Sunday, Nobody Goes Out

March 9, was the first case of the virus in Panama. In the space of  3-4 weeks, life has gone from fairly normal to this different existence. Now we are allowed out for 2 hours, which hours are designated by ID numbers, for essentials only (food, pharmacy, gas, bank, health care), women on M-W-F and men Tu-Th-Sa. It is Sunday today so nobody at all is allowed out (except essential workers).

But, how quickly do we adapt? After days and days at home it feels almost normal to us except for the constant barrage of news, steadily increasing number of cases and deaths, and the much worse news coming from the US and around the world. Everyone wonders what the future holds, how long is this going to last, and will life ever get back to normal and when it does, what will our new normal look like?

I am learning new words. I can spell quarantine without spell check, and I can converse about la cuarantena, el virus, and other words I wish I didn’t know like fallicidos (deaths) and cuidado intensive (intensive care). My social circle has been reduced to the neighbors I can talk with across fences, but I’m on the internet more. We’ve been doing almost daily group video chat with my older daughter, the other grandparents, and I, while the kids have snacks and read books. This takes a lot of the sting out of not being able to be with them in person. My other daughter has called me more too, and we’re going to see if we can get her family in on reading circle time as well so the cousins can see each other.

I had a great chat with my older daughter today while her son was at a birthday party. The kids did it all on line playing Minecraft, all together in the same game from their homes. Their teachers are also using technology for virtual class times to supplement the work being sent home. I know it means a lot to the kids to be able to see their teachers and classmates. I’m also hearing about cooking, gardening, and other skills not taught in school, and more time with parents even though they are all juggling working from home while taking care of housebound kids. I’m really proud of how well they are all doing in these difficult circumstances!

We’ve also settled into something of a routine here. There is checking the news (try to keep that to a minimum), correspondence, my audio book addiction (yes, I have ebooks too), music practice, cooking, laundry and the normal house chores, and I’ve been cleaning more seriously so depending on how long this goes on, I’m going to have the cleanest house ever! I’ve been scrubbing the textured floor tiles with a scrub brush, sorting some of the piles that tend to accumulate in catch all spots and cleaning shelves, walls, and other things. Maybe one of these days we’ll even tackle that scary place under the kitchen sink!

I miss biking the most, the physical activity, fresh air, and social interactions. I know there are exercise videos and other opportunities but yuck, that is so not my thing so I’m trying to stay active with yard and house work. I’m not hauling band equipment either, but I’ve enjoyed this down time to work on my skills and new material. Someone posted a video of one of the other bands at our usual venue though, which reminded me of what we are missing – the music, the comradery with the other musicians, the employees, and the audience. I know someday we will be back but there is no telling when. And since tourists make up a large part of the audience and clientele of the venue, who knows when they will start coming back.

But all in all, we have nothing to complain about. We are SO fortunate. And I feel so much for people not only sick, but suffering from loss of work, loss of income, business shut downs, separations from friends and families, and the unknown of an uncertain future.

But hey, at least the beaches in Georgia are open again. Here in Chiriqui the local authorities posted a beautiful video to thank the trash collectors for their very important work in keeping the country clean.



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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27 Responses to Sunday, Nobody Goes Out

  1. Eliza Ayres says:

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal and commented:
    The virus event from a different perspective…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carole says:

    We are not as restricted here as you are.
    Maybe you will beat it better than us. No curfew at all, people are not taking it seriously. Went to get gas yesterday, no gloves on pumping gas and no mask. I wiped the pumps with sterilized wipes and had gloves and mask. We have 12 cases on St Croix and 1 death. Trying to stay home now, had to leave last week because our dog got attacked. Not happy with the waiting room at the vets, hopefully won’t have to go back, I took out the stitches myself. Life is so different in the states, but people are not being careful here. Crowds going to the beaches on Sundays, because of that restaurants and bars are closed near the beach. Other restaurants on island are only allowed take out, and some are deciding to stop that. The supermarkets are starting to do delivery to your home, which we will do next weekend possibly. No one is allowed to come on island , such as tourist, 60 day freeze. Hope they find a cure soon, afraid people will start getting desperate and the crime will go up. Stay safe and healthy


    • Sheesh, sorry about the dog. Yes, crazy times and people everywhere seem to be handling it differently. Here they have little tolerance for people disregarding recommendations and tighten down the rules more and more to prevent that. I hope you stay safe and healthy too!!


  3. 4sarge says:

    Wow, Good Info. We too are Not as Restricted. I’ve stayed at Home except for a 2 week trip to Grocery and have a Dr Appointment next week and will PU RX’s same day. Very Rural, so 45-1HR drive to Grocery or DR. Bought some Fast Food (McDonalds), 20 Min Wait at Drive Up. Grocery Fairly Busy, I was Gloved & Masked. A guess, about 3/4 or more wearing Masks. They had TP, did Not need it and it was Pricey. Bought Paper Towels and Paid more than they were Worth. Can goods were very low, No Potatoes, Fresh Fruit & Vegetables low stock. No Sales. GOVT Pandemic Cheerleaders wanting (predicting) 6 more Months 😦 Retired so Not hurting but Working Folks will be in Dire Shape IF Living Pay Check to Pay Check. Many New Cars & Trucks on the Road that are NOT PAID for. NEW CHANGE, Many Big Box Retailers now Limiting Access to Store and Limiting number of Customers. Lines outside with Social Distancing. VERY FEW cases here, if any. WE Will PERSEVERE. STAY SAFE ALL.


    • Yes, us retired folks are in better shape, but people who depend on their paycheck from work, it’s only a matter of time for those who lose their jobs before they start falling behind. And, then what? That $1200 assistance from the government wouldn’t have paid for half a month of our basic expenses in Florida, and wouldn’t even cover rent in many places. It’s going to be bad times all over the world, I’m afraid.


      • 4sarge says:

        $1200 per qualified Adult, 600 per Minor. Family 3600 Max. The amount was Changing, so I’m Not sure of the Final Total. That is Emergency Money and then Unemployment Kicks in. Since Retired I did not follow that Compensation. Companies are Hiring for newly created job openings. Economy Needs to get back on Track. The Next Pandemic or Natural Disaster could be just around the corner. Hopefully, people will be a little better prepared, IF, When something Happens. Guns and Ammo are Essential for those who were Unprepared. Rural America, Hunts, Fishes and Traps. The Number of ex service members is probably staggering. Big Cities are Unprepared and harder to obtain food other than Assistance.


        • It’s such a difficult and touchy thing, protecting people while not ruining them, and there is no rule book or easy answers. Glad you are hanging in there and doing ok!


  4. oldsalt1942 says:

    Here in Florida our new Republiturd governor, DiSantis has exempted churches from heeding the stay inside orders because they are an “essential business.” That’s kinda like designating a special section of the swimming pool as the pee area…


  5. says:

    Chris…been reading since you moved.  Wil NEVER open to your site anymore. Nots.  Been a few months now??



    • I’m not sure what you are saying. You will never come to my site anymore? Or, the site won’t open for you? Apparently you were able to see this post, so shall I figure you have a problem with something I said?


      • Richard says:

        I think what Jeff was trying to say is your site more recently has begun to actively foster a liberal American agenda when it should remain apolitical and stick to issues going on in Panamá.

        I have followed your site for many years and this American political side-story thing has been a recent development as topics in Panamá have dried up.

        Stick to your Panamá-only market or rebrand your website title, mission and credo is my recommendation.

        Jeff was blunt.

        Others may be simply going elsewhere quietly and you don’t stratify your SEO to detect it using standardized feedback tools.

        Maybe that clarifies the details behind the emotion for Jeff?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Maybe so. Thanks for your input.
          I am who I am and it’s bound to show, especially in times of stress and frustration like now. I never set out to create a following, but it has happened pretty much by itself. I just want to record my thoughts and experiences and people are free to follow along or not as they wish.
          I do appreciate your clarification, and that you took the time to comment. Stay safe and healthy.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Marilyn Flinn says:

            I found your blog sort of by accident, and I have really been enjoying it. Thanks for all of the sharing that you do. I, for one, am exasperated by the complete lack of ability of so many to handle this crisis in the U.S. My husband and I had a trip planned (and all accommodations, rental car, airfare, and insurances already bought and paid for!) for early May – trying to check out the possibility of retiring in Panama, but of course we have had to cancel all of that – and I am glad for all of you there in Panama that you have some thoughtful, forward-thinking people in charge. Please be well, and I’ll continue to watch for your wonderful posts! Thanks, Kris.


            • Thank you for the kind words about the blog 🙂 This will pass eventually, and it will take more time to get back to some semblance of normal but hopefully you can reschedule your Panama plans later on. (hopefully your money will still apply, or you were able to get refunds!) Take care and stay safe!


  6. Mikel DeAngelis says:

    Hi Kris

    I hope all is well with you and yours and that this note finds you Happy and Healthy, I first came upon your site the very week you started your Blog, as I was considering Panama as a relocation spot at the same time as you were. We actually ended up in Italy and have lived there for over two years until a few months ago when we returned to the States and are residing in Portland, Maine.
    All the while still reading about your life and adventures, ie: Biking adventures and supplying a sort of Bikers Hostel and also your journey into the Rock n Roll transition of your life:))
    Your thoughts and writings regarding your travels back to the States and your willingness to discuss your personal relationships with your Family and friends back in the States and how you are dealing with the distance between you and your family and your Grandchildren are honest and inspiring. Your openness and candidness has always been one of the reasons I follow you and your adventures.
    Please don’t change the Title of your Blog as a reader has suggested. This is your body of work, you take the time to sit down and send out your thoughts to hundreds. It takes so much time, work, and commitment to provide your readers with insight on the daily trials and tribulation of living life as an Expat. (Especially for all these years) Kris don’t let anyone or anybody tell you what your site should be or that you, who has committed so many years of time and work, should “stick to” a certain topic or change your title.
    I raise my glass to you for commitment and dedication to all your readers over the years.

    Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, God bless

    Mike D
    Portland, Maine

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow Mike, thank you so much! Thanks for reading for so long, and for telling me that you appreciate the blog and sending your support. Don’t worry, the blog is my space to be who I am. People are always welcome to share their opinions and thoughts, but ultimately it is my thing and I don’t plan on changing it.
      Italy? I love Italy! How cool that you lived there. Did you like it? I hope all is well in Portland, or as well as possible under the circumstances. Take care and thanks for the comment 🙂


  7. Plants On Purpose says:

    Perhaps we could learn a thing or two from Panama as far as staying home. I have papers from the hospital I work at in case I get stopped stating that I’m an essential employee. I work in cancer research and our patients will still be coming in for treatment, at least for now. I pray they don’t halt their treatments because you can progress very quickly without it. I’m in a fairly safe area, but, I’m still at the hospital so am extremely careful. This is a strange time for us all. I hope we will all come out of this for the better on a global scale. Thanks for sharing as always. I appreciate your viewpoint and look forward to your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Richard says:

      Plants on Purpose,

      I concur. Panamá has a uniquely dynamic republic that responds well to whole-nation, domestic crisis better than EE.UU. (USA), the nation that helped it achieve its final independence (1903=Colombia, 1821=Spain).

      Sadly, nearby Latin American nations are struggling under indecisive leadership that cannot think outside the box or see how ominous patterns can quickly overtake their future.

      COVID-19 requires everyone to think outside the box.

      This is a radical paradigm shift for each nation of the world as entire cultures are being rewritten over their original foundations.

      Some nations are discovering their foundation is too diversified and minorities are getting crushed under more austere (laissez faire) COVID-19 policies.

      Some diversified nations, fortunately, are rising to the occasion and using COVID-19 to reunite their diversified identities.

      Panamanians are 95% Catholic.

      Previously, that made irksome many planned schedules what with mandated holidays and parades that clog major avenues for hours to days; the Panamanian culture is wedded to the Catholic church.

      Now, it has become the backbone of Panamá and ensured its survival as everyone remains at home peacefully and obeys El Presidente (for the most part).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nobody really knows the best ways through this, but I feel good about how things are being handled here in Panama. I think we could come through better than many.
        As for the Catholic aspect, as an athiest I’ve found it much less troublesome than I expected. I’ve never felt judged for my beliefs, but I feel a lot of kindness and generosity and the positive influences of religion in peoples thinking and behavior. And, they also seem pretty inclusive regardless of color, background, culture, etc.
        Yes they are always stopping for one holiday or another, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Life goes on and things get done eventually and people’s noses aren’t as worn down by that grindstone. But I’m not trying to work or get anything done so it doesn’t bother me as much as many, I’m sure.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Richard says:

          I completely agree that Panamá has gotten its act together, well ahead of others.

          I was attributing much of that Panamanian success to its cultural core, which is founded on Catholicism.

          It was introduced by the Spanish centuries ago but became a centerpiece of society.

          As a result, when El Presidente needs the people of Panamá to all remain in their homes on Sunday to thwart COVID-19, this is the success you get; it’s taken from a mid-portion of the nation’s Pan American Highway:

          I have heard atheism used many times by soldiers and Marines when they first reported for battle, but when I worked over them as they took their last breath they each one claimed a faith of some God.

          Liked by 1 person

          • It makes sense that their religious beliefs are at the core of Panamanian culture. As an outsider it isn’t always that obvious, but log on to our neighborhood chat group and you’ll see how important it is to everyone.
            I saw a video like that taken here in David, a section of the highway that is always full of traffic was empty except for a policeman standing watch. It’s kind of surreal looking.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Plants On Purpose says:

              I’ve worked with many people from different countries for many years. I think other countries understand the concept of doing something for the good of the country, like staying indoors, better than Americans. I can’t speak for any other countries, but I’ve even had conversations with people from other countries about this. I love learning about other cultures and find it very interesting.


              • I see what you are talking about in some of my US friends who are more concerned about their personal rights and freedoms than the good of everyone else. Here that’s hardly ever a thing. (eg: try to explain the anti-vax movement to a Panamanian. ha)

                Liked by 1 person

          • Xiomara says:


            Sory you losing yor wife’s sister to Comarca. Was you? Si?

            You see people y lots of pain. First en war. Then the sister. Now coronavirus.

            We respect jubilado of war most of all.

            We proud of our heritage of the church. Strength. Outsiders never will understand.

            Stay home. Stay strong.


    • I’m so glad you are being extremely careful. I worry about health care workers and others on the front lines. Good that you are in a safe area, and how good that you continue to care for your people who are facing such a challenge even without the virus.
      Yes it’s a crazy time, but we can only so what we can do and hope for the best. Thank you for doing what you are doing, and for your comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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