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Merry Christmas

Feliz Navidad

sunny 85 °F

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, to everyone. May the joy of the Christmas season be with you, no matter where you are and we wish you Peace, Love and Happiness for the New Year. large_Merry-Chri..rom-Panamae.jpg

Posted by rhislop 05:05 Archived in Panama Tagged love panama happiness peace merry_christmas Comments (2)

Rubber clocks

Manana and time is flying

sunny 85 °F

It's been over a month since we've posted on the blog. Sorry for the time lapse but even though the clocks in Panama are rubber (being flexible with time) our days have been flying by. During previous trips to Panama we learned that manana didn't mean tomorrow, it meant just not today. Well, time has been moving very fast for us during the last five weeks. Not only did we buy a car, get Panama drivers licenses, we bought a condo, sub-let our leased condo, and have been planning the upgrading of our new home.

First the car, we got a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe that only had 30K miles on it. The owner had taken very good care of the car and offered it for sale on Craig's List Panama. It took us a couple of weeks to meet and arrange the sale but it all worked out. Then we had the bureaucratic hassle of the license plate. Since the car was originally purchased in Panama City the plates are from PC. The plates stay with the car for the life of the car. So the car is registered in the city until it's renewal time and then we'll register it in our district of Chame. (Much like being registered with your local county clerk). Additionally, while we were getting the car squared away we got the required insurance, our drivers licenses and met the couple that would eventually sell us their condo.

Currently we are living in unit 22B of the Coronado Country Club, Tower 200. About three weeks ago we met the owners of 21A, same building, just down one floor and the unit on the west side versus the east side. There are only two units per floor A and B. After a brief introductory chat we all went on our way. The next day we met again and they said that they had decided to sell their unit and would we be interested in buying it. Of course, we're always interested, so we took a look. It was beautiful, move in ready, turnkey, well cared for, never rented, original owners and the unit has it's own garage (a rare commodity in these parts). After a second lengthy visit to the condo, discussions with the owners and a night to sleep on it, we made them an offer. We'll be moving in to our new home in less than two weeks. The interior designer in Kryss is already working on new paint colors, ceiling fans, second beer refrigerator, large screen TV and new balcony/patio furniture. Did I say it was move in ready, those of you who know Kryss, she is adding her own special touch. It is larger in square footage than our house in Fruita, CO. Three bedrooms, each with their own bath, the master is so large we could have two king size beds in it. Very modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances with lots (mega) cabinet space, designer lighting throughout, a laundry room and maid's quarters. The balcony over looks the pool area, the Pacific ocean and the mountains. Needless to say, incredible views and room for company. Pictures will becoming after the first of the year.

Those of you that are Tashi fans rest assured she is having a blast. She like the leased condo but loves the new one. She hasn't picked her exact spot on the couch but she's looking it over. Also, she is enjoying the beach.IMG_9687e_edited-2.jpg She's made some friends on the beach, Slovaki a mini golden doodle (might be related somewhere along the line)IMG_3422e.jpg and Harley a rescued Panama brown dog (all the homeless dogs in Panama look like Harley). Also, she is just starting to relate to two blonde huskies, Rhett and Scarlet, they are still on a lease at the beach but they have fun sniffing.rhett_scarlett_tashi.jpg After coming back from the beach and splashing in the Pacific she suns herself on the balcony, drying off and resting. Being Tashi in Panama is a good thing.

We had our first visitors during all this buying and chasing the bureaucratic maze. It was no problem, the Hamersky's from Colorado came to visit and hang out by the pool. Working on their tans, we took a few breaks to visit some place around Panama. We went to El Valle for the farmer's market and lunch inside an extinct volcano. El Valle is in the mountains about thirty minutes from our beach community, an easy drive and a definite change of scenery. While they were here another couple from Denver, the Jeff's, arrived and we spent an evening on our balcony watching a Pacific storm light up the night sky. If you look closely you can see some lightning in the background of the picture.IMG_3287e_edited-2.jpg It was better then the TV, the movies or YouTube. There was no popcorn but a few adult beverage were made available.

Christmas is rapidly approaching and the Panamanians are buying Christmas trees, tree lights, inflatable Santa's, and all the other Christmas paraphernalia. Panama_Chirstmas_trees.jpgHowever, there are a few differences, no snow, no ice, no cold weather and no air traffic delays because of inclement weather. We'll be sending out a Christmas message but for now Feliz Navidad. All is good in Panama, come see us. Hasta pronto amigos.

Posted by rhislop 06:48 Archived in Panama Tagged christmas panama harley denver lightning condo tashi el_valle feliz_navidad playa_coronado panamanians rhett scarlett coronado_country_club Comments (1)

Rainy Season

There is still sun out there.

rain 74 °F

We had been told that Panama has two seasons; Rainy and Sunny or Wet and Dry, take your pick they're both the same. I prefer rainy and sunny because on many of the rainy days it is still sunny and pleasant. IMG_2033e_edited-1.jpgIMG_2013e_edited-2-copy.jpgToday, however is a different story, it is wet, gray, damp, cool and more rain. Really, I shouldn't be complaining since my SIL and BIL in Aurora, CO have snow and a chilling 1degree Fahrenheit and many of our friends in North America are getting clobbered by the first winter storm. So, we are inside wearing shorts and golf shirts vs. the normal swimsuit and t-shirts.

Last week was Panama's Independence Days celebration. November 3-5 and 10 are the actual holidays for Panamanian workers. The days vary because when independence was first realized from Spain and the Columbia different areas of country got the word at different times, thus the different days. The last of the independence days will be November 28th. Our Panamanian neighbors spent most of weekend celebrating with their families at the beach, the weather was great! About a mile from our residence there is a huge open field with narrow dirt roads leading up to the field. That was the place all the young rockers and salsa fans spent every night during the holiday. The music and partying would start at about midnight and stop when the sun came up around 6am. The last night, the AM of the 5th, the party got so loud that it woke me up. I sat on our balcony watched the activities and almost like vampires as the sun started to crack the horizon seventy-five to one hundred cars loaded up and headed home.

We had another cool experience last week, the arrival of the full moon. Our balcony was a perfect place for one of my best, in my humble opinion, moon photographs reflecting over the Pacific. Using a tripod, a shutter remote control, a 500mm lens and a bunch of experimenting the image was captured for perpetuity. IMG_2173e_edited-4.jpg The cloudless sky was perfect for the rising moon but as soon as the moon got to ten o'clock the clouds floated around and in front of the moon ending the perfectly clear night.

Two nights prior to the full moon and during the Independence Days celebrations a very cool rain, lightning and thunderstorm rolled into the area. There were no fuego artificiales because of the storm. However, Mother Nature provided an excellent show. We had lightning strikes as near as two miles and as far away as twenty. Using my AEO photography lightning tracker a bunch of very cool images were captured. IMG_1950e_edited-1.jpgIMG_1932e_edited-2.jpgIMG_1914e_edited-1.jpg

We've found an SUV that seems to meet our criteria and hopefully in a few days we'll be driving it and return the rental. More details on that when the deal is done. Also, next week we're off to Panama City and the American Embassy to get our Panama drivers licenses. Something new and different every day. Hasta pronto amigos.

Posted by rhislop 11:03 Archived in Panama Tagged sunset beach sunrise clouds holiday panama cool sunny dry wet warm lightning damp gray coronado suv embassy t-shirts swimsuit independence_day drivers_license aeo_photography Comments (1)

Settling In

Taking care of business

storm 78 °F

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The process of getting your Pensionado Visa is only the beginning of all the necessary paperwork to be completed to live in Panama. Our passports were returned to us on Friday with a multiple entry visa stamps which makes it possible for us to come and go from here without having to exit the country every six months for a new visa.

Additionally, we opened a bank account in Coronado, Panama. This was an interesting process that took two and a half hours. The banks ask as many if not more questions than the Immigration officials, take your money to open the account and then charge you for the pleasure of banking with them. Depending on the amount of money in your account the banks charge anywhere from a $1 to $3 dollars per month to insure your money against theft, fraud or stolen credit card. All this with a smile and a fat hand shake.

The next bureaucratic challenge will be getting our drivers licenses. Maybe in a couple of weeks we'll face that event. We're told it usually takes two or three days to get it completed. We're still looking for a car to buy, nothing has landed on our radar yet, but we're still looking.

Most of the pictures we've posted have been from our deck looking out into the Pacific Ocean. However, that is only half the story. To the north (out our front door) are the mountains and the jungle. It's easy to overlook the beauty of the mountains when everyday you get to see the ocean but they are equally as beautiful. Because we are still in the rainy season, until the end of November, the jungles are very lush and green. IMG_9707_8..ed_edited-1.jpg

Tashi has really adapted to the Panama life style. The morning walks on the beach are probably her favorite. She loves chasing her ball, running after the birds that always get away, and lately running into the surf. We take her off leash once we get to the beach and she races down to the water sticks her nose in the water and then races back to us. She's still under "house quarantine" for another ten days so we have to be careful about her contact with other dogs.IMG_9687e_edited-1.jpg Some days when we walk the beach we head east toward Gorgona, a small village about a mile and a half down the beach. There is a fish market right on the beach where we can pick up fresh fish at a very reasonable price. The last visit we purchased a very tasty "corvina" Panama's Sea Bass.IMG_9751e.jpg

On Thursday morning around 4am another lightning and thunderstorm rolled in from the Pacific. The lightning display was awesome and as the sun started to lighten the sky the black gave way to blue which made for some interesting photographs. IMG_1683e_edited-2.jpg

Posted by rhislop 08:45 Archived in Panama Tagged mountains beach jungle panama lightning thunderstorm banks immigration coronado drivers_license corvina pargo sea_bass Comments (3)

Testing the waters

Immigration, the beach, and other stuff

sunny 83 °F

Prior to coming to Panama for this extended stay we started the necessary paperwork to obtain a Pensionado Visa. This would give us retiree discounts on almost every purchase except booze and groceries. Additionally, there are special lines for retirees so they can go into the theatre first, get on the bus first, etc. However, to get one of these visas you must obtain a clean FBI report, have guaranteed monthly income of at least $1200 (for the two of us) and be in good health. We completed all the forms, obtained the necessary apostles (an internationally recognized notary) and submitted them to our representative in Panama. IMG_9814e.jpgLast week we had our first of two face to face meetings with Panama Immigration. Typical government bureaucracy; long lines, but we were in the retiree line so it was much shorter, paperwork at one window, photographs and fingerprints at another. We were in and out in 2.5 hours. Yesterday we went back for our second visit to pick up our temporary card and in about two months we will receive our permanent Pensionado card. Along with this we got a multiple entry visa which will enable us to come and go in Panama without being concerned leaving the country every six months so we don't overstay our current tourist visa. Roy Canon, an American ex-pat, that lives here and is fluent in Spanish was our paper work killer. He helped us get through the immigration process with easy. We would recommend his services to anyone interested in living in Panama whether full time or part time. We got everything completed in one week, we have friends here that have paid Panamanian Lawyers thousands of dollars and are still waiting on their visa over a year later.

Even though this time of year is considered the rainy season we have only had one day of hard all day rain. We've seen micro bursts in the mountains and out in the ocean but nothing of any consequence in our neighborhood. At night we've seen storms five or six miles out in the ocean with lightning but the storms didn't move inland. However, three nights ago a storm rolled in from the Pacific that really gave us a lightning and rain show. Sometimes the lightning was so strong when it hit it was almost like daylight and the rain coming down in buckets. We'll probably have a few more nights like that one.IMG_9620e_edited-1.jpgIMG_9619e_edited-1.jpg

On Monday, Kryss and three other ladies went to Penenome, Panama to visit two orphanages. Two of the ladies had been collecting donations and supplies for the orphanages. They had purchased clothes, diapers, toys, and personal items for the babies and the pregnant mothers waiting to deliver their baby's. Kryss said it was a very sad situation where babies were waiting to have babies. All the pregnant girls were 13-14 years of age and had been raped or abused by a father, uncle, brother or other close family member. This depressing situation is something that is an ongoing and difficult to stop. Maybe over time this is something we can help change.

Next on our agenda a Panama bank account, a driver's license and buy a car. All of this is part of the fun living at the beach in a foreign country. IMG_9813e_edited-1.jpg

Posted by rhislop 13:30 Archived in Panama Tagged rain storm panama visa canon coronado orphanages coronado_beach pensionado retiree roy_canon penenome Comments (2)

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