My Day Today

A lot of things are very much like the US, and other things are not. It keeps life interesting. We are getting a water tank installed here (more on that later)

I awoke to our neighbor calling from outside the fence, and then throwing rocks on the roof. A rock makes enough noise hitting a metal roof that you will definitely hear it. Lucho was there with his friend Rey who is doing part of the work.

Workmen don’t come with materials. Sometimes they don’t even come with tools, but this wasn’t the case today. But, materials had to be bought so off we went to Novey for PVC pipe, connectors, and many various things. Rey had been very organized, drawing plans for the job and making lists of everything needed.

We left the neighborhood and passed a couple dozen cows, calves, and a bull being driven up the road by a guy on foot and another on a horse. Yes, we live within the city limits.

At the store, Rey tore off the list for electrical items and handed it to the guy in that department, and set off for plumbing items with the other list. Items bought, we head for home and he starts digging in the side yard. He figured the water comes from the meter, down beside the house where it makes a turn at some point to enter the house. But no.

We went downtown to do a couple errands and when we returned he was still hunting for the pipe. Finally he started digging up near the meter and discovered the pipe curved towards the driveway and then went under it. Plans are revised, and now the plan is to connect the pipes below the meter, above the curve, and run them straight back to the tank. This will need more pipe.

Lucho and Rey survey the scene.

There was one item they didn’t have at Novey (a check valve so water won’t run back towards the street), so we went to DoIt Center. He got a few more connectors but they didn’t have PVC pipe or a check valve, so back to Novey we went. He will go elsewhere for the check valve in the morning.

I make tuna salad, crackers, fruit, and ice tea for lunch. It isn’t required,  but it is customary and appreciated if you make lunch for people working at your house, and be sure they always have something cold to drink.

Work continues. We start music practice which is interrupted a bit by Rey removing a panel in the drop ceiling so he can run an electric line to the pump. Then, he is busy running pipes, glueing connections, and the project starts to take shape. He comes in to tell us he’s going to get his helper.

His helper, I’m not sure how it is spelled but sounds like Jerry, works at Novey and is Lucho’s nephew. He works full time, and is also constantly busy with side jobs like this. Most Panamanians are hard working people!

By now the sun is lower and it’s cooler, so I go out to do some yard work. We learned that it is much better to clean up dry leaves and other flammable material in your yard in the dry summer.

I was interrupted by a guy going door to door, on foot, selling paintings, fairly large paintings to hang on the wall.

After a very long day of work, it’s all done except a check valve which will be installed in the morning. Tomorrow they start on Lucho’s water tank. There are four working adults and two kids in that house, and numerous other family and friends who visit frequently. I told him his tank definitely takes priority over ours and our two person household but he wouldn’t hear of it.

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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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10 Responses to My Day Today

  1. David says:

    Hi Chris David here I haven’t been keeping up with your posts so I may have missed something I thought you were renting if you’re not then that explains my question my question would have been if you’re renting you’re doing a favor to the owner I still haven’t sold my classic car yet but my intention is to make that Panama my new home my retirement community anyway take care

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    • Yes we are renting. We paid for the tank and pump so we have the right to take it with us if we leave, but we plan to be here for the foreseeable future and this will make our lives more comfortable. We have a really good landlord and I don’t mind making some improvements to the property that we will enjoy.

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  2. jim and nena says:

    Hola Kris,
    if your place has a hose bib outside, look there first for an underground pipe. On the relatives’ houses I have worked on, that’s where the builders run the pipe. No idea why.
    The multiple visits for plumbing projects is not country specific; I read somewhere that every plumbing job requires 3 visits to the store. I feel lucky when I get by with just 3!
    One day, Panama may leave its PVC method and adopt PEX. Fewer couplers, flexible tubing, and for up here, no freeze worries. I have seen some PEX use there and it is more costly but installation is far easier, and less worries about breakage when the ground moves.

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    • I have seen PEX in houses but did not know what it is called. Thanks for that info!

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      • jim and nena says:

        You’re welcome.
        PEX outside the USA may not be the same quality so be certain that you know what you are getting if using it. Initially, PEX went through some troublesome development due to pros not knowing or following the install requirements. Once they learned the correct methods and tools, it is miracle stuff. Google “pex problems” to see the growing pains.

        Panama has had PVC since forever but it is often NOT installed correctly. Unions cost money so “plumbers” would heat a metal cone to expand a tube, then push the next tube into it, maybe with some glue, maybe not. Heating PVC to turn corners also weakens PVC but is a common practice. Up in Boquete, you can find PVC tubing of all sizes laying on the ground or suspended from the jungle overgrowth. Breaks and leaks are ever present. Like they say, “water, water, everywhere but not a drop to drink”.

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        • Thankfully I’ve done enough plumbing to know how to do it, and our guy did it right. I know what you mean about PVC lying on the ground, sometimes with a “fountain” from a break or hole. Ours is on the ground now too, but since it won’t ever freeze here no big deal. We will probably bury it later just for looks.

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    • There isn’t a place to connect a hose outside, only at the sinks in the laundry room. Our guy is an experienced plumber/electrician/welder who also lives in the neighborhood so I figured he’d have a good idea of where the pipe could be. For some reason they ran water, power, and phone all together under the concrete driveway, not good if anything ever needs to be fixed or modified.
      I’d never seen or heard of PEX and had to look it up. Looks like good stuff to use but if it’s more costly it may be hard to catch on here.

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  3. Susie says:

    Hey Kris, I wonder if Lucho is the same Lucho who does “jobs” in our community in Boca Chica….If so he is a very busy guy! That is going to be great that you have your own water tank. When we finally move there full time that is the first thing on the list (next is a generator)…..You can live with just about anything but NOT water!!! How far in advance do you get your band schedule??? we will be heading there next month and we usually head to Boquete at least once (Brad has to get in golf at least once every time we go). Would love to hear your band play!!!

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    • Probably not the same Lucho. It’s a common name, and this Lucho is usually busier than he wants to be around here. That’s him in the picture, white shirt and jeans.
      The band plays every other Saturday at Mike’s Global, the 10th and 24th this month, and every week at the Brewery, usually on Sunday but not always.

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  4. Pingback: Yay Water, All the Time! | The Panama Adventure

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