he will be able to after he gets the pathology lab trained. He said some of the lab work is done differently than they are trained to do it, but that will change.

He said his charges are the same in Panama City as in David. $75 for the consultation. That is $60 for jubilados.

Dr. Bullen has two areas to serve patients. I am including two photos.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge









I picked up a card in his office that takes about services he provides.

bullen x


I wish he had been in David when Lilliam first had her problem diagnosed. However, He was a god send when she was advised to see him in Panama City. See Previous post for office hours.