Need To Know: Living in Panamá – Conflict of Lifestyles

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

_dsc5783-2

A Panamax ship being lined up to enter the new locks on the Caribbean side of the Panamá canal

I do not live in Panamá, so I can’t claim to be an authority on living in the country; however, when people learn that I have been there several times over the last two years, they often ask me if it is a good place to live, and I have a two-word answer…

It’s depends.

Panamá is Panamá 

If you are looking for a tropical paradise, where the cost of living is low, the people are friendly, and you will be unburdened from life’s annoyances, Panamá is not the place for you. In fact, there is no place on Earth like that. People who seek to find happiness elsewhere will never be happy anywhere.

Panamá is a beautiful and unique place. For the most part, Panamá is as safe to travel as most places in the United States.

It is also a country with a poor public education system, a government that at times seems brilliant, and at times seems self-defeating, and cycle of poverty that traps people and the economy.

Conflicting Lifestyles
Panamá is a small country, but culturally, it is really many countries. Panamá City is El Centro for all of Panamá, but is also a stranger to most of rural Panamá, with completely different values and attitudes than most of the rest of the country.

In addition, the influence of centuries of occupation by Spain, then France, then the United States has left a residual influence of multiple cultures and values. Each of those countries imported workers from other countries, which have introduced the cultures of China and Africa into Panamanian society.

In many ways, Panamá City is bigger than the country of Panamá. Almost half of all Panamanian citizens live in Panamá City and it is the epicenter for immigrants from neighboring Latin American countries. The question of who is a native of Panamá is almost impossible to answer, and within Panama City the question is almost irrelevant.

Beaches, yes, but not near Panama City

Beaches, yes, but not near Panama City

The rural Pacific areas, especially those within a two-hour driving distance of Panamá City, consist of an interesting mix and conflict of cultures. The original Panamanians of the rural regions were mostly quiet people living a rural life; however, several decades ago the areas near the Pacific coast became the envy of developers seeking to attract foreign investment in country.

It is important to note that the Panamá coastland is not one long stretch of sandy beach. Much of the coast is rocky with interspersed beaches. It is also important to know that Panamá’s primary land transportation artery, the Pan-American Highway, does not offer quick access to any beach areas. The nearest area beach area to Panamá City that is near the Pan-American Highway is about an hour drive, southwest from Panamá City.

bahia-view-2

Beachfront development along the rural Pacific coast

For the past three and a half decades, developers have targeted these rural beach area for condo development. This has attracted a mix of foreign and domestic buyers, that have different reasons for purchasing property in Panamá.

Foreigners, primarily from the United States and Canada, seek an inexpensive tropical escape from the cold; however, many of these investors are not wealthy. Certainly some buyers purchase a condo or house in Panamá as a second or vacation home, but many ex-patriots have moved permanently to Panamá with the plan to retire and/or live economically, perhaps with a side income in their new country.

Domestically, wealthy Panamanians have purchased beachfront condos and homes, eager to escape the city on weekends. 

The mix of foreigners with little spendable income, and wealthy Panamanians who run to their condo on the beach for the weekend, has created an environment that has all the look of a tourist-based economy without the expected inflow of tourism dollars, because the non-natives do not engage in tourist activities.

Overall, the result of the development of the rural beachfront communities has been a few successful grocery, household and furniture businesses, with a constant stream of failed enterprises that attempt to coax wealthy Panamanians and ex-patriots out of their condos and into their stores.

It should be no surprise that the natives have no great love for either the wealthy Panamanians or the ex-patriots. The rural residents also have no overt hate for them either. The natives have benefited from the influx of the invaders to their communities, but other than low-paying service jobs, the financial trickle-down impact has been minimal.

The income for rural natives is only enough to force people into working six-day weeks, and two or more jobs to maintain a minimal existence. At the same time, property values have skyrocketed creating a gentrification effect on the local people, driving them away from the highly sought after beachfront areas.

All this creates an unspoken, but real, conflict of lifestyles that a person should understand before they make a decision to live in Panamá.

Enemies, Foreign and Domestic

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

Since the Civil War, the United States of America has not faced a bigger threat to the sovereignty of our nation, as we do today.

donald-trump

Domestic enemy of the United States

Donald Trump has been 1) endorsed by the former KGB agent and Russian President, Vladimir Putin, 2) Trump and his campaign has been link to possible ties to Russian interests, and, 3) Russia is apparently on a mission to hack into Trump’s opponents emails and released information intended to embarrass their campaigns. To add to the disgrace, Donald Trump has openly encouraged the subversion of Russia in our political system.

Vladimir Putin winks

Foreign Enemy of the United States

For the first time, our country faces the real possibility of an attempt to subvert our political system using both treasonous acts of a citizen or citizens of the United States, and the support of a former foreign enemy.

Vladimir Putin has effectively been the leader of Russia for almost seventeen years. To do this he has had to appoint a successor as President, who, in turn, appointed Putin as Prime Minister, in order to subvert the laws in Russia regarding the tenure as President. Now, as President again, he continues to rule over Russia as a Czar of Power, politically, economically, and militarily.

Vladimir_Putin_in_KGB_uniform

The KGB spy that would subvert the US Republican Party

He is unquestionably in complete control of all aspects of Russian attempts to subvert foreign countries through contracts, contributions, and espionage support for candidates that favor Russia. In France, Greece, and Italy, Russian money and influence have been used to boost the political and monetary fortunes of key candidates.

Donald Trump has been a gushing supporter of Russian interests for decades. Trump’s close ties to Russia should have made citizens of the United States question his loyalty to our country, but it didn’t because we have a large population of people who hate our country, hate our government, and eagerly support the downfall of the United States in order to replace it with a white-male dominated, Confederate States of America.

The oath to our country states that our citizens will support and defend our country’s Constitution and laws, “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It is time to recognize that these are not just words, but a call to action.

Trump has even gone so far as to encourage an insurrection against the legal government of our country if he is not elected President. Based on his words and actions, and the words and actions of Vladimir Putin, isn’t time to stop pretending we don’t know what is going on?

Young Putin and Young Voldemort

Young Putin and Young Voldemort

Need To Know: Visiting Panama

Tags

, , , , ,

_DSC3743 (2)In the past two years I’ve visited Panama five times, and I would not hesitate to move here if I had the opportunity. If you’ve never been to Panama, but would like to visit it, there are some things you need to know.

_DSC0805Return Ticket
Panama has two groups of people. Panamanians and everyone else. There are further divisions, but it’s important to note that on any given day, Panamanians may be a minority in their own country. Because of Panama’s relatively stable political and economic environment it has become a haven for many people from Latin America, in addition to the visitors from North America, especially Canada.

Panama likes visitors, but not visitors that overstay their welcome. They require a visitor have a return ticket before they come to Panama. On my last trip, it was Copa Airlines that enforced this at the time I checked in for my flight to Panama.

On my current trip, my return trip was fluid and wasn’t booked until after I arrived. Fortunately, no one asked me for proof, but don’t expect that if you are coming to Panama. Have your information about your return flight with you when you check in at the airport.

Learn the Language
People don’t like it when you don’t learn the native language. This is especially true in Panama. Even my meager efforts at speaking español while in Panama are better than trying to speak English. Speaking English in Panama puts a sign on your forehead that you are a stupid foreigner. It also means you pay more than everyone else.

_DSC0921 (2)It also is security. Understanding español means you know what people are saying around you, and speaking it fluently means people don’t see you as someone who is vulnerable. If you can’t speak español, hire a guide when you explore the country.

It is Safe?
Panama is as safe as any major city in the United States. Any city in the United States has places you can feel comfortable in day or night, and it has places you should not go to after dark. The same is true in Panama. Most Panamanians would not commit a crime involving a tourist, simply because the penalty they would pay is too high.

However, no visitor should be so arrogant to visit certain areas after dark, especially if you can’t speak español.

_DSC1271Driving in Panama
You can drive if you have a legal license in your home country, but Panama City is not for a country road driver. There are few stop lights, a lot of traffic, and few rules. Most cars have bumps and scrapes on them because to get into traffic a driver has to be aggressive to the point of proving his manhood. If you are not aggressive enough, the cars behind you will let you know your failings.

Roads have few signs and none in English, so either you know where you’re going or you can expect to be lost all the time. GPS is only marginally helpful, as it often suggests roads that don’t exist, are dead ends, or should be driven unless you’re driving a four-wheel drive vehicle.

Once outside Panama City, driving is easier; however, it still requires a willingness to put your rental car into danger, and if you’re wrong, you will pay a hefty fine when you return the car.

Exploring Panama On Your Own
Don’t do it. At least on your first few trips. Hire a guide. Panama has so many great places that your first visits should be to places that someone can take you to, and bring you back to your hotel or condo. Guide books may give you information about great places to go, but they don’t tell you about how to get from your hotel or condo to the place and back, nor do they tell you what you might see on the way.

Once you know the country, then you can explore.

Food
Restaurants open and close in a matter of months. What was a great restaurant last year may be a dump this year. Research and/or hire a guide to find the best places to eat.

Most new restaurants are focused on offering great food. Some of my favorite meals have been in Panama. Most of the new restaurants aren’t trying to be commercial (feeding the most customers at the lowest possible cost,) which means they are committed to giving you a great meal.

In Panama City, check out the Cosco Viejo area for great dining experiences.

Unofficial Advance Copy of Trump’s Acceptance Speech

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

 

donald-trump(Below is the unofficial advance copy of Donald Trump’s RNC acceptance speech. Other copies may follow, so please note the date at the bottom to verify the most recent version.)

In the course of the past eight years, America has suffered deterioration in all sectors of life, which could inconceivably have been greater. The question as to what, if anything, could have been worse than in these times is a question which cannot be answered in light of the basic values of America as well as the political and economic inheritance which once existed.

In spite of its lack of mobility in political feelings and positions, America itself has increasingly turned away from concepts, parties, and associations which, in its eyes, are responsible for these conditions.

The number of Americans who inwardly supported the Obama Administration in spite of the suggestive significance and ruthless exploitation of the executive power dwindled, in the end, to a mere fraction of the entire nation.

Another typical characteristic of these eight years was the fact that, apart from natural fluctuations, the curve of developments has shown a constant decline. This depressing realization was one of the causes of the general state of despair. It served to promote the insight into the necessity of thoroughly rejecting the ideas, organizations, and men in which one gradually and rightly began to recognize the underlying causes of our decay.

The Trump campaign was thus able, in spite of the most horrible oppression, to convert increasing numbers of Americans in terms of spirit and will to defensive action. Now, in association with the other conservatives causes, it has eliminated the powers which have been ruling, by means of a revolution, and transferred the people’s will to the hands of the new Republican party. 

The program for the reconstruction, Make America Great Again, is determined by the magnitude of the distress crippling our political, moral and economic life.

Filled with the conviction that the causes of this collapse lie in internal damage to America, the Republican party aims to eliminate the afflictions from our country which would, in future, continue to foil any real recovery. The disintegration of the nation into irreconcilably opposition, which was systematically brought about by the false doctrines of liberalism means the destruction of the basis for any possible community life.

The dissolution permeates all of the basic principles of social order. The completely opposite approaches of the individuals to the concepts of state, society, religion, morality, family, and economy rips open differences which will lead to a war of all against all. Starting with the liberalism of the past century, this development will end, as the laws of nature dictate, in chaos.

The mobilization of the most primitive instincts leads to a link between the concepts of a political theory and the actions of real criminals. Beginning with Mexicans and Muslims invading our country, Police officers murdered, and acts of mass violence, all of which are condoned by liberals. 

It will be the utmost goal of the my administration to stamp out and eliminate every trace of this phenomenon, not only in the interest of America, but in the interest of the rest of World.

It is not the task of a superior national leadership to subsequently surrender what has grown organically to the theoretical principle of an unrestrained unitarianization. But it is its duty to raise the unity of spirit and will of the leadership of the nation and thus the concept of the my administration as such beyond all shadow of a doubt.

My administration basically regards it as its duty, in accordance with the spirit of the people’s vote of confidence, to prevent the elements which consciously and intentionally negate the life of the nation from exercising influence on its formation. The theoretical concept of equality before the law shall not be used, under the guise of equality, to tolerate those who despise the laws as a matter of principle or, moreover, to surrender the freedom of the nation to them on the basis of democratic doctrines.

Our next task, in any case, is to call upon the spiritual leaders of these destructive tendencies to answer for themselves and at the same time to rescue the victims of their seduction.

God Bless America!

Version AH1933,

Cited Material:  1933 March 23, Berlin

Liberals Didn’t Conspire Produce the 2016 RNC

Tags

, , , , , ,

Donald is impressed by Melania rendition of Michelle Obama's speech

Donald is impressed by Melania’s rendition of Michelle Obama’s speech

Liberals are blamed for almost everything, but we are not responsible for the fiasco at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland this week. We did not make a secret deal with Donald Trump to destroy everything Republican. We didn’t pay Rudy Giuliani to do an impression of Hitler speaking to a Nazi rally. We didn’t make Melania Trump look like a Stepford wife and upload her with a speech that was plagiarized from Michelle Obama’s convention speech from eight years ago.

We didn’t do it!

It, of course, pleases us that the 35 years of madness is coming to an end, but most liberals would actually prefer an intelligent, organized, Republican opponent because it helps our nation make subtitle course corrections in our nation’s policies that keep our country moving forward.

However, the circus that is taking place in Cleveland this week is not intelligent, nor is it organized. It is the result of decades of conservative degeneration that has lost all sense of what our country has stood for, and is now distilled down to a mockery of what it means to be a citizen of the United States of America.

Republicans are aware of the depth of their depravity. Many conservatives have bitterly fought to keep Trump from becoming their candidate to represent the conservative cause; however, Trump has managed to politically eroticize enough desperate people to capture the nomination, and now conservatives have to either abandon their dignity and support Donald Trump, or admit that they have been wrong.

Conservatives can never admit they were wrong.

A Return to the United States of America

Tags

, , , , ,

_DSC4367 (2)We have to stop pretending we’re victims. There are problems in the world. There are problems in our country. But there are always problems and problems don’t make us victims.

A victim needs to be rescued. A victim is looking for a hero to save them. We don’t need to be rescued, nor do we need to be saved.

In the United States of America, we have attempted to educate all of our citizens because people who can solve their own problems do a better job of it, and education gives a person the ability to solve their own problems.

Too many people in this country are looking for a political figure that is going to save them. They are like moths to the flame. They are drawn in by the politician that dazzles them and they surrender their intelligence in order to believe that they can be rescued.

We forget that we are not witnesses to the acts of violence that we see on television or online. We are shocked and repulsed, but the real victims are those who were there, and the families and friends who knew someone who was there.

Our impulse to be a victim, makes us feel helpless to do anything, but we are not helpless. Just being a citizen of this country makes us part of the solution. By selecting intelligent politicians, by paying taxes, by being watchful, we help to defeat acts of violence.

Some delude themselves that a gun in their hands empowers them to respond to a violent event. With little or no training, they believe they can improvise a defense in an urban environment, and stop a mentally ill person who has likely been planning their attack for weeks or months. They cannot.

Only trained law enforcement can adequately respond to a violent situation, and private citizens carrying guns in an urban environment can only make a bad situation worse.

However, we don’t have to be the victim. There is violence, and there is corruption, in this country, but we are not on a path to chaos as long as we remember for over two hundred years, we have a consistent record of defeating threats to our country.

Many of those threats did not come from outside our borders, but inside them. The worst of those threats occurred when a group of our own citizens decided to reject the results of a legitimate elections. and betray our country and our Constitution. They failed because we didn’t respond as victims, but as proud and loyal citizens.

After all we’ve been through, we are still here. Working, raising families, enjoying life more than most of the rest of the world. We are not the victims. We are the solution. We are the United States of America.

 

 

The Ugly Side of Annual Vacations with the Extended Family

Tags

, , , , ,

But you like to be with my family!

If I had a British pound for every time that was said regarding the annual extended family vacation, I would have less than what I had a month ago…but that’s another story.

_DSC3743 (2)The annual extended family vacation. I’m not talking about the vacation where you and your spouse plan to go to a new and different place every year with your children. That activity has its own stresses and issues, but is usually a healthy activity for those involved. What I’m talking about is when one person or one family decides to go to the same place every year, and others are expected to join them.

_DSC4389 (2)

Often it starts with a family having a traditional summer vacation to the same place with their children, but as the children become adults, they may stop going on the annual vacation.

However, after they marry and begin their own families, they are invited to rejoin the annual family vacation, with an expectation that the spouses will become part of their annual pilgrimage. For a few years it may be a fun event, something to look forward to each summer, but then the event becomes more important than any other vacation that doesn’t involve the extended family. Vacations become determined by bloodlines, not along family lines.

Alternate vacation ideas, or visits to relatives that aren’t of the bloodline of the family of origin become a lower priority. Everyone is expected to preserve and protect the big event. After so many times of going to the same place with another family, or families, one may begin to feel that they’re tagging along on someone else’s vacation. Once in the situation, you can only be the bad person if you refuse to go.

There are always great reasons for extended families to get together occasionally. It is an opportunity to reclaim family ties, and share time together. Going for a week or more on trip with a group of people can be fun; however, committing two or more families to an annual vacation, to the destination determined by one family says something about the nature of the relationship of one family over another. 

However, vacations that are determined by one family, or one side of the family, year after year after year, are about control. At some point an adult child has to decide whether their commitment is to their family of origin, or to their own family. 

Brexit Vote A Win For Stupidity, Not Democracy

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Brexit Cliff: British pound to US dollar

The Brexit Cliff: British pound to US dollar

There are some that are trying to spin the disastrous vote by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union as a victory for democracy. It is not.

The people behind the effort to leave the European Union used lies and deception to convince the most gullible Brits to support them. Expert opinions predicted the negative impact of leaving the European Union, but those experts were countered with a “No it won’t” argument that had no basis in human reality. 

nigel-farage

Nigel Farage: Proud Hero of the Stupid

The demographics of those who voted to leave the European Union was defined by three criteria. They tended to be 1) less educated, 2) older, and 3) rural. The demographics of those voting to leave indicate they were more easily persuaded by arguments without logical or factual information. This is the weakness of democracy. The unintelligent should not be the decision makers of a society.

Advocates of leaving the European Union, like Nigel Farage, suggested that Great Britain would be able to win its independence, which is a ridiculous argument. Great Britain was and is a self-governing nation. The European Union determined issues of trade requirements, which it will continue to do with or without Great Britain. If Great Britain wishes to obtain access to the European Union’s markets, they have to negotiate those terms, or not trade with other European Union countries. By leaving the European Union, Great Britain has put themselves in a weak position to negotiate, and will likely have to compromise more as a non-member, than the would have had to as a member.

Immigration was portrayed as a ‘keep-the-immigrants-out’ issue by the proponents of leaving the European Union; however, it is Britons who have taken advantage of the ‘no passports needed’ policy of the EU, that will now lose the right to work outside of Great Britain. It was the gullibility of the uneducated, older, rural citizen that allowed them to be lured into throwing England over the cliff. 

Democracy is always hailed as the best form of government; however, even the Roman ‘democracy’ did not allow everyone to vote. Only citizens were allowed to vote, and that excluded much of their population. While limiting the right to vote is not acceptable in a free society, allowing people to vote who are either unable, and/or unwilling to understand the issues they are voting for or against is a model of stupidity, not democracy.

Clinton Wraps Up Nomination

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Inevitability of President-elect Clinton

The Inevitability of President-Elect Clinton

Hillary Clinton will take the next step to being our country’s 45th President tomorrow. Despite what the Sanders Desparitas say, the race is over. Clinton’s quiet wins in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands put her only 26 pledged delegates from clinching the nomination. Shortly after the voting ends in New Jersey tomorrow, she will have the over 80 more pledged delegates to clinch the nomination as the Democratic Presidential nominee.

With a near tie in California, Clinton will win another 270 pledged delegates, and Sanders will be about 300 pledged delegates behind. The four other races tomorrow will have no impact on the outcome, as each of those States have fewer delegates at stake than the District of Columbia.

It is likely that Sanders and some of his supporters will follow through on their threat to violently disrupt the National Democratic Convention; however, many Sanders supporters joined the campaign to work for positive change, and Sanders is demonstrating that he cares less about building, than destroying.

On the other end of the spectrum, Donald Trump is heading toward political bankruptcy as each news cycle becomes less about his campaign, and more about his unethical behavior. Even Trump’s tweets make him look pitiful and stupid.

Unfortunately for the Party of Stupidity (POS,) Trump delegates are locked in for the July National Convention, and regardless of how dismal his poll numbers, Trump will be the POS nominee, as thousands of our country’s worst citizens will be in Cleveland to cheer him on to failure. 

Nine months ago, I said that the GOP Presidential Race is Over and this has continued to be true. All we have left to do is watch how bad the Republicans lose.

Clinton Emails: Secrets To Be Exposed

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hillary ClintonDonald Trump and Bernie Sanders campaigns are rejoicing at the revelations about to be exposed from secret Hillary Clinton emails on a private server, while she was Secretary of State. Among the revelations are:

  • In 2009, Clinton attempted to humiliate, then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, by arranging to have him photographed in the nude, riding a horse.
  • In 2012, Clinton outlined a plan to become President, and use the Girl Scouts of America to send their members door-to-door under the ruse of selling cookies to determine which homes had guns, followed by night raids by Navy Seals to collect the guns.
  • In 2010, Clinton admitted in an email, that while she was Senator from New York, she conspired to run for President as a ruse to become Secretary of State, where she intended to set up a private email account, rather than using a government email account.

Fox News broke the story today and declared that this scandal will finally end the Clinton campaign to become President of the United States. Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, reacted to the news by saying, “Huh, what?” followed by a scathing, “Okay, great.”

Mitch McConnell said,

“Finally, we not only have the smoking gun on Clinton, we have the powder, the shot, the wading, and that tamper thing that you use to push it all the stuff down the barrel. She not going to be President because she’s going to jail!”

Vladimir Putin tests drives new Russian personnel carrier

Vladimir Putin tests drives new Russian air conditioned military personnel carrier

According to sources in the FBI familiar with the emails, the attempt to humiliate Putin was almost thwarted when he refused to take off the pants; however, the photographer decided that an image of Putin’s sagging breasts and small hands were adequate to accomplish the goal.

Apparently, the conspiracy to collect guns from United States citizens was later eliminated when it was determined that gun owners would likely shoot a Girl Scout under the assumption she was a burglar.

In a campaign speech today, Trump said, “There’s going to be a lot more coming out on Clinton’s emails. I know, because, really, I’m God, no, really, I am, and I’m not happy with her.” Sanders responded to questions from reporters about the rumors of the secret emails by saying, “This campaign is about momentum, and the superdelegates….I’m sorry, what was the question?”