Bob Adams report

Bob Adams has lived and worked internationally for many years, and now lives in Panama. He shares a wealth of information on both his website and his YouTube channel. His latest report can be found on his website https://www.retirementwave.com/reports  Look for the red text with the link to download this report.

He is very positive about Panama and thinks, though the economy has been a bit slower, it’s coming back nicely and there are a lot of good reasons to live in Panama. The report is a bit technical with numbers and graphs, but check it out and you’ll quickly get the general idea.

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It’s Monday, Jan 13th (where does the time go so quickly??!)  Again, it’s hot, dry, sunny, and the wind has been picking up all day. We (the band) were in Boquete last night at the Boquete Brewing Company where we play outdoors on the terrace. It was a totally different world up there! We arrived while there were some spectacular rainbows in the sky!

Then, it was downhill from there, weather wise. It was increasing wet, ranging from damp to actively raining, very windy and as the evening wore on, increasingly cold. I was cold even in my 4 layers of clothes (yes, I’m a wuss, but even the tourists had long pants and jackets). But it was still a fun evening and in spite of the weather and the wind blowing rain on them at times, a lot of the people stuck around for the whole evening which we really appreciated.

Boquete, however was a bit crazy. The famous coffee and flower fair is in progress and the town was full, lots of traffic on the roads, buses parked along streets, and as we were packing up we could hear the music from the fairgrounds. A lot of expats don’t like the music but it’s a Panamanian festival, and everyone knows there will be very loud music until well into the wee hours in the morning so if it’s a problem, it’s best to just take a mini vacation elsewhere. It seems the weather last night would make it hard to enjoy the festival, but they certainly weren’t going to shut it down because of some wind and rain!

Now it’s Monday afternoon, and there hasn’t been a bit of rain down here. It’s almost 3PM and we still have water coming from the tap! Apparently they have been working on valves in the system and that’s why it’s been off every day for many days, but I’ve gotten into a workable routine of using tank water during the day, and then opening the tap to refill the tank at night (I don’t want to leave it open in case the water comes back muddy).

Well this post was supposed to be about the Bob Adams report, but it’s easy to tack on a bit about what’s going on in our world today too. I’m not about to complain about anything. This is the view today from my daughter’s office in Seattle.

Hot and windy is fine. We are happy, and feel for all you up north in the cold and snow, and all of you suffering from the recent storms in the eastern USA. Hang in there you all!

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Surviving Financially in Retirement

I read a sad article today about the plight of many seniors who don’t have enough money to live on, and have to work well into their later years. According to 2016 statics, almost half of homeless people are over 50?! That is SO sad.

Here’s the article… https://getpocket.com/explore/item/this-is-what-life-without-retirement-savings-looks-like

Many people earn barely enough to survive and/or don’t have benefits, and putting money away for retirement is not possible. Most wages, adjusted for inflation, have remained stagnant for decades.  Most retirement plans  now, instead of the employer guaranteeing a certain amount in retirement, they contribute to a plan managed by the employee, transferring risks of management and market ups and downs to the employee. Many people lost their savings and homes in the recession. Women, especially, lose work time to have children and/or care for aging relatives. Even with medicare, health care can be way too expensive. Benefits for low income people are terribly inadequate. My homeless (over 50 and single) friends in Seattle told me there is a 10 year wait for low income housing.

We didn’t have enough money to manage an adequate retirement in the US, even if we worked until we were 70. That’s why we are here.  Now I’m glad because otherwise we have missed this wonderful experience. But, what about others who can’t move? It takes the resources and willingness to even accomplish a move and set up a new life, and success is not guaranteed. What happens to those who are managing because they are working well into their later years? What happens if they become unable to work?

I know, the answer is to get a good job with benefits. and do good planning for your later years. But, what if you don’t want a traditional job, or you can’t get one? What about the entrepreneurs, the artists, the family caretakers, lower wage service people, and others who aren’t on the traditional job path? They can be severely penalized in their later years. Joel was self employed, doing home repairs and remodeling by day, playing music by night. I held part time contract jobs for many of my years so I could maintain control over my work load and work-family balance, and supplemented that by self employed work. We are very lucky to be OK.  But, how is it acceptable that so many other seniors suffer in poverty?

</rant> OK, I’m done with this soapbox for the moment, but suffering seniors and homelessness are things that really touch me.

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But, we are in Panama now. It’s Jan 11th, Saturday, the first day all week that the wind hasn’t been blowing like crazy. Today it’s just breezy and there are some white clouds in the sky, but now that we are well into summer weather we are not expecting a drop of rain for some time to come. The water is off… again… today. I think it’s been at least  a week since the water has been off every day, but thankfully it comes back eventually at night so we can refill our water tank. Word in the neighborhood WhatsApp group is that IDAAN (the water company) is working on something, and there may be lots more work to come over the coming months. People are starting to grumble. I give thanks every day for our water tank system.

There is a Blue Morpho butterfly flying around the yard as I type. It’s mid afternoon, 88 degrees. The family across the street is playing outside and the kids and hollering. It’s another great day in Panama. We are not living on the street in a cold place because of some planning, maybe, and mostly a lot of good fortune. Every day we wake up and give thanks for this life.

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More Shopping Options

The Federal Mall is a big deal here. They have been working on it for years, and it’s supposed to have over 300 stores,  bigger than the famous Albrook Mall in Panama City.

Stevens opened in December, and Felix opened shortly after that, so last week we decided to visit and check things out. What follows is a bunch of photos in no particular order, but you can get a general idea. Both stores, and what we saw of the mall are new, bright, attractive, and as good as anything one would find in the USA, IMO.

Here’s a 2 1/2 minute video which looks like an overview and then the opening of Stevens.

https://binged.it/30fdNaV

We started with Felix….

Then, we visited the mall itself, where some Christmas displays were still standing.

The movie theater wasn’t open but we could peek under the partially raised door, and we found a sweets shop nearby too.

Then, we visited Stevens. I tend to get an overview as I go to the top floor, and then take photos as I make my way back down.

So, there you go. We do not suffer here in David! We even have every kind of playdoh and slime and related things to play with. Ha!

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Other than that, it is SUMMER here now, no question about it! This is the 5th day of strong winds, blue skies, and hot afternoon sun. The water has been off every day for maybe a week? The few people without water tanks are making plans to get one. One day the water was on most of the day and I got all the laundry done, but today it was off when we woke up. My neighbor was doing laundry last night at 1AM. She is a beautician so she needs to wash towels and work related stuff, and she said today she is also planning to get a tank. She is having to hand rinse her last load of laundry because the water went out part way through washing the load.

I am very thankful to have a tank, and I’m getting in the routine of turning it on when the water goes out, and then checking for water at night so we can refill the tank. I don’t want to leave the tap open for automatic refilling because once in a while the water comes back muddy, and then you have muddy water in your tank which then needs emptying and cleaning.

But, this sure makes you think of all the people in the world who never had running water in the house, and many who never have any clean water at all. I always say a thank you for a refreshing shower and clean drinking water. I’ll never take that for granted again.

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It’s January 9th now. The time continues to fly by. We are at the beginning of summer here while you all are freezing up north, and Australia is burning.

We (the band) played in Boquete on Sunday evening. We left here – hot, sunny, windy – but we have learned that it can be very different in the mountains, just 45 minutes away. It was still windy but wet, misty, rainy, and cold! Since I’m on the outside side of the outdoor terrace, I was happy for my t-shirt, blouse, sweater, and sweat shirt. A lot of expats prefer the cooler mountains, but I’m happy down here where you never need more than shorts and flip flops.

Posted in Panama | 6 Comments

City Mall, David Chiriqui

Chiriquí Mall is on the Panamerican Highway on the west side of David. It’s next to Pricesmart, has a movie theater and other stores, but hasn’t been exactly a hot spot in town until a few months ago when the City Mall opened. I’ve been curious so we finally took the time to pay it a visit.

It’s a really nice store, bright and attractive, merchandise in all price ranges, and almost anything you could imagine to buy, and then some!

Not the greatest photo (taken while we drive by in the car). A search should bring up others.

The first floor is a supermarket with a large selection of food, personal care products, and a place to get a snack. We didn’t spend a lot of time there or research prices, but word is you can find some good deals.

The second floor is clothes. We found some very inexpensive options, as well as much more expensive name brands so whatever your needs, it might be worth looking here. Again, everything was laid out attractively, and there were enough employees on hand that you didn’t need to look far if you needed help.

The third floor was furniture, housewares, and a very interesting play area with tables and chairs, trampoline area, and a number of virtual reality options. When we were there the only other person in the area was a friendly, English speaking employee.

The rest of the floor had many furniture options and a huge variety of other stuff. It was packed in tightly to fit everything in, and it was almost an overload to take it all in.

So, if you feel like a shopping trip this place might be worth a trip. We were just looking around to get a general feel for the place so don’t ask me specifics, but overall we were impressed with the various price ranges, the large selection, the new and bright surroundings, and the availability of friendly employees.

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Other than that, today is Sunday Jan 5th, and it feels like the first real summer weather. So far we’ve had some hot sunny days, but more overcast days and even some rain now and then which is most welcome in this dry season. Today, however, we woke up to clear blue skies, strong breezes (we get the trade winds in summer), and no water (happens quite a bit, but especially in summer).

I don’t quite understand the water which, to my understanding, is often rolling water outages to conserve water. Maybe you use a bit less, but mostly you just wait to wash clothes and shower, etc. until later when there is water. It was off so much last summer that almost everyone in the neighborhood who didn’t have water tanks, went ahead and got them and then used water normally, refilling the tanks when the water came back. So, overall I’m not sure how much turning off the water really saves. But, TIP (this is Panama) and though some things don’t make sense to us, we learn to carry on.

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On another note, I have to log on to my website host to check the mailbox for the blog, which I hadn’t done in a while and the spammers had managed to overload it. Usually, mail in the inbox (not the spam folder) gets forwarded to my main email address so unless the whole mailbox is full, they’ll get through to me. It’s cleared out now, but if I don’t attend to it often enough and your email gets bounced back to you, please leave me a comment and I’ll get on it. Thanks!

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Holiday Time in Panama

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Again, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything. I have ideas but the day goes by, and then another, and then a week and I still haven’t written anything. It seems like there is always more than I can … Continue reading

Gallery | 8 Comments

Old Folks in Panama

A pleasant surprise about the culture in Panama was the respect given to the older folks.

I’m from the USA and my profession is health care,. I’ve taken care of countless seniors and I’ve seen the general attitude that they are old, full of problems, needy, and no longer useful. Even people in their 50’s and 60’s have a hard time finding jobs, and their considerable experience, wisdom, and work ethic isn’t always respected.

We arrived in Panama with Joel’s mom (92 at the time), and immediately saw the respect in people’s eyes for her, and for us for taking care of her. There were greetings, pats on the shoulder, offers of seats, and any sort of help that could be offered. Much of it couldn’t be put into words but it certainly could be felt.

Lately, we have had a bunch of errands. One was getting our drivers licenses renewed and since Joel is over 70, a doctor had to sign off that he is physically and mentally fit. We walked into Hospital Chiriquí, made our needs known to  security guard who directed us to an internal medicine doctor. We were seen immediately, and after a short exam and $45, we left with the required document.

We went back to the drivers license office, which was nuts! They had been closed on Saturday, so the guard thought that all the Saturday people had now come in on Monday, and it didn’t help that some of the staff was off on lunch break. After over an hour waiting in line we made it to the desk for the first step. Then, we waited maybe two minutes for Joel’s name to be called by two people, one for his picture and vision test, and the other for the hearing test. Why so fast, when there were obviously quite a few others ahead of us? Because he’s jubilado (retired, and apparently because he’s over 70 since that didn’t happen with me and I’m 67). The picture/vison test lady got him first, and then the hearing test lady did her thing. He didn’t hear any of the high frequencies in the test and thought he couldn’t possibly have passed, but she said he was fine.

Then, time to pay. $16! (mine was $36, and a non-retired person is $40.25) That took only a minute, and then his license was ready only a couple minutes later. So, even though the place was packed and the line was outside the door, once we got through the initial line the waiting time was almost nothing. And, while we were waiting a young guy got up and gave me his seat like it was the most normal thing in the world.

I also had to go to the bank, and it was also nuts with a line well out the door. The security guard at the door wasn’t letting people in but looked at me – jubilada? Si. OK, go in. The line for the tellers was very full but there was only one person ahead of me in the jubilao line and my business was done in no time, and with a smile from my new bank friend Madeline who has seen me each day I’ve come in.

Now all the pressing errands are now done, thank goodness. I figured we have been out 7 of the last 9 days for either errands or band gigs. I saw a joke on Facebook – What did you used to like to do that you no longer like to do?  – Leave the house. HA! Yes. I do not plan to leave the house tomorrow. We have a couple more things but they can wait a couple days.

Retired people also get many financial perks in Panama – discounts on health care, travel, restaurants, hotels, movies, etc. etc. A Google search will provide details if you’re interested. But, that’s a subject for another day. Today I’m grateful for the time not spent waiting in lines, and the feeling that my silver hair as earned me some respect. Thank you Panama.

Posted in Panama | 11 Comments

Whew! Busy Times

We returned from a visit to the US over a week ago. The grandkids are getting bigger and more and more fun. We talked, played, read books, made dinner and treats, and a lot of other activities. I can talk with my daughters over the internet but for the little ones, I want to be there so this is why we go back often.

We came home to a list of things that had to be done. Living in Panama (or anywhere) is not eternal vacation.

It was time to pay the yearly car insurance and update the documents. Many things can be paid by credit card, but this year they didn’t have the machine or something was wrong, so it was check or cash only. Often, when something needs to be paid you can get the account number of the business, go to their bank, make a deposit in that account, send the business a copy of the receipt on WhatsApp or email, and that takes care of it. I didn’t bring checks and the office is downtown by Cervantes Park. Downtown traffic is sort of a pain, and worse right now because of all the Christmas holiday activities and shopping, so the bank process is easier. I owed them $127 for the year, liability only. If your car is over 10 years old you can’t get full coverage.

Then, it’s time to renew the drivers licenses. It was an easy process for me. Go to the office with my license and ID ($.10 for a copy of the ID since I didn’t bring one), see the lady who verified my information, checked my vision, and took my picture, see the lady who did my hearing test, go to the guy who handles the money and pay $36, then go to the last window to pick up my new license and sign the paper. The whole thing took maybe an hour. Joel. however, is over 70 so he needs to go to the doctor to verify that he is physically and mentally healthy, and then he can get a license for 2 years (instead of 4).  We’ll tackle that on Monday.

We are also planning a February tour to Europe with our friends, put together by an agency in Panama City. They need to be paid so again, deposit money in the bank to their account, and then email the receipt to the business. So, off to the bank I go. No, can’t do it with a credit card, only check or cash. But, it’s a lot of money so both Joel and I withdraw the daily maximum from the ATM, return to the bank and deposit that. Yesterday, we repeated the process. The teller remembered me and said she looked forward to seeing me on Monday. How sweet is that! We’ll be back on Monday, and then Tuesday should complete the transaction. Yesterday was busy in the bank so I really appreciated the “jubilados” (retired people) line which was much shorter.

These are the most pressing obligations, but we also need to see the dentist for our routine cleanings, and the dog needs her nails clipped (she has black nails and I can’t see the quick, so I don’t want to do it. The vet costs $3.06 and a few minutes)

Meanwhile we have also been playing gigs. I didn’t play at all while we were gone, and we only had a day or two to get ready after we got back. Even with songs we know well, I need to practice everything the day before, brush up on the more difficult ones the day of and then play the gig, and rest up the day after, so a gig can take me at least part of 3 days. I’m getting better now that I have more experience but I’ve learned that I need to be well prepared or things can happen, things the audience probably never notices but the band knows.

So, that’s a general overview of what’s been going on. Some times just get busy. We have extra holiday gigs and then things should calm down.

I’ve run on enough for the moment and it’s time to get moving again. One does not have to be bored in retirement. Ha! How did I ever have time to work?

Posted in Panama | 2 Comments

David, Panama, report by IL

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve written on the blog. Sometimes life just gets in the way and I’m off doing other things. At the moment I’m with family so I’m getting even less done, but we are having all kinds of fun!

Joel told me about this article by International Living. We all know to do our own research and get our own information. But, this article seems fairly accurate, though heavy on the rosy outlook which is typical of them.

https://internationalliving.com/countries/panama/david/

We are very happy in David, but our ideal location might not be yours, and life will not be problem free no matter where you live. I’d hate for people to move to “paradise” only to find it’s not what they expected and they won’t be happy.

Usually the first reaction to “we live in David” is, It’s so HOT! We find the mountains too chilly so David works us, and we have AC for hot afternoons. Many people don’t seem to realize that it’s humid at all elevations. it’s dryer in the Azeuro Peninsula and in the dry season but if you hate humidity, Panama is not for you. It is the tropics, after all.

As for David, it’s true that it’s affordable and convenient. Everything you need is nearby. It feels like a very happening place with construction projects everywhere. The biggest one is the Federal Mall which is just getting finished, and it’s huge. We have seen the middle class thriving here. There are many opportunities for education and employment, and we have seen better cars, home improvements, and new homes. But, with all this comes traffic. The joke is that traffic rules are merely suggestions, and there are very few traffic lights even in busy areas. The driving style is hard for some people, though drivers are also considerate and there isn’t road rage.  They are starting to put up road signs but finding your way around can still be challenging.

Other challenges?  Anything to do with government and bureaucracy may be tedious with different processes to learn, things that don’t always make sense, and copies. One must have copies of everything!  And, though we are finding more people who speak English in David, they are still a minority and Spanish is the daily language.

But, much of the hassles are not unique to David, or even Panama. When I get frustrated I remind myself that the local people have been thriving here for generations (and we will be fine too), and when things take a lot of time, I remind myself that we are retired so we don’t need to rush back to the office. Things always get worked out one way or another, and people are always willing to help if you get stuck. Our daily needs and most of our wants are always met.

I’m sure I haven’t mentioned all the hassles but whatever they are, for us, they are insignificant compared to the benefits we enjoy – the natural beauty, warm weather, freedom from hurricanes and other weather problems, affordable cost of living, affordable and good quality health care, delicious fresh produce every day, and most of all, the welcoming and friendly people. I never thought I would be made to feel so at home in a different country!

So, do your own research, and I hope all of you find a place and a life that makes you happy.

Posted in Panama | 6 Comments

Registering the Car

Sometimes getting things done can be quite a production involving many steps, documents, and copies. There are always copies. Sometimes even just explaining a process takes many words. Here are 1500 words…..

We bought a bigger car a couple years ago, good for hauling band equipment to gigs. It was registered in Panama City which means renewing it had to be done in Panama City every year, not convenient for us. We learned about Arsineo in Dolega who will go to Panama City, take care of the registration, and get everything transferred to Dolega if you wish (the next town up the road from us). He needed $125 (if memory serves) and signed permission to do this in our behalf, and he returned later at the agreed time with our new license plate (you get a new plate every year).

So this year, the month the plate expires comes and we plan for the registration process. First, you need a document of insurance showing you are current (get one from your insurance agent). Then, you need a revisado (inspection) which can be done at a number of service stations around town. We gathered the registro (title) and seguro (insurance) and went to Felipe Rodriguez, our unusual revisado place. They check all the lights, turn signals, tires, and take the required photos of the front and side of the car. We paid the cashier $11 and left with our revisado document.

Next, we went to the Municipial office in Dolega with our documents, and copies of everything (we have learned through experience. Copies of everything are always a very good idea. If you can do them yourself, that’s better than hunting for a place, finding them closed for lunch, or some other complication. Copies are usually not done on site, in the same office as your business). Where is that document from Panama City? What document? Apparently Arsineo had a document giving permission to transfer the registration, but this did not actually do the transfer so little did we know there would be more to this process.

Thankfully someone in the other office was able to look through Arsineo’s files and find the document. Of course we needed a copy so we went to the copy place, which at this time is the residential house across the street. $.10 and a pleasant chat later, we head back to the license plate office. There is no plate for us though so we are given a document that says everything is up to date. (When you do your registration, at that time they order you a plate for next year so if you are making a change like this, or sometimes even if you are late, they won’t have ordered a plate for you).

But, our title still says Panama City so we need to fix that. Off we go to the title office. Dejota? Huh? (Not sure about spelling)  We need a dejota. Ok, where? David. What is it? Verification of the VIN numbers. We are very thankful for friends and neighbors who know stuff, and are able to explain this process and where to go.

We set off for the dejota place and after asking in a couple places, found it in the judicial building across from EP Furniture on Ave Olbaldia. We were told to go early (us? early? Ha!) but found out if you go in the late morning most of the early birds have come and gone, and we only had a wait for a few people ahead of us (maybe an hour. The guy is not the hurry and work fast type).

First we had to go to an office where they checked all our papers, and then we waited outside where the guy was doing the inspections. He found the VIN numbers under the hood, on the motor, and on the chassis, rubbed them with carbon paper, and then used packing tape to make an impression and stuck the tape to a paper form which he filled out with our info. We didn’t realize that waiting in the car with AC on made this really difficult because he had to reach under the hot motor to find the numbers. It would have been hard to access the numbers even in a cold motor, they were so far down and in a space hard to access. He finally got it done though. Then he checked all the papers again and announced that we were missing a receipt from Panama City, a Paz y Salvo document (don’t even ask me what that’s about)

We were told that Arsineo should have gotten this document when he did our business in Panama City, so we went back to Dolega to see if it was there. No… no luck… and no Arsineo on site….and though the gal could find our name on his log of things he’d done, she couldn’t find any file or papers of ours. She determined that we needed to request a copy from Panama City, and she made a permission document giving herself the ability to do this for us. This had to be notarized but apparently there is no longer a notary in Dolega, so this would need to be done in David.

By now this is getting tedious and frustrating! I looked again through all our papers. Then, I got the idea to look through all the papers for the other car, and there is was!! Yay!!!! I don’t know how it got there but at this point I was just really happy to have it. I made a couple copies (of course) and headed back to the dejota guy. He took a copy said he would find our file, and send whatever he needed to send to Dolega. We could return to Dolega in 10 working days to get our new title.

So, after giving them a few extra days, just because, we go back to Dolega. No title. No records of any sort with our name. Nothing. Maybe they went to David, Bugaba, or other municipality? We need to call the dejota guy and find out what’s going on.

It’s much easier to go in person, so back to the dejota guy we go. He’s not there, so an office gal looks through files and books, many files and books, and finally finds our document with the VIN numbers and tape, nothing more, and on the top of the document is written in pencil “wait”. They track down the dejota guy in some back room. Apparently he wasn’t busy so he was just hanging out. He says he needs the documents. (I don’t know what happened to all the documents we already gave him plus the missing one we brought in a couple days later). Thankfully I came armed with copies of everything, title, revisado, insurance, transfer document from Arsineo, paz y salvo receipt…. I think that might be all? Again, he takes everything, 10 business days…. Dolega….. Dolega! For sure, yes? No other municipality please. Dolega.

Again, we allow some extra time and then go to Dolega. She looks through a book, makes a check mark next to a name, checks our old title… it’s there!!! Yay! She only needs a copy of my cedula (the Panamanian universal ID card).

I had copies of everything in the world, except that. Back to the house across the street, $.10 and a pleasant chat later, I return with my copy. Ok, now go to the next window and give her $20. She gives me a Paz y salvo receipt which I give to the title lady, and she hands me the new title which now says Dolega! YAY!!!!  Whew!!!  Sheesh, can’t believe we finally got it done.

There is still no license plate though. Check back in May. May?? Ok.

Now, after all that, do you want to hear an easy story? Plan for the worst, and sometimes it’s even worse than that, but sometimes it’s amazingly smooth and you’ll have a happy surprise. We decided to keep our old Atos. It’s perfect for in town and costs hardly anything to keep. You can only get liability insurance for anything over 10 years old, and our insurance for this 13 yr old is only around $120-130/year.

The time came for the registration on the Atos. Our insurance document was current so I made a copy, and a copy of the title and we headed out for the revisado. There was a new girl who only glanced at the tires, took the photos, and $11 and a surprisingly short time later we headed out with our revisado document. We made a copy of this too, and headed to Dolega. There was no room full of waiting people, no wait at all. We gave the gal the revisado and I think a copy of the title, and around $35, and she gave us our new plate. Done! That fast!

See, sometimes you’ve done something before so you know the process, and it goes quickly and smoothly.

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Fruit, etc.

There are a few photos in my stash I’ve been meaning to share.

Our veggie guy had pipas, or coconuts for sale. “Agua de Pipa” is coconut water, so if you see that on a sign stop by for an excellent tropical treat. “Pipa Fria” is the same thing, cold coconut.  Usually they expertly whack off a piece of the husk with a machete to expose a small hole into the inside and insert a straw. After you drink the juice they can open the coconut, and make a slice of the husk to be used for scooping out the meat. Sometimes you can also buy juice by the cup or larger container, especially if you bring your own container.

The Pipa from our veggie guy were especially large and full of juice, and really delicious!

Our laundry room is an enclosed outdoor space and we keep the freezer there. It has a cardboard cover for protection, and one day I noticed a collection of tiny white eggs stuck to the cardboard. Then, the other day, I saw a line if tiny caterpillars marching single file across the cover.

I coaxed them on to a piece of paper and put them on the ground next to the terrace and some shelves so they would be in a protected spot. They were in a clump when I disturbed them but as soon as possible, they formed their line again and proceeded to follow the leader in circles until he finally decided to lead them off the paper. There’s always something new and different around here!

My neighbor gave us some oranges. The usual way of eating them is to peel off the outer skin in a long ribbon, and slice off a little piece on top. Now you have something like a natural juice box or juice pouch. Squeeze and suck on the opening to drink all the juice.

There is a lot of citrus grown here! Most homes have a tree, and there are large orchards not far from here. There are a various types of oranges, and what seems like an endless variety of “limons” the catch all term for lemons, limes, and other tart citrus varieties.

Last, but not least, we are going to be overrun with bananas! We have two making fruit at the same time.

To me, nothing says tropical living like bananas and coconuts. I love looking at the bananas in the back yard, and we are waiting for coconuts from the beautiful tree in the front yard.

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