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Entries about panama

Happy Mother's Day

Big waves hit our quiet beach

semi-overcast 85 °F

I know I'm a day or two late sending out Happy Mother's Day messages, but the warm and fuzzy feelings are still here. As an expat living in Panama we get to celebrate Mother's Day two times per year; the North American version which is in May and then the Latin American version which is in December. Since Mother's Day is my wife's favorite holiday, she now gets to double up on it. For this May 10th Mother's Day we joined forty other people and at the BluWater Bistro in Nuevo Gorgona, Panama for an excellent Spanish wine and food paring. We enjoyed some fantastic food and drink with great company. My night was especially over the top when one of the other women guests approached us and said that my wife was the most beautiful woman there. A very nice compliment for Kryss to receive on her favorite holiday. IMG_6997e.jpg

Ten days ago we were warned by the civil defense authorities that no one should go swimming in the ocean and on very specific days to stay off the beach because of some very large waves and strong undercurrents that would be hitting our coastline. Since this is a weather phenomenon the weather guessers can only speculate on the causes. However, the most common explanation has been the "blob" that is along the Pacific coast near Alaska and Baja California. The second supposition has been a large typhoon near New Zealand has changed the water currents. No one has discussed that it might be the cycle of the tides caused by the new moon and the full moon. The waves that hit us were big to our standards, not Hawaii north shore waves, but they were eight to thirty feet above normal. We watched waves crash into neighbor's seawalls and then go over the wall and into their pools. Needless to say the surfers were having great time until the police and lifeguards cleared the beaches and the ocean. IMG_6907.jpg IMG_6901e.jpg

Business continues to grow in the Playa Coronado area. We now have a new beach bar called, "The Tiki Bar", which is on the beach in front of the Bahia Condos in Gorgona. It is about a quarter mile walk from our place and is easy to get to anytime except at high tide. We went to their "soft opening party" all drinks and snacks were free for the first three hours. IMG_6611e.jpg IMG_6876e.jpg IMG_6877e.jpg IMG_6881e.jpg This will probably be a very popular place especially on Thursday and Sunday afternoons for volleyball. On the second day of their opening the big waves hit and washed right up onto their deck, but nothing was damaged. Currently they are open Thursday thru Sunday but plan longer hours when the "tourist" season starts again.

We went to another beach, Punta Chame, with our neighbors a few days ago after all the big wave stuff calmed down. Punta Chame is a little village on the tip of a very narrow peninsula about 35 kilometers from Playa Coronado. Very wide and expansive beaches and no one around.IMG_6960_tonemapped-copye.jpg Near by is John Wayne Island which is named after the famous actor. In his heyday he would come to the island for his R and R. It is currently for sale, and it includes a small dock, a quaint hotel and a couple of fishing boats. Don't know the price but if your interested in owning an island and a hotel that's the place.

We have received our Panamanian Cedula's. This now completes the process for us to be legal permanent residents of Panama. We no longer need to carry our USA passports or copies with us. We are extended all the rights and privileges of a Panamanian citizen except we can't vote nor can we receive their version of social security. In four years if we so desire we can apply to become Panamanian citizens. So with our Cedula's in hand and our Spanish improving daily, hast luego amigos

Posted by rhislop 10:57 Archived in Panama Tagged waves panama coronado casco_viejo mother's_day punta_chame john_wayne_island undercurrent cedula tiki_bar blob blu_water_bistro nuevo_gorgona Comments (2)

The Summit of the Americas

Friends heading north

semi-overcast 83 °F

For the past month Panama has been a buzz regarding the Summit of the Americas, April 9-12, 2015. All of the leaders of the 35 countries in North, Central and Latin America met in Panama City, Panama for two days of international cooperation and friendship. Of the 35 countries in the region, 33 of their leaders (elected or otherwise) showed up. The President of Chile wasn't here, dealing with a union strike and the Prime Minister of Dominica didn't attend.

Panama pulled out all the stops for this event. In Panama City the schools were closed, government offices were closed as were some commercial businesses. Selected highways were either closed or partially shut down for all the motorcades and security vehicles. As an interested outside observer, Panama a country slightly smaller than South Carolina with a population less than Colorado's, did a great job as the national host of this every four year event. There were probably some minor glitches but all in all it was very successful. The next one is in Peru.11149329_8..281077826_n.jpg

Because of this event many Panama City residents escaped to the beaches and the interior of the country. Our normally quiet and very peaceful condominium was completely filled with the absentee owners and some renters. There wasn't an empty spot in our parking lot. They will all start heading back to Panama City later today or early tomorrow morning.

Speaking of leaving, many of our snowbird friends headed back to North America just prior to the beginning of the summit. They wanted to avoid the traffic detours and the congestion at the airport caused by the summit. We will miss all of them, the old friends that come every year and new friends that were here for the first time. Thankfully, we know that we will see them all again. IMG_6289e.jpg

Another issue that Panama has during the dry season is fire. Some are started on purpose to clear a field or to clear away weeds and brush along a roadway. Sometimes the fire hits residential areas and homes are put in jeopardy, the fire in the photo fire burned for about three hours even though the bomberos (firemen) were on sight. IMG_6282e.jpg In addition to the fire hazards of dry season, there is always the possibility of running out of water. One of our favorite restaurants closed for this weekend because it didn't have water. Our buildings have their own water supply and back up generators just for times like these. The other night the power went out in Coronado and for a brief time the town was without electricity...the fun of living abroad. IMG_6442e.jpg IMG_6443e.jpg

We walk the beach practically everyday for an hour or so. Sometimes the walk is uneventful finding a few interesting shells, some beach glass, maybe a sand dollar or two or just watching Tashi jump in and out of the surf. However, some days the beach presents stuff from the sea as the cycle of life continues. We've seen sting rays, some weird looking fish we have no idea what they are, small hammerhead sharks, and other sea life washed ashore. Even though the days might look the same they are always just a little different. IMG_6309e.jpgIMG_6310e.jpgIMG_6312_3..apped-ecopy.jpg

Our neighbor bought a new couch and it was delivered the other day. When it arrived they realized that it won't fit in the elevator. So Panamanian ingenuity kicked in. The couch was raised from the ground floor to the 20th floor, two floors at a time since the rope wasn't very long, thru the "rabbit hole" and eventually into the condo thru a front window. This is a reminder to us to always measure before we buy. IMG_6154e.jpgIMG_6437e.jpg

On the day before Easter we had a beautiful sunrise, a great sunset and then the full "blood" moon rising. I think these images will close out this latest blurb from Panama.IMG_6325e_tonemapped-copy.jpgIMG_6388e.jpgIMG_6425e.jpg Hasta luego amigos

Posted by rhislop 16:26 Archived in Panama Tagged water panama fire shark couch easter sting_ray summit_of_the_americas raul_castro hammerhead dry_season blood_moon Comments (0)

Happy New Year

Happy Birthday Big John

Happy New Year to all. We know we're a little bit late wishing everyone a great new year but the rubber clocks down at the beach keep bouncing around. Finally, on my brother Big John's birthday, there is time for birthday congratulations and new year's cheers!

New Year's Eve at Playa Coronado was once again unbelievable. The fireworks started about 10pm on a very intermittent basis, a few going off every ten minutes or so. At 11:45pm it started in earnest and for at least two and half hours fuego artificales lit up the dark sky. It was an amazing site up and down the beach and in the town fireworks were going off everywhere. The New Year's Eve celebrations are a Panamanian Passion. Panamanian's from all walks of life set off fireworks on NYE. The wealthy will spend hundred's of dollars on them while the working class Panamanian will save all year to buy a $100 display of rockets and starbursts. Everyone gets into the act. From our vantage point on our balcony we watched beautiful explosions, had some adult beverages and enjoyed the company of friends. It was a great way to start the new year. IMG_3908_edited-2e.jpgIMG_3901_edited-2e.jpgIMG_4053_edited-2screene.jpg

The fireworks didn't end on the first of January, there have been two more nights of very cool displays. Bringing in the new year has a real meaning in Panama. By this evening most of the people who live in our building will have gone back to Panama City and the beach will calm down and the night skies will be empty of fireworks...darn!

Between Christmas and New Year's we took a couple of fun day trips. One to Lake Gatun and the Panama Canal, the other to a friend's bed and breakfast in the mountains near Chicos, Panama. The Lake Gatun trip was arranged by a friend who owns Easy Travel Panama. We loaded up in flat bottom boats and motored up the canal and around Lake Gatun. The jungle surrounding the lake is home to lots of interesting wildlife including the Mono TiTi monkeys, inquisitive little primates.IMG_3697-copye.jpg The trip to Chicos was an adventure, once we got off the main roads the need for a 4 X 4 vehicle was very necessary. We didn't leave until after dark and the return trip was almost white knuckles. However, the sunset from the mountain top overlooking the jungle and the distant mountains was worth the trip. IMG_3842_edited-2e.jpg

Our new home/condo is coming along very nicely. Fans have been added to the family room and all the bedrooms. Kryss has picked some beautiful colors for all the rooms. The palette is very beachy, warm and friendly. We've added a smart TV and will pick up a Roku 3 so we can stream from the internet. Also, we looking for a beer-frig, all the necessary comfort features are coming along gradually.

Once again, a belated Happy New Year's wish to everyone and Happy Birthday Big John.

Hasta pronto amigos

Posted by rhislop 08:31 Archived in Panama Tagged monkeys christmas panama canal fireworks new_year playa_coronado chicos mono_titi lake_gatun Comments (1)

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)

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