Tag Archives: Reflectng

Drive and Walk Defensively

I have been thinking about writing this for a while and the Saban’s accident, a while back, moved me to do it. If there was ever a country, where you need to exercise defensive driving skills, Panama is it.

I find Panamanians to be some of the nicest, most courteous, most friendly and most thoughtful people I have ever met. However, when you put them behind the wheel, they are more like AJ Foyt on steroids, after someone had just cut him off in the turn.


Crossing the street is taking your own life in your hands. There are many crosswalks, but crosswalks are interpreted a little different here. Crossing in a crosswalk means you have less chance of being run over. Drivers will not automatically stop for you. There are no “Walk” or “Don’t Walk” lights to help you. Be extremely careful crossing the street, especially if the is a taxi coming withing 50 yards. If you watch most Panamanians, they never trust anyone when they cross the street. Most wait until a car signals that they may cross in front of it. Continue reading Drive and Walk Defensively

To Rambala and Back – Remembered

Back in March of 2007, I took a trip to the Chiriquí Grande area to have a look at some construction work that the US Army was doing in Panama. Today as I was searching for something on the Internet, I stumbled on some videos that were made on a subsequent project of the Army.

The videos are pretty good. They give you an idea of the difficult life that many people in Panama face. And yet, when you see the smiling faces of all the young Panamanians, you realize that it doesn’t take much to make children happy.

Many American’s move to Panama, hoping to find paradise for themselves, without ever thinking about how they might possibly help their new found neighbors. I have a good friend that used to live in Boquete and while he was there, he got involved with a small Indian school. He went every day and made himself useful. He painted. He bought bags of rice and vegetables to help the children have a meal while they were at school. He simply gave of himself.

He didn’t throw money at problems hoping that it would be spent well. He didn’t try to advise the school system on how to make it better. He did it on his own, not wanting any recognition for what he was doing. He just did what was in his power and small budget, but he made a difference.

Many of the children he helped were just like the ones in these videos. His reward was similar to the reward that I am sure each of the army personnel felt by spending time in Panama on this 4 month project.

Here are a series of 8 videos that were taken during that four month project.

Beyond the Horizon (Ep. 1)

Continue reading To Rambala and Back – Remembered

We Never See Ourselves As Others See Us

Today I stopped in to visit the owners of Organic Life, to see if the post I put in had brought them any visitors.  There was a English speaking lady there telling the owner all the things that she liked at Riba Smith in Panama City that he should bring to David.

As I sometimes do, I gave her a card, with the foolish assumption that once and a while there may be something here worth reading. She graciously took it and asked where I lived. I said I lived in David. She replied, “Oh, I live in Boquete” and the tone came across as very condescending. Now maybe I heard her tone wrong, but I don’t think so. The inflection came across that, if I live in David, I can’t have much in my blog of interest to someone that lives in Boquete.

I pass out a fair amount of cards. The reason, I do that, is to get more comments. I believe that more comments bring more factual information about living in Panama to other readers. My opinion may not be the same as others and I am willing to consider their point of view.

I am sure that some people take the card and are a little annoyed and my giving it to them without them asking for it. I understand that. I was in PriceSmart one day and I passed two people talking in English. I offered the gentleman and the lady a card. The gentleman took it and said thanks. The lady rudely said she didn’t want it. I smiled and said it was not a commercial site and wasn’t selling anything (many people think I am going to try to sell them real estate or something). She looked me directly in the eye and said, “I am in a conversation. GOOD BYE”. I apologized for interruption and went on my way.

Now a Panamanian would have take the card, whether he wanted it or not, and said thank you. Rudeness, more often than not, comes from gringos. As I said, I know that some people can get annoyed by my giving them a card. If she thought I was being rude for offering her a card, then maybe she thought I received from her what I deserved.

If there is a point to this post, it is to simply say that everyone needs to have an out of body experience and see themselves as others see them. I include myself in that wisdom. Every time I pass out a card and have a negative experience, I ask myself if I should stop doing it. But after a week goes by, I start thinking that more good comes from people reading CC and putting in their comments, than if they missed the opportunity to tell me in view of the entire world that I am looking at things wrong.