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Our first year

We arrive 6:26:08

One year ago today we arrived in Panama to begin our new adventure and for the most part it's lived up to our expectations. In broad terms it's been both exciting and a challenge, with new customs and the language leading the excitement and challenge categories.

Some highlights:
  • We've made new friends, missed old ones.
  • Are amazed at the similarities between St. Croix and Panama, and how much easier our new life is because of our "island life" experience.
  • We've made the transition to both being retired and so far have survived.
  • The wonderful diversity of this country.
  • Dinning out - at affordable prices.
  • Shopping - remember we moved from a small island.
  • Going to the National Theater.
  • Talking to visitors in Casco Viejo.
  • Watching (and slowly becoming a part of) everyday life in our new neighborhood.
  • Jane's book exchange is a big hit.
  • And lastly, taxi drivers, ice cream and walking at night in Casco.

Folk dancers National Theater Concert

On the practical side:

  • Received our permanent visa, took us nine months - way too long.
  • Opened a local bank account in one day - unheard of.
  • Found "our place" in Panama
  • Still trying to get our crate shipped from St. Croix.
  • Survived without a car.
  • Can (unfortunately) vouch for the quality of the local health care system.
  • Progress on learning Spanish has been painfully slow.

What's not to like:
  • Not much - but trash, liter and noise are areas that Panama definitely needs to work on.
  • Poverty - which, sadly, affects too many Panamanians.

We obviously don't know what the next year will bring, but . . . it's almost certain to be exciting, challenging and fun. Hope you continue to tag along - or, better yet, visit us in Panama for your next adventure. Take care.

TWITS 6/21/09

La Fiesta de la Música

Fiesta de la Musica

Yesterday Casco Viejo played host to the Fiesta de la Música, a festival of music born in France in 1982 and currently celebrated in over 100 countries around the world. In Panama it's primary sponsor is the French government through it's embassy. This was the third year for the festival in Casco Viejo and it was a BIG event. Four outdoors stages. two indoor venues and a total of thirty seven performances. Things started to happen around five p.m. (not bad, considering it was scheduled to start at four o'clock) and it was still going when Wags and I went out for our midnight walk. Read More...

TWITS 6/13/09

Rainy Season

Rain Day

In Panama we have two seasons, dry and rainy, for some reason are also called winter and summer - which to confuse things further are the opposite of the seasons in North America. What this all really means is that it rains more during certain months of the year, less during others. Supposedly rainy season starts in May - it really starts about when it wants and ends about the same way - when it stops. So, one of the first things you realize after being here awhile is don't try and make plans around what Mother Nature might do. Read More...

TWITS are here

TWITS logo

Not to be confused with twitting on Twitter, I'm not into that, or the humorous children's book written by Roald Dahl - but rather a quick video about our past week in Panama. Read More...

"Fast" in Panama

September Cinta Costera
Although the Red Devil and taxi drivers (when not stuck in a traffic jam) do their best to imitate a NASCA or Indy driver with respect to speed, little else in this country can be associated with the word "fast". The "mañana mindset" (nothing is really worth rushing) is Panama personified, especially with anything government related. (Remember our eight month visa saga.) So it's a real shocker when you see a government project moving along at a brisk pace and almost on schedule. That's happening with the Cinta Costera - the expansion of Avenida Balboa in Panama City. This project is BIG (behind only the Panama Canal expansion), complicated and the current administration wanted it done before they leave on July 1 - they almost made it happen. Read More...
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