Category Archives: Panama

Posts that take place in the country of Panama

A killer view vs bathroom walls

When Jeff and I decided to ditch our Air BNB with the cage-like windows for a more permanent apartment it was slim picking. A three-month lease on a furnished apartment isn’t easy to come by in Panama City. By law, Air BNB stays can’t be for longer than 45 days, Most furnished apartments want at least a six-month lease which was longer than we wanted to commit to.

We found a great realtor through a Facebook ex-pat group that not only had several apartments for us to choose from but also spoke perfect English.

Look how happy Jeff is that Rueben, our realtor, spoke perfect English.

When he showed us an apartment in a fancy high rise building we fell in love with the view and signed a three-month lease.

The light blue dot is our apartment.
Isn’t there some advice about not signing something you can’t read?

The lease was in Spanish, so as Jeff signed every page Rueben translated. We either signed a three-month lease or accidentally bought a Panamanian zoo.

The apartment is great except for one little thing. The bathroom is missing actual walls. The bathroom is in the bedroom, like IN the bedroom.

Floor to ceiling windows is nice unless they are the only thing separating the bathroom from the bedroom.

The bathroom situation is weird, but when we found out there was a bar on the top floor of the building with two for one happy hour. We decided “Who needs privacy.”

If I really need privacy I’ll just use the bathroom here at this bar.

We’ve settled into our apartment without bathroom walls pretty well. It’s really high up which means getting over a small fear of heights.

I’m looking down on birds. That can’t be right.

I’ve made up an elaborate water aerobics routine for the pool. Jeff moves to the other side of the pool area and pretends he doesn’t know me when I do it.

Why does everyone look frightened?

We have a washer/dryer combination that we can’t figure out. Our clothes seem to get locked in at the end and just cook.

Is this referring to the inside of the dryer or the outside temperature? It’s probably the same temp in both places.

We are settling into a good routine.

Jeff is set up at his desk and back to work.

Thank God someone here is working.

Here’s what I do when Jeff is working.

hahahahaha Just kidding.

This is what I’m really doing, trying to find remote work I can do from out here. So far I haven’t found anything, but I’m sure there must be something I can do.

Maybe I can just buy lottery tickets online?

We’ve sort of figured out grocery shopping.

I know what to do with these items.
Not sure what to do with these. Better buy a kilo.

We even bought this fancy shopping bag cart.


And have been trying new foods, and also some old standbys.

Jeff can escape the Seattle winter by traveling to Panama, but not my chicken sloppy joes.

Sunrise ain’t too shabby.

There’s that saying, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

We’ve adopted it to, “People who live with glass bathrooms, shouldn’t leave the bedroom door open when they have to pee.

Four suitcases, two backpacks and some zip lock bags

Now that we are settled, we have unpacked and taken stock of what we brought from home.

Normally, when we go anywhere we have an elaborate pack list. I have specialized lists based on the type of trip. I have a bike trip, visit family, cold weather, wine tasting, warm weather, tropical weather, and Air BNB specific pack list.

Below is my most bare-bones packing list.

And here is the list I used to pack for six months in Panama.

Yes, that is correct, there was no pack list. We were so consumed with moving everything into storage, we didn’t think about what to actually pack for this trip.

This may be the reason I brought twenty pairs of socks, but only three shirts.

We spent all our time cramming our stuff into here, no time thinking of what to bring with.

This is the crazed look of someone that has been moving for 16 hours straight.

When our move was complete, and we finally had ten minutes to pack, we tried to shove a bunch of stuff into our suitcases. When they wouldn’t close we realized, “We don’t have enough luggage.”

This is not the best thought at 10:30 p.m. the night before you fly to Panama. Thank God for the late night Target in Kent. I stayed in the car with our stuff while Jeff ran in to buy a suitcase.

Here is the text Jeff sent me from Target. I was supposed to choose from these two.

When I couldn’t choose Jeff may have had a mental breakdown.

If you ever see a grown man sitting on the floor of a Target at 11:00 pm giggling to himself and taking selfies in the luggage department, don’t judge.

We bought the black one, jammed it full and didn’t open it again until a few days ago. Here are some of the things we brought.

Our Stainless Steel French Press seemed important in Seattle. Turns out all rentals have coffee makers. And you don’t really need stainless steel to keep your coffee warm when it’s 102 degrees outside.

These were our kitchen must-haves. While the rentals have knives, none are sharp. We’ve used everything in this photo.

Guess which two items we’ve used the most.

We brought one pan.

This is my sexy frying pan look.

At the last second, I packed all the food we didn’t give away or eat. The apartments all seem to have blenders so the protein powder is coming in handy. Not sure if we’ll be making enough Ethiopian food to get through the bag with the berbere spice.

Berbere spice, protein powder, PB Fit, trail mix, gummy vitamins

Our friend Brenda who is traveling with her husband, Scott in Portugal suggested I bring zip-lock bags. They have become my most prized possession.

Passports are important, but zip lock backs are sacred.

Luckily, we didn’t bring a hookah, since the apartment came with one.

Call me old fashioned, but I just don’t think a hookah belongs on top of the refrigerator. A coffee table sure, but in the kitchen?

I also made sure to pack my Cubs hat. Not as important as the zip-lock bags, but still nice to have.

Turns out the hat is 15% wool, so not really great for this weather, but the Cubs are worth a hot head.

Settling In

After weeks and months of planning, packing and moving we finally made it to Panama City.

We arrived three days ago and immediately tried to break into someone’s apartment. Turns out apartment 20B (vein-te bay) and apartment 20C (vein-te say) sound very similar in Spanish.

This is our apartment

We are staying in Apartment 20C. Apartment 20B is occupied by a nice gentleman that handled us trying to open his door with our key very well.

The apartment is nice and has great views once you get past the netting. It’s either to keep robbers out, keep us from falling out, or we accidentally rented a jail.

I know it’s unpopular to complain about the heat when it’s winter back home, but it’s hot here. Like really really hot. Hot and humid. Like 90 degrees with a 102-degree heat index.

Jeff is fine in the heat. Me, not so much.

I’m melting.

Walking to the giant shopping mall to get SIM cards for our cell phones was hot. But it was nice and air-conditioned inside. We ordered lunch at Fitness Foods. Since it said right on the sign Happy and Healthy we figured we couldn’t go wrong.

But then it came and Jeff almost took a bite of crab thinking it was some kind of exotic Panamanian vegetable. Luckily I stopped him since he’s allergic to crab.

Jeff would have been the opposite of happy and healthy if he had eaten this.

Next stop was the subway station to get our bus/subway passes. It took three people and a security guard to help us use the kiosk, even though it was in English.

The subway and buses are nice, clean, and air-conditioned!

Here is Jeff waiting for a train.

Stylish, normal, standing by the tracks.

Here’s me waiting for the same train.

Refusing to move from the aircon vent on the stairs, smeared makeup, messed up hair, dazed look.

But, luckily it doesn’t take much to revive me. Jeff has been a good sport about posing for photos…up to a point.

A selfie? Sure why not.
I’m done.

Luckily, this one I got on the first try.

Why Panama

As Jeff and I get ready to travel to Panama, the same question keeps coming up. Why Panama? The short answer is, we went there on vacation, loved it and decided it would be a great destination for us.

Here are the top 10 reasons.

  1. Amazing people and culture.
  2. City, mountains, beaches, and jungle.
  3. Good coffee
  4. Lower cost of living
  5. On the equator so same sunset/sunrise time year-round.
  6. We saw an anteater when we were there
  7. They let you pretend to run the Panama Canal
That is me and a mannequin, not Jeff.

8. We also needed a country that had a song from our childhood associated with it.

Continent- not a country.
City – not a country
City – not a country

9. It needed a good Palindrome. Here were the contenders:

 Eva, Can I Stab Bats In A Cave? – not bad, but where is this cave.

Mr. Owl Ate My Metal Worm – not going to a place with crazed owls.

 A Santa Lived As a Devil At NASA – what the hell?

Panama, a man, a plan, a canal, Panama. – Nice!

10 And a good hat.

Fez – too much tassel

Beret – too flat
cowboy hat – too hard to pack
Panama hat – perfect