Monday, February 23, 2009

Back from Panama

So I started this blog originally, so that I could journal on our upcoming trip to Panama. Plus, I just wanted to share some thoughts occasionally, on real estate, and other things too.

Mara and I were gone for almost a month, from January 26th till February 19th. We returned just as Carnival was beginning in Panama.

Paul, Mara and I left for Panama on January 26th, early morning- Mara's 23rd birthday. In fact, we saw the sun rise inflight. Its not a far flight to Panama. Actually pretty from Dulles on COPA airlines, the Panamanian airline, to Tocumen, Panama City, in 4 to 4 and a half hours. We had good weather, despite the prediction of snow, and arrived and traveled without problems. Except that Dulles forgot to put Paul's and my luggage on the flight. But with God's blessing, Mara's luggage came with us, birthday-luck that day. Ours was delivered to the apartment we were renting for a week in Punta Paitilla the following day around 3 pm. We had a nice place to stay and the nicest landlord for a week that anyone could expect. David not only picked us up at the airport, he took us to a phone store to get a local phone for Panama, we had coffee at a gourmet cofffee shop with him, and then to his apartment. It was furnished with all the amenities, plus he had coffee, milk, red and white wine, cereal, bananas, popcorn, pool towels, laundry detergent, and more. We found his apartment through and he is the best!

Anyway, due to the inability to find free internet connections, or early mornings and late nights of being so busy, or bad weather, I never did find the time or sometimes the energy to post blogs. But I do want to share this great experience in Panama, so I will do it now with pics and this blog afterwards.

This all started last year when our family went to visit some old and dear friends in Nicaragua for a wedding of one of the kids our kids were close to growing up- our neighbors in West Riding, Gaithersburg. They were from Nicaragua, and returned there about 15 years ago when the political situation became more stable. We lived on Kimberly Ct. and they lived on Diamond Dr., and our homes backed to each other. We instantly connected, the kids played together almost every day, and still find them like family to us after all these years.

To go to Nicaragua, we took COPA airlines, and had a plane change in Panama, and decided to take a week to check out that country on our return, as we have been hearing for years about the many wonderful attributes of it, ecologically, sociologically, weatherwise, as a retirement haven, $$wise, as well as a great place for real estate investments.

We spent a week there last year, and while we dont go for buying a bunch of stupid plastic or otherwise meaningless souveniers, we experienced the culture, traveled around and we ended up purchasing a being-built 2 BR/3 bath condo on the Pacific side in the neighborhood of Punta Paitilla. The area is just gorgeous, but the real reason we loved it there was the people. It's very international, and everyone is sooooo nice and helpful and just so kind and its just a breath of fresh air. Our condo overlooks the ocean and a park and is a block from the new Trump building going up there(for way lots more money though). Its close to shopping and downtown, the Johns Hopkins Medical Center, and in an upscale residential neighborhood. And with the Panama Canal being expanded, there is a need for hotel rooms and residential rentals for engineers and other business people who are coming from all over the world to work on this project.

So we wanted to go back there again for the closing, as it wasnt finished yet when we bought last year, but to also verify that we just werent in "vacation nirvana" when we purchased. It was pretty risky what we did I admit..purchase with being in a country for a week! But our recent time there verified that we made a right decision. We have spent more time there now and have no regrets. This is a very cool place, somewhere that has great potential, and we hope to be a part of it.

So, more pics and stories coming..but this is enough for tonight. oxoxoPaula