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.

Later,

j

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

Our Cost of Living in David, Panama – September 2013

Hi- Kris usually posts our cost of living on her blog and since she is quite busy with all her interests she asked if I would put up a post. “Sure”, I said, and now here it is.

The accounting for September is as follows:

TOTAL $2316.39

Basics:

Rent– $385 Fixed, includes trash and water.

Cable/internet was $59.06

Electricity-$31.59   This is probably the last low bill, I bought a split LG air conditioner  and had it installed in our bedroom. I remembered the house being pretty intolerable (95 INSIDE!) last summer (December15-April 15) and bit the bullet and bought one on sale for $635 installed. It’s not being used much but will be soon. I also painted our metal roof with white silicone paint (Lanco brand) and that dropped the temperature from 127 to 104.

Food- $288   This is in line with what we paid previously. We make nearly all our meals and only eat out once or twice a month.

Car fuel– $34.35  The Hyundai Atos gets about 35-40mpg and we don’t use it much.

Car yearly inspection/tag- $22 Somehow less than the other car

Miscellaneous food– Beer, alcohol, chips,bacon, etc at PriceSmart- $91

Household– $1441 – Some big ticket items ran this up: $635 for an Air Conditioner, $278 for a gas weed eater, $140 for roof paint,  a power washer for $171- and then there were things like wall paint ($65), plastic dresser, paste wax, caulking gun and caulking, etc. It all adds up!

We could have spent less than $1000-Rent, food, electric bill, cable/internet, car gas/tags, liquor/chips/snacks came to $892– I really didn’t HAVE to buy all that other stuff but chose to for comfort, convenience, or because we just wanted to. We find the cost of living to be FAR cheaper than we were paying in Sarasota, Florida where we last lived. We feel like we are eating healthier with all the affordable fresh food that is available.

If you were curious about our cost of living now you know.

Later,

j

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.

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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!

Later,

j

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.

Later,

j

Something’s crawling up my arm! Scorpions in Panama!

I’m very happy that I didn’t have to be taken to the hospital last night. I have a little story to tell you…….

It was dark, very dark, before our neighbor, Ama, returned to her home across the street from our house. Kris and I were waiting to give her three boxes of clothing, books and other items that had been on our porch for a month or more.  I had washed some blankets that were musty smelling and had rummaged around in the boxes during the daylight hours and had seen nothing unusual. We just wanted to get the boxes to Ama and out of the weather.

“Hello, Kris?” Ama called out. Kris got up and greeted her. We proceeded to get the boxes, Ama taking the first one, Kris the next, leaving the one the bottom for me. It was heavy and Kris offered to take it to spare my back, I said thanks, but that I was ok with it.

Lucky for her I didn’t take her up on switching boxes!

In less than a minute we were at Ama’s  gate. Ama’s son unlocked it and soon we were putting down the boxes on her porch. Ama in front of me and was first to put her box down on the porch. Kris was directly behind me waiting when I felt something on my left wrist, something big, crawling up the outside of my arm.

“SOMETHING IS CRAWLING ON MY ARM, A BIG BUG!’, I shouted out without looking to see what it was.  It was very dark outside Ama’s porch but in the dim light coming through the dining room window I saw a shape I was not prepared to see, the distinct image of a scorpion, slowly crawling up my forearm. Somehow I was able to get my right hand over and flicked off what originally had felt like a large beetle or Palmetto bug. After much shouting the outside porch light came on and in the bright light we saw the creature lying motionless in between two large rocks.

Ama took off her shoe and whacked it a few times, and not thinking the shoe was enough, her son got a very large rock and brought it down twice then lifted it to see what was left of the critter. I must say that I ready to see a smooshed mess but the scorpion was quite intact but not moving, and apparently lifeless. Realizing that it could resurrect itself I got a postcard from one of the boxes and slid it under the body and lifted it up and took it home to photograph. Here are the photos I took. M1290013 M1290014 M1290016 M1290012

I left one photo for last-this is where the scorpion was when I flicked it off. I have somewhat hairy arms and maybe that helped me from getting stung, I don’t know. I’m just REALLY happy NOT to have felt this bad boy’s sting!!!!

M1290015

Are there scorpions in Panama? Apparently at least one (now one less).

Uh, YES,  I WILL be more careful when picking up things outside and inside too.

Safe travels.

Later,

Joel

Re-visiting the Cost of Living in David, Panama

My wife Kris tells me that she gets inquiries concerning the prices and cost of living here in David every day from her blog, The Panama Adventure. I sometimes read on other blogs that someone says that it is as expensive in Panama as in the U.S.  That may be so for where they lived, but compared to Sarasota, Florida we are paying SO much less for food and housing. Granted, our house in Sarasota was bigger, nicer and had whole house a/c but I sure paid much more for it. The mortgage was $1100 @ month, PITI, electricity ran about $150, water $100, cable/internet $115, total of somewhere around $1500+-.023

Our rental house here is smaller, no A/C and not quite as nice, but quite acceptable for us. $385 pays the rent. Landlord pays the water (8 bucks a month). Electric runs $45+-, cable/internet is $54, gas $5. The total is somewhere around $450+-.

Sooooo, for starters it’s Sarasota $1500 vs Panama $450 for housing/basics. I think you can see why we feel like Panama is cheaper than Sarasota. And I haven’t even included car insurance, cell phone, or food.

In Sarasota we spent about $600-800 for food, car insurance was $125, cell phone $150. In David food is around $400+-, car insurance is $xx, cell phones and Skype about $20.  I’m not going to get specific, it’s broken down in more detail here Cost of Living.

Sarasota living was costing us about $100 a day, or $3000 a month.

David living costs us $38 a day, or $1100 a month.  Much more affordable!

I like that my monthly Social Security check pretty much covers the bills. Savings and investments provide a safety net. Kris will be eligible for Social Security next year.

Both Kris and I have been fortunate to have been brought up by parents who experienced the Great Depression and taught us the value of thriftiness and self sufficiency. But for us the great kicker is that we are eating so well, with  fresh fruit and veggies available YEAR ROUND, all while paying FAR less than we did in Sarasota or in Santa Rosa, California. The veggies were great as was the rest of the food but MUCH more expensive.

I don’t know what food costs are where you live, but if you are in the USA and are wondering if you can stretch your housing and food dollar here in Panama, you may just be right!

Later,

j

PS Kris and I say Hi to the folks from Denham Springs LA who will come to our area in August to see for themselves what it’s like here. Don’t take my word or anyone else’s, come here and see for yourself.

*Leaving the USA for David, Panama – I’m going home*

We’ve had a wonderful three weeks visiting kids here in the states but now it’s time to go home. Home. It feels a little strange to say that I’m going home from the USA to David, Panama-but that’s what it feels like, home. I guess that I’ve grown quite comfortable and fond of my chosen city in Panama, David. Don’t get me wrong, Austin and Santa Rosa are great places to live however I like the slower pace of David for this time in my life. I’m old.

Panama is a better fit than Sarasota, Austin or Santa Rosa for us if we want to live within our budget and still enjoy a few things . True, David doesn’t have scores of fancy eating places or things to do like here in the states. But I don’t need all that, the fun for me is that David is growing, I can see and feel it – David is “getting there”, wherever “there” is. David is growing and I can see potential everywhere I look. I guess it’s a lot like watching a child grow and go on to bigger and better things – David is growing and, IMHO, improving. There is a very positive vibe in David that I find that very encouraging and exciting, and I want to be part of it.

I’ll be back at home on Sunday. The weather has cooled off since we left, even Portland, Maine where my mother lives will be hotter than David on Saturday. It is dry and brown here in Santa Rosa, the rain has probably greened David up a lot in three weeks. I’ve gotten used to the cool weather here and will have to get out of these long-sleeved shirts and jeans and back into my shorts.

I think I can deal with that:-)104_2888

It’ll be good just to be home.

Later,

j

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……….

Later,

j

Raquel’s Ark- Animal Rescue in Volcan

Kris and I had always wanted to visit “Raquel’s Ark”  in Volcan. I first found Raquel’s posts on Gringos in David where she has often mentioned that people are welcome to visit and see the various animals. Raquel says “I have an organization called Raquel’s Ark that was set up to help injured or abused wildlife of Panama.  I am located in the mountains of Panama near the Costa Rica border.  I hope to expand to help as many animals that I can.  Presently I have owls, tucans, ferrots, kinkajous, raccoon, coatimundi, neque and two-toed sloths.  To support my project I have to find work.”

Raquel bought the land 10 years ago and little by little she added many areas designed to house the animals. The Ark is a work in progress that Raquel self-finances from her Oracle consulting outside of Panama. Volunteers take care of the animals while she is off making money for the next round of expenses.

We found the place without too much difficulty, parked the car, and within minutes after meeting Raquel we both were given a sloth (mother and child) to hold (actually, they hug you more than you hold them).

After putting them in a short tree we went in back to the caged area where most of the animals are kept.

Raquel took out many of the “safe” animals and answered our many important questions such as “does it bite?”.

It was great to Meet Raquel and have her give us the tour and answer our many questions. What she has done deserves recognition, the concept of the Ark started as a dream and now many animals benefit from what is now the reality. Kris and I will never forget getting to see these beautiful animals up close and even get to touch and hold them.

Her devotion to the welfare and happiness of the animals was obvious and touching. Our visit was really special, I encourage everyone to take the time to visit Volcan and Raquel’s Ark.

Here is a simple map with directions from Davidark

Make the trip, you might even get to have a sloth hug you!!!

Later,

j

*Rio David-The David River and The Fisherman-Photos and Video*

At the other side of the woods is a path that leads down to Rio David. It’s about a 15 minute walk, and the payoff is the beautiful river and surroundings. Only this time there was an added attraction for me, a fisherman with a VERY long bamboo pole upstream on the other side. 104_2794

He noticed that I was taking his picture me and right off reached down a held up a fish that he had caught. Look a lot like a trout to me.104_2793

The fisherman moved upstream where I used telephoto to capture the video,  not the best focusing but you might enjoy some of it.

Kris had the Nikon so I was using my Kodak Z915 since our Panasonic HDC TM90 camcorder needs repair. I can get better shots and video with the TM90 but I thought that ANY video/photos were better than none so there you have it!104_2806He would cast, then drag the pole to his left, lift the line out and cast again.104_2805Quite the pole!104_2808This reminded me of a cow skull somehow.104_2797104_2811This is a nice still area folks like to camp around and swim in.104_2817After 20 minutes he tried out a new area upstream, don’t know if he caught anything but it looked fun and made for a good shot for me.

If you are in our area and want to visit this spot I’d be glad to take you!

Enjoy the  moment –

Later,

j