Wanting to retire in Panama

Archive for May, 2013

The Drive from David to Panama

This weekend D and I want to get our itinerary in order for our visit to Panama this summer (July 18-August 1).  We are starting by staying a couple of days in Panama City so we can visit the famous Panama Canal.  We are then going to make our way towards the Azeuro Peninsula, Boca Chica and then towards the end of our trip we will be staying in David, checking out such places as Boquete, Volcan and Puerto Armuelles.  

We are currently battling with the idea of whether we want to stay in David until Jul 30, then do the drive from David to Panama City all in one day on the 31st, or whether we should break it up and stay in Santiago for one night and leave David on the 29th.  

Now, according to internet research, it says the distance from David to Panama City is approximately 346 km; however, how long does it actually take to drive this distance?  I have read people saying it can take up to 6 1/2 hours to go this distance, and what if there are delays on the highway?  Is this common in Panama?  And would Santiago be a good stop off point or is there a better place to stay, that is more centralized, if we decide to break up the day?  Any thoughts anybody? 


My Mom – My Hero – Happy Birthday!

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.
It is not the urge to surpass all others
at whatever cost,
but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”

— Arhur Ashe

76 years ago today my mom was brought into this world. She grew up on a farm near a little small French town called Leoville, SK. She met, fell in love and married the love of her life, (my father) when she was 16 and went on to have 12 children – 6 boys and 6 girls. Her life was not an easy one. Having to raise a large family on a small farm in northern Saskatchewan is no easy feat – what with no running water and the harsh cold winters – but from what I remember of those days, my mom never, ever complained. She would be up in the wee hours of the morning making fresh bread to feed the family, canning vegetables from our garden, preparing wild venison (deer, moose, rabbit) that my father caught or trapped, washing clothes, washing sheets, hanging them on the line to dry, putting a large pot of porridge on the stove for us to eat before getting us ready for school. All this and then still finding the time to iron our bedding so we would have nice crisp sheets to lay our heads on at night.

When I was six, we left the farm and moved to Saskatoon. My father started working at a mine in Northern Saskatchewan, which left most of the child rearing to my mother. Some of us were a handful during the teenage years, but somehow we all managed to come out of it unscathed. She was always there for us when we needed her, and always put us first. We always had food on the table and never, ever went hungry. As we got older and had children of our own, she would never say no to babysitting her grandchildren and always found the time to care of them if we asked. She always found (and still does) the good in everyone and everything. She would give you the shirt off her back if she had to, and she has never asked for anything in return.

So I just wanted to take this moment to share with others the deep love and respect I have for my mom – my hero! Happy 76th Birthday Mom – I love you!

What to Bring to Panama?

Now that we have put our house up for sale, we have been pondering the question, “what should we bring with us to Panama”?  We have communicated with people who have brought just about everything to those who went with only suitcases and started anew upon arrival.  We know that we are allowed to bring $10,00o.oo worth of  “stuff” tax free.  For the most part, we will be “getting rid of” most of our furnishings and buying new in Panama and don’t intend on bringing either of our vehicles.  However, we would love to bring our quads!  Question here is, how will the government of Panama value these and for that matter, all possessions we bring to Panama?  Do they take into account depreciation?… because in the big scheme of things, it does not take much to amass $10,000.00 worth of stuff …. and if we go over the $10,000.00, how much will we be taxed and at what rate?  These are questions we have been having a hard time trying to find the answers to.  A person takes such a loss when selling used goods, that it is hard for us to imagine that these items would be valued based on being “new”.  So I am turning to you, my blogging community, for any advice or internet links that we can read which may help us to find the answers to these questions… and ultimately help us in making the decision of “what we should bring to Panama”?

I’ve Heard So Many Great Things About Panama!

Dan and I for the most part are pretty private people and initially only told our family and close friends about our desire/plans to move and live in Panama.  Well, we decided a few weeks ago to put our house up for sale.  With us being “empty nesters” soon, we felt that our house was “WAY TO BIG” for just the two of us and being that it is quite an expensive home for the area we live in, thought we would get a jump start on trying to sell it.  So a couple of weeks ago the for sale sign went up.

Now keep in mind, we live in a very close knit acreage community just outside of Cold Lake, where if you are outside or just going for a walk, everyone is always welcome to “pop in” for a “cerveza” – (I am definitely going to miss this and hope to get into a community in Panama where this will continue).  So, naturally, when the for sale sign went up in front of our house, a lot of our good neighbours were not only shocked and sad (it’s a good feeling to know you will genuinely be missed) but curious as to what our plans were?  So we have been telling them all about Panama.

You never know what kind of a reaction you are going to get when telling people and most of you who have made the move (or are about to) can attest that it is not always positive and it most surely will be followed by an onslaught of questions.  However, to my surprise, now that more and more people know of our plans, most of the reactions have been extremely positive!  From all the neighbours and friends who insist we have a place for them to stay, because they will definitely come and visit us, to the coworkers who have also been and seen Panama and who fell in love with the place and are “jealous” of our plans.  Then there are the people who say, “a neighbour of ours at the lake lives in Panama year round, and only comes to his cabin a few weeks a year in the summer”, to “my seamstress just recently moved to Panama, so I had to find someone else” to the developer who developed our community who said, “wow, I can’t believe it …. a friend of mind just bought an island in Panama and wants me to come down and develop it for him!”.
So today, we are getting together with some other neighbours, who just returned from vacationing in Cuba and low-and-behold saw “the sign”, for some barbecuing and croquet. I am sure there are going to be a lot of questions again …. but I am OK with that…..  because when sharing your plans and ideas with friends who are so encouraging, it really confirms for us that we are making the right decision!

Spring Has Finally Sprung

Dare I say it, but I think spring is finally here.  Yesterday we had a whopping high of 23 C and today it is supposed to get to 25 C.   These are above normal temperatures for this time of year and we are enjoying it to the fullest.  Dan and I love gardening and we were outside all day yesterday and will be today too, just cleaning up the leaves, cutting back perennials, planting the garden, and just tinkering in general, trying to get rid of the last signs of winter.  We have such a short growing season here that the sooner we can get out and start planting, the happier we are.

After working in the yard all morning yesterday we were relaxing in the mid-afternoon sun, having a cerveza on the deck, and dreaming of laying back on our hammock in Panama, settling down for a siesta.  We were in deep conversation and getting excited about all the different plants, fruit trees, flowers, etc that we will be able to grow… and just to have a year round growing season!  …. hard to imagine right now but we know we will get there.

Well, back to reality….. the day is slowly slipping away ….. time to “get up and get at it”.