January is my birth month and 2019 is when I had to renew my Panamanian drivers license. Visited a lab here in Boquete for blood test. Then two days later, with blood result information in hand, went to doctor office for a physical exam and memory test. (At my age this exam has to be done by an internalist or gerontologist). Dra Díaz issued the “results” letter which I took to the licensing office the following day. (Glucose and blood pressure reading seem to be the primary criteria for consideration for license.) Also remembered to take copy of my cedula — instead of paying 10 cents for a copy at licensing office).
The staff at the ATTT (Transito Y Transporte) office which is located in Chiriqui Mall (near PriceSmart) was polite and efficient. All instructions were in Spanish. I had to ask one female employee to repeat her information because I couldn’t be sure I had understood her very rapid Spanish!
Passed all hearing and visual tests. Process was completed and license issued in less than 20 minutes from time we entered the building. With my jubilado discount, the cost was $16.00.
A happy experience.
A new experience at Tocumen last week. My one bag was stopped by a determined Custom inspector who asked me three times what food I had. Tried to assure “no food,” but she directed me to the inspection station where I had to open my luggage. Took her about two minutes to locate my bottle of water and a handful of candy mints I had dropped into the side pocket.
The interesting part of this experience was my 50 minute delay caused by the lady in front of me. She had three suitcases all wrapped in plastic. The inspector used scissors and removed the plastic covering and proceeded to remove various items from the woman’s bags. Two rolls of sausage (about five pounds each), several bottles of wine (I think six total), and various types of snack foods...looked like crackers and dips.
The inspector kept all the food. Needless to say, the bags were now pretty empty and the owner didn’t look happy. We wondered if this woman was headed to a party or had just cleaned all remaining food from a festival gathering!
Heard about this piece of life philosophy?
A few weeks ago Bud and I were almost ready to travel to Panama City by car the next morning.
First we had dinner with friends at a local restaurant in Boquete. Then we stopped by the Delta Station to fill up with diesel and have air pressure in the tires checked. To our big surprise the attendant found a nail in one of the tires. What to do! Maybe not a good idea to start the several hours drive to PC with a damaged tire. So off to the old Texaco station. When we arrived, there was one worker who was busy removing wheels and mounting five new tires for a truck.
We explained our situation and the worker said we could wait if we wanted, but he would be busy for at least another hour. Didn’t have much choice, so we decided to wait.
Now it was after 7:00pm and dark. The worker couldn’t see to mount the new tires on the fella’s truck. Bud grabbed two flashlights from our vehicle and held them for the worker. Took him many minutes, but when finished, the worker said he was tired and it was late, but since Bud had helped by providing the light, he would look at our tire with the nail.
Good News was the nail had a short stem and had not caused damage, thanks to heavy tread of the almost new tire. Pressure still OK. Worker removed the nail, replaced our tire and we headed for home.
Now I know that Pay Forward philosophy works!
Visited our secondary (back-up) bank yesterday. Surprised to learn this bank does not have beneficiaries for an account. However, the more important surprise came when we were told our book of blank checks were not valid and if we issued a check, the bank would not honor (cash) it.
What to do? Order the current version of blank checks.
P.S. We talked to a gringo couple later in the day and explained our experience at the bank. Their story is when they returned to Panama after a long stay in the US, they wrote a check on “outdated blank check form” which the bank refused and then charged no-funds fee against their account. Yes, they had money in their account, but their check was not honored.
Their question to the bank personnel: When were you going to tell us the bank had a new form for their checks?
Just a suggestion.......checked with your bank recently?
Did you attend the recent Rodeo at the Fairgrounds?
The interest in Rodeo happenings in many parts of the world peaked my interest about horses.
Ever hear of “The Pony Express”? This organization operated for less than two (2) years, made 400 runs, but became a legend in American history. During the 1800’s The Pony Express was a communication system that moved information (today’s internet, television, etc.) but was powered by horses.
Now we witness these animals in a rodeo setting in Chiriqui where we see barrel racing, calf roping and other such activities. The method of the horse has changed during the last 100 years but I believe they are still used as a communication tool, just a different method for sharing information.
Yesterday we wandered into Mercado Boquete (across the street from Romero grocery store). Why? Because I was seeking eggplant (berenjena) to make moussaka. Now I had searched for this purple vegetable in several different stores locally and in David. No luck.
In The Mercado I encountered mostly Panamanians, some folks were shopping and several were just talking with friends. And then at the fourth stall there was this wonderful lady selling my sought after eggplant or berenjena. I think my pronunciation of berenjena was far from accurate, but this polite and helpful Panamanian saleslady understood. She even responded back in English. Bless her!
So today I begin my cooking chores to prepare moussaka after my pleasant experience at The Mercado Boquete.
A friend and I were enjoying a before dinner conversation last week when she inquired about who was listed as beneficiary on our bank account. I answered with certain names of people. And she said “are you sure, really sure?” Then she told me a scary tale. (This is a smart, clear thinking woman.) Recently when this couple visited their local bank and inquired about who was listed as beneficiary on their account, they were told two names of people they didn’t even know!
So yesterday Bud and I went to our primary bank to check our account status. You guessed it. One listed beneficiary is deceased and another was someone that we don’t want near our financial matters. This bank charges $112 for a new beneficiary form but we agreed to pay — without a smile — because we wanted an immediate correction of this information. Decided not to delay this process while considering opening an account at a different bank. We also will be checking our secondary bank account in the next few days.
How does this happen where names of people you don’t even know appear as benefactors on your personal bank account?
Also learned that Bud is the “owner” of the account. Yes, I have check writing authority, but am not the owner, so settlement/change of ownership would eventually require probate thru Panamanian court system if there is no designated beneficiary.
Note: My action item is every month check the paperwork data at the bank.
Are you confident your bank account documentation is as you want it to be?
Last week we were invited to a friend’s house to enjoy the view from their balcony and watch the hummingbirds. What a treat to see clouds racing across the sky and thinking this is the top of the world.
Started wondering about these tiny birds with a lifespan of 3 to 5 years, measure about 3 inches in length, and have a heartbeat of 200 times a minute. I see them around our house getting nectar from colorful flowers using their long narrow bills and tongue. Their tongues are groved like the shape of a “W” with tiny hairs that help lap up nectar—-similar to a cat’s tongue.
There are more than 300 species of hummingbirds and are found only in the Western Hemisphere from Alaska to Chile. Most live in the tropics. And yes, they migrate alone, not in a flock. Have no sense of smell, but can hear better than humans.
Now that name hummingbird comes from flapping their wings so fast (720 to 5400 times per minute when hovering) that they make a humming noise.The average flying speed is 30 miles an hour but they can travel as fast as 60 miles an hour. They almost never stop moving. Legs are so small and weak they typically can’t walk at all and use their feet for perching.
Hummers are the only birds that can fly up, down, sideways, backwards and forward like a helicopter. They can even fly upside down.
And Now I Know.....a bit more about the birds of Chiriqui.
Below are two stock photos of hummingbirds. We find them difficult to photograph.
Not long ago an acquaintance (maybe I should call him a “real character”) came to visit us. He needed a haircut...did he ever! But he claimed he didn’t have time or the opportunity for this. Too many other activities like Jazz Festival, Tree Trek, food to try, practice his Spanish, etc.
Then one day after his spending the day touring around the Boquete area, I noticed his hair was neatly trimmed. Where? was my question. Bert explained he had asked friendly Panamanians standing near Romero’s. They told about a favorite shop close to the Melo store and across the street from Dr. Gómez. Of course Bert had to try this place. Said it was the kind of business he liked to explore and make new friends. Called it educational and the right price.
Later I discovered this is Lasso Barber Shop. Mr. Lasso is a gentle and very polite man. I think he has been part of the Boquete culture forever.
Now Bert is continuing his world travel adventures in other places, making friends, and learning. He probably could need another haircut. Maybe tomorrow or perhaps next week or?
What a great guy! That comment applies to both Bert and Sr Lasso. They are both winners.
Gurrr........another day with electricity outage. Again, home laundry is not happening. So I discovered a nice full service laundry guy located behind Boquete police station. This place does a fast turn around of wash/dry and fold at a reasonable price. He only does wash and dry — no ironing, dry cleaning, etc.
Happy clean day at our house.?
Some people say that Boquete is the land of rainbows.
I started to wonder: Where do rainbows come from? Why different colors in a rainbow?
Mr. Google tells me the sun makes rainbows when white sunlight passes through raindrops. These raindrops are little prisms that bend different colors in the white light and droplets will separate into colors.
And now I know that violet will be the color on the bottom of a rainbow and red color on top. Have to go “rainbow hunting” to check those colors!
Last month Bud broke a tooth. A chunk just fell away. He wasn’t eating anything hard or difficult to chew, but a big part of that tooth was missing. This was a major and unexpected happening plus scary. A new problem and no dental experience in Boquete. What a blow!
Using the Health Care Resources for Chiriqui Province maintained by CL moderators Doug and Jo, I called Dra. Monica Sanjur. Told her Bud was in pain and requested an emergency appointment. (She is located in new building not far from the Library.)
Dra. Sanjur inspected Bud’s tooth within a few minutes after we arrived at her office. Took an x-ray and there was discussion about a root canal. More inspection and Dra. Sanjur checking on the condition of the remaining part of the tooth. Decision was for a crown. All measurements taken by the dentist and technician then sent to Panama City for preparing of this device.
End result is “feels great, no pain” “Dra. Sanjur did a wonderful job”.
And Now I Know about dentistry in Boquete.
A short time ago I ordered jeans from an internet source. Quality was not very good. They were cheap; about half the price of what I could find elsewhere. Yes, once upon a time my mother told me “you get what you pay for”.
The color was O.K. The real concern was the length of the pant legs. They were seven (7) inches too long. Now that would be a heck of a roll-up cuff! What to do. I had paid for them; spent money to ship them here, and they were cheap.
Off I went to downtown Boquete looking for someone with a sewing machine. Found him in his shop on the NE corner across the street from Farmacia Revilla. I had marked the desired length correction with big safety pens so not much Spanish conversation was needed.
I’m hoping for a happy outcome and will probably never learn who or what was the model used by the manufacturer to make these jeans. But at least I know about the man with a sewing machine in downtown Boquete.
His name is Domingo.