America is Taking Over Panama!

Yes this is a “foreign” country, but not as foreign as you would think. If you feel better seeing familiar businesses here, if you are happy to get your favorite fast food, you will be just fine in Panama. Is this a good thing? I don’t know, but whatever it is, it is going on.

This is by no means a total list, just what we were able to photograph on a quick Sunday drive around our side of town. I’m sure there are more.

I’m not sure how I feel about so many America companies having a very large and visible presence here. I don’t think fast food is the healthiest. I’m not a big supporter of American consumerism. I also haven’t felt the need for the comforting familiar American business and food here. But, I didn’t eat at these places in the US either, and I’m not overly stuck on any brand of products. I can see though for someone looking at Panama, it feels much less like you will be doing without if you know all these businesses are easily available to you if you want them. I just hope we don’t negatively affect Panamanian behavior, health, or waistlines.

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
This entry was posted in culture, Exploring the Area, food, Panama and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to America is Taking Over Panama!

  1. D. Quixote says:

    Consumerism and what passes for “modernism” keep on taking Panamá and the world over. Not all of it is bad but, of course, that is a matter of perspective. B.T.W. The province of Chiriquí is the American continent; Lincoln even thought of sending freed slaves to this province after the Civil War.

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    • kristc99 says:

      Yes, true, I know. We are everywhere. I hadn’t heard that about Lincoln and the slaves. I’ll have to see if I can find out more about that. Are you from Florida? Miami? I have a friend there who uses your on line name.

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  2. Roger says:

    Kriss. I got an American Friend married to a panamanian girl and he once told me that he ran away for unhealthy fast food in US and he found them here too but he also told me that we in Panama were crazy by eating to much fast food. He liked to go to the municipal market in Panama City and buy fresh vegetables, produce, seafood and meat.

    And replying to your question… yes were are having an increasing endemic disease of obesity, high blood pressure, high bad cholesterol and all food related problems. That is the price we are paying for having those fast food chains and other types of meals in Panama.

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    • kristc99 says:

      Hi Roger 🙂 Thanks for your comment. I was afraid this was the case, that US fast food is getting more popular here and people are seeing the negative consequences. It’s too bad when there is so much really good food here.

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  3. indacampo says:

    Having never been to David it appears to me that the retailers are catering to the multitude of Norte Americano retirees that have congregated in the area. We don’t have anything like it in our area, the closest Mickey Dees is an hour down the road in Chitre. When someone settles in our neck of the woods you adapt to to the lack of the Norte American style consumer goods. I gotta say I don’t miss a lot of useless things I could spend my money on. And I’m happy that Starbucks isn’t around the corner because we’ve saved a whole lot of money buy not having take out coffee!

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    • kristc99 says:

      If there was money to be made, if they could convince enough of your people that they must have McD’s and KFC, they’d be there too. When we stopped in KFC here the place was packed with Panamanians and we didn’t see any other gringos. Most of the gringos are in Boquete but they don’t seem overrun with fast food. But it’s also a much smaller town where David is fairly large and probably has the population to support a bunch of restaurants. Starbucks? Here in the land of coffee production? I wonder how that would work out! But, if they could make money I’m sure they would be here too.

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  4. doverock says:

    One word: globalisation!

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  5. Marissa says:

    I was born in Panama but have not lived there in over 25 years. I just returned from a week there spent visiting family and I noticed too that there are more and more signs in English, aside from all the US franchises that have found their way there. My stepmother says that Panamanians and local businesses like having their signs in English. Maybe it makes them feel more “American” or maybe they’re just trying to appeal to the tourists and retirees, but it’s more and more obvious each time I visit.

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    • kristc99 says:

      Interesting! I’ve also noticed more people trying to learn English. On my first visit to Panama City nobody in the hotel spoke any English, and now (same hotel), there is always one or more people who speak at least some if not quite a bit. I wonder if a lot of Panamanians think the US is something to emulate, not realizing that the US is not what is shown on TV, and what they are doing here may be better. Of course there is also the tourist and expat dollar, and why not try for your share. Thanks for your comment. It’s very interesting to hear your perspective. Thanks also for the link on your blog!

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  6. Richard says:

    The only gringo fast food establishment I go to here is the Subway at the Plaza Terronal. I never ate at McDoo Doo’s in the States and I sure don’t intend on doing it here. Kentucky Fried Chicken is absolutely horrid world-wide in my opinion and Panama’s equivalent, Pio Pio, is pretty bad. But I sure do wish they had a Popeye’s franchise here in David. LOVE that chicken from Popeye’s. There are four of them in PC and when I visit the city I always stop in for some spicy chicken. At my first meeting with the two girls who translated my book into Spanish I asked them what their favorite restaurant here in David was. They both said, without hesitation, McDonald’s.

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    • kristc99 says:

      Ahh, we rarely ate out in FL and don’t here either and if so, certainly not fast food. But, these places sure are popular with a lot of people, same as back in the US.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    New to blogging- will be checking out a few places including David this fall. Either settle in Panama
    or Costa Rica, was their in Feb. this year.It was quite nice! Thank you for giving me an idea what
    David is like. Love my dancing, somewhat ballroom, but want to learn Salsa.Looking for warm sun
    not especially beach but enough gringos to find a north American dance club. I’m a retiree – single
    Thanks for a small snap-shot of David, doing my homework now – How serious can the malaria
    problem be? How about cockroaches, must be bad with the heat? Speaking of heat is it all that bad? Will be spending a few days in Pan City, suppose to be very hot and humid. I live here in
    Victoria B C Canada quite nice but chilly cool winters, but no snow here, one or two dustings in
    winter and the snow is gone in a day or two. Again Thank you kristc99 Cheers Bob Brown

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    • Kris says:

      There is a gringo destination not far from us in Boquete, and I believe some of them do some dancing there. There are discos in David where the locals go dancing but I haven’t been yet so I don’t know what it’s like. Panama City is a huge city and I would imagine you can find pretty much everything there.

      Malaria? no, and there are no medications or precautions required for this area. There is some dengue fever, and there are mosquito inspectors that make the rounds to be sure people don’t have standing water and mosquito breeding areas. We rarely see a mosquito though, and could live without screens on the windows except for a lot of harmless little bugs who are attracted to the lights at night. Cockroaches, no, haven’t seen them either. Our main problem here has been ants of various sizes who sometimes volunteer to clean up anything we leave around the kitchen, and the pesky leaf cutter ants in the yard.

      Heat is subjective. We lived in Florida before so we’re fine with it. No one wants to be out in the intense afternoon sun but overall, it’s usually more comfortable than Florida in the summer. It’s definitely hot an humid though, so if you don’t like that you may be more comfortable at a higher elevation where it’s cooler. When you visit Panama City you’ll get a good idea of what it’s like at sea level.

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