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Jim Bondoux

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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. I am not at all clear what this is about, but it may be of general interest anyway: http://ciudaddelsaber.org/en/press-room/news/cooperation-agreement-between-fcds-municipality-boquete/2559
  2. What would interest me most in the way of comparative statistics is the number of accidents vs. number of drivers, and at a secondary level the number of accidents per vehicle-mile. There are issues in comparing accuracy of the various numbers, and then there is the question of the severity of accidents, i.e. injuries/fatalities vs. fender-benders. It is my sense, gathered from motoring around Chiriqui, that Panamanian drivers would benefit from more education in defensive driving, and would enhance their safety by improving their situational awareness instinct. Perhaps both will happen over time.
  3. And Now I Know -- Tailor Shop

    We went with Domingo once, and we quickly decided not to return. Much better luck with Mercedes, the "modista" with a sign on her lawn on the right as you exit Los Algorrobos on your way to Boquete. Just past the school, the apparently very popular "tipico" restaurant and the two car washing places. She shows her phone number (6928-2198) and her front door is open when she, or her daughter, is home, which seems to be most of the time. No English. We've paid one dollar for hemming a pair of pants. Prompt, pleasant, and good work.
  4. We have the history of the Chiriqui railroad that linked Puerto Armuelles with Boquete. It had a good 30-year run based on moving agricultural produce to port, plus a couple of passenger trains per day. When the road was built allowing buses and trucks to offer greater speed, frequency, and flexibility, the railroad died. This is a microcosm of what has also happened in the USA. Railroads are required to build and maintain their rights-of-way, including crossings. Taxpayers pay for roads and airport runways. Unless that difference were to change, rail would seem to face an unsurmountable handicap. Passenger rail in Europe works only because of taxpayer subsidies or direct government ownership. Huge "unit trains" move coal, iron ore, grain in the US, and crude oil in Kazakhstan only because rail has an advantage for moving those volume/weight extremes. I find it difficult to imagine either of large commodity movements in Central America, or local taxpayer funding of railroads. I believe the feasibility study will come to a negative conclusion.
  5. I'm guessing that a "technical stop" will work better for the link, if that means that no visas will be required of passengers. Visas are required for all transit passengers in the US, even if they are just making a rapid connection. The time, cost, and uncertainty of US visas for citizens of the PRC and for citizens of Panama who are not going to visit the US would certainly impair the market opportunity for those flights.
  6. One of the three bidders was GSI, a sister company of Sertracen, both owned by the same parent outfit. I assume, and hope, that there will be a new tender for the contract. Corruption lurks in these matters more or less frequently, so who knows? Perhaps the anti-corruption campaign had something to do with the outcome.
  7. Apparently an accident occurred on the highway below the Caldera turnoff checkpoint, causing a power pole to collapse in a tangle of wires. Multiple service trucks and police on site, with workers on several of the adjacent poles sorting it all out. It's wise to expect several more hours of interruption....
  8. 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.
  9. 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....
  10. 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.
  11. 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!
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.