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Jim Bondoux

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Jim Bondoux last won the day on September 29 2017

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About Jim Bondoux

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  • Full Real Name:
    Jim Bondoux
  • Reason for registering:
    Live and/or work in Chiriqui
  • Location of primary residence:
    In Chiriqui
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  1. The current sun cycle is extremely weak, and is predicted to weaken further, i.e. with a much reduced number of sunspots. The graph issued by NOAA measures the sun's energy output, and I note the much lower recent peak in 2014 compared to the peak back in 2002-3. The last cycle low occurred in the 2008-2010 time frame, which happens to be the time when the Panamonte bridge was taken out and other flood events occurred. The way to bet is for very tough winters in the next few years in the Northern Hemisphere.
  2. FWIW, we use a Rife machine at home with some regularity. Perhaps it's the "placebo" effect, but we do record positive changes with respect to arthritis pain and vascular health. The effects seem to wear off after a while, but a repeat treatment usually produces the same good result. We think electromagnetic frequencies are likely to have fewer undesirable side effects than the ingestion of chemicals. But we are good customers at the pharmacy as well....
  3. I have yet to encounter a convincing explanation of the rationale for the decision to manage transits through the new locks with tugboats, rather then with the "mule" system that proved itself in decades of use. The expansion locks are capacity-constrained by the lack of tugs, and in my view maneuvering control with mules is far more reliable and safer than it is with tugs. The old locks can easily handle 35-40 transits per day, compared to the current 11 per day for the new set.
  4. Thanks, Keith. We were scheduled to connect at Tocumen from David this morning, but the warning last week of the labor dispute caused us to pay the change fees and leave a day early. In the event, we are pleased with our decision. The trip was sufficiently stressful without the threat of openended delays. PS. An additional consequence is that we are rewarded with an extra day in Bridgetown. Sipping some of the local Mount Gay Eclipse, an agreeable alternative to my usual Abuelo 7!
  5. Microclimates and pests

    We are in Lucero, roughly 2900 feet altitude. New construction has been going on continuously since we moved in two years ago, so the local ecosystem is constantly stirred up. We have the house and its perimeter fumigated three times per year, and are happy with Castulo Ledezma of Magic Clean. We spray the garden with insecticide three or four times a year. So far, only two scorpions, both shortly after moving in We see an occasional fly in the house. No other insects indoors. We have screens on the windows, but leave a door open for the cats to come and go to the terrace. Terrace/Deck (under cover, elevated) - we enjoy dinner at dusk/dark out of doors, but only seem to attract the odd moth. However, in season, the house lights seem to attract hordes of May Beetles and June Bugs, all of which come to die in front of the lighted windows. Funeral detail every morning for something around 100-150 insects. The moths and bugs in turn attracted cane toads for a while, but no longer following my program of clubbing/relocating the small tribe. We used to have a bunch of Hawthorne flies (those slow-flying, dangling legs kind) but the gardener removed their nest while trimming a tree. This past year we have seen/heard reports of about five fer-de-lance snakes killed within 100 yards of our house. I suspect it was a single brood now exterminated by the Panamanian construction crews, as it has been several months since the last sighting. A couple of tarantulas have snuck into the garage to die, during or right after heavy downpours - I suspect their nest was flooded. Neither gave sign of life when discovered. About once every six months I have to discourage a colony of leafcutter ants who seem to like to burrow near walls or the concrete driveway. I pour club soda down the nest opening (the CO2 release supposedly blankets and kills their fungus farm and they decamp after a couple of days). The gardener likes to dump some Hormitox on the entrance as well. The property is bordered by a deep and heavily wooded ravine, with a stream at the bottom. We can't go near it without being stung by noseeums and mosquitoes. Since they were here first, we just ignore them, and count on bug repellent and long sleeves to minimize the personal unpleasantness. Plus, I assume they attract some of the birds we enjoy. Our neighbor had to call out the bomberos last year to remove a large wasp nest from the eaves of his house. They came at night and drove them away with a flaming and smoking torch.
  6. Some activity this morning: major checkpoint at the highway bend below Frances Arriba at 10:30am - four or five officers and vehicles, checking traffic in both directions. Two police sedans in Los Algorrobos, one with officer pointing radar gun at David-bound traffic, the other writing up speeders. Both control points were clear at 1pm when I returned to Boquete.
  7. Drove to David today, passing the Caldera turnoff at 11:30am. Checkpoint was active, with four officers, a Policia pickup truck and a motorcycle. Came back at 6:00pm, and no trace of a checkpoint. Perhaps the police intend to man the checkpoint at random times, which will be almost as good, if not better, a deterrent to visitors with "bad intentions". Also, another accident just above Brisas - sedan flipped in the dividing storm drain and governmental pickup truck with seriously bashed-in front end.
  8. I'll second the above endorsement of Dr. Eric Tortosa. He has fitted me with an artificial shoulder and a few years later, with an artificial hip. Both extremely satisfactory experiences, and (full disclosure) I consider him to be a good personal friend.
  9. Happy to elaborate, but perhaps in a private conversation, not in a broadcast. I can say that we have lived as retirees in the USA, Chile, Australia, and Panama, and have scouted other venues such as Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Uruguay, South Africa, Mauritius, Argentina, Hong Kong... and our first choice remains Boquete, warts and all. The knocks on Mexico include the burden of heavy security imposed by the civil war, urban congestion, taxation of one's worldwide income, and the complexity of estate planning.
  10. Kate and I spent the first two weeks of August in Ajijic, so it is very fresh in my mind. We also have a lot of background in Mexico, having spent many months in each of Puerto Vallarta, La Paz, Mazatlan, Zihuatenejo, the Mayan Riviera, as well as having visited most of the "Silver Cities" (Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Taxco, Guajanajuato, and more, including San Miguel de Allende). We love Mexico, but the consequences of what I will call the civil war have made us choose to settle elsewhere. Ajijic is a little oasis in the Sierra Madre - the authorities are making sure that the lucrative, public relations-generating community of expats are protected from any molestation. I can assure you that the crime level 30 minutes away in Guadalajara (second largest city in the country) is elevated - homicide statistics have turned up since 2015. The video is an accurate representation of what we found. A traditional Mexican village, but overrun by expats, with a high density of really "geriatric" folks (and the video certainly shows that). The average apparent age has to exceed, by a very large factor, the profile of the Boquete gringo community. The expats we met struck us as less adventurous than our Boquete friends and acquaintances. Although the video plays up local involvement, we didn't find anything close to the varied and vibrant charity & volunteer activites in Boquete. Very few locals were interested in conversing in Spanish with me - they automatically default to English. They don't mention the lake very much, because no one goes swimming in it due to pollution. Hardly any boating, either. Ajijic has a WalMart and and an Autozone. We drove 30 minutes to get to the big mall where we could choose between Costco, Sam's Club, Home Depot, and Sears. We lunched at Applebee's but could have chosen PF Chang's, Chili, Carl's Junior, etc. You get the idea. Our first meal on the lake was at the American Legion Post... We felt like we were in an outer suburb of San Antonio or something. Ajijic has a lot to offer, and we may well visit again (easy destination during the peak of our rainy season), but we will confine ourselves to just a visit.
  11. The parking complaint probably has to do with the congestion on what I call "restaurant row", anchored by RetroGusto at one end and Mar de Grau at the other.
  12. I believe this has to do with the indigeno bars just uphill from the Romero market, and back toward the river bank. This is where heavy drinking and bar brawls take place over weekends, particularly those that follow a big payday. Last Monday morning a middle-aged male was laying on the sidewalk near the corner, asleep or unconscious, taking up a whole parking space in front of Denny restaurant. In the recent past the body of a young male was found on the riverbank near the dead-end street. La Gallera translates literally as "The Roostery", suggesting that the area was where cock fights would take place. I am not sure if the reference is to real roosters or perhaps to pugnacious inebriated patrons of those various bars.
  13. Milagros Sanchez Pinzon is a wonderful resource on local history, but I think she misspelled the builder's name - he was Roy W. Hebard, who was an engineer and a partner in a construction outfit that was tasked with some of the Canal's excavation work. I am unsure that he was from New York, but since the railroad was financed by bonds underwritten by JP Morgan and National City Bank (precursor to today's Citibank) his name is often associated with New York. Project people involved with the Canal were released upon its completion, and a number of them gravitated to Chiriqui. The only access to Boquete was on foot or horseback, although Mr. & Mrs. Carl Curtis (he was master carpenter with the Canal, she was a nurse at the Canal's hospital) drove a Model T Ford up to Boquete in 1915. The railroad opened up Boquete as well described by Milagros. The train trip was a spectacular adventure, as the rails crossed the rivers on elevated trestle bridges and the landscape views of Baru, etc. were very much out of the ordinary. But the train, with a twice-daily round trip schedule could not compete with the higher frequency and flexibility offered by buses, once the road was paved. The tracks were pulled up, mainly in 1954, although vestiges of the right-of-way can be found. Looks like the stone cladding of the old station is being applied up to wainscoting level, with a surrounding concrete molding.
  14. The original building was a wood structure, subsequently replaced with the current cement building. The undated picture I have looks to be taken shortly after the new construction, and I can't identify any stone facing. The word "authentic" has multiple connotations...
  15. It seems that Panama City's International Airp[ort has been without electrical power since 6AM today, Monday Sept. 18. According to the flight tracker website, all departures are shown as "delayed" status. They seem to be getting some arrivals.