Keeping Busy

Now that you are retired, what do you DO all day?? This is a question I’ve heard quite a few times. Believe me, keeping busy has not been a problem. I often wonder how I had time to work.

Lately it seems like I have been even busier than usual. I am taking a weekly painting class in David, and a watercolor class in Boquete and also painting some at home. I try to spend time with my friends and I usually come along when Joel’s band has a gig. I’ve been riding my bike a bit more. I can give me house a fairly decent cleaning in less than an hour, but that’s still an hour that needs to be spent now and then. We make almost all of our food from scratch because it’s healthier, cheaper, and tastes better but that’s also takes time. That doesn’t count shopping, puttering around in the yard, getting lost reading various things on line, and watching Netflix. Keeping busy is definitely not a problem.

My camera is always with me so there are photos to sort and edit periodically. You would think I’d run out of things to point my camera at, but this hasn’t been the case so far.

It seems like I have been seeing more iguanas lately, many of them in our yard. We have been watering a bit to keep our grass and ground cover alive so maybe they are enjoying something green to munch on.

I stopped by the construction site for the new bus terminal and Federal mall a couple days ago. I don’t remember seeing the tall construction cranes before, and it seemed like a lot more concrete had been poured at the mall site.

I often take my bike to do errands instead of the car.  Downtown is really crowded with traffic, taxis, buses, and pedestrians but the bike takes a lot less space on the road, and you don’t need a parking space so it works out better. I’ve gotten much more used to riding in traffic and people are considerate. Errands also give me a reason to get out there.

The photo below was what was on my bike when I returned home. I went to a pharmacy and got some water color paints (TIP – this is Panama and where you find things sometimes doesn’t make sense). As I turned away from downtown I saw some street vendors. The bag of tomatoes weighed about 2 1/2 pounds, $1. The big pineapple was $2 and it was SO good! The other bag is mariñon, or cashew apples picked up for free along the road. One of the veggie markets down the road sells pipa fria (cold coconut water). The guy used his machete to whack off enough to make a hole, fill my water bottle, and gave me the shell to bring home so I could enjoy the coconut meat inside. Thank you daughter for my panniers. I use them a lot!

Then, the big event last Sunday. It rained!! Real rain, get everything good and wet rain. Since then we have had a few sprinkles, some clouds rolling by that looked like they could rain, along with days of intense hot sunshine and some wind. There has been a lot more rain in the mountains but it continues to be very windy up there too. So, the season is changing and none to soon for me. The sunny days have been intensely hot and I’m looking forward to some cooling.

So, just life, doing things that need to be done, doing things I enjoy, and observing the world around me in my little part of Panama. It’s a good life.


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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20 Responses to Keeping Busy

  1. peggyjoan42 says:

    Why I think retirement means you find many things to keep yourself busy. We are retired and have an active life. A person gets to do enjoyable things they could not do when they had a job. Loved all of your photos.


  2. Martha Dismer says:

    We are going to be in Boquete for six months beginning May 15th. I have enjoyed your blog. Is there any chance that my husband and I could treat you to lunch when we are there? You can contact me at: We live on a small island off the coast of Georgia and both recently retired from public health mental health. Would enjoy meeting you. We like to bike and hike.


    • Excellent, I hope you enjoy Boquete! We will be gone most of May but I’ll get in touch when we get back. Or, come out to Mike’s Global Grill on April 29th. My husband’s band is playing and I’ll be there too.


  3. Another nice post Kris – thank you. And for more chickens (loved looking for the chicks among the leaves). And the contents of your shopping bag – ah that coconut! Those pink flowering trees look like Lagastromia Indica – they come in several shades, including light purple. Here in North Carolina they call them crepe myrtles, though they’re a smaller variety, used for landscaping, and not the type that grow into enormous trees. They have a horrid habit here of cutting back the branches annually to keep them compact – a practice many refer to as “crepe murder”.
    Oh and the cashew fruit – they distill a rather potent alcohol of the fruit in Goa (India), called Feni.
    Ah retirement! Glad you’re enjoying all it offers.


    • I thought you’d like the chickens. I’m not sure the trees are crepe murtle either. I’m familiar with them from Florida. I’ll have to take some closeup photos and see if the Panama gardening group folks can ID it.
      I might pass on trying to make alcohol from the cashew apples. My favorite is to put them in the blender, then cook like apple sauce with some cinnamon and sweetener, or make a drink.
      Yes, retirement, hope it is your turn soon!


      • 😄 – you’d need a distillery to make Feni from the cashew apples – what you do with them sounds tasty.
        On the flowering trees, here’s a few Spanish versions of what Lagerstroemia Indica is known as – Spanish: árbol de Júpiter; crespón; crespon rosado; espumillas; Júpiter; lila de les Indias; lila del sur. The crepe myrtles you’re familiar with from the US are simply poor (possibly hybrid) relatives of the original magnificent trees. Your photos look like Lagerstroemia Indica to me (yes I’m stubborn and think I know everything). 😆


  4. Susan Wiest says:

    I’m so jealous! Sounds like an awesome time!


  5. jim and nena says:

    Hola Kris,
    My “leisure” hours always had projects involved so my working hours were relaxing. If my boss was doing his job, I was busy. If I was not busy, then that was his failure not mine. 🙂

    Now with retirement, I have no relief from projects so I am constantly busy. And something no one will tell you, with retirement you no longer get weekends off!! Still, I like it better when I can work my own schedule and switch projects when I want. Not having to finish everything on a weekend is great and shopping when the stores are empty is heaven.



    What are Panniers ?? And where do you carry so many things in your bicicle ?????


    • Daryl says:

      I’ll handle this one, Kris. Do an online search for pannier like I did and it will answer both your questions at once.


    • Thank you Daryl 🙂 That’s a link to a photo of me on my bike setting out to travel from Seattle to parts south. You can see one of the yellow panniers on the back. I was carrying everything I needed for life on the road – clothes, tent, sleeping pad, tools, food, etc. You’d be surprised how much you can carry on a bike with the right equipment.



        I am truly surprised that you can carry so much gear in a Bicycle ! Viva le Pannier !

        And by the way, you look wonderful in you riding gear . Keep up the good articles.


        • We have hosted travelers on bikes here, and you would not believe some of them. Many have panniers on the front as well as the back, and then other baggage strapped on the front and back as well. But, some are literally traveling around the world and spending years on the road with everything they have on their bikes.

          Thank you 🙂 That was April in the Pacific northwest, so I had at least a couple layers on under that rain jacket!

          Now though, I mostly put produce in the panniers, and extra bottles of water.


  7. Ahhh! Rain! At last! Hope it doesn’t get too muggy for you now.
    Here is Oregon we could use a few days without the liquid sunshine, frankly. Summer will come and then we’ll be looking for the rain. Enjoy your full and fun-filled days. I’m enjoying your reports.


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