Back in Panama with the Wildlife

I’ve been back almost a week now from my almost two month visit to the US, and it feels good to be back.

I’m glad I have’t forgotten all my Spanish! It’s easier in the US where I can talk with anyone and not hunt for words or miss some things, but I’m really happy with myself when I can communicate in my new language. I feel a bit rusty but I’ll bug my friends for conversation to help me get back up to speed.

I biked across town yesterday to visit various friends and I was greeted countless times by people in vehicles, people on the street, people everywhere. The smiles are genuine and they look you straight in the eyes, so you feel like they really “see” you. It’s good to be back.

(I’ll mix in some wildlife photos as we go along)


These Yellow Headed Caracaras are a common sight. I heard a lot of noise in my front yard and when I went to investigate, this one was sitting on the pillar with a lot to say. I managed to snap a photo before he saw me and flew off.

It’s messy here. There are weeds growing alongside the roads, there is minimal zoning, some roads are rough, and people park anywhere they want. But, what does this really mean? Where are the priorities? The US is very clean, manicured, orderly, and visually attractive but all that care and maintenance comes at a cost. Here the weeds will get cut eventually, and you may have to ask around to find the owner of the car blocking you in but he will be found with everyone’s help and a lot of smiles. No one cares if you dismantle your car in the street or have cows in your front yard. It’s a much more free and relaxed style of living and I have come to like it a lot.

It’s hot here. You get used to living with your skin always a bit moist, but you hardly ever need skin lotion or lip balm. You need more showers and laundry though! A lot of people go to higher elevations to be cooler but I like this warm weather. I was thankful for my kids in the US who put big comforters on the bed and did what they could to keep me warm, because it felt pretty chilly to me there. Here I’m fine in shorts and a t-shirt except on an occasional evening when rain has really cooled things down.

My grandson would be in heaven here! There are mighty machines (heavy construction equipment) everywhere, for sale, for rent, and on countless job sites all over town. One of these days soon, I’ll have to go out with my camera and take photos of all the projects that have been underway while I was gone, and I’ll be sure to include a lot of construction equipment.

My grandson would love the bugs too. I was thinking about him last night as we sat in the living room watching a video. There was a june bug and a beetle on the floor, a couple spiders in the corner, an ant walking across the room, and a moth flying through the house and that was only one room. He got very good at capturing bugs under a glass and taking them outside, so he would be busy with that and then we could go hunt more bugs outside. His mom wouldn’t be nearly as happy though, since she isn’t a bug person.

Oh yes, and my doggie friend. I stopped by to see her yesterday too and she looks fantastic. Her injured foot is totally healed with just a small scar visible, and she is running around on it like nothing ever happened. I think the fleas and bugs are gone, and there will be no more puppies. Best of all, she remembers me, and came to me and licked my hand to be petted. Sometimes good deeds are well rewarded (background info here –  Since that post, the guys at the business adopted all the puppies, I got her to the spay and neuter clinic before I left, and Joel was kind enough to continue antibiotics which she needed for tick fever and give her another dose of flea medicine)

So, life goes on in Panama, and we continue to wake up every morning and thank the universe for all of it!

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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13 Responses to Back in Panama with the Wildlife

  1. oldsalt1942 says:

    I’m sure you know the trepidation I’m feeling about repatriating the the States. This has been my home for the last six years and some and looking at what things are like up there I’m not happy. Also, you know my political leanings and since I’ll be spending my time in the South (FL, ALA, MISS, TEX, LOUISIANA) my biggest fear is whether or not I’ll be able to keep my mouth shut.

    But if worse comes to worse I have a card in my walled that says, “República de Panamá — Carné de Residente Permanente” I’d find out how much it would cost to ship my small sailboat down here, sign up for a Go Fund Me account and return. Hey, I might just do that anyway.


    • You know Richard… that is exactly what you should do. We give you 6 months in FL. Not to be negative, but they will either throw your ass out or you will realize you can always come back here with your dream: Your own boat!


      • oldsalt1942 says:

        That”s a rather harsh assessment, dontcha think? I’m thinking I might be able to endure a year!


    • I was thinking along the lines of John and Susan. Can you get the boat down here? Go up there for medical care when you need to but spend most of your time here? I know for myself, I’d rather have a shorter life here than have to live up there full time. And, the sense of community and support here is also good for your physical health.


      • oldsalt1942 says:

        The kind of boat I have in mind isn’t one I could sail down here. Don’t have the physical capacity any more. BUT if I started a “Go Fund Me” account I might be able to raise enough to be able to put it on a ship or in a container and send it down here. ¿ Quién sabes?


        • Why not start the Go Fund Me account from here? Go back buy a boat, and hire a skipper to go with you to bring it down?


        • oldsalt1942 says:

          I’m working on a blog post about the kind of boat I have in mind and you’ll see why it wouldn’t work to sail it down here. If I still had my old Kaiser 26 I wouldn’t hesitate to do it. That was an honest-to-god sea-going pocket cruiser.

          I have a couple of things I want to do with said boat and it requires very shallow draft. I want to do the entire Gulf Coast Intracoastal Waterway from Ft. Myers to Brownswille, TX/ I’ve done the Atlantic ICW five times, the first time single-handed. I also want to get the boat trailered to Minneapolis and come down “The River” to the Tennessee River and then down the Tenn-Tombigbee to Mobile. In ’75 I did the Mississippi from the Grafton Locks (where the Mississippi and the Illinois join up.) to New Orleans. It would be a kick coming down the river to stop for a couple of days after passing Lock and Dam #20. That’s Canton, MO where I went to college for four years.

          When, and if, I’m able to accomplish those goals then I’d really, seriously think about returning to Panama.


          • Ahh OK, I understand, and we’d be a unruly crew anyway. It sounds like you have some very cool plans, so you’d better get internet so we can follow you on your travels!


  2. ME BE in Panama says:

    Glad to have you back on thepanamaadventure Kris. I look forward to your next exploration into “Useful Thoughts” as you did in January. I enjoy your & your reader’s perspectives on interesting topics. Cheers, Mariah


  3. Carole says:

    Glad to see you back home with Joel in Panama. Nice of you to help the stray dog. We have adopted two strays and adopted two puppies from the shelter. Not good when we are taking a vacation, have to board them, gets to be expensive. They are too much to have someone stay with them and watch them at home. But they are worth it, all the affection they give us. Can’t wait for our visit next month to Panama.


    • If I had any ideas about having a dog I would keep that one. She is a real sweetheart but like you said, it’s a responsibility and expense. At this point I’m not having anything I have to take care of. But, I do enjoy the neighborhood dogs.


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