A Modern Tale of Banking in Panama

May 9, 2017               When I arrived in Panama, I simply wanted to fix my Banvivienda account so that the annual fees for maintaining my business entity could be paid from the account. As usual, the plan morphed into something else. My friend suggested that it might be better to move the business account from Banvivienda to Tower Bank and not use a checking account (since I don’t write checks against the account anyway). I needed a bank reference letter to open the new business savings account at Tower Bank. That required a visit … Continue reading

The Mexico Experience

February 22, 2017                 I dance Argentine Tango and asked about dance on a Facebook group for SMA a couple weeks before I left the U.S. I learned that they have dances twice a week. I’ve been to every dance since I arrived. I’ve heard that there are also places to dance Salsa as well as other styles of dance. In fact, there’s an Arthur Murray studio down the hill from where I live. The Tango dancers are a very friendly crowd here. I feel comfortable with them and have not exhibited any … Continue reading

Creature Comforts and Quality of Life in Mexico

February 15, 2017               Heating my Apartment I mentioned having one stand-alone heater in my one-bedroom apartment. It has a propane tank in it. On the nights when the temperature got down to 35 degrees (in early January), I generally ran it in the morning, starting from the moment I got out of bed until the outside temperature hit about 60. There’s nothing to hold the heat in the apartment overnight so it takes a while to heat it up once the sun comes up. During that colder weather, I would bring my clothes … Continue reading

The Art of Grocery Shopping in Mexico

February 8, 2017            The Quest for Bottled Water As is generally the case in the Latin American countries I’ve visited, there are a LOT of little stores that have a very limited selection of items. Many have cold drinks and lots of snack food. I went to these types of stores to buy water before I found a better solution. Now I have huge bottles of water delivered. You need a dispenser for them; my neighbor helped me out with that. Before I was getting my water delivered, I found a place near my apartment … Continue reading

Colorful, Bougainvillea-covered Houses

February 2, 2017 My Attraction to San Miguel      Things I really like about SMA are the sunny skies and intense sun. I also enjoy the colorful houses, one next to the other, covered with flowers. There are beautiful houses with vibrant colors and bougainvillea readily visible to anyone walking down the street. I appreciate that they are not hidden behind gated communities, but can be found everywhere. Well-kept high-end houses are right next to empty or neglected houses. There are tons of artists here and plenty of stores if you’re in the market for art or just like to look. … Continue reading

January 24, 2017 I Didn’t Look Much Like an Experienced Traveler upon my arrival at the Queretaro Airport This story is funny in hindsight, but it wasn’t at the time. I had just deplaned and was standing in line for immigration. I had filled out the immigration form on the plane, but then everyone was handed a customs form while standing in line. This was a bit awkward—trying to fill out the form while standing in line with nothing to write on. Once I finished that task, I watched people as they were waived through by the single immigration agent. … Continue reading