Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says (and thoughts on travel and living in Panama)

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

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I have just been on a major trip. One week ago I traveled from Santa Rosa, CA back to David, Panama. There were signs all along the way! Photos of these signs could represent our progress from the US to Panama. Do you think I could grab the camera to take a couple decent photos? I started out with very good intentions but all I took was this one in the San Francisco airport. After that, we rushed to make connections, arrived in Panama City at night with customs, a taxi to the bus terminal, etc. By then I was tired and the whole idea had just disappeared from my head.

And, in addition to that delinquent behavior, I am a week late!

But, I did make the trip, and a major trip it was. It seems that TSA always wants to inspect my luggage. This trip I had spices (bulk and bottles), coffee, vegetable seeds, and other assorted things we could buy more easily in the US and they didn’t even look. I would think any drug sniffing dog would check the coffee! But, I was happy because on a couple other trips, they took the tops off the spices and neglected to put them back on, and the spices were all over my clothes. Grrrr.

It was a great time in the US but I’m happy to be home. Going back to the US is always a change though. The first thing that shocked me was the prices! In Santa Rosa, CA I spent $700 in grocery stores for 2 weeks/4 people (and that’s not counting some things that others paid for). That’s our entire food budget for 2 months. We could have shopped at cheaper stores and cut corners, and not left the kitchen as well stocked for my daughter, the brand new mom, but it still would have been a lot. My daughter has a nicer and somewhat larger house than we do, but she pays literally 6 times more for it. Don’t even ask what her health insurance costs, now that she’s temporarily off work and paying out of pocket.

Everything also seemed so quiet and orderly in the US. Northern CA is beautiful and I really love it, but I miss all the people in the streets, the activity, and energy of Panama. Sometimes there is too much trash in the street, and you have to dodge pedestrians and bicycles when you drive, and guys are taking cars to pieces in their front yard while the chickens run around, but it’s so full of life here.

I also missed my friends. I literally have to walk out my front door to find my best friends. Others are around the corner and up the street. I love greeting people in the street. First is the look of surprise that these gringos actually say hello, and then comes the big smile as they return the greeting. Here the basics of life are family, friends, kindness, helpfulness, and respect. In the US it seems so much harder for so many to just survive, and they can’t enjoy life and each other in the same way.

I’m so thankful for the visit to both of my daughters, to celebrate a huge graduation with my younger daughter, and to help my older daughter get settled in with her new baby. I’m also very thankful for this opportunity to be in Panama, to experience this place and these people first hand. It’s really changing my head and my life.

Apologies again for the photo challenge. Even the one photo I do have is pretty pitiful! 😀  I will put my mind on the next one and try to come up with something more suitable (I hope!)

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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.
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6 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says (and thoughts on travel and living in Panama)

  1. oldsalt1942 says:

    I certainly know what you mean about the ambiance of Panama vs the U.S. Here I live in a NEIGHBORHOOD whereas in the states I lived in an AREA. And while the people I deal with daily in Panama remind me of the saying, “money is a poor measure of a person’s wealth.”

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  2. Mike DeAngelis says:

    Hi Kris Glad to see you had a great trip, Congrads on the birth of your Grandchild, I too will be a grandfather in August for the first time.. A baby boy. My son moved to Atlanta, so like you I will have too travel a little if I want to visit with him/them, which I am sure I will. Things are good up in here in Portland, Maine, June is wet and rainy as it is every single year, but flowers are of course in full bloom and the warm weather is just around the corner (July) :). Anyway I heard about someone living out on Peaks Island off the coast of Portland who lives in David in the winter, Im hoping to look him up soonand maybe pick up some more info about your area and how he enjoys it. Im still planning to come back in the late fall and stay at least 4-5 months. That is my goal, my dream and what I am working toward…. PS Are u still taking Spanish lessons, and which if any CDs do u recommend while Im driving in my car….? Thanks so much, hope all is well… Mike D Portland, Maine.

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    • Kris says:

      Thank you, and congrats on your grandson! How interesting that there is another David traveler in your area.
      I’m not taking Spanish lessons at the moment because we are traveling quite a bit. I started with Pimsleur in the car when I was working, and found it very helpful. I got mine from audible.com but unfortunately they have wised up and only sell a few lessons at a time, instead of an entire course for one credit. But, I thought I learned quite a bit, and I liked being able to repeat a lesson over and over until it sunk into my thick head.
      Enjoy your spring, and all the flowers!

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  3. bluebrightly says:

    Interesting comparison between N. Cal. and Panama. Every place has its charms, and it seems you’ve found a place with charms that charm you!

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    • Kris says:

      Thank you yes, we are so happy here. And we also get to visit California any time we want 🙂
      Wait! it was you who posted those very touching pictures of people in Afghanistan. I just checked your blog link. Those children… what a tough place to grow up. And, I flipped through some other posts. You’re a wonderful photographer. I’m lost in the photos of the flowers.

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