Yesterday Outing

Yesterday’s outing took us to The Domain shopping area in Austin. I guess you would call it an open mall. All stores are entered from the street. Plenty of high end stores, but no covered in the event of inclement weather. It is a very high end shopping area, with upscaled shops and plenty of restaurants.

The reason for choosing The Domain was because it contained the Apple Store that was going to receive the Apple iPad Air 2 I had ordered. When I ordered it, the delivery date indicated that it might be delivered on the 31st, which was the day before our departure for Panama. Therefore, I put the delivery in my daughter’s name in case something happened and the delivery was delayed.

Last week I received an email updating the delivery to the 24th. Going on the 23rd was a day early, but I wanted to know where the store was and knew Lilliam would find a few stores to entertain her. The parking garage was close to the Apple Store (what luck), and Apple was our first stop (surprise).

Like all Apple stores I have been to, it was well laid out, was packed with people, and had an attendant at the door to assist you. He checked my order and it had not been checked into inventory. He assured me that if the delivery time said the 24th, then it should be here no later then the 24th. No problem. I would come back tomorrow. Continue reading

Heather Paudler Guest Post 1 – la danza Bugabita

I am honored to post a guest blog on ChiriquiChatter! First, let me begin with a brief introduction of who I am: My name is Heather Paudler, and if you’ve been following Don’s posts, you’ll know that I have stayed with Don, Lilliam, Natalie, and Koki (their wonderful dog!) three times since April 2013 conducting research for my dissertation.

I am currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Musicology at the Florida State University. Broadly, my research interests include moros y cristianos festivals – that is, festivals of reconquest performed throughout Latin America. This tradition of mock battles between Moors and Christians began eight centuries ago in Spain and is often incorporated into large festivals including dance, dialogue, and music. Versed in the use of music as a homogenizing factor, Spanish missionaries transplanted this tradition to diverse geographical areas in Asia and the Americas as a means to convert the indigenous populations to Catholicism.

I had always intended to go study one of these traditions as performed today in Mexico. When encouraged to find an area that had been less studied, a series of serendipitous events led me to the home of Don Ray Williams (more on this story in a later post!). I have been extremely fortunate to have Don, Lilliam, and Natalie help facilitate this research so welcomely!

Back to the story: In the community of Bugabita, Panama, the townspeople preserve and guard a tradition of moros y cristianos that they call la danza Bugabita. Their dance represents the struggle between two factions – the Moors from Turkey and the Twelve Peers of France led by Charlemagne.

On my third trip to Panama, the community organized a presentation on the night of Saturday, August 30th. While a massive thunderstorm threatened to undermine the outdoor performance, the rain subsided en route to Bugabita. I was fortunate to have an entire crew helping with photography (a huge thank you to Chris Smoot!!), video, and audio recording.
PICTURE 1 Continue reading

The Time Has Come

I am pleased to announce that I have received the first guest post from Heather Paudler. As you know, I am currently in Texas enjoying fun, food and family. Tomorrow I will get Heather’s first post up for you to read.

Her Doctoral thesis will provide an important record of some almost unknown Panamanian  history. The Panamanians, we met on this journey together, have enriched Heather’s, Lilliam’s and my lives.

I hope you will not miss any of Heather’s posts. Lilliam, Natalie, Koki and I are extremely pleased to have been a part of Heather’s time doing her research in Panama.

Fun Flight

Lilliam and I flew from Panama City to Texas yesterday. The first leg was quite a surprise. A large group of band students from Santiago, Panama were on the flight going to New York to perform in a Spanish Music Festival. I found this on the Internet and it may have been the event, but I am not sure.

There were 80 youngsters on the flight and were they excited. They all carried their instruments with them as they boarded. Obviously they and their chaperones filled most of the plane.

I have a hunch this was the first time the students had been on a plane and most likely the first time outside of Panama. When the plane left the runway, you could hear all of them say OHHHHHHH. Most were gripping their hand-rests and I saw many of them crossing themselves for a safe trip, just the same as Lilliam does for herself and me every time we travel.

They all had the same jacket that said PANAMA on the back. It was red, white and blue just like the Panama flag and on the front it said USA/PANAMA. What great representatives of Panama they were!

They had left Santiago around 2:00AM to drive to the Tocumen Airport for the 8:00 AM flight. While very excited, many sleep a good portion of the flight to Atlanta.

I took a photo of the young lady across the aisle to show her jacket. When we landed I took a photo of her and two of her friends. You can see how happy they were. I was told that the students ranged in age from 9 to 14 years old. The young lady on the left said she was 11.

I hope they have a wonderful and memorable trip. They made our leg to Atlanta a fun flight.


The Gouge Factor

I hadn’t planned on posting anything today, but this just can’t wait. We needed to purchase some medicine before our trip. It was to get those that could not be bought in the U.S. because they required prescriptions.

On our last stop for today, we went to El Rey and asked about two items. One priced at $19.95 and the other at $47. Lilliam looked at the price and asked them to verify the prices. The lady rudely said they were the correct prices. Lilliam said we would look elsewhere.

I figured we would drive around and save a dollar or two. We went to ARROCHA and the $19.95 medicine was $7.95. The $47 medicine was $45. That was before the jubilado discounts.

The short drive from El Rey to ARROCHA saved saved $14. Once again, Lilliam’s instincts proved correct.

The Bridge is Open

The bridge to Boquete on the InterAmerican Highway is now open. Unfortunately, the access entrance off the InterAmerican Highway is not open. In fact it appears that there are still electric polls in the street. Hope it doesn’t take another year to open the access roads beside the bridge.

IMG_0322 IMG_0323

On My Way Back Up

This is the first day in two weeks that I can say that I feel better then the day before. I don’t know what I had, but it threw me for a loop.

Lilliam has been an excellent caregiver. I don’t know what I would do without her.

She took over the duties of checking on the stroke victim. He probably thought she was easier on the eyes than me anyway. He may be disappointed when I see him next.

I am not 100%, but for the first time in a while I am optimistic about tomorrow.

I haven’t been a complete shut-in as I did get out for a noon lunch last Thursday with some good friends at the Terra Resturante. Maybe that was what I needed and it may have been the start of my recovery.

It has been a while since i had been there and the food was great. I should mention that there is remodeling going on there and they are building a wood fired pizza oven outside and I can hardly wait to try a wood fired pizza.

I need to be 100% soon, because we are planning to be in Texas in October. My grandson’s football team suffered their first loss of the season last night. I am looking forward to see him on the field.

Lilliam will get her first taste of Texas High School Football. She will also get a small taste of Texas fall weather.

I haven’t forgotten about the posts I promised. I have over 200 photos related to Tom McCormack that I am sifting through. His next container should be on the way and may even be in Colon now. I don’t have much time to get his post up before I leave, but I will try.

I intend to do a better job with writing when I get back from Texas. I obviously am in the mañana frame of mind.

I have over a year’s worth of time into a book I have been working on. It is based on my experiences since I moved here and lessons learned from my volunteering as a Warden for the U.S. Embassy in Panama City.

I actually intended to have it out by now, but, like other things, it has been over taken by day to day living. Maybe I will also put that an a hotter burner when I get back.

Enough rambling for today. Just thought I would let you know I am still alive and my world is still good. I hope you all are having a great day.

The BBC in England is looking for families hoping to relocate to Panama

I was contacted by the BBC related to a new series it is planning which will allow some participants that are considering moving to Panama to have a free trial so to speak.

I considered this worth posting because I prefer people having given Panama a reasonable try prior to making the final jump.

Culture, climate, language and other experiences are better understood with time rather than by reading in some promotional media that is profit motivated.

If you live in the UK and have been considering Panama as a destination, you might want to contact the BBC. The BBC’s information follows.
Wanted in Paradise Advert - PANAMA

A Baby Needs O Positive Blood

I received a request to post the following:

Hello Boquete and David,
We have a 3 week old baby in the Maternity hospital that needs ongoing O POSITIVE platelets from 1 pint per day until they can operate.
We are calling our Blood Donors list but many have been out of the country in the last 6 months which disqualifies most of them.
If you are O Pos, qualify with the requirements on the website below, and can go to Hospital Jose Domingo de Obaldia to help in the next few days or even next week, you will be able to do a wonderful thing for this baby.

Frist go to this site and prequalify yourself.
One difference from the above qualifications is that the cut off age is the day you turn 65.
And also you must NOT have been out of the country in the last 6 months. Unfortunately the US and Costa Rica included.

If you qualify, then call the father who will meet you at the hospital’s Banco de Sangre to walk you though the system.
The father, Bill Fitz, speaks Spanish and English. His number is 6616-5775.
You might know some Panamanian friends that will go.
Bill & Lourdes are happy to compensate if needed.
The test does not take very long but the process might take up to 2-3 hours if there are many people there when you arrive.
You might want to bring something to read.

You must be at the hospital between 7 am and 12 noon. Preferably 8 – 10 to meet with Bill, the father.
You must not eat breakfast or any food before you go.
You can and should drink water.
Bring your Panamanian cedula or ID card AND your passport (very important).
If you happen to be in David and have not reached Bill, give the lab the baby’s info Matthew Fitz, Cedula # 4-872-1597

The maternity hospital is the tall white building (part of the lower roof is blue) a little before Price Smart but on the opposite side of the street.
As soon as you enter the main entrance of the hospital, walk to the left and the blood donation window is a few yards down on the right with a sign “Banco de Sangre”.

Even if you can not go till next week please call Bill at 6616-5775 to make arrangements for then.
Matthew may still need platelets next week until he is strong enough to have the operation.

God Bless you all and this little baby too,
Andrea and Charlotte
Volunteers for Boquete Hospice Blood Donors list
To be added to the Blood Donor list email