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Costa del Este
Panama City, Panama 







Donna


Tom


Tom



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May 2018

The rainy season, or as Donna is want to call it - the green season, has arrived.

The first question all our Canadian friends ask is " what about the health care " - then something like "do you feel safe" - invariably one of the questions is - "being a tropical country does it rain a lot during the rainy season".

We never had time to ponder this or ask those questions before coming to Panama or considering Panama. Our first experience was arriving in April of 2006 to check out Panama. We were here 4 days, In that time we experienced the rainy season rain. Or at least we experienced what the rainy season is like in Panama City. There are a variety of zonse in Panama and they each experience the dry and wet season differently.

In Panama City the typical rainy season day starts out gorgeous, warm, sunny and some cloud cover but it could even be blue skies. By noon, the clouds have rolled in, and likely anything from a shower to a deluge has taken place. This can last an hour or two. It is rare when the rain comes and does not leave for a day or two. It does happen but rare and more likely in November than May.

In the interior the rainy season can be almost dry. There are years where they beg for rain.

In the highlands like Boquete there is almost no dry season. It tends to go from damp to downpours. But it is what makes Boquete the garden area of Panama.

So you need to decide what suits your lifestyle. Just like the "heat". One of the other more common questions we get. But that is for another time.

If you are new to Panama or are considering Panama. Get to know it. Get to know the people. Both the Panamanians and the expats.

If you are looking to work in Panama know that it is not easy to find a "job" in the traditional sense as you need a work permit.

Get to know the people by participating. Some join church groups, some social groups like Kiwanis, dive groups, sports or volunteer activities. The point is to join something you enjoy and meet like minded people - expats and locals.

If you are looking for employment or starting a business, join some of the groups like InterNations.

We've been so fortunate to meet and enjoy so many other expats and Panamanians over the 12 years.

We get notes often asking about something to do with Panama - because we encourage people to ask. We've been so fortunate with our move and the people that have helped us we are more than willing to help where we can.

Feel free to ask if you are you just thinking of a vacation in Panama or if you are thinking of making Panama home we'd be happy to point you at some resources or give you some suggestions - we have nothing to sell and nothing to gain except maybe meeting a new friend. We have been really privileged to get to know some great friends during our past 10 years.

If you want, write us if you have questions - we love to help.

We add to the areas of the site like people, sites, and services as our experience with each of them change so you should feel comfortable dealing with any of them.

 

April 2018

Over the past 12 years like many expats we have have said that some things have improved and some things are worse.

The traffic for instance actually falls into both categories. No question Balboa avenue, now the Cinta Costera has improved the traffic flow downtown whereas here in Costa del Este, the traffic has gone from almost no cars to a situation where it is almost impossible to come and go at various times of the day. I can't imagine why the authorities have not chosen to rectify this mess - I know there are locations in Panama that are bad too but there are so many prominent Panamanians that live here that it hard to understand why they have not been screaming.

The other example of this improved and worsening state is the litter. When we first arrive 12 years ago litter was everywhere and no one seemed to care. I remember watching a some young women downtown dressed as office workers standing on a busy street eating some kind of lunch and when they were done they simply threw the containers on the ground with no compunction or thought of this type of act being wrong. I also remember walking along the Paseo del Mar in Costa del Este and it was a sea of plastic swirling around the sidewalk. Today there are trash cans everywhere and people use them. They fill up in no time. So all positive - right! Well not so.

In Costa del Este we have watched for years as trahs runs down our river with every rain fall. So much trash that it built up all along the waters edge of the Paseo del Mar - a two kilometers of waterfront. We never thought it would change. In the past couple of years groups like the Autobaun Society have begun to do weekend clean up sessions to help the waterfowl and they have taken dozens if not more garbage container loads from this area. But every rain fall there is a new batch of trash. 

Within the past year another group has sprung up to work on cleaning the water front on a constant basis. So far they have removed over 22 thousand plastic bags of trash from one side of the Paseo - 22 thousand bags - and yet the river still runs white with plastic when it rains. When will it change? How many generations will it take to make this change? One, two or more. 

We've been so fortunate to meet and enjoy so many other expats and Panamanians over the 12 years.

We love to eat and drink and explore so we make a point of every month getting out as often as we can with friends.

We get notes often asking about something to do with Panama - because we encourage people to ask. We've been so fortunate with our move and the people that have helped us we are more than willing to help where we can.

Feel free to ask if you are you just thinking of a vacation in Panama or if you are thinking of making Panama home we'd be happy to point you at some resources or give you some suggestions - we have nothing to sell and nothing to gain except maybe meeting a new friend. We have been really privileged to get to know some great friends during our past 10 years.

Our area of Costa del Este has just continued to evolve. Not all the growth has great - the traffic in the morning and evening is unbearable. But the upside is all the new services. 

If you want, write us if you have questions - we love to help.

We add to the areas of the site like people, sites, and services as our experience with each of them change so you should feel comfortable dealing with any of them.

 

 

March 2018

We had an old friend visiting from Canada the last couple of weeks. He has been here almost every year since we moved.

Like most visitors, I really enjoy when John comes as it reminds me again why we moved. He so loves the warmth as it is minus 15+ below "back home". He also loves the beaches, the culture, the food, the people and the music. It's just fun to be around someone who really "gets it". Too often I hear from expats how they "hate it here" - "why can't it be like Canada or the USA?

It is not Canada. It is not the USA - and thank goodness. We moved here FROM Canada. Granted the bulk of the reason was the weather - but I admit I like the other perks.

One of our new "must do visits" when John is here is a night in Casco with friends, bar hopping. The first is always the Strangers Club. A bar started by 6 bartenders from the USA. They rotate looking after the Panama bar and it has been fun getting to know some of them. So far we've met Steve, Gabriel and Ulysses. They are all characters.

The new mall finally opened in Costa del Este - Towne Center. We stopped by the other day to check out the menu for a new restaurant - Gobe. An upscale restaurant with what looks like a great menu. Probably will visit in the next couple of weeks.

Went diving for the first time in quite a while. Portobelo is not the greatest visibility all the time, but the water temperature and the quality of dive master  (Rey Sanchez from www.goldenfrogscuba.com ) is worth the visit.

We are well into a routine now 12 years later. We love our life here. Almost every week one or the other of us will make the comment how great it is to be here.  Have there been issues - of course - it is life. But we don't regret one iota.

We've been so fortunate to meet and enjoy so many other expats and Panamanians over the 12 years.

We love to eat and drink and explore so we make a point of every month getting out as often as we can with friends.

We get notes often asking about something to do with Panama - because we encourage people to ask. We've been so fortunate with our move and the people that have helped us we are more than willing to help where we can.

Feel free to ask if you are you just thinking of a vacation in Panama or if you are thinking of making Panama home we'd be happy to point you at some resources or give you some suggestions - we have nothing to sell and nothing to gain except maybe meeting a new friend. We have been really privileged to get to know some great friends during our past 10 years.

Our area of Costa del Este has just continued to evolve. Not all the growth has great - the traffic in the morning and evening is unbearable. But the upside is all the new services. 

If you want, write us if you have questions - we love to help.

We add to the areas of the site like people, sites, and services as our experience with each of them change so you should feel comfortable dealing with any of them.

 

 

February 2018

I was reminded the other day that it had been ages since I posted anything so I thought I would do some updating today.

It was almost 12 years ago that Donna and I were in Akumel Mexico for a very short vacation (a funny story why our business partners decided to pack us up and send us on a weeks paid vacation - but for another time).

We must have been ready. I am sure we must have had similar discussions during our 20 + years of vacationing in Mexico but I really can't say for sure. This time though we must have been ready. When we talked about why we still lived in St. Albert when in reality we only loved it for 2-3 months per year because of the weather something just struck - well - why don't we consider moving to someplace like Akumel?

Funny how such an innocuous question can change your life. If you are ready. And we were obviously.

That vacation we traveled around looking at properties to build or develop and we found two.

We flew home and told our partners - "we are moving to Mexico". They were a little phased I am sure but the only comments outside of "great" and "where" came from one partner that said "before you buy in Mexico get on a plane and check out Panama."

At the time I am not sure I could have found Panama on the map but we did go home and within a short time we flew here to Panama City.

We did all the touristy things in 4 days around the city. The furthest out we got was Miraflores Locks.

On our last evening I remember both of us agreeing "we could live here".

That was April 2006 - by August I was in Panama, I had rented an office, hired two employees and was finalizing the purchase of our now condo.

Donna did all the heavy lifting - she sold the house, the car, all of our belongings, and moved here with Cricket (our pet dog) in October - - six months - start to finish.

We never recommend this to anyone - not because we had any issues or problems - just that we can't believe our luck with everything going so well. If you are considering Panama and don't have to be in the city, take the time and "see" Panama first. 

We are well into a routine now 12 years later. We love our life here. Almost every week one or the other of us will make the comment how great it is to be here.

Have there been issues - of course - it is life. But we don't regret one iota.

We've been so fortunate to meet and enjoy so many other expats and Panamanians over the 12 years.

We love to eat and drink and explore so we make a point of every month getting out as often as we can with friends.

Our last night out was with Rita and Jordan, a couple we've come to really enjoy. We went to the opening night of "Panama - the Musical" a brand new musical written by 3 Canadian expats but with an Panamanian cast and band. What a fun night.

We love our friends visiting - and we have one of our old friends coming from St. Albert just this week. John has been coming to Panama almost every year for more than 10 years.

We still travel, especially Donna with her Gardening Tours - we just got back from visiting our oldest friends, Elaine and Wayne, in Sayulita Mexico. It was a really fun visit and we were reminded why we loved Mexico but we still love coming "home" to Panama.

We get notes often asking about something to do with Panama - because we encourage people to ask. We've been so fortunate with our move and the people that have helped us we are more than willing to help where we can.

Feel free to ask if you are you just thinking of a vacation in Panama or if you are thinking of making Panama home we'd be happy to point you at some resources or give you some suggestions - we have nothing to sell and nothing to gain except maybe meeting a new friend. We have been really privileged to get to know some great friends during our past 10 years.

Our area of Costa del Este has just continued to evolve. Not all the growth has great - the traffic in the morning and evening is unbearable. But the upside is all the new services. 

If you want, write us if you have questions - we love to help.

We add to the areas of the site like people, sites, and services as our experience with each of them change so you should feel comfortable dealing with any of them.

 

 

2017

It has been months since I've updated the site. So many things have taken place since my last note in October.

Panama is still our home - over 11 years since we first visited in April 2006. Little did we know when we arrived for 4 days.

Over those 11 years we've never regretted our move from Alberta Canada.

Our life here is not without some challenges but the bulk of the challenges are because we were not a typical retiring couple. When we moved we opened an office to work with our Canadian company.

Without the company the rest of our time in Panama would have been really quite simple. The company would not be so much of a challenge without the employees. Don't get me wrong, it is not the employees themselves it is the Labor code in Panama. It is so incredibly one sided against employers.

The cost of living has changed dramatically in the 11 years but we still find it a treat not to have to deal with taxes.

We get notes often asking about something to do with Panama - because we encourage people to ask. We've been so fortunate with our move and the people that have helped us we are more than willing to help where we can.

Feel free to ask if you are you just thinking of a vacation in Panama or if you are thinking of making Panama home we'd be happy to point you at some resources or give you some suggestions - we have nothing to sell and nothing to gain except maybe meeting a new friend. We have been really privileged to get to know some great friends during our past 10 years.

Some newsy stuff - while the new 3rd lane was under construction it seemed everyone felt it would be a boondoggle but in the year it has been in use it has proven to be anything but a boondoggle. The size of ships going through this new channel is incredible.

Our area of Costa del Este has just continued to evolve. Not all the growth has great - the traffic in the morning and evening is unbearable. But the upside is all the new services. 

If you want, write us if you have questions - we love to help.

We add to the areas of the site like people, sites, and services as our experience with each of them change so you should feel comfortable dealing with any of them.

 

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Read the comments from the other years

More News  - 2017
More News  - 2015
More News  - 2014
More News  - 2013
More News  - 2012
More News  - 2011
More News  - 2010

More News  - 2009
More News  - 2008 & earlier

 




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