Category Archives: Panama Journal

Be Thankful For Good Health

This afternoon we went over to visit Robert at Hogar Santa Catalina. It was his birthday and Lilliam wanted to do something special.

We got a cake at MariPan Bakery, and ice cream and soda at El Rey. The cake was a white cake with a layer of pineapple in the middle. It said Felicidades Robert. We took cups, saucers, and spoons to allow all of the staff and residents living in Robert’s area to have some.

We got there at a good time, just before they served dinner. Following their meal, we laid out the dessert and one of the residents led the singing of Happy Birthday in English. It was followed by the Spanish version.

I think all enjoyed the celebration and there was enough cake and ice cream left for the staff that wasn’t there to have some tomorrow. Robert loved the cake and had two slices.

I think the person that enjoyed it the most was Lilliam. She really enjoys seeing others have a good time. Especially those that are often forgotten.

Today was a really a good day.

Let’s Get Real About Retiring in Panama

This morning I happened on one of the blogs I read called “Rewired and Retired in Nicaragua”.  I enjoy reading blogs from other Latin American countries for comparison. The current post was called “Let’s Get Real About Retiring in Nicaragua”.

While I do not believe that Retiring in Nicaragua and retiring in Panama are the same, one thing is glaringly the same. The portrayal by many sources, such as International Living, leaving the reader with a very rose colored illusion of paradise. That may be the grass is greener on the other side of the fence syndrome.

“Let’s Get Real About Retiring in Panama” would be a good name for a book. I have worked on a book for the last two years and every now and then I open it up, reread what I have written, correct some punctuation and spelling and maybe add a few more lines. Then I close Scrivener and let it cure for a while more.

I have searched for a title for what I have written and “Let’s Get Real About Retiring in Panama” may represent it as well as anything. Continue reading Let’s Get Real About Retiring in Panama

Cable Onda Out This Morning

Cable Onda went out this morning (Cable TV, Telephone, and Internet). All were functioning when I got up, but went out about 7:00 AM. My backup is always my cell and luckily it is rare for both providers to be out at the same time.

Not a good time for those working via the Internet in Panama or those wanting to make VOIP calls to the U.S.

This is not as serious an outage as not having electricity or water and my outages of those services are usually no more than four times a year.

It is a beautiful day outside. The sun is bright. The birds are singing. A few dogs are barking and pretty much , all is right with the world.

Lilliam thinks it is good for me to take a break from TV and the Internet now and then anyway.

We have plans to eat lunch with a good friend today, so I am confident it is going to be a great day (with or without Internet and TV).

TV returned after an hour and a half. Internet returned ten minutes later. A friend said her service had been going on and off all morning, so there must be work going on are someone has been stealing cable.

It Is A Small Small World

Sometimes I get reminded just how small the world is. For the last several days I have been communicating with a family member of a U.S. Citizen that I am trying to assist for the U.S. Embassy in Panama City.

During yesterday’s conversation at some point I mentioned that I used to work for EDS. Then she said she used to work for EDS too, but now worked for GM.

We continued discussing the individual’s situation. There were several issues we needed plan out and we covered them one by one.

When we had covered all the issues, I changed the subject and asked if she happened to work for GM when GM bought EDS and EDS took over all of GM’s information processing infrastructure.

She said she had been hired two weeks before the EDS acquisition. During that period, I had just accepted a new position in Virginia working as the technical director on an Army contract that EDS has just won. However, when the GM acquisition happened, EDS’s whole world was turned upside down. We had 13,000 employees one day and the next day we had doubled in size.

No one knew where they were going to be working from one day to the next. I was part of the transaction team and went to Detroit for a few day to help transition the GM employees to EDS employees.

These were exciting times. Challenges and opportunities were around every corner. It was similar to moving to Panama as a retiree now. Challenges and opportunities around every corner.

I think we decided that we had both retired from EDS at the same time.

So as I was taking my evening swim yesterday, my thoughts moved to how small the world is. Here I am living a very enjoyable life in Panama, far removed from my old life back in the U.S..

What are the odds that I should find myself helping a person that I worked with for 15 years and never had the pleasure of meeting. Yes we were in different parts of the country, but still I think that is pretty incredible.

I really love my life. Here I am approaching 73, but I am still active, I am in good health, I have a wonderful wife, and it seems like a month never goes by but what I feel like I have been given an opportunity to do something worthwhile.

Life just doesn’t get any better than this.

FOR SALE – ATV Trailer 5×8 single four-wheeler trailer

I received a request to post the following

Hi Don, I was wondering if you would be willing to advertise an ATV trailer for sale on your website? There are photos on the link I provided. If you want I can send them in an email as well. They can call speaking English or Spanish.


ATV Trailer 5×8 single four-wheeler trailer

Price: $1500 or best offer
Year: 2014
Model: 5×8 ATV
Color: back/ gray
Rear opening: ramp
Condition: Excellent

Heavy duty cables
LED lights
Right & Left signals
Brake signals
13” rims
Registration papers & plate

Contact: Carlos Arjona
Phone: 66170940
City: David
Provience: Chiriqui

Premier Smart TV Box


I stopped in the Plaza Terronal Premier store and found an Android Smart TV Box for $39.00. It included the remote (no batteries), an HDMI cable, and the actual box.

The Premier catalog had it listed for $29, but they said it was a misprint. Still for $39.00 including the HDMI cable that was a deal I could not pass up.

I will tell you that it is not plug and play. It required some configuration. Basically it is an Android Linux system and comes with a standard assortment of Android apps. One of those apps is XBMC, which I wrote up here.

It will run on your Wi-Fi network or you can also connect it to your router by ethernet. I didn’t have a free Ethernet port, so I just configured it to my Wi-Fi router. That took about 15 minutes using the remote.

Premier also gave a one page of instructions for adding TV channels to XBMC. Configuring using the remote is a challenge, but I got through it. I will try connecting a keyboard and mouse one of the days, but for today, I decided to see if I could do it with just the remote.

I followed the store’s instructions to add TV channels to XBMC. As with many add-ons to XBMC, not all worked, but a lot did.

XBMC showed that 1Channel, which is a video site, was installed, but it was not set up and would not activate. Since I had previously set up XBMC on an Apple MacMini, I decided to set up XBMC my way.

I basically followed the same video instructions on the Internet that I had used for the MacMini, except this time, I went the Android route.

It wasn’t hard, but having previous experience helped.

I have seen a local company selling an Android TV box configured with XBMC for over $200. With about an hour of work, I have the same for about $42 including tax.

That may not be completely accurate because I don’t know the processor size. It has 1 GB of memory and 4GB of storage.

I just watched the Lazarus Effect, that is currently showing in David, and the video quality was good and I had full surround here. What I watched did not have Spanish subtitles. It was equal to my setup on the Apple MacMini.

Out of an hour and seventeen minute movie, There were two times when it paused to buffer. Again for this price, it is a super deal.

It has the complete Android App Store on its menu, but I haven’t looked at it. I was told that NetFlix should be there, however at present, I have no need to search for it.

If you stop into Premier, tell them you read about the Smart TV box on Chiriquí Chatter.