We recently had an early Christmas present with the arrival of two packages at a nearby Mailbox's Etc. Although we had to pay for these packages, one contained some iron pills that don't seem to be available here in Panama that a friend in the U.S. was willing to send us. She added some edible packing material, free chocolates, to fill in the empty spaces which made for a nice surprise. The other box was from a foreign pharmacy for a few other things we haven't found yet in Panama.
As I was emptying the small trash bins into the larger one for Clyde to take outside, I thought how nice it is to not have "junk mail" here. There is NO door to door mail service in the country of Panama which means no junk mail. One can choose to get a government post office box which are few and hard to come by. Or go with a place like Mailbox's Etc and pay $26 a month which is too expensive for us. We were able to pay a one time fee of $10 to receive a shipment and were not even charged any duty taxes for the medications.
When we lived in Texas my husband would tune into the mail truck driving by like a little boy listening for the ice cream man. Although Clyde does listen for the ice cream man too as there is one that comes by the house on foot ringing his ding-a-ling. Since our house is next to last on a dead end street, we don't have much traffic go by. One day Clyde jumped up and ran to the window because he thought he heard the mailman. Then he remembered there is NO mail in Panama. What he heard was the garbage men picking up the trash.
At first we wondered HOW would we be able to survive without mail? How would we receive bills? Well it's nice to say that we have ONLY two bills. One is the electric bill and the other is the cable-internet. We pay both of these bills in person at any "pago" (pay) window in local grocery stores. Our rent we pay directly into our landlady's bank account, or we meet her for lunch since we enjoy her company and like to see her. The electric bill is accessed online and they send an email notice when it's due. The cable-internet bill shows up on the cable guide and they also leave a notice on our front fence. Clyde does all the banking online since we still use banks in the U.S. and he gets reembursed for all ATM fee's. Panama is pretty much a "cash society" so we take out cash using a local ATM and pay with a credit card whenever possible. But for the first time in our lives we keep NO balance on any credit cards.
Yesterday we chatted away the afternoon hours with friends at their place. They're also renting a nice house which is larger than ours but they pay a bit more.
Today we're off to the gym and pool and then who knows what else. We'll spin the coconut and see which way it rolls and follow it.... along the gringo trail.