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Thursday, June 30, 2011

You wouldn't believe our day!

Well our day started out leaving for Las Tablas at 7:45 am to make an appointment for 8:30 to open our bank account which we had started on Tuesday. Seeing as Don had forgotten to bring two pieces of necessary documents we needed to go back today which she said would be no more than half an hour.
This is why we made the appointment for 8:30 as we needed to be in Chitre (which is half hour away) for our appointment to pick up our new truck at 10 am.
It was just Don who went into the bank as we had Sadie with us and couldn't leave her in the car as the temp was too high without the car running.
Now keep in mind the girl at the bank took all of Don and I's information as we were opening a joint bank account. She photocopied passports/reference letters for both of us/personal references, etc etc.
Now the time is now 9:45 and still no Don. He finally comes back out and says we both have to go back to the bank again as she didnt realize that it was supposed to be a 'joint' account...Oh, sigh, Oh sigh.
Don did manage to get one account open so that we can wire money down here as we NEED IT BADLY, lol
We are only allowed to bring $20K cash with us into the country, and we had spent some and needed to buy the car.
We maxed out our new US Visa that we had opened and had to use most of our cash so time is of the essense regarding money, lol
Ok, so off we trudge to Chitre to pick up our brand new sparkling clean Nissan XTrail.
We went to buy the car on Tuesday and we could have taken it with us at that time but they said it would take two days for the plates so we said we would wait until today then so we didn't have to come back for the plates.
So we get there, and they had not sent the forms in for the plates....Sigh, Sigh, Sigh.
(but we are in Panama, remember)
Ok so we sign all of the papers...payed our money and everything of course is in Spanish, so hopefully we have bought it and not leased it, lol. We also took our insurance out with the dealership as it was convenient and the nice guy who sold it to us was so kind and tried so hard to explain everything in English for us. 
We have our insurance!
Little did we know that in a few minutes we would need it!!
We needed to wait a few minutes (Panamanian Time) to get a piece of paper to replace the plates if stopped by the police so we thought we would go up to a local market to buy some fresh fish/veggies etc while we were waiting.
We got into Kevin's truck that he is renting us to go to the store, and as we were pulling out a senior in a big truck BACKED RIGHT INTO THE SIDE OF OUR TRUCK!  Yup..I thought I was going to be sick to my stomach.....
Here we are in a place that barely speak English with damage to our friends truck.
Oh my!! Hysteria is setting in.
The guy t-boned us and the whole side was dented in.
So now we have to go back into the dealership to fill out one of the forms that the insurance broker told us we would have to fill out if we ever needed it, and again all in Spanish.
Sigh again!
Again with the  passports and drivers licenses being photocopied again. We then have to wait for the  insurance adjuster to come from God knows where to  fill out yet ANOTHER form and to take pic's etc.
By the way the guy who hit us said it wasn't his fault and so if that was his story we would have had to go to court, but the adjuster talked to him in Spanish and explained that YES it was his fault he then decided to take responsibility.
That took about 45 minutes.
Now after having filled out MORE forms we had to go to the body shop down the street to get a quote to fix the car/truck.
It didn't take long there, thank God, and the guy took a quote on a writing pad and said it would be $150.00 (took 4 guys to arrive at this number), and then we went back to the dealership to hopefully pick up our  new truck which by this time seemed so very old!!! lol
So off we go to get our fish.
Easy three right turns and we are there...piece of cake.
Not so easy coming home.
I was following Don who professes to be the best driver in the world and I find myself going down a one way street in Chitre with people honking and waving and shouting stuff that made no sense to me. I thought they were just being friendly.
Oh Boy!
So I had to back up (in a very busy street) as I was following Don to turn into another street so we could get out of that mess we were in.
Ok, so we got ourselves out of that mess and continued on on our quest to get out of this God Forbidden town and back to our quiet little house in Pedasi.
All seemed good!
I was driving our brand spanking new truck on a highway that we had become acquainted with. 
All is good! I was even listening to a Spanish radio station just rocking to the music whose words I didn't understand when all of a sudden the lightning and thunder start.
Oh No. I don't even know how to turn the wipers on the new truck.
It started raining SO hard I could barely see.
Don had turned on his 'flashers' and in turn so did I. It was harrowing for about 10 minutes. Honesly it was very scary, but then the rains subsided. (this seems like a story from the Bible), lol
Finally we got home where I immediately kissed the soggy wet grass.
All is well though now. 
I just finished cooking our 'baby shark' fish for dinner. If you have never tasted this you must. It was so delicious.
Don and I, and of course Sadie are sitting outside now enjoying a nice glass of $2.75 wine taking in all of the days adventures.
Thank God for wine.
I can only imagine what will be in store for us tomorrow.

After the Day from Hell, this is what we got....:) 

Thanks for reading, and remember please to "Stay in the Light"
Thank you Kevin for understanding about your truck. Even though it was not our fault when things like this happen it always seems like it is.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you!

Well these past three days have proved very informative to say the least.
On Friday we went into Chitre to look for a truck/4 wheel drive to buy. It is a little difficult to do this when we have a language barrier, but there was always one person in each dealership that we could get to translate for us.
We wanted to buy a year old truck but we learned that it was very difficult to purchase used. We found only one in the three dealerships that we went to.
We did find the trucks are not a lot cheaper but they are a bit as the tax is lower and they don't charge freight and delivery.
One thing I found hilarious was that when you buy your vehicle you may or may not get a license plate as sometimes they don't make enough, so you can MAKE YOUR OWN!! LOL
Yup you read it right. You can make a plate and as long as the numbers match what they put on the sticker on your front window then you are good to go. You can make them out of whatever you want. I am still smiling at this one.
Could we do this in North America? I think not!
We didn't buy yet as Don wants to check out the Ford dealership that we couldn't find on Friday so we will go back to Chitre tomorrow.

Saturday they had the 'BillaBong' parade here in Pedasi. It was quite a spectacle with over 30 countries participating. There were surfers everywhere, and the parade was very well done with lots of Panamanian Men and Women donning their native dress.
Our Candian Surfers in the Parade
We left the parade and then went to our new friend Joaquim's Hamburger cart in town to have one of the best burgers in town. He also sells Burrito's and they are delicious as well.
All for $2.25 plus a drink. Of course Don had one of each..being the dainty fella he is:)
Yesterday we went into Playa Venao where the Surfing competiton takes place. Now that was so great seeing surfers as I have never seen this before. These guys are crazy. They could hurt themselves, lol.
They had a huge Red Cross tent there and a helicopter running just in case. This tells me it may be a tad dangerous.
We left there and were invited to our friends who live in our development, Pierre and Beth, for a spaghetti dinner to meet our other neighbours who live there as well.
It was a fun night with laughter, great food and lots of wine.
Our development is going to be full of such tremendous people. I can't wait to get into our home, but for the interim we are staying at our friend Kevin's home which is absolutelty perfect for us.
He is such a great guy who is very accommodating and does his best to make us comfortable.
Sadie is getting used to it slowly. I feel so sorry for her as we have dragged her half way across the world and she hasn't a clue what is going on. She hardly eats, but I know she will be ok and will adjust.
Today we went into Las Tablas to open a bank account that we were told would be such a chore.
It turned out to be a breeze. Don forgot a couple of pieces of paper otherwise it would have been set up immediately but will be done tomorrow after we bring the necessary paperwork.
Now we are just sitting outside with Kevin enjoying a cold beverage.
I wanted to post a video of Sadie chasing a crab on the beach today but it wouldn't download, as the internet is a bit slow here.
Thank you for reading, and 'Stay in the Light'

P.S I forgot to mention to you that when we landed at the airport in Panama our friend Kevin was waiting for us and when he went over to pay the attendant for his parking at the airport, we went and said we would take care of it as he was good enough to pick us up. I asked him how much and it was....get ready for this.....48 cents...Yup .48 cents.
In Toronto it would have been close to $20.
Panama rocks!!! LOL

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