Friday, October 28, 2011

Briefly home to Panama and back

We had reached the point that we had cracked most of the preparations for voyaging further South so we booked our flights and went home to Panama. That gave rise to another list of things to do! Honestly life can get so complicated these days. I blame the internet and the technological age. It seems that we are now capable of multi-tasking and constant motion every minute of the day. Or perhaps it's just me?

It was great to see our apartment in such good shape and well looked after by our support team headed by the Thermo Queen herself. And we were curious to see the view from our apartment of the new Luxor Towers building across the street - well here it is. Not too bad! Thankfully our city vista is largely intact, at least until the next thicket of skyscrapers gets built. Panama City had changed even in the six months that we had been away. The diablo rojos are largely gone, and people now wait for a scheduled Metro Bus service from a bus stop! They are already building the Metro (Subway, Underground, Tube). There has been considerable progress to distance Panama from the Third World over the past few years; let us hope that successive governments here will continue the process. The economy has been growing at near nine percent over the last four years but perhaps there will be a slowdown in the growth rate, I am not sure. We seem to be completely insulated from the economic problems around the world; I presume it is the immense demand generated by business migrating away from the neighboring countries with political problems (Venezuela, Mexico).

On the Monday we stepped up the pace and I went off to finalise my Permanent Residency papers. It has only taken three years after all! Then we went to HSBC. While we were away our relationship manager changed - or left - and we were left incommunicado; just one of the pitfalls of itinerant lifestyles - you really do need to be ahead of the game in planning how to organise things from afar. I then went to another of my un-favorite places, yes, the phone company. These companies are the bane of one's life - Cable & Wireless (Panama), AT&T (USA), Rogers (Canada) .............managing our accounts effectively is a trial. (Soon we will be off to Mexico and I will have the pleasure of starting a new relationship with Telcel.) Other visits were the water company (easy) and the car insurance (easy). And then our doctor, and no we do not need any more vaccinations! We also dropped into collect our mail and found the usual bundle of things we had dealt with months ago. But there was the odd little gem in there that had got under the radar. A refund from AT&T, I should get that framed. Unfortunately the admin of one's life is relentless and never seems to get any easier; but at least I can whinge to you all about it!

It was delightful catching up with friends and our timing was brilliant, the annual Felipe Motta wine fair. The ticket is $20. There were about 300 wines on taste from 50 suppliers around the world. Susie and I wrote our tasting notes all over the book (yes the writing did deteriorate over the evening) and the next day used the $15 voucher from the ticket to buy a few bottles of the wine that we had selected for the grand sum of $5 a bottle, the net cost was notalot. The amazing thing is that the wine market in Panama is so young, and so vibrant, and the producers are so keen to get their product in and established. Competition at its best. And there is no excise duty; now that is my kind of shopping. Moving on............I will pass over the Proprietarios Meeting for Edificio Crystal............we went to the Ancon Theatre and saw a hilarious play, great fun. And then off for the weekend to the beach. Plenty of guitar playing and some excellent margaritas.

I was motoring through the emails on Monday morning and found a blog posting from another Nordhavn 55, "Just Believe", who had just arrived at Flamenco and were going to transit soon. I went down to the marina to meet them and see if there was anything we could help with. We ended up going to one of our favorite restaurants, Manolo Caracol, for supper to which we were very kindly treated. Jim and Julie hail from Texas and they have a ranch with zebra, donkey, elk and other critters. Just your ordinary Nordhavn owners then!

So here is today's photo selection from our apartment in Panama and one of Susie's masterpieces 'Canned Heat', which was selected for an exhibition. I am afraid the photo does not do it justice, it is approximately 5' square. Susie seems to be working on quite a number of pieces at the this space.

We are now back in San Diego. "Last Mango" is in the final stages of preparation for our departure to Mexico. We have another week here to get ready and get our crew briefed! Providing they have recovered from Felipe's wine offerings............

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