Uncle Doug

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About Uncle Doug

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  • Real Name:
    Doug Johnson
  • Reason for registering:
    Live and/or work in Chiriqui
  • Location of primary residence:
    In Chiriqui
  • Birth (home) country:

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  1. It looks as if the officials made an initial determination that you were a "perpetual tourist", and then applied that to everyone traveling with you, including your daughter who is undeniably a tourist visiting you for just a short time in Panama. Eventually the authorities relented as to her and her friend, but they are certainly casting a very wide net at the border.
  2. Do you know any Russians who can help you hack into the site?
  3. I've seen some websites that put the estimate over 10,000, although as I recall they were including Canadians as well. That's patently absurd to even a casual observer, although I have no idea how many gringos reside in or near David. I'm also amazed that only 297 Americans have signed up for the STEP notices (and certainly some of them are no longer here in Panama but have not unsubscribed to the emails). What would be your best guess as the expat population of Chiriqui, Keith?
  4. The drivers license matter must be viewed separately from the visa issue, because that's the way Panama views it. You may legally drive in Panama for 90 days after your last entry stamp on your passport. They don't care that it doesn't align with the 180 day tourist visa. So, as it stands, you can still renew your driving privileges by "border hopping" every 90 days. The problem, of course, is this action previously reset the tourist visa which is under great scrutiny at this moment. The current guidance is that exiting with less than 30 days remaining on the 180 day tourist visa will require an absence of at least 30 days before entering Panama again. There is no guidance (that I know of) that indicates what will happen if you do a "border hop" with far more than 30 days remaining on the tourist visa. I don't think it's safe to assume that everything will be fine. You might be able to reset driving privileges one time for an additional 90 days, but Immigration is looking to see if there is evidence that you may not really be a tourist. So, while they are separate issues, they certainly do intersect at the port of entry into Panama.
  5. Isn't the problem, though, that Panama does not recognize the legality of the marriage? It's similar to the time when most states in the USA did not recognize the legality of a gay marriage that was lawfully performed in one that did. It seems to me that under Panamanian law, you ARE single, and it's not dishonest of you to say that you are. All you are conceding is AS TO PANAMA ONLY, you are single! I don't think Panama recognizes my marriage, either. My wife and I applied jointly to acquire our visas, but I'm pretty sure obtaining them didn't register our marriage. That could be a problem if any of my estate is subject to Panamanian probate. Don't tell my wife that I think I am single here in Panama, please.
  6. I flew out of Tocumen last Wednesday, and security absolutely scrutinized my passport. The lady had a problem with it and started grilling me in Spanish. I'm not even close to fluent, so fished my e-cedula out of my wallet. That fixed everything instantly. In hindsight, she clearly was troubled that my last entry into Panama was far more than 180 days ago.
  7. I believe it was well known to Panamanian authorities that the tourist loophole was being used. Suddenly eliminating it has caught some people unaware, and for the Walkers it is catastrophic. Yes, yes, coulda woulda shoulda, but with some advance they wouldn't have been stranded with no way to get back to their property and the monkeys under their care. I feel so badly for them. I'm on a trip to the US at present, so I didn't find out about this until last night. Panama has every right to enforce its immigration laws, but the sudden new enforcement rules (which are still unclear) have put some very good people in one hell of a bind.
  8. If this is happening to Venezuelans today, is there any assurance that it won't ever apply to other nationalities in the future? Probably not. This is a significant news story.
  9. It seems that Panama is trying to stop the border runs for Venezuelans who have come into the country using a tourist visa and taking local jobs. I doubt the objection is to "perpetual tourists ." It's about trying to protect jobs for Panamanians. Just my guess...
  10. Biodegradable plastic bags are the obvious solution. 120 days is nothing. Many leaves don't decompose that fast. Paper sacks sure don't.
  11. Well that blows my speculation about everyone feeling it. In Palo Alto, it felt (and somewhat sounded) like a large explosion had occurred a mile or two away. Admittedly, the sound could have been entirely within my home. The aftershock seemed a bit longer in duration, but was silent.
  12. Well, the location and very shallow depth certainly explains why everyone around Boquete felt the quakes... Great info, Keith.
  13. Even more fun is that the incident actually occurred on February 10. http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/teller-killed-guard-injured-bank-robbery
  14. The sales agent at Boquete Canyon Village told me that the construction at the Caldera highway intersection is a new grocery store. She didn't give a store name.
  15. A mugging is one thing. It's a violent robbery. This incident is different because the strangulation shows a definite intention to kill. The violence here is far beyond what was necessary to obtain whatever valuables she might have had with her. Someone there is willing to kill a perfect stranger for fun. I don't think there is any other conclusion we can draw.