Category Archives: Panama Journal

Death in Paradise

No, this has nothing to do with the increase in crime in Chiriquí, though that is not getting better. With all the thousands of Africans and Cubans in the news at the Frontera, You might get killed trying to leave Panama, but this isn’t about that either.

It is about a British TV series that I have just completed watching on Kodi. It is so easy to get addicted to a series and just sit and watch one after another.

That has happened to me over and over again. Breaking Bad, Scandal, House of Cards, The Good Wife, Downton Abbey, The Black List …

I am now finding myself in unknown territory. My subscription to UNLOCATOR just expired and therefore my Amazon devices are no longer able to access any of the Amazon Prime content.

I also can’t access Pandora. My music is now coming solely from KODI’s music section. Not as good as Pandora or Amazon Music or Apple Music, but free. I also access a lot of music from YouTube and VEVO.

I plan on trying to get by without UNLOCATOR at least until I return from the states. I have liked having Amazon Prime and Pandora so there is a possibility I may re-up. If I find I can live without it, I will cancel Amazon Prime.

While I watch a lot of movies on Kodi, I watch a lot more TV series.

It is easy to sit down and think “I only have 30 minutes or 45 minutes” and find something to fill the time. I have found a lot of new series by scanning the “what others are watching” section.

The Death in Paradise series is a British series. It was light and fun and I was sorry when I got to the end.

The other night I watched the CNN Democratic debate. It kind of made me think of the Death of Paradise. When you grew up in the best of time in the US, it is hard to watch the changes that have transpired since then.

When I reduced my Cable Onda to the minimal service, I lost CNN. I am now watching it on Kodi. My current contract covers phone, internet and TV. I was considering dropping the phone, but it is only $6/month, so it is barely worth the effort. The $27/month for 10 Mbps allowed me to drop all but my basic cable service, which is running about $35 for 4 sets.

On my return from the US, I am bringing back two Amazon Fire Sticks and One Amazon Fire TV. Only one is for me. I going to put a FS on my terrace so I can watch movies outside ald listen to the rain at the same time.

Speaking of rain, wasn’t that a good one. Of course the rainy season just means it is time to see if the roof has developed any new leaks. Lilliam noticed a spot in the bedroom this morning.

May need to get that fixed this week before we leave. Time to call Rene, my fix it person.

All for now. It is pancake day and Lilliam is calling me to breakfast.

This and That

I have been busy and haven’t found the time to write lately. The countdown is running for our trip to the US. We will be in Oklahoma for a few days to celebrate my Uncle’s 100th birthday. He still drives about 20 miles, several times a week to check on his farms. He has always been an inspiration to me.

We have good friends we are going to visit in Ft. Worth. Hope to take in a little Tex-Mex and catch up.

Then we will spend a couple weeks getting to know the new great grand son Nealon. Will get to spend time with five other grandchildren while in Austin. Unfortunately will miss out on three other grandchildren, but they will be in my mind. Looking forward to chicken fried steak, good hamburgers, and some BBQ.

On the home front (in Panama), I see that the banking industry has decided to add another fee when you use the ATM. It now costs about $5 to get $500. I would still prefer paying the fee to opening an account in Panama. I consider it just another annoyance associated with living in Panama.

It is something to consider before you move. There are options that can eliminate the ATM fee. With certain banking entities in the US, they will reimburse all ATM fees. That may come to an end someday, but for now, do your homework and you can avoid these expenses.

On a bright side, Lilliam and I stopped in for a scoop of Ice-cream at Gelarti yesterday. Can you believe it? Without saying anything they gave us the Jubilado discount. I have tried to like La Ghiotta, but in my opinion, the better ice-cream, with more options such as sundaes and milkshakes, etc. is Gelarti. Now with the jublilado discount, it can’t be touched. I feel more pounds coming.

As I mentioned the other day, if you are using the Amazon Fire products, you noticed that the latest OS upgrade removed Fire Starter. I haven’t really found it to be a problem and since I have settled on a front end I like, I may not need FireStarter anymore. It did make upgrading Kodi easier, but I will deal with the next Kodi upgrade when it comes out.

The latest news in Panama all hinges around the Panama Papers. Welcome to the real Panama. Anyone that is surprised that there is corruption in Panama has been living in a tree.

That is especially true when it comes to lawyers. The worst thing a person can do is recommend a lawyer. For every person that recommends one lawyer I bet I can find two that have had a bad experience with the same lawyer. I only have one I have faith in and he is a neighbor.

I am ready for the rainy season. It should be here before we return from the US. As I said, the clock is ticking and I still have a couple loose ends to complete before I can leave worry free.

All for today. Have a great day.

Teased

Yesterday, we got a rain tease. It was enough to get Lilliam and I out to retrieve some laundry we had drying. Alas, we only got a couple hundred drops. Lots of thunder, but no real rain. One of these days.

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I took the time to also check out some of our backyard garden products. Here is a new Papaya tree we started not many months ago.

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Here are some of our pineapples in various stages of readiness. We have about 25+ pineapple plants at this time.

Nothing better than eating your own produce, unless it is Lilliam’s guandu. Guandu is a favorite in Panama, not of mine.

Observations After the March Embassy Outreach

Yesterday, the U.S. Embassy held an outreach at Hotel Ciudad de David in David. Cynthia Caplan, the ACS Chief introduced the new Boquete Warden, who replaced Price Peterson. Price had served Boquete for more than 20 years, if memory serves me correct. The new warden for Boquete is Hank Landis and the Boquete Alternate is Bonnie Williams.

Considering the Embassy Outreach meetings, I always learn something from the new contacts I meet.

Sometimes I go to to the outreach to get something attended to, such as document authentication. Sometimes I go to just let people know I am in David and available in case help is needed.

I always enjoy meeting people and continue to be amazed how many are new with less than a year experience in Panama.

A couple observations following the meeting. Continue reading Observations After the March Embassy Outreach

No Rest For The Wicked – Or the Lazy

On Easter Sunday, I find myself looking at all of the loose ends I have before me.

Lilliam returns tomorrow evening from her extended visit to Costa Rica. I am sure she has enjoyed her visit and being with Sofia on her birthday, seeing how much both Sofia and Santiago have grown and learned since Lilliam’s last visit, and being with Susan, Christian and Natalie for Easter.

I don’t want her to return to a complete mess.

I have today and part of tomorrow to make the house look semi-presentable. Lilliam never expects miracles, but she also doesn’t want complete disasters.

I think only one of her plants died. It wasn’t my fault.

She had two plants on the side of the BBQ and the strong winds had blown the BBQ cover over one and I didn’t see it when I was watering all her plants.

Yesterday I put the cover back on the BBQ and OOPS. Well, that plant needed to be replaced anyway. Not sure Lilliam will see it the same way.

I have two loads of laundry to get done today. The sink is full of dirty dishes and that is on my list of things to get done. I hate to think how much worse it would have looked without eating out as much as I did. I hate washing dishes.

My uncle called yesterday. He said plans were shaping up for his 100th birthday and he planned on being there for it.

He was still upset about needing to use his walker following his two knee replacements the end of last year. I asked if it had affected his checking on the farms. He said he was fine once he got in the pickup and had no problem driving. Incredible.

When I got up this morning and felt a few pains and aches, I knew that I had nothing to complain about. Sometimes I think I have seen a lot of changes in my life time. Uncle Horace had see much more and is still planning for the future.

Well, the sink seems to be calling. I have put off my chores as long as I can. Have a Happy Easter and I will check back in if the house passes the Lilliam inspection.

Something From Way Back

When Lilliam is away, I eat out a lot. If you looked at my sink in its current situation, you would understand why. While I don’t mind cooking a little, I hate cleaning up. Hence, I eat out. Note to self! Wash dishes before Lilliam returns.

Yesterday, I wanted something different. Something from the past. Something that would bring back happy memories from a time gone by..

No restaurant in Chiriquí came to mind as having anything close. I decided to go to Super 99, which carries more specialty precooked items than other supermarkets I have found in David.

I found it. Some of my favorite things. Maybe not gourmet, but certainly capable of bring back pleasant memories.

20160325_143417The first thing I found was some Dr. Pepper. While the new 99 didn’t have the original Dr. pepper (it often carries Dr. Pepper), I did find some Cherry Dr. Pepper. That would work.

20160325_143423Next I picked up a bag of Lays Potato Chips. You can’t eat just one.

But for the pièce de résistance, I found a real memory grabber.

Are you ready for it?

Can I have a drum roll please!

Feast your eyes on something I haven’t seen in years.

Certainly I have never seen it in Panama.

What would appear before my eyes in the frozen fast food portion of the store, but ….

I bet you are wondering what delicacy I found aren’t you. What could it be? A heat and eat Chicken Fried Steak with french fries and cream gravy. I WISH, but no.

How about chili and cheese enchiladas and all the trimmings. Again, that isn’t it.  Continue reading Something From Way Back

A Page out of History

Last night I stumbled across a documentary called “Bettie Page Reveals All”. It was made in 2012 and was about the life of Bettie Page. She narrated much of it and told what was going on in her life at each stage.

I imagine many reading this blog may remember the woman who was known as the pinup queen of the fifties. To be honest, I remember seeing several of her bikini photos in college, but never knew anything about her.

The photos I remember of her was of the girl next door type that all young men would like to meet. So, having a “bare” recollection of Bettie Page, I started the documentary.

I was soon hooked and watched all hour and forty-seven minutes of it. What was as interesting to me as her story was seeing and remembering the culture and times of the fifties. While she was a centerfold in 1955 for Playboy, I didn’t know what a Playboy was then, being only 13 at that time.

1955 was about the time my mom and I moved to Odessa, Texas. The previous year, my dad had died and left my mom with me and several farm debts in Oklahoma. I remember that television in fifties covered the Kefauver hearings. It was presented as a world crisis and everyone had to be watchful of their neighbors to see if they were communist sympathizers or, even worse, out and out communists. Continue reading A Page out of History

Just Another Day in Panama

After I left the bank this morning, I went to McDonalds to get chicken to take home. There was a huge line in the drive through and I decided it would be quicker to go inside and order.

I ordered a 3 piece chicken dinner to go. It was good that I went inside as I watched as the orders were made. I watched as one of the individuals was putting chicken in the boxes. I only saw him put in two pieces. That box came to me. I thought maybe I hadn’t paid attention.

It was put in the bag and I was told it was a three piece order. I said it is 3 pieces and was told yes. I went to a table and opened the box —— only two pieces.

I went back and told the fellow that had just told me it contained 3 pieces, that it was short one. he looked and went and put in another piece. Had I gone through the drive through, I would have gotten home without my complete order. Most Panamanians check all drive through orders before leaving.

It was a reminder to me. Yes, I know this can happen in the U.S. too, but I have found through experience that it is always necessary to check all orders before you leave the purchase are in Panama.

The I got home and turned on the TV to watch the news about the Belgium bombing. I had only taken a couple bites and the power went off. That was 60 minutes ago. My security camera UPS is still going off in the background as I wait for power to return. I don’t know if this is a planed stage that they had announced and I missed or the strong winds have blown down some critical lines.

Luckily, I still have Internet on my phone and can call for help if I were to need it. This and my previous post are using my cell phone as a hotspot.

UPDATE: The power just came back. It was out 2 1/2 hours. Long enough to get me well into a new book.