Sunday, November 25, 2012

Talking Turkey In The Tropics.....

After spending another Thanksgiving Day in the tropics we realize just how much we have to be thankful for, especially for our wonderful new life here.  On Thursday we kept things quiet and hung out at home with a few friends.  Our Panamanian friend Betsy stopped by with her daughter and chihuahua Udo.  It was funny to watch a tiny male dog befriend a large female dog.  Udo chased Venus around our property like an annoying little brother.  Venus seemed to enjoy his company for the most part, but eventually tired of the attention and almost sat on him when she decided to sit for a spell. 

After they left our friend and neighbor Daniel showed up for dinner.  Clyde baked a chicken stuffed with an apple and onion.  For sides we added green beans cooked with onions, ham and garlic, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce along with turtle brownies for dessert. After dinner we relaxed with a few cocktails on the terraza.

Yesterday we were treated to a traditional Thanksgiving, potluck at the home of friends Jennifer and Dan in La Chorrera.  Although everyone was supposed to bring a dish to share, hostess Jennifer cooked for days before the big event.  She made four or five turkeys, and many pies along with several side dishes too.  Over 80 people showed up to share this wonderful time together and reminisce about the past year in Panamá.  With plenty of food to tickle our tastebuds, we feasted on an assortment of foods, desserts and cocktails.  It's  always fun to re-visit the lives of old friends that we haven't seen in a while, and also to make new ones.  Jennifer and Dan's large home was big enough to host that many attendees both inside and out so that it never felt crowded.

Photo: Thank you to all who came with great food to celebrate Thanksgiving last night! The official count was 80, and a good time was had by all. Jocelyn the (bag) piper piped in the turkey-- lots of fun, this morning we hear that the rains washed out our bridge to Chorrera after midnight, though.
Some of the folks at Jennifer and Dan's Party

Before dinner was served all took part in a quick blessing along with a performance by a man playing the bagpipes.  What a fun addition to this joyous celebration of life surrounded by friends from all over the world.

Since we had to bring a potluck dish I thought it would be fun to try my hand at an "Edible Arrangement" made out of fresh fruit.  Fashioned to look like a basket of flowers the fruit is cut into shapes of flowers and leaves.  But since these things never go as planned I did have some mishaps along the way.  The honeydew melon that I bought turned out to be a small watermelon, which is too watery for this type of arrangement.  Strawberries aren't native to Panamá and the ones we bought weren't too good.  They looked old and wilted but I slipped a few into the arrangement anyway. So I had to improvise with different types of fruit instead of what I had originally planned but it turned out rather well.  But putting it into a cooler and traveling an hour with it took it's tole and some of the flowers had slipped down or broke off on the way.  Next time I'll have a better idea of what types of fruit to use to make the thing look even better and stay together too.


Terry's beautiful arrangement


Today we give thanks to our new life in Panamá with our many new friends. We're so blessed with our good health, our wonderful marriage as partners in adventure, and all those that have come into our lives to make it what it is today....along the gringo trail.




Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Loud Thud On The Roof......

As I sit here waking up contemplating where today will take me, my thoughts are broken by a loud thud.  A giant black, ominous vulture just plopped down on our tin roof almost causing the house to shake.  His large rough brittle feet are causing a loud banging sound as he runs to the edge of the roof before flying off.  About four or five of these huge creatures were hanging out on our front fence posts near our trash container.  Right now one is standing on one of the large, white, round, globe lights that sits atop our fence post.  He's looking down and circling around as if he's looking for something down on the ground.  These massive birds weigh between five and six pounds with a wingspan of five feet across.  Our feisty doberman doesn't seem to be chasing these birds off her property, perhaps because of their massive size.

Coragyps atratus brasiliensis in Panama


A bit earlier some neighborhood dogs were causing a raucous off in the distance and their barking disturbed my morning peacefulness.  But soon after a loud bird seemed to mimic their sound and perched himself in a nearby tree.  The barking bird made this horrendous noise that was somewhere between a yippie dog and a squawking bird.  It's always amazing to see the diversity of the birds and other unique animals here in Panamá.  A collection of birds, monkeys, deer, giant rodents, crocodile, lizards, poisonous frogs and so much more share this beautiful country along with us gringos.  And sometimes we're just lucky enough to catch a glimpse of one in our daily lives.

Speaking of birds, yesterday we made a last minute decision to cook a whole chicken instead of turkey for Thanksgiving.  Clyde picked one up at a local meat market but asked them to chop off the head first.  With all the fixin's to go along with it including dessert we'll have a little bit of the U.S. right here in the tropics today.  A friend that lives nearby will join us for dinner and a few others will probably stop by earlier in the day to socialize.  In case you're wondering if Thanksgiving Day is celebrated here in Panamá....no it's not.  Last month we had the opportunity to celebrate with our Canadian friends and tag along on their turkey day.  Some friends in La Chorrera have been gracious enough to send out an open invitation for a Thanksgiving Day celebration at their home on Saturday.  The last email she sent out said there were 80 people expected to partake....yikes!  It's being done as a potluck with all attendees bringing a dish to share, although the hostess is cooking several turkeys.

So as we embark on our second Thanksgiving Day here in Panamá we have much to be thankful for.  We're thankful for good health, good friends and family, a wonderful place to live, and being fortunate enough to be able to retire early and enjoy life.  Here's to wishing you and yours a very happy turkey day as we enjoy yet another one here in Panamá....along the gringo trail.


We are now offering our first year in Panama at our new website!

It is in an easy to read format and if you sign up,
will have a FREE bonus video
"Why we chose Panama"
Check it out!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Among The Loud And Obnoxious.....

What began as an innocent afternoon at the movies soon turned into a massive headache!  Since we've lived in Panamá we've never set foot into a movie theatre for the obvious reason that the movies here are mostly in Spanish.  But last time we shopped at the new Westland Mall we noticed a new Cineopolis movie theatre had opened.  It offers eight choices of movies either in English with Spanish subtitles or an English movie dubbed in Spanish.  We narrowed down the choices to either the new James Bond movie "Sky Fall" or a romantic comedy called "What To Expect When You're Expecting."  Since I thought Clyde wanted to see the more manly movie we decided on the 2:20 showing of "Sky Fall." 

The forty minute drive took a bit longer with road construction along the way.  This however turned out to be a good thing since we didn't have time to stop for snacks before heading into the theatre.  The price of a movie here is only $4.00 for adults but with our Pensionado discount we get in for a mere $2.00 each.  At the ticket counter the clerk turned her computer screen to us showing us a diagram of seating.  The green highlighted seats apparently were what she suggested, but we could change them if we wanted.  We agreed with the selected seats and went inside since the movie was about to begin.

The theatre was fairly dark with lighting along the walls and steps.  I noticed that the seats were crafted out of black velour with  multi-colored, geographic designs on the backs of them.  The design took on an almost glow-in-the-dark appearance that caught the light as we walked by.  We found our seats and soon noticed that we were the only adults in the place.  A row of loud, rowdy, obnoxious teenagers filled up the back row.  To our left sat a few quiet kids still dressed in school uniforms.  They kept turning around as if bothered by the loud bunch also, just as we were.  Once the movie began the teens kept yelling, laughing, and moving around the theatre.  For the first time since we've lived here I actually felt uneasy and felt a dislike for the Panamanian people.  After a while the kids moved down a few rows closer to us and even sat along the steps leading up to their seats.  I felt as if they were closing in on us and wanted to stand my ground.  I couldn't help but think of options to escape this horror.  Should I take a nap or leave Clyde there to watch and go shopping?  Finally I mentioned to Clyde that I was amazed that he wasn't telling them to shut up. But we both realized that we were out numbered not to mention the only gringos in the midst of local kids who could care less what we had to say.  Finally when we had enough and couldn't hear the dialogue of the movie any more, we decided to leave.  At least we only wasted $4.00 on the price of the tickets and not three or four times that like in the states.  Perhaps we should have chosen the movie about pregnancy that kids would have less interest in seeing?

After leaving the theatre I decided to do some shopping since we were at the mall anyway.  But first we needed to drown our sorrows while sharing an ice cream sundae.  While standing in line this little Panamanian boy came up to me, tapped me on the hip and began rambling on in Spanish.  Next he went over to Clyde to continue chatting before his mother called him away.  Already hyper the kid certainly didn't need sugar packed ice cream to add to it.  He pushed his way in and out of line, stepping in front of us whenever he felt like it to look at the ice cream in the case.  Finally after his mom handed him a cone he felt the need to call to us to say "adios."  We laughed as he scurried  away with his ice cream treat, glad that they went in the other direction.

The mall was packed with people and tons of kids as if this was a weekend instead of Friday afternoon.  The locals do get paid twice a month and perhaps this was a payday and they were all out spending their hard earned money. I picked up a two cute tops, two night gowns, two pair of sunglasses, a pair of crocs shoes (the knock-off kind), and three bathing suit wraps all for around $30.00. Gotta love shopping in Panamá! We stopped for a burger at the new Carl's Jr. in the mall before heading home for the night.

Found this guy leading his horse
on our morning dog walk


We think for a while we'll keep our movie watching to the privacy of our home without the annoyance of noisy kids.  It was nice to come home to a quiet house, so tranquil and relaxing, just the way we like it ......along the gringo trail.


_________________________________________________________

We are now offering our first year in Panama at our new website!

It is in an easy to read format and if you sign up,
will have a FREE bonus video
"Why we chose Panama"
Check it out!


 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Squeezed Among The Locals.....

The pulsating sound of drums, music and merriment filled the air as we squeezed among the locals in the city of La Chorrera to watch a parade.  Not just any parade but this special "desfile" was to celebrate the 109th year of Panama's separation from Columbia.






La Villa de Los Santos is a tiny, rural town just a few kilometers from Chitre, Panamá.  The tiny town made its mark in history on November 10, 1821 when a group of residents decided to cause a stir.  They wrote a letter to Simón Bolívar, one of South America's greatest generals who had recently defeated the Spanish and gained independence for Gran Columbia.  The people complained about the exploitation of the Spanish governor and were willing to join him in a revolution.  Panamá's first cry for independence was followed just 18 days later by the actual declaration of independence from Spain and the union of Gran Columbia.





Officially the "Grita en Villa de los Santos' Day" the parade is a celebration of the day the little rural village shouted "gritar" their official "dia de independencia."   And it's for this reason that the parade takes on a rural feel with ox pulled carts magically transformed into spectacular floats.  Perched high atop the floats are beautiful women decorated in traditional polleras.  Marching nearby are men dressed in colorful costumes wearing large devil masks on their heads sometimes scaring the children nearby.  Children and families marched alongside horses and others all celebrating the independence of this small but proud country we now call home.





As we bumped butts with the locals and were nearly trampled by the floats and marchers passing by the smells seeped into my nostrils.  A combination of sweat, food, firework smoke and horse droppings became a reality.  The crowds were so thick it was nearly impossible to move let alone take pictures without steppping on or hitting someone.  But since Clyde is tall he managed to snap a few good ones while I struggled to stand my ground and not get knocked over.  But despite the heat and crowds,  I stood amazed at how much time and effort this poor little country spent to put on such an elaborate display of pride.





We melted away for hours in the hot sun sucking up bottles of water and "raspados" the local version of a snow cone.  This cool treat involves the vendor scraping the ice by hand into a cup and then topping it with syrup and sweetened condensed milk. For a mere 50 cents it was a joy to ingest in the hot tropical sun.  We spotted a few of our friends throughout the day also enjoying the parade.  After several hours with no end in sight we took our sweat drenched bodies away from the crowds to find some lunch before heading home.  Another day of life in the tropics, mingling among the locals....along the gringo trail.





--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We are now offering our first year in Panama at our new website!

It is in an easy to read format and if you sign up,
will have a FREE bonus video
"Why we chose Panama"
Check it out!



















Saturday, November 10, 2012

Boots, Drugs, Wipers And Mexican....

While shakin' my booty last weekend at the Halloween party, sometime during the night the heel on my boot broke.  And as soon as I dragged myself through the door to our house I noticed the other one had fallen off totally. Although they were just cheap, suede boots that I'd bought in the states years ago, I hated to throw them out just because the heels were broke.  So today we made the trek into La Chorrera to find a "zapateria" better known as a shoe repair shop to us gringos.  What's turned into a lost art in the states, shoe repair is common here and these little shops are abundant.

Directly on the main road through the city sits a tiny, hole in the wall shop.  With no place to park Clyde just pulled over as far as he could and left me in the car with the blinkers on hoping not to get side swiped.  I watched from the car as Clyde showed the man my boots and he grabbed them out his hand and began to replace the heels.  Before he progressed to far he told Clyde the price would be $4.00 and once Clyde agreed he continued.  He replaced both heels by adding glue and nails to secure them in place.  Not that I have too many places to wear boots here in the tropics, but then I didn't wear them too often in south Texas either since the weather was the same as it is here.  But I was happy to have them fixed instead of having to throw them out.




Next stop was El Machetazo which is Panamá's closest thing to Wal-Mart for a few things.  The name means "machete" probably because men carry them here like men in the states carry pocket knives.  Boys grow up here learning how to use a machete for chopping grass, cutting fruit off trees and a variety of other things.

The gents out there can stop reading at this point since what I'm about to say will only interest the ladies.  Us ladies all know what it's like to get that burning, itching, and drainage thing down there.  Commonly known as a yeast infection or vaginitis, we usually run to the store to pick up some creams that we use at bedtime until the problem is gone.  I approached the girl at the pharmacy and explained what I needed.  She asked if I wanted a "crema" or "tableta?"  Well in all my years of being a woman I'd never heard of an oral solution for yeast, especially without a prescription.  Then she went on to explain that using both the tablet and the cream was the best option, to which I agreed.  Just like a doctor this young girl instructed me to take one pill a day for the next seven days while using the cream too.  The cost for both was around $9.00 and I was anxious to come home and research the pill that I had never heard of before.

The medication is called Flagyl 500 mg. (metronidazole) and my research tells me that it's an antibiotic used to treat a variety of infections and does require a prescription, but not here in Panamá.  The cream of course is the same drug only used a different way, hopefully zapping the problem from both ends.

This is how you buy med in Panama
They cut out how many you need in the blisterpaks


Yesterday while feeding the chickens, Clyde cut his finger on the chicken wire and it's starting to look a bit infected.  Since we were at the pharmacy anyway, we asked for some antibiotic cream which they also had.  They sold us a large tube (30 g.)of Neobol Cream which is a combination of Neomycin and Clostebol for around $6.00. 

Then one last stop was at an auto parts store also in La Chorrera.  Clyde has been looking to replace the wiper blades on our car for months now, but hasn't been able to find the right size.  We thought this was odd since every other car in Panamá seems to be a Toyota Rav 4, yet no one stocks parts for them. One wiper blade is 16 inches and was priced $4.50 and the other wiper is 24 inches and cost $6.95.  He also picked up an air filter too for $6.50 which he'd been searching for since he changed the oil a while back.

And of course a trip into La Chorrera wouldn't be complete without a stop for produce at the large roadside stands.  A few pineapples, bananas, potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and green peppers to name a few before heading home.

Tonight we headed over to Coronado to try a new Mexican restaurant called "Ora le."  This large modern, two-story building that houses this new spectacle was decorated with authentic Mexican garb.  The huge five-foot menu on wheels was brought over to our table for us to order from.  One side was appetizers and drinks, while the other side provided us with a selection of entree's.  Whenever someone entered or exited the resturant the help yelled "puerta" (door) and the closest one ran to open the door for the guests.  As the place filled up with affluent Panamanians heading to their weekend homes, there was a constant flutter of young waitstaff yelling and running for the door, which did get slightly annoying after a while.

Along with the funky, modern decor they provided a variety of plastic firemen's helmets, hardhats and Mexican sombrero's for guests to wear during their stay.  And since this place was even equipped with a pole to slide down from the second floor, it was a delightful kick for the senses.  But try as I did I couldn't convince former Fireman Clyde to reclaim his old self by putting on a helmet and sliding down the pole.  Although the prices were high for local standards, the food was tasty and served with a variety of salsa's from hot to blazing hot.  Despite what we've heard that the locals don't like spicy, hot food and will not eat Mexican, this place was packed with Panamanians.  We were the only white folks in this place even though it's located right in the heart of gringoland Coronado.

After dinner we stopped at a nearby shopping plaza to browse and stumbled into McDonalds to indulge in ice cream for dessert.  Again located smack in the middle of Coronado which boasts a large expat population, we were the only gringo's among a restaurant full of locals. Stuffed to the brim with good food and sweets we headed home to relax as another day in paradise comes to and end....along the gringo trail.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We are now offering our first year in Panama at our new website!

It is in an easy to read format and if you sign up,
will have a FREE bonus video
"Why we chose Panama"
Check it out!



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why We Moved Out Of The U.S.......

There are many reasons to consider leaving the country in which you were born.  Some people move abroad for a new love, retirement, jobs, change of scenery, fun and adventure or even political reasons.  Despite the way Americans felt about the man in the White House, they chose to keep him there for another four years. 

Our reason for moving our lives to Panamá had absolutely nothing to do with our dislike of our country or the way things were progressing.  Whether we like or dislike the President of the United States had nothing to do with our decision either.  We moved to Panamá simply because it was a place with a lower cost of living where we could afford to retire on Clyde's pension.  And not only could we afford to retire, but we were able to retire early and take advantage of all that life has to offer.

Although we're residents of Panamá, we are and always will be citizens of the United States.  The U.S. Government knows where we are and they still tax us on any and all money that we make, including Clyde's pension.  They know how much money we have in banks in the states as well as our bank here.  We're not here hiding from the U.S. Government or from anything or anyone else.  In fact if we were hiding I certainly wouldn't be blogging about our daily lives here and putting it all online for the world to see.

There seems to be a misconception as to why people like ourselves chose to move abroad.  We get asked by blog followers and others that we meet about this very issue all the time.  And that's why I chose to write this message letting everyone know. 

But everything in life is a give and take and by leaving the U.S. we've gained some things and given up some others. 

Infrastructure:  Although the main roads in Panamá are pretty good, the secondary roads can be covered in dirt, full of potholes, steep, muddy, overgrown with grass or non-existent.  But since we don't pay taxes here we have no right to complain, although sometimes we do.

Postal Service:  The entire country of Panamá has NO door to door mail system, and yet it survives nicely without one.  Our bills either come to us online through email or someone sticks a paper copy in our front gate for us to pay.  The bill is taken to a local grocery store that has a "Pago" station in it where bills can be paid in person.  Do we miss our mail you may wonder?  Absolutely, positively, NOT!!!  But when we do need to receive something through the mail we have to use a pricey Americanized mail service.   Many taxes are added on to the shipments and we've paid over $100 to receive one small, lightweight package.  So needless to say, don't ship us anything unless we ask for it.  There are mailboxes available in these mail service stores and also through the local government but since we have no need for one, we don't have one.

Air Conditioning:  In order to live frugally here we choose to live without air conditioning.  Panamá is hot and humid year round with temperatures ranging from 75 at night to around 90 during the daytime.  We've accustomed ourselves to living without it and enjoy receiving our $30 electric bills which is the reward for our new found lifestyle.

Hot Water:  Homes here are usually not plumbed for hot water like they are in the states.  Our house is plumbed only in the kitchen sink and shower in the master bath for hot water.  All bathroom sinks, our washer and guest room showers have cold water only.  Clyde did add a "suicide" shower head to his shower giving him lukewarm water.  With this type of apparatus the water is heated as it goes through the shower head, also causing some danger to the person below should they touch the connections, hence the name.  We bought a small on-demand hot water heater that runs on propane and hangs outside the kitchen window. 

Electric:  Although the country does have electric throughout, it tends to come and go at whim.  Several times throughout the day the power will go out for briefs moments, just long enough to set the microwave clock to zero.  Because of this all major appliances are plugged into surge protectors to help protect them.

Water:  Our water is provided by the town we live in and is said to be some of the best drinking water in the world. It costs only $7 a month but like the electric, tends to go off at random.  Imagine standing in the shower all soaped up and the water goes off?  Imagine not being able to fill the washer on the weekend because too many of the neighbors are also washing clothes? Yes that's life in Panamá.  To take care of this many expats including us have installed water tanks with pressure pumps.  When the city water goes out we have a reserve tank to pump water into our house at a higher pressure too. 

But on the upside we have world class health care here for a fraction of the cost we'd pay in the states.  We also have low monthly expenses, perfect weather year round, a short drive to both the beaches and the mountains, an abundance of cheap, fresh produce, plenty of fresh fish, U.S. television stations, all of the American fast food restaurants should we want them, and so much more. We've given up a few things but have gained so much, the best one being that we are retired early and having the time of our lives in Panamá....along the gringo trail.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We are now offering our first year in Panama at our new website!

It is in an easy to read format and if you sign up,
will have a FREE bonus video
"Why we chose Panama"
Check it out!



Monday, November 5, 2012

A Long Holiday Weekend....

It's been a long holiday weekend here in Panamá celebrated with parades, fireworks, music, beer, rum, bikini's and sunshine.  After their work week ended on Friday, the locals headed over this way to the beaches and weekend homes to relax and party.  Since we live only ten minutes from the beaches of the beautiful Pacific, we're close to the congestion along the Pan American highway.



On Friday night after dining out at a new restaurant in Gorgona, we stopped to visit with friends at their restaurant.  A small group of expats gathered round buzzing about the beach traffic and how many of us gringos are hunkered down in their homes, staying away from the crowds. After we left there we thought perhaps it would be a good idea to stop for a few groceries ourselves.  Because after all, the roads will only get more congested as the weekend progresses.  And surely we didn't want to run out of the essentials like chips, beer and rum.  Following along with the Panamanians picking up supplies for their weekend parties, our cart included a bunch of junk including ice cream, pretzels and chips.  Strange how once we get into that holiday frame of mind our healthy eating goes right out the window with our waistlines.  But after a rough morning of forcing myself to get to the gym, it's time to get back to healthy eating especially since all of the junk food seems to have disappeared. Perhaps someone broke into our house and stole it all?


With the majority of  Panama City out here on the beaches we thought yesterday would be a great time to make a quick trip into the city to stock up on supplies from Price Smart.  Traffic in the city was non-existent and we made a fast trip of getting in and out with no problem.  Although many businesses were closed for the holidays, the large retailers were opened allowing shoppers an easy way to spend money.



November is officially the start of the long holiday season here in Panamá.  A brief list follows:

November 3:  Separation Day from Columbia and also Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead or Memorial Day).  No sales of alcohol are allowed and no music is to be played by businesses or stiff fines will be imposed.

November 4:  Flag DayNovember 5:  Colon Day (Similar to Columbus Day in the U.S.)
November 10:  Initial day of independence from Spain
November 28:  Final independence from Spain
December 8:  Mothers' Day (similar to Mothers' Day in the U.S)
December 25:  Christmas Day of course
December 31:  New Years' Eve
January 1:  New Years' Day
January 9:  Martyrs' Day
February brings the week long celebration of Carnival which they plan for all year long

Since the house we bought was a weekend home to a Panamanian family, we're surrounded by other weekend homes.  On our way back from the gym we noticed neighbors packing up and getting ready to head back to the city after the long weekend of music and merriment causing us to sleep with our earplugs in to drown out the noise. 




And since the rest of the world has gone from Daylight Savings Time back to Standard Time, the program schedule on our Direct TV guide has changed and all the programs are running an hour later.  The Republic of Panamá stays on Eastern Standard Time year round but since our Direct TV comes out of Puerto Rico the schedule gets interrupted.



So as this wild weekend comes to an end the sound of drums, music and fireworks fade and makes way for the normal sounds of the jungle.  Once again we can nod off to the loud whooping sound of the Smokey Jungle Frog or the laser-like sounds of the Tungara Frog.  Add to that a background    chorus of crickets, grasshoppers and katydids to serenade us to sleep....along the gringo trail. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We are now offering our first year in Panama at our new website!

It is in an easy to read format and if you sign up,
will have a FREE bonus video
"Why we chose Panama"
Check it out!






Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Winds Of Change Are Blowing......

Now that we're well into our second year of life here in Panamá we feel it's time for some changes.  Since we've become a plethora of useful information on the how to's of making this country home, we've decided to spread our wings and fly.  With this blog site getting overly congested with our many postings, we thought we'd combine our first year and spread it out among the greater population.  Giving birth to a new born web page that allows access to our first year in Panamá along with videos for a nominal fee.  Our "tell it like it is" approach will blossom into videos published across the web to reach a world wide audience.  Here we'll offer the service of of our knowledge which has grown from every day life as expats living here.  Not professing to know it all, we can only share the challenges and experiences we've already had by taking the plunge into early retirement to Panamá.

Please check out our introduction video explaining what we have to offer.  We thought the neighbors' rooster crowing almost on cue at the end added a nice touch.  After many takes our Panamanian neighbor across the street began yelling at her son Jose.  Bringing a smile to my face I was caught off guard but we decided to leave it in as a simple reminder of what life really is like here...along the gringo trail.

Please visit
www.alongthegringotrail.com


Thursday, November 1, 2012

This Old Lady Wins Sexiest Costume......

When we threw together some last minute costumes for a Halloween party, we had no idea we'd be such a hit.  Strutting my stuff among a room full of hot, young women, I tied for the prize of sexiest.  The prize we split was a bottle of vodka and a bottle of rum, to add to our liquor closet that already houses other bottles we've won at other events.

Terry and our friend Shannon
being given their award
from Claire at Picasso's


I came up with the idea of pirate and wench since we could use our own clothes and just add accessories.  Clyde wore black slacks tucked into boots, and a white shirt.  We bought him a hat with attached hair for only $2.95.  An existing black pencil skirt with black suede boots matched up perfectly with a new white blouse that I found for $5.99.  For around $12 we found a long-haired, curly black wig for me and then we picked up a few yards of satin fabric for $1.49 a yard to make sashes. So for less than $25 we pulled off some cute costumes to show off to our friends.  Was I ever surprised when some of our friends really didn't know who I was until I opened my mouth to speak.

The Pirate Couple


We found another Pirate


During the night we sat with a new couple that just moved to Panamá a month ago.  Clyde pulled out our card which had our picture on it, along with our contact information.  The women looked down at the picture and asked "who are these people?"  We laughed and explained that we usually don't look like pirates with dark hair and next time they see us they probably won't recognize us. 

Who is this raven haired beauty?

Throughout the night an older, obnoxious, drunken man kept hitting on me and everyone was surprised that Clyde didn't haul off and knock him out.  Even on the dance floor he'd come by and dance in between the two of us and we'd have to move.  He did finally have to tell him to "stay the hell away from my wife"!  It hurt his feelings but seemed to do the trick.

This Canadian Mountie showed up late
Could have been a contender for the
Grand Prize


One of the waitresses joins in on the fun


A fun night of mingling with old friends and making new ones as we danced the night away.  There were some great costumes among the crowd of all ages.  This sexy grandma wench wowed the crowds with her handsome pirate as we celebrated another day of retirement....along the gringo trail.