Major Downtime

The last couple of days have been frustrating for the Chiriquí Chatter Website.

The site has been up and down several times and I do not know what the problem has been.

However, it does show that I have mellowed over the last 11 1/2 years in Panama. When I first started blogging in 2003, if the site did not function, I stressed out. Now, I just say “if it is up it is up and if it isn’t then it isn’t.” Kinda like other things at my age.

I would feel better, if I understood the problem, but I am not going to lose any sleep not knowing.

For the loyal followers, if you want to know the current status of CC, you can view the Chiriquí Chatter Status Site.

Issues When living in Panama

Three recent U.S. Citizen involvements have provided me with some experiences that may be worth sharing with others, especially those new to Panama or planning on moving to Panama.

The first involves being a victim of crime in Panama. Living in Panama is much different than living in the U.S. and reporting crimes and crimes actually being solved can be very frustrating. One thing I have seen, related to several cases I have knowledge of, is that it often requires the victim to continue to be involved with the police, if anything is going to cause a crime to be solved.

In this first situation, I was asked the correct procedure to report a crime and how to notify the U.S. Embassy of the crime. I forwarded the information to the Embassy and they responded to the U.S. victim and included a document specifying the process to follow if you are a victim.

I am putting that document on my server and it can be downloaded by clicking HERE.

The second involved a U.S. citizen that had recently moved to Panama and had planned on using a debit card that had his Social Security payments deposited on it every month. He had used this as his method in the U.S. and it provided him a means of accessing his funds without having a bank account. Continue reading

Calle De Los Muertos

In David, there is a system for the streets. The Avenidas run East and West and the Calles run North and South.

Typically the Avenidas don’t have stop signs and the Calles do.

There is an exception on Calle C Sur, which is also know as Calle de los Muertos (Street of the dead). Most people know it as the one-way street that exits on the InterAmerican highway beside Cochez.

Yesterday, I had to go to Hospital Chiriquí for some lab work and came home by way of Calle del Los Muertos.

You have to be very careful when you use this street. Since it is the only one-way street running north and not south, people sometimes get confused. Sometimes they turn onto the street going the wrong direction.

As the accident yesterday shows, sometimes they just forget that they have to stop at this street, since they are on an avenida without stop signs.

Apple’s New Thingy


Yesterday’s worldwide announcement from Apple was live on the Internet at noon Panama time (9:00 AM PST). I have a couple observations.

First, the streaming was very flawed. It began with two languages being broadcast, both English and I assume Chinese. While a little disruptive, i was able to ignore it. It did show that Apple has a high interest marketing in the Asian marketplace.

Second, the streaming would periodically backup and replay a previous few seconds that had already been broadcast and then continue. Kinda like a streaming stutter.

The problems eventually disappeared, but these types of problems have not appeared in previous streaming broadcasts from Apple that I have watched. Those that watch it now on the Apple Website will see it uninterrupted and in a single language.

Now for the announcement and other observations. Basically all things that were announced had been predicted for weeks, some in better detail than others. Continue reading


It has been a while since I have posted anything. I have not been very good at recording what is going on and probably won’t be much better until some time in November.

Heather was with us from August 28th and left on September the First. She was here because Bugabita scheduled a special Danza del Moros y Christianos to complete her research. I have some videos that I took and will post when I get the time to edit them.

The dance came off without a hitch even though there were a few tense moments. Around 5PM on Saturday August 30, we were having a tremendous electrical rain storm. I didn’t know if the event would be canceled or not.

When we left for Bugabita, it was still sprinkling, however it stopped before we arrived at the presentation area.

Between 7:30 PM and 8:00 PM, the dancers were getting ready with makeup and putting on their outfits. All of a sudden the electricity went out and we were in solid darkness. You never know what to expect when a Panamanian electrical outage occurs. It could be minutes, to hours to days.

Luckily, within 5 minutes, the electricity came back and everything went smoothly from then.

Chris Smoot attended to help with photo taking and Heather has promised a series of guest posts on her experience researching and completing this Doctoral project. With her posts, she will include a lot of Chris’s photos. Her documentation will be filling in a real void because not much has been recorded to the level she has gone into. This is an important historical event that has gone on for a long time and many in Panama and more outside Panama have never heard of it.

I am also working on a post related to Tom McCormack’s work and plan to have it posted before I leave for the U.S. in October. He has his next container arriving in David the middle of October. I will try to post more information when I receive it.

I spent three days working with the stroke victim last week and will return tomorrow to access this week’s needs. He has been without telephone for over three weeks. I have made two trips to Cable & Wireless and still have not resolved the problem. Tomorrow will require another trip to raise the level of criticality. This is also the time of month that I have to pay all of his bills.

His care taker is scheduled to go to Panama City for one day in October. I am not sure how her absence will be covered. All I know, is it wont be me, because I will not be in the country.

On another note, I will mention that I have a friend a few blocks off who is realizing the lack of building codes or noise regulation in Panama. Next to her, in a residential area, a house has been remodeled over the last year and is now holding religious ceremonies two three nights a week. It involves loud music, chanting and begins around 9PM and has gone until early in the morning.

The police have said they are not responsible for noise and many neighbors have complained to authorities. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Once again, this is not one of those once in a while parties that happen everywhere in Panama; this is a religious group who designed the remodeling for this specific purpose. Luckily, the noise doesn’t carry all the way to my house.

Out With the Old – In With The New

IMG_0241In the past, to park in David, you bought parking cards. They were 10 cents for thirty minutes. Now I see that parking meters are going in. I think they will require 25 cents per unit of time, but I do not know what the unit of time is yet.

Natalie tells me that the locals are not very happy with the new system. It will go into effect soon and meters are going up all over town.


Need a Special Dress – See Pia du Pradal

I have met a lot of wonderful people because of this blog and because of volunteering as a Warden for the U.S. Embassy in Panama. One is Pia du Pradal who lives in Brisbane, Australia.

She is the aunt of the young man whose father was murdered on his ship that was moored in Chiriquí. The young man was shot in the back and his Panamanian wife saved his life. I have stayed in touch with them and Lilliam and I plan on visiting Pia in Australia in the next couple of years.

A very close friend of the young man assisted Lilliam and I with all of our arrangements in UntitledLas Vegas. She took us to the marriage license office, gave is a tour of the city and attended our wedding and much more. It is amazing how small the world is and how many lives become interconnected.

Back to Pia. She is a world class fashion designer and has been chosen to provide apparel for many Australian dignitaries. She is an elegant lady and it has been my pleasure to get to know her.  I have been following her latest collection on FaceBook. Here is an example from that collection. You can see more at her website.


A postcard request

It has been a while since I received a request like this, but helping out a youngsters learning is at the top of my list. I thought a few other people might like to participate as well. Perhaps you need to learn where a post office is.

Our grandson started kindergarten this month and already they have a project.

They are collecting postcards from everywhere to practice reading skills, geography, etc.

If you have a chance, jot something about living in Panama and send it to

Mrs. Mehringer’s Kindergarten
c/o Benbrook Elementary
800 Mercedes
Benbrook TX 76126

Muy apreciada, gracias!

jim and nena

Panama This and Thats

IMG_0240Lovely Heather is here for a few days continuing her research for her doctoral thesis. She was supposed to get here in at 4:35 PM yesterday, but her flight from Panama was canceled because of rain.

Air Panama provided her luxurious accommodations in front of the airport. They locked the airport at 10PM, but about 6 people stayed all night in 4 chairs that were in front of the airport entrance. Night security checked on them periodically and they did get a free cup of coffee this morning.  Actually, Air Panama provided nothing except for a Panama Experience.

I ALWAYS warn people to only take morning flights from Panama City to David during the rainy season, but Heather wanted to try to get here in one day. When you are as young as Heather you can handle this type of inconvenience. It has added to her Panama memories. She is now crashing on our sofa.

Next item.

I received a call from the US Embassy this morning to get a PAW for another US Citizen that was in the emergency room at the Regional hospital. The new parking lot was full and I had to park on the side of the entrance and walk. Don’t forget to register with STEP and the Embassy will have the information and authorization to call someone in time of emergencies.

Next item.

A plumbing problem needs to be fixed in the kitchen. You would not believe the way the kitchen drain was plumbed. I am going to have to get it done right because I am tire of leaks returning.

Next item.

Our 2012 Samsung refrigerator has started to fail. Great timing with a guest here for the next several days.

When I called for service, I was told I needed to email them a copy of the purchase receipt to get it serviced under warranty. Of course the receipt is in hiding, and no where to be found.

I took another approach and went to AudioFoto and asked if they could print off a replacement receipt. A lovely young lady said it would be no problem and fetched it up on the computer and printed for me. Two thumbs up for AudioFoto today!!!

Just another day in paradise.