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Panama Politics

Ricardo Martinelli, Panama's newly elected president, has been very busy during his first three weeks in office. Most people seem to like what he's doing and just hope he can keep it up. So far:
  • He's announced he will not accept his presidential salary, but will have it sent directly to several non-profits for their use in improving education and health care for the poor. Not a move you'd normally expect from a Central or South American president.
  • He gave the police a 25% raise. Now the base pay for a police officer in Panama is a whopping $6000 a YEAR! At least it's a start.
  • He's taken back a couple of government owned properties where developers had failed to pay the required government fees for use of the land. This was a very BIG DEAL because it gives some hope that the business as usual practice (either not paying concession fees or pay someone under the table) employed by the well connected in Panama may at least slow down.
  • The electrical rates have been reduced by 10%
  • Instituted a new program to pay a $100 monthly check to any Panamanian who is both over 70 years of age and who is not receiving any other kind of monthly pension or payment. Yep, that's $100 a MONTH - suddenly "fixed income" has a new reality.

A dog's life


Since we've been in Panama Jane has been very picky about the quality of veterinary care available to Wags. She even hired a taxi for a day for an "inspection tour" of the various options available in the city, after being less than thrilled with our original vet. Based on some recommendations and her "search" results she settled on Dr. Sandra at "Cats and Dogs" and she has been pleased. It even turned out that Dr. Sandra makes house calls!

at the vet   Cats and Dogs   House call

Twit 7/18/09

Very busy week

Don returned to Virginia yesterday after a good round of touring that kept us busy since his arrival last Monday. We enjoyed his visit and had a fun week doing the "tourist" thing. Earlier in the week we hit the canal, Panama Viejo, the causeway and the Smithsonian's Nature Center.

Miraflores Panama Canal     Causeway Restaurant
Don Punta Culebra     From Punta Culebra
Then . . . . . . . . Read More...

First House Guest

On Monday a good friend of many years flew in from Roanoke VA, for a week. Don and I had worked together in Charlotte and St. Croix and rode our motorcycles together - back in the old days. Yesterday we went out to the Panama Canal, specifically the Miraflores locks - toured the very interesting museum and watched a couple of ships pass through the locks. We've, of course, seen this before - but it's still an impressive operation. After a couple of hours at the visitors center we headed for a late lunch at the Gamboa Resort's waterside restaurant - very good meal, fine service and a great setting. Next stop, Albrook Mall for ice cream - then back to Casco. Don and I went out at 9 P.M. to a new ceviche bar on Plaza Bolivar for at late night snack and beer. Nice end to a very full day - this tourist stuff sure is hard work.

Miraflores   Panama Canal Miraflores   Ship at Miraflores


Bump in the night

Last night just before 2 A.M. we were awakened by a 6.0 magnitude earthquake - enough shaking to wake us up, but otherwise uneventful, as we went right back to sleep. It's center was about 60 miles Northeast of Panama City, off the coast in the Caribbean. Haven't heard of any damage - but it was interesting, for us, in that we experienced frequent earthquakes in the USVI but never anything this strong.

Much more exciting - the afternoon shower (downpour) and wind (thought we were back in St. Croix during a tropical storm) that had us scurrying around the apartment trying to keep the water out and cleaning up the mess.

Take care.

Wild Wild West


The normal bustle in Casco Viejo was interrupted this morning when we heard a commotion outside our window. We looked and were surprised to see that the Wild Wild West had come to town. Stopping traffic this galloping group was attracting a lot of attention. I even thought I saw Roy Rogers as they disappeared around the corner - probably just my imagination.

Jane (I was eating breakfast) finally caught up with the posse for a couple of pictures at a watering hole over at Plaza Bolivar. Read More...

Walking the Cinta Costera

We took our first walk along the park portion of nearly completed Cinta Costera project this afternoon. Pretty nice, and lots of people were out enjoying this new green space. Hope they install more trash receptacles (could happen, it's not finished) and a fenced doggie park sure would be nice - just wishful thinking. Overall, it's a vast improvement over what was there and will make our walks to the city much more enjoyable.
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