Archive for » June, 2013 «

Home Again ….In Panama! …and then there is JUNE!

I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful it was to be back in my condo again surrounded by MY own things and especially my bed!! I arrived back in Panama on June 9th and after clearing customs, I was met by Anthony, a driver for Roy as Roy had an accident with his car and could not meet me. Anyway- Anthony brought me back to my condo at Vista Mar, and being as tired as I was, it was the longest trip. It was night and he is a very careful driver, but too slow for me and the 1 hour and 15 minute trip took 2 hours and I was literally dying to just go to sleep. And that I did immediately. I had him lift the suitcases on the bed in the 2nd bedroom, I shut the door and as soon as he was out my front door, I crawled into my bed and went to sleep.

To tell you that the suitcases waited for 2-3 days is no story. Those of you that know me think this is impossible and something I would never do, but I am truly becoming a Panamanian!. Mañana is good enough and if not mañana, then mañana. It will eventually get done and this is how I am now thinking. Although I did run to go grocery shopping the next day, that is all I did besides getting the mail. I sorted thru the mail, the papers, etc and just left piles The suitcases would wait as would everything else. I just needed to chill from all of the traveling, the different beds, planes and my broken back!!!

I had returned to a very clean condo and even found cabinets were cleaned out and everything was so fresh!. For the little money one pays to have a maid, you really don’t lay them off because you are gone for a few weeks. They are depending on the pay, and so you give it to them – they find what to do that they normally would not be able to do weekly and so it works. I only have a girl once a week, and that is certainly enough for me. What kind of a mess does one person make? The housekeepers here (maids) are truly like no other. They find things to do you would never think of and you don’t need to tell them anything. For instance, all of my doors open on to the balcony. During rainy season, winds can blow, dust moves and those doors get dirty. They are cleaned weekly, regardless as they are your windows as well, so they need to be clean. You don’t tell the maid – they know better than you how to take care of things here in Panama.

Fri-tanga, new restaurant, opening

Fri-tanga, new restaurant, opening

Owner George Hepburn and his wife

Owner George Hepburn and his wife

A few friends having fun!

A few friends having fun!

I finally did get unpacked, laundry and all within the next few days and found myself back in the full swing of things again – invited out for drinks, social get togethers, grand-opening parties and it seem as if I had never been gone! Funny how life does change and one finally becomes lax and lazy. I have even come to hate the mail when it comes, especially if I have to fill out a form or answer anything. It is just too much of a hassle – I am so content being involved with nothing except what I want to be involved with. My days are full and I am just a happy camper in a new life and one that is so totally different than I had in the states. Funny how we can truly make changes when we want to and accept a new way of life. The high strung Phyllis is still a Type A personality, but gone is the “instant” demand in a situation!. I am now so totally relaxed that I can stand in a line for a very long time and wait my turn. No anxiety as I have no place to hurry and get to. Whenever I get there I get there. If someone is waiting, well- they’ll just have to wait for me!!! All in the attitude and I am now convinced I will live longer!

One of the first things that threw me back into the social life after returning was an Open House at a new restaurant opening in Punta Chame( about an hour from me). This is the second restaurant this guy has in the area, and people he knows and his clients were all invited for free drinks and food for a couple of hours. How can you not go? There was a big group that did go of us ex-pats as well as a huge group of Panamanians – young and vibrant!!!! They had a fabulous Salsa Band, and everyone was up and dancing. All of the people mingled together regardless if you knew each other or not. It was just a lot of fun for everyone and if you have ever seen the Latins do the Salsa – them you know they are the ones that really know how to move those hips and do the dance. However, some of us Ex-Pats got into the swing of things regardless of moving the hips or the upper torso!. We just all wanted to have a blast and that we did. A fabulous grand opening and all had a wonderful time as the pictures will show!

Panamanians hanging at the bar

Panamanians hanging at the bar

Salsa band with a young rising talent singing

Salsa band with a young rising talent singing

Please do not for a moment think this fun, as well as the laziness is great! It does have its few problems. I returned on June 9 and after 1 week things started to unravel. I had to go to the city to get some bank papers filled out and notarized. The poor girl at the bank (and this was the Assistant Manager), did them three times after she kept making a mistake of one kind or another. After we were all certain everything was correct, I finally signed and she had to submit the papers for notarization. Side note to this is that not every Tom, Dick and Harry is Panama is a Notary. You are a privileged person that is a specialist and papers are sent to you for signature and then filed with the government. So now I was done with that chore! Or was I????? Three hours later, I am on the bus back to Coronado, returning home and I get a call. I must return as she found a mistake in spelling of my name in one place. I told her there was no way – I was on my way back to the beaches and it would have to wait until I returned to the city again. I was hysterical! Laughter, hysterical. How in the world , if everything is in the computer, can one make so many mistakes? But remember my words, “this is Panama.” Don’t ever forget those words as that is what guides you thru life here and helps you become so well-adjusted!!! We all laugh over drinks at so many stupid things. BUT WAIT – that is only #1. Before I go to Number 2, you have to know that I went to my favorite grocery store there that has EVERYTHING one could want except for a few things that one really wants. I have been looking for Kosher Salami ever since getting here. The SUPER KOSHER store does NOT carry Hebrew National as it is not kosher enough (Glatt Kosher)!. I am walking the aisles in Riba Smith so I can take some stuff back to the beaches with me when all of a sudden I spy Hebrew National Salami. I picked it up and looked at it as if in disbelief. But lo and behold – YES< Hebrew National Salami. So I bought two (some of you know I bake them in a special sauce as a hot hors d’oeuvre). I thought I had died and gone to heaven!!!! The simple pleasures of life. So I bought two for the time being and I was so, so happy! Now, three hours later, I am home and I get a call from the License Bureau in Panama – my license has expired and they want me to know that and find out when I will be coming in to renew. Well for me- that is not as easy, and how in the world did I have an expired license? It was due for renewal the first week in July – that is what I had on my calendar for a year!. New country, new way of putting dates down and 07/06/2013 means June 7 not July 6! And so that is how I mis-read the license. So now I need to go thru the same process as last year – a doctor’s certificate for my health, but- a GERIATRIC PHYSICIAN, and that is NOT an easy find anywhere. So- a physician friend made me an appointment in the city for the beginning of July and I will get my papers that I need with the stamp of approval and then I will eventually get to Penonome again to go to the driver’s test place and hope everything is in order, take my eye test, the hearing test and hopefully get my renewal. UGH to all of this. But I will drive the 50 miles with a friend, Debby Fletcher so I can venture the 50 miles in that direction. I do believe I know where I am going but would rather have some company instead of worrying. I am venturing out in the car more and more and will eventually get into the city by car as well. I know I said never, but I see everyone doing it, and they just go to a certain area where they feel they can drive and so I am sure I can do that as well. Just think, I am driving around with an expired license and I am trying to be very, very careful with the speed and I sure as hell do not want to get into any kind of an accident at this point.

Buying fabric for patio chair cushions.

Buying fabric for patio chair cushions.

A Panamanian workroom - she will make cushions.

A Panamanian workroom – she will make cushions.

OK- I have told you about 2 incidents in the same day. Now the following AM, I receive an e-mail that I forgot to pay my American Express bill on time!. THREE things in a 24 hour period!! What in the world????????????? So I call AX and pay it immediately and then ask for all the finance charges to be removed as they can see- this is not a norm for me. so now had everything finished and decided I better learn to get my act together real quickly. Also thought about finally putting my credit cards on “automatic” pay so I would not have to worry. I would still get the statements over the internet and I can still check. I know people doing that for years now and have had no problems, so perhaps that is what I need to do as well.

Had a couple of “sick” weekends with a cold but with rest- seemed to have wiped it out. Also- all of those vitamins I take do get rid of stuff. But the rest was good for me and gave me a chance to catch up on paperwork and get my office file cabinet done once and for all. Now I am truly settled in and deciding on what things I really do need to get rid of at this point. Remember, I am always preaching- if you, move – get yourself down to NOTHING!. Always thought my son was crazy but have come to realize, he is not.

Still meeting a lot of new people who are coming to this area to settle and love hearing the stories of “WHY” and “WHERE” they are from. Even getting a lot of younger couples with kids in high school. They buy a home, or a condo with the thinking they will travel back and forth now, but in a few years, they will be able to come down permanently. So our area continues to grow and more and more “things” are coming here and opening up from the city and one day, the city will truly not be a necessity.

Friends, after I get the doctor’s papers and my renewal, I will be moving about again and exploring more and more. I am truly looking forward to driving into the city and am determined to do that.

My private “one on one” Spanish lessons have finally started and I know I am going to learn more, and faster this way. Group lessons are great and were a lot of fun. Met a lot of people and that is always great, but to learn Spanish, many of us were convinced it had to be one on one and so that is what a lot of us have started to do.

Elena & Dunia (2 of Isabel's housekeepers) teaching me how to make something on the stove-top

Elena & Dunia (2 of Isabel’s housekeepers) teaching me how to make something on the stove-top

And before I end this, as if three things were not enough for the month, the last week in June I get a call from one of my credit cards telling me they think they have spotted FRAUD. YES, that is true!!! Can you imagine someone charging something in Austria?? And I few other things. So that card had to be cancelled with a new one being issued. Not a big problem but a pain for me. Altho they send the new card Fed Ex overnight, that goes to the Miami Address and then I have to wait for a week or so until it reaches me in Panama. This is my Citicard which I only use in the states, but it is the one I truly rely on with my merchants, so it is the notifying of everyone they no longer have a correct number for that card!. Joys of doing business and being active, I guess. BUT- I will survive all of this – eventually. Just one more thing to deal with that I really did not want to do at this time. Just laugh it off is my motto!. And to think Life Lock, which I have never picked this up and they are supposed to be protecting me????? I have to give serious consideration to this and the renewal!!!!

I am sorry this newsletter is not full of excitement and fun, but it has been a weird month and not much that I did. This is rainy season here, humidity very high and my head looks like a “curly top.” By next month, I will be roaming about with lots of pictures and fun stories. In the meantime, hope you are all enjoying your summertime and having fun, going on trips and the like. My son and family are spending most of the summer with their kids back in Thailand, and so life goes. Enjoy you all and keep me posted of your whereabouts and what is going on in your life.

Max (7) and Sam (soon to be 5)

Max (7) and Sam (soon to be 5)

Welcome to the many new subscribers who signed on this past month. I do not recognize names or e-mails and can only assume you have been told by friends to read, etc. Would love to know who you are if you all care to identify yourselves. Otherwise, just enjoy the read each month, and thanks for joining me and my adventures. Just think, one day this will become a book and then I can really add the juicy details to a lot of this. Fun times ahead?????? We will see.

Love and hugs to all!!!!!

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