Nervous Excitement Prevails

As the countdown to departure nears we are both nervous and excited to embark on the adventure of our lives. We have prepared well and fully expect to seamlessly emerge ourselves into  the culture of Panama. We are having a great time following the Expats in Panama Facebook page. The folks on the ground are continuously providing great advise and answering questions to make our adventure great. We highly recommend joining this group for anyone contemplating an adventure like ours. We have used the search feature on that group to get recommendations for our pending trip. We are hoping to connect with friends we have made on that site and will surely be following the advise we have gained through our connection there.

Next week we will be in Panama City where we are looking forward to taking a food tour. Panama is quickly becoming a foodie destination. We are looking at a tour that will take us to sample local Panamanian food and drinks that are considered off the charts. The tour starts with the worlds best coffee and organic chocolates. We will sip local craft beers and stroll to the seafood market where we will sample ceviche and finish the tour in Casco at a famous rooftop bar enjoying the view and local rum. This tour comes highly recommended. We hope to find some great places along the way to take in a full meal later in our Panama City stay. After a day in immigration this may be just what the doctor ordered.

We have been told that during our visa process we have to remain flexible.  All our sources tell us that nothing happens quickly so we are prepared to “roll with whatever”. Our immigration attorney has all the documentation and assures us that everything is in order. We are prepared to do anything necessary to get through the process quickly. We are hoping to wrap up our business in Panama City quickly so we can commence spending time on the beach in Coronado.  Once we get settled into our condo we will start exploring. Coronado is considered by many to be one of the best places for expats to settle. We are going to have an open mind, but think we want to be more immersed in the culture of the country. Our adventure will take us all over the country in search of what may turn out to be our new home.

The next time we post, we will have our boots on the ground. Our hope is that we can provide all of you with a taste of our adventure. Please, continue to follow along. We are committed to making several posts per week from Panama. Questions are encouraged and we love it when people comment and like our posts.  Take the opportunity now, if you haven’t, to sign up and receive our blog posts by e-mail. The link is at the bottom of the page. If this is your first time checking out our blog, please feel free to go back through the archives. That will give you a sense for how we got to this point.

Buenos Dias,

Greg and Jen

 

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The Countdown Continues T -21 days to Departure

As we prepare to depart for our 9 week adventure in Panama our posts have been few and far between. Thanks for continuing to follow along. It seems like a great time to catch up and recap our preparation. Our immigration attorney has all but one document and we will be getting the apostle on Jen’s pension document and submit it on Friday. She officially retired at the end of the year, and since we have been going full blast on preparation for departure. We have confirmed our reservations for accommodations and rental car. We have also confirmed transportation in Panama City to meet with the attorney and complete the immigration process. Our first several days will be spent in Panama City where we will be staying at Central Park Hotel. We are waiting until we are on the ground in Panama to begin officially making recommendations. Central Park was among one of many places we chose from as a landing pad in Panama City. We chose it based on price and it’s reviews on the internet. It got mixed reviews…we will see how it works out. We take possession of the condo in Coronado on February 3, but it is a bit too far to commute into the city for completion of the visa process. We will also pick up our rent car on that day, but have a bit of anxiety driving in the city.

During our down time in Panama City Jen and I are planning a few adventures. We were intrigued on our previous visit to Panama with the Biodiversity Museum, and plan a visit there.

Bio-Diversity Institute Museum
Bio-Diversity Institue Museum

The Panama Museum of Biodiversity Puente de Vida (“Bridge of Life”) is a portal to the richest and most diverse ecosphere on earth. It was designed by internationally renowned architect, Frank Gehry. It is located at the end of the Amador Causeway in Panama City, facing the Pacific Ocean at the entrance of the Panama Canal. The museum inspires as it educates about biodiversity – a complex but essential vision of life that is both a leading-edge scientific theory and a tool to protect our most precious ecological resources.

We are also planning to visit many of the fine restaurants in the city. The World Travel Guide says we won’t go hungry in Panama City. The Central American hub is a rising culinary star, with a varied food scene including some fabulous North-American, Italian and Middle-Eastern options as well as plenty of Latin specialties. The restaurants favoring Panamanian-style cuisine are dominated by wonderfully fresh seafood. A number of elegant, gastronomic ventures can also be found here.

We are also planning to visit Old City Panama, which is also known as Casco Viejo (Spanish for Old Quarter), Casco Antiguo or San Felipe. Casco Viejo is the historic district of the city. It was settled in 1673 and built following the nearly total destruction of the original Panama City. Panama Viejo was destroyed by a pirate attack. It was designated a World Heritage Site in 1997. We will likely take a walking tour of this vibrant and colorful neighborhood where restoration is fully under way. Restored modern restaurants and hotels lie side by side with incredible crumbling ruins of the old city. This neighborhood of Panama City offers great nightlife, ocean views and city bay views.

We are sure to find many other adventures while in Panama City. Stay dialed in to our blog for our first hand experiences.

Our Spanish lesson for today is Casco Viejo which is Spanish for old quarter. Also, Puente de Vida which is bridge of life. Yes, we are sneaking in the Spanish lessons every time we write.

Jen and I are humbled and honored by the way this blog is being received. Today we reached another milestone of 1500 visits to our site. That does not include all of you who are getting this by Facebook, Tumbler and the other social media outlets. Thank-you, again, for following. We remain excited about our upcoming visit to Panama.