Errands and Renewing the Driver’s License

It’s December, just a few days before Christmas. They take Christmas very seriously around here so the city, and especially the shopping areas, tend to be super busy. But, we had things to do. And somehow, we were super lucky with everything!

We needed to renew the car insurance. The office is downtown at Cervantes Park, and there is never any parking down there. So, Joel waited in the car while I went upstairs to the office. The very sweet ladies had my papers waiting for me and I was ready to go in no time. Chatting and catching up on how everyone has been doing took most of the time!

Then, I came home and took my Fender bass apart. I bought new pickups (the electronic parts that send the signal to the amplifier), new strings, and a new pickguard (the plastic part of the front of the guitar). I was really pleased with the ease of installation, and also happy that Joel was with me. It didn’t work – maybe try switching those two wires – that did it! until I put everything back together… but Joel realized that the metal shielding on the back of the pickguard was transmitting a signal from one knob to another. We scraped off the shielding behind one of the knobs so it wasn’t touching, and I was back in business. It looks and sounds wonderful and I’m very happy! I found out that the grounding wire is necessary to prevent a constant low buzz, so Joel soldered that in today. Tomorrow if all is well, I’ll put everything in place and put all the screws back in.

Then we had a zoom meeting with an estate planning lawyer. We’re not getting any younger and I’m relieved to be getting organized. I didn’t know you can hire people to manage your finances, your health care decisions, and serve as executor of your estate as these needs arise. Hopefully our kids won’t have to worry about a thing down the road. My neighbor and good friend was not happy to hear we are doing this because like her, we are going to live forever, but when your family has parents living in another country I think it’s even more important to be realistic.

That was yesterday. Today, we decided to tackle Pricesmart. We’ve been gone for a while and the shopping list was growing. We were prepared to deal with holiday crowds, but there was nothing! Maybe it’s because it’s the day before payday for most people. and they are waiting for their money? Traffic was very reasonable, there were police helping with traffic at busy intersections, and Pricesmart was pretty calm. Yay!

So, next project, get Joel’s driver’s license renewed. He’s over 70 so it needs to be done every 2 years, and he needs a document from a doctor stating he is in good enough health to drive. We headed to Chiriqui Hospital where you can usually get a doctor on the spot. The first guy they recommended was out for the day, but his secretary took us down the hall to another office. We had to wait about 20 minutes for the doctor and his secretary to come back from lunch, and then we were seen…. well I don’t know if we could even go as far as to say Joel was seen. ha! The doctor asked for ID, printed the document, had Joel check that the info was correct, and done. Pay the secretary $40 on your way out. He didn’t ask Joel as much as an “how are you”. But we had what was needed, so were happy.

Then, off to the Sertracen office where they issued licenses. Traffic again was very reasonable, and there was a policeman directing traffic in front of Chiriqui Mall (thank you, because it’s usually a mess there!). We found a parking spot quickly and went into the office, and there was nobody! No line, no wait, no crowd, wonderful! They took Joel’s info, sent him to talk with a gal who verified all his info, took his picture, and gave him the vision test. The test was so funny! Here is a circle missing a bit, kind of like the letter C. Now tell us where the missing spot is pointing, to this side, to that corner, etc. Thank goodness there was a guy who could explain it in English because I had no idea what she was trying to tell us. Is that circle a car? and it wants to go that way? Or is it me wanting to go there? I had NO idea! And, she was explaining it with a card and the actual test was on the computer.

Next was the hearing test. Joel wears hearing aids, and the higher frequencies are especially troublesome. He said he guessed at a lot. If the last sound was in my right ear, maybe I’ll say I heard something in my left ear next. But whatever he did worked, and they passed him on to the cashier. It usually costs $40 but with all his discounts for his age, it was $16. Then, go over there and get your new license. Again, he was asked to verify that everything was correct, and we were done. Whew!

You really shouldn’t drive without a license, ID, and paperwork in the car (title, insurance, and the paper that says you paid for your license place if you weren’t able to get one). There are police checkpoints here and there and if they ask and you don’t have, you could get your car towed which is an expensive hassle. Legally you are also supposed to carry a driver’s manual, accident form, fire extinguisher, and a reflector in case you are stopped on the side of the road.

After all that, we realized we didn’t get any milk at Pricesmart, which was at the top of the list. *sigh*. So, we stopped at El Rey supermarkets on our way home. It wasn’t crowded either and we had no problems.

That was a lot of stuff in a couple days! We do have many relaxed days but it’s also regular life, and there are things you have to get done. We still have to go down the street and pay the electric bill, and the veggie guy comes tomorrow. But nothing else major is planned for this week, not until Sunday when the band resumes our Sunday evening gigs.

I hope all your errands and activities are also going smoothly. Best wishes for a happy and fun holiday season! And as always, take care of yourselves and each other. Too many of us are dealing with too many challenges so check on your friends and neighbors, and help where you can.


About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
This entry was posted in Panama. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Errands and Renewing the Driver’s License

  1. The last time I went to get my license renewed at the Chiriqui Mall (several years ago, as you know) there was quite a long line outside the door and down the walkway. I got at the end of the line, but the guard at the door spotted me and instantly came over and told me since I was “Jubilado” I needed to go right inside to the head of the line. I was out of the place in about 40 minutes. Man the DMVs in the states could take a few lessons.


  2. Sharon Claassen says:

    I stumbled onto your blog while researching Panama as a potential retirement locale. I really enjoy your writing. If the universe allows I hope to be in David in early Jan and would love to hear your band if you’re playing and maybe glean more from your experiences.


  3. Pingback: A Bit of Health Care | The Panama Adventure

  4. Pingback: A Bit of Health Care

Comments are closed.