The high price of Christmas is everywhere this time of year. We've all been sucked in over the years by spending too much for those "gotta have it's" that we regret buying later. Waiting on long lines in the middle of the night for that popular toy the kids just had to have. Hours of boring holiday office parties with people you rather not be with. Signs and ads everywhere jumping out at us to rob of of our hard earned monies.
This year will be different living in Panama. A new culture with new ideas, people who put less stress on the "things" or do they? From what we understand a typical working Panamanian makes about $350 a month. Last night we stopped at a stand selling Christmas Trees in La Chorrera. Four to five foot trees sold for $50.00 and six to eight foot trees sold for $55.00. How or why would someone that makes so little money spend this much on something that would only last a few weeks? I'm too cheap to pay that much for a Christmas tree! So just maybe the over-zealous spending that we see in the U.S. is here too?
But let's compare how Panamanians live compared to Americans. Happiness for us Americans is measured by how much stuff we have. A big house with a mortgage; new car for every member of the house; central air conditioning; central heating; credit card debt; fancy cell phones; internet; designer clothes and accessories and more. Our monthly expenses usually exceed our monthly earnings which get us into trouble.
Compare that to Panamanians who buy a house with the help of the family. Everyone contributes some money to pay for it outright. No mortgage. Many of them don't drive so no car payments or car insurance. They take buses or walk which also gives them exercise, so no gym memberships required. Locals also live with little or no air conditioning. They may have one in the bedroom only. Also no hot water or if anything they install this unit directly onto the shower head for instant hot water at a cost of about $12. Seeing the way these people live makes us wonder who's way is right here? Us stressed out Americans living the American Dream drowning in debt? Or the simple way that Panamanians live in their happy, stress free lives?
Yesterday was spent doing some more Christmas fluffing around the casa, after my morning workout. We took off to get some produce from the local stands, but ended up stopping at a big department store first. From there we stopped for an early dinner and two for one margarita's at our friend's restaurant. A few margaritas and lots of chatting and we didn't get out of there until 8pm. Another four hours spent on dinner......and we wonder where the time goes everyday!
Hoping that the sun stays out today so we can catch some rays by the pool at the resort. Happy Friday to all of you today, at least I think this is Friday......right? There are no calendars or schedules in our lives these days, so we're never quite sure what day it is. So off we go for another day of fun and sun ....along the gringo trail.