Back in the USA

It’s been a while since I’ve written in the blog. I’ve been busy with the band, getting ready to travel, and life in general. Now I have landed in the US and have some time to catch my breath.

Usually I take the bus to Panama City, an all day undertaking. This time though, I decided to spring for a plane ticket. What a difference! I had most of the day at home, went to the airport in the late afternoon, and arrived in the city after less than an hour flight.

I stayed at the Airport Express hostel which I may have to rethink next time. We know it’s a no frills, but clean and decent place but this time *sigh*, I was on the 3rd floor, up an odd curving stairs with luggage to a door with a puzzle for a lock. There was no light in the bathroom, but the only outlet was in the bathroom. The AC had no controls so I had to toss my coat over it to keep from freezing. There was only a sheet, no blanket or comforter, the only light was a glaring one in the ceiling, and there was no cup or glass for water. But, there was breakfast and shuttle to the airport, very important.

Breakfast – coffee, water, and whatever was in these packages.

I was very happy to get an affordable direct Copa flight to San Francisco (SFO). In the past they had been something like $1400, but now they are around $600. I don’t know why but thank you Copa. It’s a long flight but still got me to SFO early enough to go on to Seattle. This means I will go to CA later, and on the return only have the SFO to PTY flight, not the all night in the airport crazy long trip back from Seattle.

I’ve been here almost a week. I don’t know how the time has gone so fast. I’ve been walking to shopping to get things on my list, practicing bass a bit, helping a little in the house, and of course enjoying time with family. My granddaughter is growing and changing so fast, and the expected new baby is big enough that I felt a couple kicks, very exciting. Facetime is wonderful, but sometimes you just have to be there in person, especially for the little ones.

Of course there are the usual differences. It’s cold here! It hasn’t been warmer than mid 50’s, and nights are usually in the 30’s. Everything is very clean, manicured, and orderly. People follow traffic signals, and there are lights at every crosswalk for pedestrians. It feels odd, not in a good way, to pass people on the street with no eye contact or greeting. Food is crazy expensive. Yesterday I bought a 1 1/2 lb bag of grapes, two little boxes of raspberries, and a 15 oz tub of butter. $17.19. I’ve spent that much for a whole week’s worth of produce from the guy who comes to our door.

I am thankful for our Panamanian life for many reasons, but I’m also thankful that I am able to travel to spend time with family. This is way up at the top of the list of my priorities and as I get older, it only gets more important.

I will leave you with some pictures of why I am here. Most of these were taken Sunday on an outing to a nearby park with a great playground.

 

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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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12 Responses to Back in the USA

  1. Anonymous says:

    Kris, enjoy yourself and thank you for sharing!!

    Jim

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Kris, when u get time—just curious what u spend per year, average, to travel back and forth. TU

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    • I’m guessing somewhere around $1200-1500/trip. But of course everyone is different depending on where and how they travel. I get the retired people discount so around $450-550 round trip to get to SFO, another $150 round trip if I fly David to PTY ($21 for the bus), another $200 or more to and from SFO – Seattle, probably a hotel or two in Panama City, maybe another in SFO, maybe a bus to/from SFO to my daughter’s city, misc food, extra baggage fees, and whatever else along the way. It all adds up but that’s just my itinerary. Others of course will be different.

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  3. Donald Mack says:

    Kriss I was there in David for 4 days and then on to Boca Del Toro where I stayed for 9 days and I loved every minute of it everything was great except I must learn to speak a few words of Spanish which I am starting an online course in Spanish next week because in about 4 months I want to go down to Medellin Columbia and see the area there for about 4 weeks this time, I only had one problem besides my lack of Spanish skills the hotel in Boca had a tile shower with no non slip on the floor and the second night there while soaping up in a cold shower I slipped on the floor and ended up at BDT hospital getting 4 stitches in my face below my eye so now another scar I told the day manager and she neither apologized or offered to pay the hospital bill which was really funny emergency room visit cleaned and stitched up and an ointment cream and are you ready for the bill $21.65 boy was I surprised and the hotel never asked to pay me back only thing they said was you need to be more careful and no I wasn’t drinking I don’t drink any more been sober 18 years, guess I wont stay at their motel again wrote a nasty review on line, because I do have a pretty nasty scar now, I can only hope to check the shower floor in Medellin before I take a shower Ha !!!

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    • Yes, Spanish is very helpful, and essential in many places. I have heard that there is no English spoken in Medellin.
      This is Panama and a hotel or business is not responsible if you hurt yourself. It’s your responsibility to look out for yourself and it is really uncalled for to write them a nasty review. That isn’t how things work here. I’m sorry you got hurt but glad you got fixed up without breaking the bank.

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  4. CAMILO QUELQUEJEU says:

    IT SEEMS THAT YOU ACTUALLY CARRIED YOUR BASS GUITAR ALL THE WAY TO SEATTLE ANS SFO ?????? THAT REALLY AWARDS YOU AN “E” FOR EFFORT !

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    • Oh no! Last time I was here I bought a cheap bass on eBay, ($64). I left it in Seattle so it has been waiting for me. I bought another this time and it’s in CA. Now whenever I visit family I will have something to practice on. They aren’t what I would want for gigs, but just to practice and learn songs they are more than adequate.

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  5. jim and nena says:

    Hola Kris,
    the kids are so cute! It seems like they grow an inch every month when they are young. The 2nd thing I notice in the photos is how clean everything is outside. The litter when we visit family in Panama is everywhere. Our niece is visiting from Panama City and each time we leave the house to go shopping she talks about it.
    I am going to guess that the family keeps warm clothes ready for you?! I know you don’t care for cold temps and 50’s is deep freeze cold. We hit 88 a couple days ago and I ran the AC in the afternoon. Then I ran the furnace that night. Yup, Spring is here.

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    • Yes indeed, they grow so fast!
      I know, everything is clean and manicured. There is minimal trash, no weeds along the roads, no potholes, no messed up sidewalks. It may look better but it also tells you that you must keep up appearances. You can’t let your yard get high, let weeds grow, or other things we don’t worry about in Panama.
      Layers, dress in layers. I have on a T-shirt, regular shirt, sweater, and two pair of socks at the moment, and my winter coat is nearby. More clothes are waiting for me in CA. I need more warmer clothes for those cold nights in Boquete.

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    • jim and nena says:

      Item of interest on airline travel. We just put SIL and her daughter on a flight to PTY. They flew Avianca again from DFW to PTY via SAL (El Salvador International), $700 per ticket. This was the second time they have flown Avianca and I was impressed by their agent service at DFW. They each took a carryon, and 2 suitcases. The extra suitcase was $40 and they even accept cash. Their flights were AV440 and AV317. I checked and they fly from Seattle as well as SFO.
      We may fly them next time as the United flights are pricier.
      https://www.avianca.com/cl/en/travel-information/before-your-flight/network-of-routes

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      • Hmm… PTY to Seattle round trip $2500-3800. PTY to San Francisco is competitive in price, but super long with connections in South America and long layovers. Thanks and I’ll check back but maybe not as good an option for the west coast.

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