I need to thank Jeff Simon a Boquete resident for this video. The video, although I am sure unintentionally was a preparation for two experiences I had in David today.
This was my month to renew my Panama drivers license. I knew the experience would echo the video so I was prepared.
Current License, check
Current Passport, Check
Current Visa, Check
Copy of License, Check
Copy of Visa, Check
Copy of Passport, Check,
Since my passport changed in the past four years, old passport, opps, it was stolen. Copy of old passort which I had, check.
Police report for stolen passport, Check
$40 cash, check
Then a trip to Chiriqui Mall in David, you can’t do it in Boquete.
Forty five minutes to see the first clerk, who questioned me about the two passports and then disappeared into the bowels of the office for a while. When she returned, with a cute smile, she said take a seat.
I warmed the seat for 45 more minutes and was called to clerk number two who confirmed all my information, took my picture and said take a seat. In minutes they tested my hearing, my eyes and did not ask for blood, urine or DNA, I was surprised. Then I was sent me to the cashier to pay $40. I was out in less than two hours and considering the mass of people I was content.
My next experiment in Bureaucracy Panama style was the Post Office. About a month ago I tried an experiment. I discovered a Chinese web site offering some really nice looking made in China stuff. I ordered a cognac flask and two watches for about $30 and had them shipped to me, in Boquete Panama. I wanted to see what happened, I did.
I checked in the Post Office in Boquete Tuesday and asked about a package. They quickly found a piece of paper had me sign it, stamped it and told me I need to retrieve the package in David.
After the drivers license I headed to the David Post Office just in time to see the windows closing for lunch. They had lunch so I did too and returned to the window after lunch. The first window clerk took my paper, found another paper, had me sign or the second paper and sent me to another window.
The second window clerk wrote another paper and asked for $1.05, apparently I had to pay for three days of storage. Finally they sent me into the Post office to Aduana, customs.
The official in Aduana asked what was in the envelope and then opened it in my presence, Out came two watches and the flask, no invoice. The package had a marked value of $3 which he doubted. I confirmed the value was $30, he was skeptical. He said he bought a similar cognac flask in Panama and it was $30. This flask cost $6.55, the watches, $4.62 and $26.02. Then he asked where I bought the flask and after some discussion he was satisfied with the URL below so he could do some shopping for himself.