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Friday, August 16, 2013

Snippets about my life in Pedasi, Panama: A quick story about getting my plates last week....

Snippets about my life in Pedasi, Panama: A quick story about getting my plates last week.

: A quick story about getting my plates last week. The first thing you should know when you buy a car is to get it registered in Pedasi...
A quick story about getting my plates last week.

The first thing you should know when you buy a car is to get it registered in Pedasi. That way when you renew your plates every year you can do it in town versus having to go to wherever you bought it to get it done.

I had not done this before as a friend did it for me last year but this year I wanted to try it myself. It turns out  the place to do it is right in town on the main street across from the bakery, at the wicket where we renew our garbage permits every year.

Firstly in order to get your new plates you do have to go to Las Tablas to get your vehicle registered and have pictures taken of it every year.

So as I was walking up to the wicket with a file folder full of paper work in no particular order from the day I bought the car, I tripped and the papers went flying everywhere.

It was windy and I was running around doing the 'one foot hop' trying to gather each and every page.

Once I got them all together again I went through them all trying to find the relevant paperwork as I had many that weren't, so in my haste I ripped up a few thinking they were old and threw them in the big garbage can close to the wicket.

I proceeded to the window with the paperwork to get my new license, gave it to the really nice girl behind the counter, and she said it was last year's papers so I then realized that the ones I needed were in the garbage can all torn up in  small pieces.

So there I go head first into the garbage bin, which was thankfully empty, but of course the papers were at the very bottom and I was half in it trying to retrieve each and every piece.

I then took them back to the wicket with a smile on my face knowing that I hat at least retrieved them, gave them to the woman and she then tells me that 'no, no, I can't accept torn papers'.

She must have seen the blood drain from my face, lol, and at this point she came out of the booth around to the front, kind of smiled, grabbed the whole file from me, took it back to her desk and proceeded to tape up the ripped paper for me, double punched all of the stuff that I had in the folder, sorted them out in order of date, and put them back in a neat fashion in the folder for me.

She also taped the insurance package on the opposite side of the folder as well so it was clearly visible when I needed it again.

At this point I was 'good to go' as I should have been when I first walked up to the wicket which was now about twenty minutes later.

She then does four forms with carbon paper all by hand and when she was finished she also put them back in the folder for me and handed me the plates and said in  her broken English, "your documents are in better shape now".

The whole episode cost $37 and I gave her a $5 tip for lunch which she was very reluctant to take.

I went home license plates in hand with a smile on my face and later on that evening Connie and I enjoyed one of the best steak dinners we have had since arriving here in Panama over two years ago, steaks that were purchased from Super Carne in Las Tablas.

Just another story that I wanted to share about how nice and helpful the Panamanian people are.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Snippets about my life in Pedasi, Panama: Pacific Rock Oysters and Returning things!

Snippets about my life in Pedasi, Panama: Pacific Rock Oysters and Returning things!: Returning items   We all know that returning things to a store in North America is a piece of cake. You keep the receipt, ret...

Pacific Rock Oysters and Returning things!


Returning items


We all know that returning things to a store in North America is a piece of cake.

You keep the receipt, return the item for an exchange or get your money back. Right?

Well it's a bit different here. This is my story regarding taking things back to a store in Panama :)


We bought these two lounging chairs  below in a store in Chitre which is an hour (one way)  from Pedasi where we live.

Notice the one on the right with the buttons that they put to hide the stitching. Sadie also there making sure things are just fine!! She loves the lounge chair too.  
We saw these beauties and just had to have them. Lying in them in the warm summer breeze looking out at the Pacific Ocean with a cocktail in hand! Who wouldn't?

We paid $500.00 (cash) for them and yes that is expensive for a couple of lounge chairs but I am Soooooo worth it and they are so beautiful. They are also aluminum so they won't rust. You have to be really careful buying things here because everything with metal in rusts. That is another blog!

So we bring them home and left them in their plastic for five days as we were having work done on the patio and really couldn't use them right away.

On the sixth day we unwrapped them and one was fine, but the other one had a huge black mark on it and the place where there should have been a 'button' like the other one, there was a huge hole where the stitching was and it looked like a hernia operation gone bad.

So off we go to Chitre to take the one back!
Simple one would think as we did have the bill and they were only six days old.
We lug this chair into the store and of course they don't speak much English (I really need to learn Spanish), but we managed to get a hold of a 'manager' to tell him our story and to show him the marks and stitching on the cushion.
He looks at it for about 15 minutes and then tells us that we can't order another as this is the last one anywhere.

Ok, we really want this less than beautiful lounger now, but we don't want it in the shape it's in as we paid a lot of money for it. One instead of two would be ok. Don doesn't need one :), and we paid cash so won't be a problem getting our money back, one would think.

Thankfully there was a woman there who spoke English (no, she didn't wear stiletto's. In fact I think she had construction boots on),  so she conveyed our concerns to the Manager and told him that we would just have our money back and we'd be gone.
After about a half an hour and after this Manager speaking to a few other Manager's he said that he could fix the hole and get the stain out and it would look as good as new and it would be back in a week. 
Ok, this sounded reasonable, so we agreed and left the store.

A week later we went back after filling the gas tank again to get this unsightly chair that has now become a huge thorn in our sides . Remember this store is an hour from us, ONE WAY!
Well, it's not ready yet! They said the person who was fixing it had a baby or some broken extremity or some other stupid excuse and it would be another week before it was fixed.
Off home again!   it's Panama, It's Panama, It's Panama we kept repeating to each other.

Ok, so off we go again to Chitre a week later (with still ANOTHER TANK OF GAS) which now brings it to a total of five hours driving for this ugly, morbid lounger.
Well after going up and down every stinking aisle in the store, trying to find a Manager or some semblance to one, we finally do.
It was about 11:30, so have to hurry as everyone takes an hour off from 12 to 1 pm for whatever they do!
Certainly wasn't fixing a lounge chair that needed fixing!

They bring this now hideous chair, or whatever you want to call it out to us and it was WORSE THAN BEFORE.
They had put some kind of cleaner on the spot and now it was twice the size it was and now had a huge 'blot' mark all around it.
The stitching had something done to it, but we really couldn't figure out what. It looked awful and even a bigger hole than before.

Enough already!

We told the Manager, or whoever he was, that this was not acceptable to us as we paid a lot of money for these 'ugly, poor excuse for loungers' and we would be wanting our money back.

So about six of them behind the counter went somewhere for a discussion I guess as they were gone for at least twenty minutes.
By this time I could have done inventory on the whole store and still had time for lunch.
Anyway they came back and said, 'Sorry, we can't give you back your money as it's been over three weeks'.
What the?????

They had our chair in the store for the past two weeks and we hadn't even used it at home for one day with my drink and my puppie :)
So again after much frustration, thank goodness for the lady who speaks English, they finally agreed to give us our money back. It was very difficult to do as they didn't understand that just because they had them in the store, it was still over three weeks and this was their policy.
Ok, just please give us our $250 cash back. 
No can do as they can't give cash back even though this is how we paid.
They have to write you a cheque. Store policy! Again, what the heck?
And of course they can't do it today. The person who writes them isn't there, so we have to come BACK AGAIN tomorrow.
I have never ever seen such an ugly, revolting lounger in my life. It grew more unsightly by the minute.

Don and I barely spoke the whole way home. It was his fault we had to buy these grotesque things in the first place. Why would anyone want to relax on these chairs with a drink in hand anyway? I would rather stand.

Next day had to fill the gas tank in the car again to make the long haul back to Chitre to pick up my cheque as it's an hours drive don't forget. Sorry I know I have said this before but now I am pissed again lol.

Ok, so I get the cheque, but guess what?
We can't cash it for THREE DAYS, and we have to cash it at the bank where it was written and of course it isn't the bank we use. Of course not!
So three days later with yet another tank of gas I am off again to the bank to cash the cheque and after all of this, I finally GOT THE MONEY!
I spent it all on alcohol!!

It was about six months ago that we bought these 'beastly' creatures and just a few days ago I went back to this store. I am not sure why as I won't ever buy anything again from this store unless it's a chocolate bar that I can eat while I am there and not have to worry about returning it.

As I walked to the back of the store, what did I see displayed on the floor with the other patio furniture?
Yup, the same chair I took back months ago with a huge 'REDUCED' sign over it.

They had reduced it to $99 and the stain was still there albeit a bit less noticeable and where the 'hernia gone bad' stitching was, they had covered with a button.

So, I went to the one fellow there that speaks a bit of English and told him I wanted to buy it and I also said that I would be wanting a further discount as this poor excuse for a lounge chair had obvious signs of wear and neglect. Who in their right mind would ever want to sit in this repulsive excuse for a chair overlooking the Ocean with a drink in hand?
Certainly not me!
Off he trots and after about 20 minutes comes back and says to me, "You bought this chair before didn't you?"
Just like the soup Nazi. No discount for you!!

So I ended up buying the same lovely and luxurious lounger that I had bought over six months ago for less than half the price.

Only in Panama.

Moral of this story:

If you buy anything that that has a plug, plug that sucker in before buying it and let it run for half the day if you need to make sure it works.

If it doesn't have a plug, go over it with a fine tooth comb before purchasing. When you exit the store it's yours and yours alone and good luck if you ever have to enter that store again with your purchase in hand asking for a refund!

But Panama. I still love you more and more every day!!

Time lapse, Panama City


Hammering for dinner!

Locals getting rock oysters
A sight to see!


We had always wondered what the locals were doing down on the beach with their hammers and knives during low tide.
It's amazing how they can see these oysters. They are completely covered on the rocks with a sort of sandy hard surface exactly the same color as the rocks.
They first get their hammer and free if from the rock and then with some ingenuity manage to  get the oyster inside.
This particular rock was covered in them and the young fellow had a whole pail full of oysters.
You would NEVER, EVER, EVER get me to eat these things, but the locals apparently love them.

La Garita Beach at Low Tide.


An old ship wreck on the beach!

Thank you again for reading my blog, and remember to 'Stay in the Light'.

P.S. The ketchup here is better than anywhere, just in case you were wondering:)



Monday, February 4, 2013

Snippets about my life in Pedasi, Panama: Never a dull moment:)

Snippets about my life in Pedasi, Panama: Never a dull moment:): Well we have now been here in this wonderful place that we now call 'home' for over a year and a half now. Where does the time go? When we...

Never a dull moment:)

Well we have now been here in this wonderful place that we now call 'home' for over a year and a half now.
Where does the time go?
When we first decided to come here to live I really thought that the time would slow down for us. I was promised!!
But alas, it still continues to proceed at warped speed but we are here in one of the most beautiful places in the world and we have not looked back once!
Ok, maybe once when Don ran out of beer when it was one of the holidays here and you couldn't buy alcohol, ( I believe there are only two and Don knows them now like the back of his hand), but that was the only time.
We sit outside here at nights and we still feel like we are on holidays and that we will soon have to pack up and go home.
It's just so awesome that we managed to fulfill our dream. Please do this if you are thinking about it. Remember that life is so short and we are here for such a short time that we have to make the most of each and every single day. Sorry for the sermon:)

Ok, now I need to speak about some things that are not quite so awesome :) Still good, but a little out of the ordinary for you folks living in North America.

Invasion of the unknown

The other night when we were sitting outside enjoying the beautiful weather that this dry season brings, and after having our daily cocktail. Ok, ok, you dragged it out of me. It was our second!
Boy you try and slip one little white lie in here and you get attacked from all angles :) 
Anyway I digress.
Out of my peripheral I see something run past the side of our home and right by the open door of our living room.
I ran to close the door so it wouldn't get it but he outwitted me.
It was big and furry and had a huge long tail and probably weighed about five pounds.
I was freaking out!!!!
Anyway Don grabs the pool cleaner and runs behind him into our office where 'it' hides under our desk.
Obviously I closed the door to the office and I stood outside while Don was trapped in there with this 'beast' while I was outside yelling at him to catch it.
Well it wasn't coming out from behind the desk. No way!
Then Don has the presence of mind to go and get our Panamanian security guard to try  and fetch him out of our home.
I guess that the Panamanians are used to doing this kind of thing as he came, brought some rope, made a lasso and the creature who has now grown to be over five hundred pounds if he was an ounce, was captured and taken outside (unscathed) and was set off to scare the hell out of some other 'loco gringo'.

Our critter and YES he looks Male :)

The Dentist

As you know going to the dentist in NA is somewhat of a 'non issue'. It's a little different here.
In our  beautiful quaint little town of Pedasi there are a couple of dentist's on the main street are government run and also another in our walk-in clinic.
These are not like the dentist's at home with beautiful offices with the latest of equipment, computers, televisions on the ceiling to watch while the dentist drills away and keeps yapping at us and asking questions while our mouths are full of his thousands of dollars worth of 'pain inflicting' tools.
Here the offices are very modest but clean which would be perfectly fine with me.
Don however had to go to get a couple of teeth filled and had to find one with not only with high definition televisions, but also the ones with state of the art equipment.
Not here in Panama! Well at least not in Las Tablas or Pedasi.
He went to a dentist about half hour away and she showed up an hour late. (not unusual for Panamanians).
He waited for her and she wanted him to come back as her drill wasn't working, lol.
So the following week he went back an hour late as he forgot his appointment and she had left, and she would never talk to Don again.
He then set out and decided to go to a Specialist that someone had recommended.
He got to the office in Chitre, and sat in a real nice, clean dentist office with no one else around until this man came through the door with a fishing tackle box in hand. He said to himself, 'please don't let this be my dentist'.
But it was!
He sat there patiently while he opened his tackle box and took out his instruments. Don was unsure of whether to get up and run or ask him out on our boat :)
As it turned out it was one of the best dental experiences he has ever had. No pain or anything like that and the cost was only $45 for a broken tooth and X-rays.
He wanted me to come back to do his cavities, but his quest for the perfect dentist had not yet come to an end.
After speaking to numerous people and asking about the dentist they use he finally found the one he was looking for, or should I say 'dreaming of'. 
I'm sure she was the 'mattress salesperson's' twin sister. You who follow my blogs will know who I am referring to.
She was this tall, thin, gorgeous young girl with the pouty lips, the perfect hair, the skin tight jeans and the all so popular 14 inch stiletto's.
How do these girls do this anyway?
How do they perform their normal daily activities like walking, sitting, speaking, turning, or riding the 'tilt a whirl' wearing clothes like this?  It's very perplexing to me.
I'm really surprised that when he came home he even shared this information with me. All through the procedure he had only two things to look at!
Now without ever hinting that he may have to go back for another checkup, he says that his gums are hurting a tad, cold water hurts his teeth, blah, blah, blah.
I got to say that his teeth could  fall out one at a time, he could be bleeding profusely from the gums but the chance of him going back to that dentist in tights is very slim.
The nice ones in town, the older gentlemen with perhaps a total of seven teeth between the four of them will do just fine!!
To be very honest though, the dental service here in Panama is excellent. You are treated really well and the cost is minimal, compared to North America.
Thank you for reading my blog and please remember to  "Stay in the Light", quoted by a good friend, Cathleen Hart:)
P.S. All of the wieners and sausages are all wrapped individually in their packages here :) Just for your information in case you were wondering:)

The full moon a few nights ago with a cruise ship passing by. Priceless!!

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