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Jim Bondoux

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Jim Bondoux last won the day on November 17 2018

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About Jim Bondoux

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    Advanced Member

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

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  1. I have learned from talking with cement people that they go crazy when folks confound cement and concrete (the latter being made from cement and such things as sand and gravel). If you have limestone and energy you can make cement. Transportation cost vs. production cost for cement make it relatively unattractive to ship long distances. The Mexican exports seem to correlate pretty well with the distance from Mexico...
  2. Yes, my vote. My objective in posting was to share useful, and hopefully accurate, information about obtaining a the new Medicare card to those who may, as I do, use a non-US mailing address with US Social Security. As to my "vote", it is due to my scar tissue from dealing with dozens of bureaucracies around the world, including the US. I choose the harder road, which is to minimize their opportunities for sudden "gotchas".
  3. Complying with the SS administration's requirement to communicate a mailing address in one's country of residence doesn't affect the freedom of choice for a depository bank. Your mailing address can be in Panama, and your bank account for receiving social security payments in the US. That's my situation. As to "procedural difficulties with government", those are pretty much universal...
  4. A perfectly rational choice on your part, in my view. The risk involved is probably very low, and likely to cause a hassle only in the event of a glitch along the way. I was just attempting to be helpful to those of us who are in compliance with the administrative requirements. Differentiating between a US mailing address and a Panama address is part of that. Best wishes.
  5. I totally agree that using MBE has some huge advantages over the postal system. My point is that if you are using an MBE address in Florida, for Social Security and Medicare, those entities do not know that your residence is outside of the US. That you have no mail issues follows naturally - and they issued your new Medicare card as required by the law. They are not mailing new Medicare cards to non-US addresses, per their letter that I quoted previously. You have effectively cleared up for me that you do not have a mailing address outside of the US. I imagine that you have not been receiving the so-called "proof of life" form (form 7162) either. If a Social Security beneficiary lives outside the US without providing an acceptable foreign mailing address, that beneficiary risks losing their benefits. You might do an online search for "GN 02401.08" which is the current Social Security regulation concerning acceptable addresses. I will quote the key part of the regulation: QUOTE GN 02401.080: Use of United States Address by Beneficiary Abroad 1 change ← * → Effective Dates: 01/18/2017 - Present TN 28 (01-17) GN 02401.080 Use of United States Address by Beneficiary Abroad A. When to use a U.S. mailing address A beneficiary abroad may use a U.S. mailing address when he or she: * has an Army Post Office, Fleet Post Office or Diplomatic Post Office address, * has a representative payee in the U.S., or * expects to be abroad for 3 months or less. NOTE: The beneficiary (or their representative payee) must always keep SSA advised of his or her residence address for contact and foreign enforcement purposes. B. When not to use a U.S. mailing address A beneficiary may not use a mailing address in the U.S. to receive payment when he or she: * travels abroad for more than 3 months; * resides in a Treasury restricted country listed in RS 02650.001C; or * resides in a barred country listed in RS 02650.040. NOTE: Do not send checks to relatives or friends in the U.S. for beneficiaries who are abroad more than 3 months except during interim periods while developing a proper mailing address. C. Receiving benefit payments while having a foreign address A beneficiary with a foreign address living outside the U.S. may have his or her benefit payment sent to a financial institution (FI) of his or her choice. Title XVI recipients are ineligible to receive benefits while residing outside of the U.S. unless an exception applies. For more information on exceptions, see GN 00303.700A. UNQUOTE
  6. I believe that there is no postal delivery to MBE in Boquete, and so I'm guessing that your MBE address is Florida. If that is the case, then your MBE address is not "outside of the US". That will be worth clearing up.
  7. I finally have my new Medicare number and card. I have a letter from Medicare which states that they are not mailing new cards to most people with Medicare who have a mailing address outside of the US. Waiting for the card to come to the Boquete post office is clearly futile. In the letter, Medicare directs you to go online to MyMedicare.gov. where you can sign in if you have an account, or where you can create an account (my circumstance). Fairly easy and straightforward. Once logged in, there is a menu button to print the new Medicare card. Done. I now have a very odd-looking 11-digit Medicare Number. Perhaps this will help anyone who hasn't yet obtained their new Medicare number, which is required by law after April 2019...
  8. Yacht transit of the Western Carribean is iffy, weather-dependent, and slow. I suggest contacting Princess Cruises and Holland America Cruises. They both have cruise ships departing Colon in the next week and arriving in Ft. Lauderdale three or four days later. Safe, comfortable, reliable, with doctor and infirmarty on board...
  9. According to the linked article, a project to repair and improve the highway to Paso Canoas has started - resurfacing, bridge improvements, cleaned shoulders and ditches and unspecified measures to alleviate traffic jams at urbanized entrances/exits. https://www.tvn-2.com/nacionales/provincias/limpieza-rehabilitacion-carretera-Panamericana-David-Frontera_0_5246475327.html
  10. Farm Worker Dies From Bee Stings https://www.tvn-2.com/nacionales/provincias/Hombre-muere-atacado-abejas-africanizadas-Chiriqui-bomberos_0_5224727493.html A farm worker operating a machine on a pineapple farm was attacked by a swarm of Africanized bees, and died in David's Hospital Regional.
  11. La Prensa had an interesting article today on the subject of corruption in the courts: "I Pay Judges Every Day". https://impresa.prensa.com/panorama/pago-jueces-dias-Janio-Lescure_0_5223977639.html I have made a full translation for my personal use, but prefer not to post it. The four pages are available in pdf format to anyone who contacts me privately.
  12. History suggests that interfering in the internal affairs of another nation (for instance, recognizing a pretender in conflict with the current ruler) leads to war. That is the reason European nations signed the Treaty of Westphalia, agreeing to leave one another alone unless under external attack. But that was a long time ago - people forget. I am of the opinion that the seduction of globalism will lead to many regrets. Among other things, watch for the revival of "Yankee Go Home" sentiment in a number of quarters.
  13. Makes good sense sense from an international shipping viewpoint, but the concept is only about 150 years old, and yet no real "land bridge" is in place. A big infrastructure project with highway, railway (beefier than the present inadequate line), and pipeline, plus port expansion sounds awfully good - but I wonder how they will obtain the support of the local indigenous folks, and how they will protect the cargoes from criminal attacks. Until those questions are answered, I am betting the thing will remain a white elephant. Cruisers know about the dread "T-peckers" (make the summer winds in Alto Boquete seem like gentle breezes), but that's a topic for another day.
  14. No inside info here. I just note that COPA has built their success on the model developed many years ago by Southwest Airlines, i.e. hub & spoke route map and focus on one aircraft model (i.e. Boeing 737 variants, give them a pass for the few Embraers in the fleet). I have flown into Tocumen on COPA from Santiago, Aruba, Bridgetown, Las Vegas, Denver, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and a couple of other places that slip my memory, and I am amazed at how few of my fellow passengers show up at immigration - the overwhelming majority are connecting to some other flight. I now watch when they pass out the Panama customs forms on board - hardly anyone takes one to fill out. That is the source of my sense that Panama is taking the Americas passenger hub business away from Miami. I don't think Panama's geographic position (on the same meridian as Miami) gives it the same potential for European destinations. As to the full recline seats, they don't exist in a Southwest-type model - no long-range non-stop flights - just hopscotching along, not unlike a bus route. If I had inside info of any kind it would be illegal for me to share it... my comments are just based on my observations as a traveler.
  15. Everyone seems to have a collection of air travel disaster anecdotes to share, so I won't burden this note with my most recent misadventure. What I do wish to pass along is a sense that the golden days of COPA Airlines are presently likely to be behind us. I have enjoyed COPA's service, which is easily superior to that of most US -based airlines I have made use of in the past. But the company's new headlong rush into the future is diluting its competitive strengths. COPA has nearly 60 new jets on order, compared to its base of just under 100. The company announces new routes and destinations with regularity. To this observer, the challenges in recruitment, training, and infrastructure of such a high growth rate signal major trouble ahead. To which must be added the inevitable teething problems when the new Tocumen terminal finally opens. A commercial airline is an incredibly complex system, and is vulnerable to disastrous events when a simple link fails. Panama City is challenging Miami as the hub for The Americas, and COPA's day has dawned. The temptation to make the most of the opportunity is difficult to resist, and the company has succumbed. The price will be a decline in the quality of customer experience. The stock (listed on the New York Exchange) has had a nice run, but has dropped from its high last January at 135 to today's 76. The consensus of opinion expressed in the stock market is trending downward, but that rarely causes management or the Board to alter their strategic plan. I expect to have more frequent negative experiences in the future when traveling with COPA.
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