Category Archives: Panama Journal

My How Time Flies

20160529_125740
Lilliam’s daughter and her family came to visit last weekend from Panama City. Isabela and Lucca, picture above, have grown so much since the first time I met them.

They have grown into such fine, well behaved and intelligent young people. They are a pleasure to be around.

Trip to the USA Observations

Over the last three years Lilliam and I have made two trips, of one month in length, to the US. Each time we have made an effort to watch for differences in costs of living in both countries as well as the quality of life. On the previous trip we visited Oklahoma, Texas and Nevada. On the trip we have just returned from, it was only Oklahoma and Texas.

Many of the reflections come from Lilliam. For those considering Panama as a retirement location, the comparison areas may provide you something to measure for yourself on your proof of concept visit.

With that brief introduction, I will begin this post.

Cleanliness

Several years ago, Texas started a “Don’t mess with Texas” initiative. If you litter in Texas, and are seen, you will find yourself paying a severe fine. Highways, city streets, parks, everything is neat and clean. While Oklahoma hasn’t had a similar program, we found all highways, streets, etc., in Oklahoma of similar quality.

Panama, on the other hand doesn’t seem to be doing anything to promote the cleanliness of the country or penalize those that litter. When we drive from David to the Frontera, we pass several spots where people just open their car door and throw out trash. Panama could be a very beautiful place, if its countrymen wanted it to be. Don’t think that your moving here is going to change it.

Lilliam and I have visited several tourist areas in Colombia and the difference between those areas and Panama are easily seen. It shows what Panama could do if it really wanted to attract tourist business in a serious way. Continue reading Trip to the USA Observations

Texas Oklahoma Vacation

What a great time Lilliam and I had on our trip to the US. We were gone almost a month and time just flew.

I will mention an app I use when scheduling a trip like we just had. There were many flights, hotels, train rides, car rentals, etc to keep track of. I made all reservation via the internet or by phone using magic jack. All purchase conformations were sent by email.

I use TripIt to keep up with all the schedules and conformations. Once you sign up with TripIt, you just forward the email conformations to plans@tripit.com and like magic the entire schedule is recorded.

It lists all times, conformation numbers, important telephone numbers, directions, etc. Not only that, but you can list people you want to know of your schedule to get a copy of your itinerary. If anything changes, they will know it.

On this trip, we flew on COPA from David to Panama City and then to Houston on United and then to Austin. Continue reading Texas Oklahoma Vacation

Away, But Hopefully Not Forgotten

Yes, Lilliam and I have made it back from our journey to the US. As I get time I will post some of our adventures and some observations we were able to make from about a month’s vacation in Texas and Oklahoma.

Some of the topics I will cover will be time spent with family, Comparisons of Panama and Texas in the 13+ years I have lived in Chiriquí, Some technology, and I will try to stay out of politics (even though it is more interesting this year).

At the moment, I am relaxing in front of my TV watching a YouTube on Google’s IO conference that started yesterday. I would have watched it live, but I was on planes most of yesterday or siting in airports waiting on planes.

Stay tuned. This is just a note to say that I am back in David.

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.

20160402_152201

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.

20160402_152240

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.