Panama is the Happiest Country, 2nd Year in a Row!

Why Panamanians are so happy

I don’t post a lot but I thought this was worth the time to pound the drum. Long story short is that Panamanians have a “Positive Outlook”. That to me is SO important!

A woman wearing a traditional "pollera" -big one-piece skirt- takes part in a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the declaration of the Panamanian indenpendence in Chorrera, 30 km from Panama City on November 10, 2014. Panama will celebrate 193 years from its independence from Spain next November 28. AFP PHOTO / Rodrigo ARANGUA        (Photo credit should read RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman wearing a traditional “pollera” -big one-piece skirt- takes part in a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the declaration of the Panamanian indenpendence in Chorrera, 30 km from Panama City on November 10, 2014. Panama will celebrate 193 years from its independence from Spain next November 28. AFP PHOTO / Rodrigo ARANGUA (Photo credit should read RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)

I remember listening to a motivational tape that stressed “DO NOT ASSOCIATE WITH NEGATIVE PEOPLES”,  English wasn’t the speaker’s first language but it made the phrase unforgettable to me.

Wondered exactly why I feel so good here in Panama. Being around folks with Positive Outlooks is a BiG reason why!





Photos and more photos for Ma

At Jerry and Jennifers great covered patio area-the best!

At Jerry and Jennifer’s great covered patio area-the best!

Tranquilo, todo bien!

Tranquilo, todo bien!

2 bikers from Poland who stayed with us.

Two bikers from Poland who stayed with us

The 8'x8' pool, a lovely way to cool off on a hot, 95 degree afternoon in David's

The 8’x8′ pool, a lovely way to cool off on a hot, 95 degree afternoon in David’s

Cooling off after a bike ride.

Cooling off after a bike ride.

Wispy pink clouds at sunset

Wispy pink clouds at sunset



My mother, Elizabeth (Ma) up in Portland, Maine, doesn’t get to see the photos I take (ipad issues) SO…I am posting  a few to help catch her up on things I may have spoken of but that she didn’t see. They may or may not be of interest to the casual viewer but here they are anyway.

More photos next post.

Enjoying the moment….



I see why more folks read blogs about becoming an Expat

Dear Friends,

We are doing okay here in David, Panama but also have a Plan B in case we get priced out of our area. We feel so fortunate to have NOT had enough money to retire in the USA,  we have made new friends in our travels and seen wonderous things.

Be not afraid, there is hope.

This movie “Brokeneggsfilm” (link is below)s quite an eye-opener. Watch it if you care to.

Good Luck to All!!!!!!!!!



Services offered to Expats in Boquete/David Area

We rent a house here in David and pay the rent to the owner’s agent and now my friend Ed Horna  On his last visit we sat down and he ran by me some ideas he had to help the expats,both  new arrivals and established ones, with things as simple as translations to providing tours of the area. I thought Ed had a great idea and said I’d be happy to help him.

Wow- the idea of having a Panamanian who spoke good English and Spanish and who would accompany me, translating and explaining things sounded like a dream! I suggested he look into providing rides to and from the David airport for folks who like having a reliable, English-speaking driver. We tossed around some other ideas and Ed came up with some services and pricing. I’m happy to help spread the word that now you have someone here in the David/Boquete area to help navigate the new world that is Panama.

I think his business idea is solid and sure that once people hear about it they will see the value of the services offered. Ed is a great guy and I know he will do his best to help the expat. Ed is Panamanian but spent 10 years in the states, in Washington, learned English and is now back in Panama working with his lawyer wife selling homes and servicing rentals. It is a cliche, this is only the tip of the iceberg, Ed can REALLY help you out in so many ways but this is a good starting place.  Here is his email below:


Hey Joel ,

This is what I was thinking …..

To be able to help and give out better services to the expat I am
offering these services:
Full tour of the city of David/Boquete, up 2 people, 10.00 extra for each person, max 4 people, 75.00 per day.

Included are: All type of advice on how to do things here, where to go, where to shop, what hospital to go, etc , etc .

Of course if someone wants my services for several days we can make a package or special price .

AIRPORT RIDES :  55.00 to the airport (Boquete – David or David- Boquete) up to 2 people .

with 48 hrs notice will be nice .

:  Boquete , Cerro Punta , Caldera Hot Spring , Las Lajas beach or any place they want to go in the Chiriqui Provincia will be 95.00 up 2 people for one day, 10.00 extra per each person, up to 4 people max .

Again, that will included all advance questions and answers.

:  If some one needs assistance with getting their cable or internet hook up, medical appointment or shopping and their Spanish is not so good ……………….15.00 per hour .

PARALEGAL : Having a wife who is an Attorney you learn a lot through the years, we can do just about any legal services and consulting , (Corporations , Immigration , Law suits , Title process, etc , etc )

Any more info please let me know ,

Thanks so much ,


As always, i you have any questions for Ed don’t contact me,
contact Ed at Río Chiriquí <>;


How should I go about finding the right place for me in Panama?

I get some “what/how/where” type of questions and Kris get MANY on her blog. I’ve explained before but rather than repeating I think I’ve got a way that folks can get more suggestions in one place.

Oh, and you will never see a scene like below here in Panama 🙂

001Chris is a blogger friend in Panama City and wrote a good post that is pretty helpful for folks who are wondering where the best place for them. Also included is a list of Panama bloggers and many describe how they approached the decision making process. Here is the link to Chris Power’s Blog.



Great steaks in David-Su Carne re-visited

Dropped by Su Carne which I mentioned in an earlier post and got some stew beef and 2 rib eyes. The rib eyes had increased from $4.25 lb to $4.50 lb due to the new wage law but the quality of the steak was worth the small extra charge. I don’t know if what type of cow the earlier steaks came from but I was told that these new steaks were Angus. The owner also told me that the meat was aged for 15 days in his locker. They looked good and I was looking forward to tasting one. I took them home and put them in the freezer

A few days later I decided to take one rib eye out and see how I liked it. I knew that a wood fire would give me the best flavor so I went into the forest across from the house and brought back enough wood to do the job. I took the steak out of the freezer  to let it get to room temperature since I read that it cooked up better that way. I also put a coat of olive oil on all the surfaces and flavored it with some garlic salt and Nature’s Seasoning. The fire had burned down to coals so I got the steak and proceeded with the grilling.I cooked it for about 6 minutes  before flipping and only a few minutes later removed it from the heat.

At the table the first cut showed me that I had a steak that was more tender than the one I had cooked months earlier. The flavor was excellent and while not quite as tender as some of the steaks I’ve had in the states it was still VERY good and a pleasure to eat. Kris was having fish that night but  agreed that the pieces I gave her were quite good indeed.

I have a link to my earlier post in case the location of Su Carne is of interest.

The owner speaks some English but  called up his brother who speaks great English to let me talk to him and make sure I was getting what I wanted. I handed the phone back to the owner and got what I wanted with no problem.

Oh, by the way, his brother was in the states at the time of the call! Calling the US to get an order straight? Darn good service, I’d say!



List of views from 80+ countries that have visitors to my blog

I thought I’d cut and paste the list of countries and views that is in my summary page. It always is interesting to see what country a blog visitor is from. I’m not surprised at the US and Canadian number of views but I do scratch my head at some of the total view of some of the other countries. Love the different flags!

I thank the viewers wherever they may be from and hope they enjoyed the blog.



Country Views
United States FlagUnited States 7,560
Panama FlagPanama 2,946
Canada FlagCanada 1,942
United Kingdom FlagUnited Kingdom 168
Spain FlagSpain 94
Germany FlagGermany 74
Costa Rica FlagCosta Rica 64
Ecuador FlagEcuador 63
Virgin Islands, U.S. FlagVirgin Islands 60
Mexico FlagMexico 45
Brazil FlagBrazil 41
Australia FlagAustralia 41
Switzerland FlagSwitzerland 36
Belgium FlagBelgium 31
Bahamas FlagBahamas 26
Italy FlagItaly 24
Netherlands FlagNetherlands 24
India FlagIndia 23
Austria FlagAustria 19
Thailand FlagThailand 19
Philippines FlagPhilippines 19
Poland FlagPoland 18
Romania FlagRomania 16
Colombia FlagColombia 16
Barbados FlagBarbados 14
France FlagFrance 13
Guadeloupe FlagGuadeloupe 12
Sweden FlagSweden 10
Pakistan FlagPakistan 9
Nicaragua FlagNicaragua 9
Trinidad and Tobago FlagTrinidad and Tobago 9
Greece FlagGreece 8
South Africa FlagSouth Africa 8
Turkey FlagTurkey 8
Ireland FlagIreland 8
Belize FlagBelize 7
United Arab Emirates FlagUnited Arab Emirates 7
Jamaica FlagJamaica 6
Mauritius FlagMauritius 5
Saudi Arabia FlagSaudi Arabia 5
Russian Federation FlagRussian Federation 4
Haiti FlagHaiti 4
Cambodia FlagCambodia 4
Dominican Republic FlagDominican Republic 4
Hungary FlagHungary 4
Puerto Rico FlagPuerto Rico 3
Venezuela FlagVenezuela 3
Japan FlagJapan 3
Hong Kong FlagHong Kong 3
Bulgaria FlagBulgaria 3
Chile FlagChile 3
Finland FlagFinland 3
Israel FlagIsrael 2
Indonesia FlagIndonesia 2
Kuwait FlagKuwait 2
Saint Lucia FlagSaint Lucia 2
Lebanon FlagLebanon 2
Kenya FlagKenya 2
Sri Lanka FlagSri Lanka 2
Morocco FlagMorocco 2
Czech Republic FlagCzech Republic 2
Argentina FlagArgentina 1
Guyana FlagGuyana 1
Denmark FlagDenmark 1
Croatia FlagCroatia 1
Luxembourg FlagLuxembourg 1
Nigeria FlagNigeria 1
Egypt FlagEgypt 1
Mozambique FlagMozambique 1
Cayman Islands FlagCayman Islands 1
Slovenia FlagSlovenia 1
Fiji FlagFiji 1
Moldova, Republic of FlagMoldova 1
Guatemala FlagGuatemala 1
Ethiopia FlagEthiopia 1
Bermuda FlagBermuda 1
Portugal FlagPortugal 1
Taiwan, Province of China FlagTaiwan 1
Korea, Republic of FlagRepublic of Korea 1
Jordan FlagJordan 1
Peru FlagPeru 1
New Zealand FlagNew Zeala

How long must you stay out of Panama to reset your visa???

This question has many different answers and the most frequent one I’ve heard of lately is  24 hours, from various close friends Holly’s Blog  – Cindy who were kept from re-entering Panama recently. Our last experience was of the “in and out the same day” type and quite unlike our friend’s experiences. And now the local forums have threads regarding the issue and what to do.

So what’s the low down, the skinny? I did some internet research and found precious little to go on until I stumbled onto an old and interesting (to me) article from Don Winner at  The Panama Guide.


From Don Winner, circa 2011 entitled : The Panama Perpetual Tourist Border Hop Two Step – Separating Fact From Fiction

Snap Quiz (No Cheating…) How long do you have to stay in Costa Rica when you exit the country in order to reset your tourist visa status? Almost everyone is going to say “72 hours” – because that has become standard practice. Most of the people who go across the border stay out of Panama for at least 72 hours. Well, I checked the lawit’s not in there. No where is there any requirement to remain out of Panama for 72 hours. And in addition there is no time period specified at all, be it 72, 48, or 24 hours. This was a complete and total shock to me. I was sure I “knew” this one. Nope, wrong, it’s not there.”…….Panamanian authorities can do whatever they hell they want at practically any time.”

More from the same article….

“Immigration Is Heavy On “Common Practice” I bounced all of this off of Carlos Neuman, a long time friend of mine and an attorney with the Panama Relocation Attorneys. He explained that Immigration is “heavy on common practice.” He explained how they always require some documents when processing Pensionado (retiree) visas, for example, that are not required in the law. He said the 72 hour waiting period in Costa Rica is one of those things have become a “common practice” for immigration border inspectors, and all it would take is for a single inspector to decide that you’re not doing the right thing, and he can refuse entry. So just because something is not specifically in the law, does not mean it won’t come up.


The article was written in 2011. That was then, this is now….What should a person do???? I think I’ve figured out the best plan for us………………

“Go with the flow.” Relax, smile, don’t fight City Hall. Yup, that’ll work for us!

Kris and I are planning to stay a night or two in Costa Rica at a nice little place that a friend recommended. That way we make the inspectors happy and get a mini vacation at the same time! That is, unless the inspectors decide to change the time limit requirement again. I just remember to smile and keep on saying, “This is Panama”!!!

If you are going to make the hop soon, let me know how things worked out for you.  And good luck!



Scorpion number 2, this time IN the house !

I have been told that some folks are disturbed by my posts on Scorpions, that bad memories are brought back. I’m sorry you had a bad experience and I do understand that many people don’t like bugs or pictures of bugs, but there are many who are concerned and my posting may save someone from getting stung. If you don’t like the post then move on or delete it.

Last evening (June 20, 2013) around 11:30 I glanced away from my monitor and saw on the floor under the table a scorpion, crawling toward my wife’s feet on the other side.083

“MOVE YOUR FEET, MOVE YOUR FEET!” was all I was able to come up with. I then mentioned the word scorpion but Kris had already spotted it and had pushed her chair a safe distance away and was grabbing her camera.086           Kris got a flashlight and took this shot.

I grabbed the video camera and took photos and a video of the scorpion from where Kris was sitting.

It didn’t move until I encouraged it with my foot, then it took of towards my side of the table. I shut the camera off, went and got a jar, put it down on top of the scorpion. Then I slid a stiff 4×6 recipe cars under the jar, lifted and turned the jar upright and put a book on top. 090

This intruder is smaller than the one that crawled up my arm but I still don’t think that I would like to get stung by it. Here are the two invaders side by side.089 The one on the right is the one caught in the house. I made a short video of it in the jar.

The legs move kind of fast, don’t they?

I want to thank all the people for their comments and advice on scorpions. It seems that one never can predict when a scorpion will be seen.

The main takeaway was that scorpions can be found anywhere and a person should keep this in mind when picking things up off the ground, inside and outside the house.

I hope this is the last time one gets our attention but I won’t be too surprised if we do get another visitor.

As always, be careful.



Back in the USA- Austin, Texas & Santa Rosa, California

Kris and i have been having a great time here in the states visiting the kids. One daughter graduated from the UT Doctorate Program in Physics, we were so happy and proud to be able to be there when she received her diploma. She and her husband will soon be leaving for the Seattle to start work for Microsoft. We had a great time in Austin and can’t wait to visit the kids in Seattle later this year.  And when we visit them it will give us a good excuse to take an Alaskan Cruise, (Seattle being so close to Alaska it just makes sense, right?) ……………….

From Austin we flew up to San Francisco where our son-in-law picked us up and whisked away to Santa Rosa to our other daughter and new grandson.  it was great to see the brand new baby and his beautiful mother and beaming father. M1060009

Camden is their first child and we will try to help out with the house and baby while mommy gets stronger and daddy gets some sleep.

Here is Kris and Camden, born on May 5th.M1070001

Santa Rosa is very beautiful, the weather is cool for us Davidians, it’s 66F now at 6pm and will dip to 44F tonight. We miss David and our friends but will certainly enjoy this wonderful time with family.  We have a lots of exciting  things coming up and will keep posting as we go so folks can see what we’re up to.

We might be up to something in David but I can’t tell you what it is now and possibly jinx it……….