Since arriving in Panama we have been crazy busy. Saturday we were picked up by the car rental driver who took us to our condo in Coronado. The process was painless. We completed the rental documents and paid for our car then the condo rental agent showed us where to park and took us to our condo. We have spectacular views out every room, and the balcony is awesome. The housekeeper was finishing up and we chose to get out of her way. We went for a nice lunch and bought a few groceries. We found the grocery store convenient and adequate. Many American brands were available next to the local brands at a premium price. We chose as many local brands as possible. When we returned to the condo we were able to unpack and take care of the groceries. The day passed much too quickly and we didn’t get much time to explore the area. We were able to cook our own dinner and relax for the evening.
Sunday we drove back to Panama City. Driving here is generally a challenge for the most experienced driver. Needless to say, we were a bit nervous to take our first drive. It went off without a hitch. We learned of a great app for navigating Panama called Waze. We downloaded it onto Jen’s phone and it took us right back to the hotel for the night. We had to be at Sevicio Nationale de Imigracion in the city at 7:30 Monday morning to complete the Visa process. We finished up the day Sunday in the hotel with a pizza and enjoyed the Super Bowl on Fox Sports Vivo which broadcast in Spanish (no subtitles). This is another great argument for learning more Spanish.
We were told to expect to spent the entire day at Immigration. I cannot say enough about how awesome our attorney has been. She has been there every step of the way and made the process run smoothly. She had us out of Immigration by 10 AM. The application process is complete, however, they retain our passports for 2 days for the multiple entry visa. The attorney will courier them to us on Wednesday. Now it is a waiting game while immigration decides to approve or deny our application. We have appointments at the American Embassy in 2 weeks to get our Panamanian drivers licenses. As a tourist you can drive on your American drivers license for 90 days. With the Visa process we are no longer considered tourist so it is important to also get our drivers license. The attorney is walking us through that process as well.
With the Visa application process complete we were free to return to Coronado. Although it was stressful getting out of the city, the drive wasn’t bad. We were back in Coronado in time for lunch and a little exploring around the complex. We walked out to the ocean (the tide was low), then down the beach to the west a ways. We decided to walk east on the beach this morning. Upon our return to the building we relaxed by the pool and met some great people. Our lack of Spanish skills doesn’t seem to matter as much here at the condo. We swam and soaked up some sun for most of the afternoon. The sun is strong here and a little goes a long way. We are so happy to be able to cook our own meals and we finished up the day by having a great dinner. We went to sleep last night with all the windows open and enjoyed the sound of the crashing waves.
Today we plan to explore the immediate area a little more. This area is pretty expensive. The beach, tourists and expats drive the prices higher. Ultimately, this is not probably going to be where we would live. We still want to immerse ourselves into the culture more. It is an honor that all of you are following with us. Please send e-mail or make comments if you have questions that we can answer. As always, like and share so everyone can find us.
Greg and Jen