a Great Day

There is nothing like a pandemic and strict quarantine to make you appreciate a lot of things you usually don’t even think about.

A bit of quick background – we’ve been quarantined since our return on March 1st. We no sooner got off our 14 day quarantine than the whole country was shut down. We’ve been allowed out for very limited hours, and only for food, pharmacy, bank, gas, and health care.

Women are allowed out M-W-F, and men Tu-Th-Sa for one hour, according to the number of your cedula

Now the country is taking the first steps toward reopening the country and returning to normal. Today, the big thing that made me so happy was exercise!! We are allowed out to run, walk, skate, and bike, still only during our very limited hours, and only within 1 kilometer of home, and with a mask if you think you will get close to any other people, but hey. I’ll take it!

It was never clear to me if I could bike to shopping, but I know I can’t get in the bank, and probably not the supermarket with biking clothes. I don’t want to bike in street clothes, so it had been 3 months since I’d been on the bike. That’s a long time!

Today, I decided to risk “shopping” so I got on the bike (oh my did that feel wonderful!!) and biked to the vegetable market and bought 3 cucumbers. That’s shopping, right? It’s 3 kilometers from home, but I don’t know what a kilometer is. It’s 2.2 miles, right? and I hardly speak any Spanish, right? As it turns out I had no problems, saw no police, and came home with more goodies in my pannier.

Across from the veggie market was a guy selling seafood. I got shrimp ($4.25/lb) and tuna ($3.50/lb)! Both are treats and look wonderful. The shrimp is big too, and really yummy. We’ll have tuna for supper tonight, with beer. I also went to the chino (convenience store) and got a 6-pack of beer. (The alcohol ban has been lifted but we are only allowed to buy one 6 pack or one bottle of something for home consumption. It’s not worth it to me to wait in line at the supermarket but the chino is really fast and easy.)

The country is starting a 6 phase process of opening up, and this is phase 1.  The next phases will come 10-14 days apart, depending on how things go, so it will take at least 2-3 months before everything gets back to anything resembling normal. Many people have suffered greatly, so the country is trying to restore essential services and get as many people back to work as possible, without jeopardizing health and safety.


We’ve been fine so I hardly have cause to complain. But, I’ve really missed biking. I can go out M-W-F from 11-1pm (over 60’s get 2 hours instead of 1!). I’m glad it’s not later in the day or I would either be really hot or really wet, but I’d go out anytime if necessary. I’m a believer in exercise, fresh air, and community for health and sanity, so I also enjoyed saying hello to some people along the way, and catching up a bit with some I hadn’t seen in quite a while.

I don’t know if the band will be out in phase 5 or 6, but that will be a while. I don’t know if I’ll see my family at all in 2020, so I’m very thankful for the internet and video chat. I see the grandkids adapting quickly to video as their main means of communication, so I’m enjoying more and more conversations and activities with them. Today two of them read to us in the group chat, and another showed me all the cake mixes in the cupboard that she is looking forward to making with me when I finally get there. The little one says HI a hundred times, but she’s learning more words every week so she’s getting more interesting too.

Crazy times, huh? I hope you all are staying safe, sane, and healthy, as much as possible under the circumstances. Be kind to each other.


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 a Great Day

  1. Ray says:

    A km is .6 miles. Sorry to break the news.
    A kg is 2.2 lbs.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Oh, Kris! That was such a wonderful read, and I am so happy for you! And I laughed right out loud about the descriptions of the kids’ antics 🙂
    Hope you get many more chances to get out on your bike. My husband and I missed asking you questions during your “interview” with Jackie from Panama Relocation Tours, but it was nice to hear your voice and see another photo of you, and your information was helpful. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Marilyn Flinn
    Charlottesville, VA


    • Aww thank you! 🙂 That interview was fun, and if you have questions you’re welcome to ask me anytime.
      I’ll be back on the bike M-W-F at 11am until the quarantine rules change! That does tend to get you moving, if you know it’s now or not at all for 2 more days.


  3. simplywendi says:

    I found it interesting that men and women were allowed to go out on separate days. 🙂


  4. Judy Self says:

    Aloha or Hola!
    My husband and I are moving to Nueva Gorgona next March. Very excited about that. Although I have been researching Panama for several years I still have questions and confusion about a couple of things. How long does it take to get a Friendly Nations Visa? Should we start now while we are still here in the USA or wait until we get there? Shipping or mailing things to ourselves….heard we should get a mailbox in FL with Mailboxes Etc and ship to them, then periodically ship to their Coronado location where we need another mailbox. Is that correct?


    • Oh my, I’m so sorry. This got buried and lost in my mailbox.
      Do you have a lawyer? That would be the person to ask about your visa and how long it takes. There are probably documents you will need that will be much easier to get while you are still in the US. But definitely ask your lawyer how to proceed. And, keep in mind that everything is delayed and messed up with the pandemic and quarantines right now.
      I believe there is a Facebook group for Coronado people. They can help you more than I can about shipping or sending things. There are mailing services, Mailboxes Etc being one. They will give you a Miami address which contains the info they need to send your items on to your preferred location in Panama, where you pay and pick up your items. That’s my understanding but verify this with someone who has some experience with mailing services.
      Good luck! I hope everything goes smoothly with your move and you are really happy here.


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