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A Balboa here, a Dollar there

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Panama has introduced a new coin, the one Balboa coin. The coin is being minted for Panama by the Royal Canadian Mint.  It looks a bit like a Toonie, a CDN$2 coin and the 10 peso coin from Uruguay. The Toonie is worth about US$2, the 10 Pesos about US$.51, expect someone to take advantage of those facts. I will need my reading glasses to check change. The photo has five new Balboas, one Toonie and a 10 peso coin.

New Panama Balboa Coin with a Canadian Toonie and 10 pesos from Uruguay

The government is investing in a major advertising campaign to be sure people understand the Balboa is coin of the realm. Panama like most developed countries has figured out a coin for lasts longer than paper and can reduce costs. The government in Panama says the country will save $550,000 a year spent returning worn out dollar bills to the US Federal Reserve.

Paper money dollars last about  18 months in circulation, coins about twenty five years. It costs more to mint a coin than to print a piece of paper but there is still a savings. In the case of Panama that math does not work, there is a new math.

Panama does not print US dollars, each US dollar costs a dollar to the government of Panama. It cost less than US$1 to purchase a Balboa from Canada. The magic here is in a word, Seignorage.

Seignorage is the difference between the cost of creating money, value of the bullion and manufacturing verses it’s stated value. We know Panama ordered 40 million Balboas from the Royal Mint. If they cost twenty cents each to manufacture, (I have no idea of the real cost),  the cost of the 40 million Balboa coins is 8 million dollars, a net profit of $32 million dollars. This was a brilliant idea for Panama, a fast way to make some profit. Apparently 2 Balboa coins are coming soon too. I wonder if they paid their bill to the Royal Canadian Mint in new Balboa coins?

The US dollar regardless of current world economic events is negotiable worldwide, the Balboa is not. If you bring US dollars into Panama you can spend them here, if you take Balboa coins to the US they go into a drawer. Still another benefit, you brought a dollar, it was changed into a Balboa and the Balboa leaves the marketplace, the dollar you spent stays.

I suspect that the only US $1 bills you will see in Panama soon will be those brought by tourists. The National Bank will probably collect all the paper dollars they can as they come into the bank and return them to the US for a dollar and replace them into circulation with a $.20 Balboa.

TCM: Chiriqui Culture

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When I took over the Tuesday Community Meetings it was because I want to help enhance communication between the English and Spanish speaking communities that share Boquete. When I asked Habla Ya to do a presentation not about their school but about Chiriqui I was not sure how they would respond. They responded with one of the best meetings we have ever had on a Tuesday.  Katherine did a wonderful presentation on some of the cultural aspects of Boquete. Instead of the anticipated lesson in Spanish she gave a short demonstration of the Noble Bugle language, the language of the indigenous of Chiriqui. Local tradition and fashion were explained and demonstrated.

Traditional Chiriqui Dresses

 

We also had an opportunity to see some local traditional dance, Baile de Cana, a dance for the sugar cane harvest in Chiriqui.

After the dance the danced enticed some audience members on the stage for a second round of dancing.

Baile de Cana, amateur hour

 

I hope the quality of this presentation can help fill the house each Tuesday as we try to bring in better and better educational programs. Penny Barret mentioned that Habla Ya has made a $1,000 cash donation to help Bid4Boquete this year and has donated classes for auction. I also do want to remind our community that despite the fact Habla Ya never mentioned it today, they are having a 50% discount for classes to local residents now. Check for details here.

Graduation and a surprise in David, Restaurante Cuatro

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Mixing a discussion of food and higher education in Panama might not be stomach settling to everyone. From what little I have seen of private University education here, I am not impressed. Still, Friday night was a long awaited event, graduation from UDI in David for Mayra’s youngest daughter and we went along with Mayra’s Parents and Johana.

Karina, Mayra and grandparents

Karina has a degree in Maritime business, she and fourteen peers in her graduating class. She is lucky, she has a job for the Port of Pedregal, she is now one of four inspectors of boats there. Her peers, I suspect they will either need to relocate to the Capital or flip burgers because she is the only one who has gotten a career path job.

To celebrate I thought McDonalds was appropriate, but I was overruled, and we made our second trip to Cuatro in David. I had planned a full review of Cuatro when I was told they would be opening in Boquete. They did have a sign up at new building, the sign is gone and so are their plans to open in Boquete. Still, since we have eaten there twice I do want to write  about them.

Name: Restaurante Cuatro

Our first visit was August 20th. Cuatro was recommended by Don, Becky and Joe Kimm, when they recommend I listen. We went for dinner with Mayra, Katrina and my daughter, Paige as she was leaving town. This time on Friday Sept 9 at about 8:30pm with eight people.

The first time I was appropriately amazed to find service, food and quality better than anyplace else in David. The second time I was also impressed. Cuatro the best I have found for the total dining experience in David.

Location: In David, Dolegita area, on the street that runs from the east side of Super Baru before it intersects at the Delta Station before Romeros. Look to your left if coming from Boquete.

Hours:

Short Description of the food: The best description is to call Cuatro a fusion of local ingredients into a uniquely different cuisine; something very refreshing.

Ambiance: Intimate, the restaurant is divided into several areas for dining. We were a room away from the owners of Ciudad David Hotel, also enjoying dinner and I could not hear a word of their conversations. I find it very a comfortable place for a meal with conversation.

Price: The menu is posted below but overall prices are in the $12- $14 range for beautifully prepared and presented culinary art. Appetizers are about $5

Bacon wrapped Trout stuffed with lobster $10.00

Red Snapper in a shrimp sauce $12.50

Plantain crusted corvina, on a bed of mashed Otoe $12.50

Coffee rubbed beef tenderloin over a pure of squash $13

I found this one dish disappointing because I read the menu in Spanish and expected coffee rubbed filite similar to Las Ruinas. I was service tenderloin, which was there, in English, not filite.

The food speaks for itself and without exception everyone enjoyed their meals, me too. Despite not being filite the tenderoin was excellent.

Bathrooms: New, clean and complete 5/5

Kitchen Cleanliness: beautiful and viable if you wish to see, very clean.

Kitchen

Service: On the first trip the service was five star, a waiter hovering filling water glasses as soon as they were touched. The second trip found the ratio of staff to clients down and service still excellent but not equal. They were very crowded and that needs to be taken into consideration.

Jubilado Discount: On the first trip I did not ask, I the second I asked for three discounts, myself and Mayra’s parents. The waiter asked for identification and I said it was clear Mayra’s parents were jubilados and offered my id. He said without proof they would not provide the discount. I waived the discount, I understand their position.

Summary: Cuarto is without no exception the best restaurant I have eaten at in David. It has the best food, the best atmosphere and best service. I will return and I would recommend it to anyone visiting David. I do not know if the have a different menu for lunch.

Menu:

Immigration and Emigration

Recently I have been reading too much about the world economy, too much because it is depressing. One of the interesting signs of the times is the dramatic decrease in illegal immigrants trying to enter the US.

OVERALL TREND

“The number of Border Patrol apprehensions declined 61 percent from 1,189,000 in 2005 to 463,000 in 2010 (see Figure 1).

“The decrease in apprehensions between 2005 and 2010 may be due to a number of factors including changes in U.S. economic conditions and border enforcement efforts. Border apprehensions in 2010 were at their lowest level since 1972. Apprehensions previously peaked at 1,676,000 in 2000. The all-time apprehension record was 1,693,000 in 1986 immediately preceding passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which allowed the legalization of several million unauthorized immigrants, established sanctions for employers who knowingly hired unauthorized immigrants, and provided for increased border enforcement”.

Source is a DHS.gov pdf download.

The same report shows the sources of the illegal immigrants, it gets as granular as showing 690 from Canada in 2010, Panama is not on the list, so if there were any illegals from Panama going to the US the number was below 690. The number from Mexico dropped from 1,189,031 in 2005 to 463.283 in 2010, a significant change in any statistical analysis.

If you consider the possibility suggested, that the US economy is a reason that fewer people are attempting illegal entry, I wondered how that effected Panama and emigration from the US to Panama.

According to the US Department of State, Panama is growing, those of us who live here know that is true.

‘GDP growth in 2009 was 3.2%, reflecting a slowing of the robust growth of 10.1% seen in 2008. Although growth slowed in 2009, due to the global economic downturn, it has improved in 2010 and is still one of the most positive growth rates in the region. Growth has been fueled by the construction, transportation, maritime, and tourism sectors and Panama Canal-related activities. As a result of this growth, government deficit as a percentage of GDP dropped to 43% in 2009, and government-issued debt is classified as the lowest rung of investment grade. Socially, poverty has fallen from 1997 to 2008 – overall poverty fell from 37.3 to 32.7%, and extreme poverty fell from 18.8% to 14.4%.”

US State Dept

I know a large number of people who fall into the extreme poverty number here in Boquete. They own their land, they own their humble homes, they own livestock, grow food but have no money. They are happier than many wealthy people I know in the US.

Good data on immigration into Panama is difficult to find online. The Ministry of Immigration web site is a shadow of what it was under the last government and lacks any real information. the best I could find was from a survey done in 2007 as published in an article in Barrons Magazine.

“New Global Initiatives Inc., hired Zogby International to do surveys of adult Americans on the subject of relocation outside the U.S. With more than 115,000 respondents, we have the largest and, as far as we know, the only database on this topic.”

These results project the results of the surveys onto the entire U.S. population. The numbers are for households, not individuals.

  • 1.6 million U.S. households have already made the decision to relocate. That figure has remained stable over the year and a half during which seven surveys were conducted.
  • Another 1.8 million households are seriously considering relocation and are likely to do it.
  • 7.7 million households are “somewhat seriously” considering relocation and “may” do it.
  • Nearly 3 million households are seriously considering the purchase of a vacation home or other property outside the U.S., and another 10 million are “somewhat” seriously considering it.

Adding it up, almost 10% of U.S. households are looking at leaving the country, and another 10% are considering living outside the country part time. This silent emigration is ignored by nearly every population analyst.”

What is even more interesting than the numbers is that the age skews young, not retirees. The 24-35 age group was the highest in looking off shore. Perhaps because the world has been shrinking due to technology they were ahead of the game in seeing a shift occurring.

Barrons Link

New Global Initiatives has some of the most interesting data on immigration into Panama and Mexico. This chart caught my interest. The table below is form this 72 page download.

The numbers seem extraordinarily low considering what I see in Panama. Howver I also know that the vast majority of expats I see here are seasonal and are using the tourist status, six months here, six months there. We also lack number for the past five years.

One anecdotal observation is the increase in younger people. In 2006 when I arrived most english speakers had either grey hair or no hair. Now a significant number have young children and are creating businesses in Panama.

What does all of this say about our Brave New World, it’s changing.

While many American politicians scream about protecting their borders from the hordes coming from the south, many Americans are packing their bags and heading south. Heading to countries that want their initiative, penisions and education to create businesses and jobs. The tide may be shifting to where Mexico and Panama will need to start guarding their borders from illegal aliens from the north.

Panama US Free Trade, we all lose

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The Panama – US free trade agreement has been in the news again. Panama is pushing for US ratification, it was already ratified in Panama under the last government. The US is looking at free trade deals with Panama, Colombia and South Korea.

In my opinion, realistically a worthless opinion, the deal is bad for the people of both countries. Panama is a country of three and one half million people, that is less than half the population of Phoenix Arizona. The US has over one hundred times the total population. The impact of selling some more stuff to Panama is not going significantly impact the US economy.

What is is that Panama can buy from the US that will benefit US businesses? The answer is food. The corporate agriculture industry in the US is a strong beneficiary of government subsidies. It costs less to raise a chicken in the US than in Panama, in part because the chickens are raised in cages and feed growth hormones and in part because the US uses tax payers money to help subsidize the Meat Processors.

For my example of pending disaster I am going to focus on chickens, a mainstay of the diet in Panama.

“Until fifteen or twenty years ago, the meatpacking workforce in the United States was unionized, virtually all white, and highly paid, earning about eighteen dollars an hour, adjusted for inflation. During the Reagan era, following offers for millions of dollars in local tax subsidies, meatpacking companies moved away from big cities into the country. Although the move put them closer to the animals and thus allowed them to save on transportation costs, labor was in short supply in the new rural locations. By then, only a few companies dominated the field, and production lines were sped up to keep competition tight. By 1992, average wages fell to twelve dollars an hour, and by 1995 unionization was half of what it was in 1963. Today, the processing and packing plants are largely staffed by low-paid, non-union workers, who are often paid only six dollars an hour. To staff the plants and fill the positions that result from the remarkably high turnover rate, many companies have actively recruited in areas of high unemployment, such as southern Texas, as well as in many Latin American countries, such as Mexico and Guatemala.”

Harvard Latino Law Review

So by using tax money, corporate welfare, with tax changes done in the era of a “conservative government” in the US, two things happened, US workers lost their jobs and meat packers contributed to the immigration problems by importing Latin American workers to displace more costly legal workers.

The free trade agreement with Panama will likely mean local Chicken processors will be undercut putting inferior US products into the groceries here. The prices to the consumer might be a little lower but most of the profits from saved import duties and lower cost of goods will remain with those who own the distribution businesses, not passed on to consumers. There is no motivation to pass the savings on and even if there was the current employees in the industry will be losing their jobs and therefore the ability to buy chicken.

So what does free trade to to benefit the average Panamanian, nothing, except possibly the loss of his farm, his job and then his land. Maybe after he has lost everything he will become an illegal immigrant so he can work at Tyson in the US helping to process chicken for Panama?

What is the benefit to the average American of free trade agreements, nothing. It is a good thing if a country wants to encourage consumption of imported goods or can make reciprocal agreements that benefit the business owners on both sides. It is a looser if a country destroys jobs to import cheaper stuff they could have produced themselves.

Consider the Most Favored Nation status of China as a US trade partner. It is one sided free trade, the US gives great incentive of reduced tariffs to China so US companies can buy goods cheaper in China than they could from US factories. China maintains tariffs on US goods. IF free trade does provide lower prices to US consumers it then costs them their jobs.

I have heard people complaining that 47% of the people in the US do not pay taxes. Aside from tax evaders this means almost half of the people in the US cannot earn enough money to pay taxes. This is not an issue of the government paying them an entitlement. This is function of jobs being exported due to bad trade deals.

Brazil, a growing economy has very high tariffs, 85% on cars is an example. The outcome of this is manufacturers opened factories in Brazil to make cars. It was the only way to sell them without a huge tax penalty. Brazil without free trade is prospering, the US is failing and now they want the same for Panama?

Apple and Foxconn their production partner are considering a plant in Brazil to build iphone, ipads and more there. Why, Brazil will not charge tariffs on homebuilt items and the government is reportedly offering tax incentives for them to come. Contrast that to General Electric which has just announced they are moving their medical imaging business from New York to China.

If the US wants to really see an economic recovery slap a 100% tariff on all good made in China, or all goods from anyplace that can be made in the US. Watch the factories reopen and the tax base increase. Who would be hurt, short term multinationals, long term no one once the plants are reopened the Henry Ford ethic of paying your workers enough to buy a car would return the investment. Instead workers around the world are entering a new age of slavery, incur debt and be a slave to pay it off.

Maybe Panama should learn from these words, but if you disagree, have no fear no one will read them.

Opinion: Jubilado Discount

I am going to go out on a limb and then I will saw it off. I think the Jubilado discount is a wonderful incentive that entices people to move to Panama for the wrong reason; because they think it can be cheaper here. It can be, but it is the wrong reason to move here.

My point is made by the actions of some people. El Sabroson is a local typico where a typical lunch costs $2. The law says they must post a sign offering the jubilado discount at their cash register, they do. I have seen expats who live in homes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars ask for a 25% discount on a $2 lunch. It bothers me, a lot. There are only so many ways you can cut a Paella and still stay in business.

I do not know the entire history the Jubilado Discount but it’s impact is clear. It forces the private sector to subsidize low pensions and social security payments to Panama’s retirees. At some point in the past it was created to endear a portion of the population. This President bought a lot of votes by promising $100 a month to all Panamanians over seventy years of age. I am sure those votes helped him win the election. The problem then becomes how to fund the new “entitlement”. Sound familiar, you either cut other services or raise taxes. Panama has been raising taxes.

Businesses in Panama have the same problem. The provide the discount to some, all the others must pay more. A local restaurant owner shared a customer conversation with me. The customer after eating a huge Tuna Steak thanked him, told him how good it was, how large the portion was and how inexpensive it was compared to a competitive restaurant. The customer then asked for the jubilado discount.

For a restaurant to provide a 25% discount in market that is ripe with people asking for a discount, all prices need to be adjusted up to compensate for the discount. Then those who do not qualify, young working Panamanians and tourists need to pay more to subsidize the retired.

On the surface that might not seems so bad until you see the cultural disparity. A retired Panamanian might get a couple of hundred dollars in Social Security, or perhaps just the $100 pay out for living past seventy. The discount is for them, even the fifty cents at El Sabroson is important to them. We, the new immigrants with Pensionado Visas get the benefit even if we have many times the income of a working person here; and most of us do.

I feel for the vendor, they are forced by law to give away their profits. I have become very selective about using the jubilado discount. I use it when I feel the restaurant is charging too much for what I receive. I use it at hotels and for travel. Even in those cases it is an impact on those who cannot ask for the discount. This is an awkward entitlement because private enterprise is forced to subsidize a government initiative.

I confess to hypocrisy, we all find that space, that zone of comfort to justify anything we do.

The developing world of Panama

Larry Matthews posted a question on BoqueteNing.com. Is Panama a 3rd World Country?

“I get this question in a variety of forms on my visits back to the U.S., and I assume you all do as well. I addressed that question in my latest blog posting. Rather than clog up this forum by copying the article here, I have included a link to the blog for those of you who are interested.

 Keep in mind I tried to orient my thoughts towards my subscribers in the States. I was merely trying to address ‘the question’ not conduct a civics class on Panama. I would appreciate any and all comments and/or critiques.  It might even warrant my expanding the discussion in future blog postings.

 Thanks

 blog link   Larry’s Central America Travels

As I pointed out in my response, First, Second and Third world are archaic constructions in post Cold War world. The new jargon is, developed and developing, perhaps we could add unravelling for some countries.

I read most of the comments of the thread, people trying to say Panama is developing, some saying it is developed. Some lamenting the absence of  things from their prior developed nation living experience.

I rather like this response by Michael Guterman:

“I actually thought that the discussion was what makes a 3rd world country and a 1st world country.

Not which was better.   I really like Panama but it is a 3rd world country with all the typical problems that implies.  The people are warm and friendly, the pace is slower and lots of services that are available in 1st world countries are just not here.   all things considered, I really do like Panama – but one should not be deluded .  The infrastructure is not very good, the legal system leaves much to be desired.  The governmental services are difficult to deal with – yes, much more difficult than in 1st world country – but these things don’t make up the greater part of your life.  Panama is a terrific place where one has a chance to rediscover who they are and become who they want to be.  To live in a less materialistic culture and a more basic and perhaps, healthy way.   No one needs to defend Panama for being what it is.  A striving 3rd world country.  Rather one can celebrate Panama for being that. “

Michael, the people who are complaining are often those who left their country because it was too well organized. They were tired of CCD cameras watching them, the tax man watching them, the NSA listening to them and speeding cameras snapping photos of them. They moved here and complain the infrastructure is not good enough for the government to do those things, yet.

People, don’t worry as soon as you get what you want, organized government, good infrastructure etc, you will want to leave the new developed Panama because it will be what you already fled. Then you can complain about your next stop in the odyssey of life. What is scary is that when I moved here this was 1950′s America, in five short years it is entering the 21st century in some areas. Fortunately for me, it is also still 1950 in some areas.

The President of the Republic of Panama has a five year term, baring a constitutional change, to create his vision of a developed nation; his model is Singapore. Knowing the latin culture I doubt Singapore is attainable, thank goodness, but it becoming different at a dizzying rate.

I did not move here to live in a developed country. I fled the treadmill stress of a developed country to extend my life and find a degree of happiness. I came here knowing what the difference between developed and developing can be. I prefer developing, more opportunity, less government interference and a chance for a better life free of many of the “benefits” of the developed world.

Trauma care in rural Panama

I wanted to spend this Monday post raving about the music of the unnamed Jazz Trio who played at Las Ruinas Friday. The Day brothers and Caesar were great.

The Day Brothers and Ceasar

They packed the house and I look forward to them returning. I need to thank Craig publicly for providing the venue for such great music without feeling the need to charge a cover.  The only suggestion, Mayra said she hopes they can learn a merengue also :). Despite all the raves they had their thunder stolen by an accident in Bugaba.

We received a telephone call that there had been an accident on an ATV and that four people had been hospitalized. As facts became known we learned that one adult and three children had been on an ATV, one child in the front basket, one on the seat in front of the adult, one behind, none with helmets. The ATV that had just been repaired for having a sticky throttle, it experienced a stuck throttle, wide open. When it stopped it was stopped by a building with iron bars.

One child, the one behind the adult, had minor injuries, the adult a broken leg and some superficial head wounds, the child seated in front of the adult more serious head wounds and a subdural hematoma. The ten year old in the basket, if he lives, will probably be in a basket the rest of his life. When the ATV hit he was throw off and his head hit and was pushed through the iron security bars. While he was in that position the ATV hit him as it flipped up. The ATV impact broke a vertebrae in his back, broke both of his legs and tore open an artery in his leg.

The point of describing this gore is to explain what happened next in a rural part of this third world country. The Bugaba Fire Department was there in minutes. They cut the security bars to release the boy, they stopped the arterial bleeding and transported him to Hospital Obaldía, the Children’s Hospital in David. They did it all fast enough that he he made it to Obaldía alive. The other three victims also made it to their respective hospitals in David. The children to Obaldía and the adult to Regional the Social Security Hospital.

Hospital Obaldia David Panama

In Obaldía they stabilized both seriously injured children. They operated on the boy with the arterial damage and repaired the artery. They also realized the back injury was beyond their ability so they ordered a helicopter for a medical evacuation to the Childrens hospital in Panama City.

I visited the other boy and his father yesterday in their respective hospital beds. The father is facing criminal charges upon his release, at minimum for violating the helmet law. His ATV has been impounded, police have interviewed those who can speak. What is different here is that nothing will occur legally until after his medical release.

In Arizona where there is no helmet law and people pay their own hospital bills they call motorcycle riders without helmets organ donors because that what they become in virtually any mishap. In Panama they have a helmet law. They have the law because in Panama all the medical bills for three of the four people, all Panamanians with Social Security coverage will be paid by the Social Security.

The unfortunate boy in the worst situation is not a Panamanian citizen, he was a tourist. He is not covered under social security and his family will see medical bills as well as the potentially tragic outcome of the accident. However even in that situation, care was given, without question, not denied for lack of a credit card. It is different here, it is better than some other places I have lived.

Readers Choice for a low cost typico lunch is …

Coffee Shop Nelvis. I love the fried chicken at Nelvis but personally I disagree that it is the best typico in Boquete. I do think they have the second best fried chicken, in my humble opinion (IMHO), the best pollo frito distinction goes to Milquiburger. If you need your arteries clogged head there after four in the afternoon and pick from the sacrificial offerings. I also think they are a poor second to Las Orqueideas as a Typico. Las Orquideas gets the editors choice, but the people rule.   I did a review of Las Orquideas at this link several months ago.

Time for lunch, which Typico in Boquete has the best lunch for under $4?

  • Nelvis (44%, 48 Votes)
  • El Sabroson (23%, 25 Votes)
  • La Orquideas (11%, 12 Votes)
  • Central Park (8%, 9 Votes)
  • Tacos y mas (6%, 6 Votes)
  • Dorado Park Cafe (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Jardin de Boquete (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Lourdes (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Marys (0%, 1 Votes)

The next poll is fine dining. Where would you take your wife, husband, lover, amante, concubine, father, mother (omit mother in law here) etc to enjoy some peaceful time, good food and ambiance. This is more than food, not about price, it’s which of the choices is the best dinner spot in Boquete for a combination of food and ambiance. You can select two options.

A fund raiser for Fundacion Amigos

It seems that every weekend has a new event, this past Friday night was a good one. The Fundacion Amigos had a major fund raiser in David. Do not confuse this Fundacion with Boquete’s Amigos de Animales, this Fundacion works with children who have Cancer and Leucemia.

The tickets said 7:30pm we arrived at about 8:00pm and were among the first twenty people in attendance. By 10:30 things were getting started and well over one thousand people bought tickets at $20 each to attend. If there were any other people from Boquete there I missed them. This was a Panamanian event and followed a time honored tradition of support for significant charities.

Lots of food and drinks for sale, people buying bottles of Rum for $18 or Scotch for $40. A great deal of entertainment and two different bands for dancing. Many businesses donated items for lottery and we actually walked away with a a $30 certificate for dinner at La Casona in Boquete.

I want to share two videos. Both are poor quality, shot with my Iphone in bad light. Both are traditional and no so traditional folklorica.

When the entertainment stopped the dancing started. There are no wall flowers at a dance in Panama.

The next is a video of Samy and Sandra Sandoval, not from this event but I though those who have never seen them preform might enjoy some traditional Panama dance music.

Next weekend, the Port of Pedregal near David is having a festival on Saturday. I cannot predict what will be there but I know that your are invited, it started at 8am so I think 11 am would be a good time to arrive.

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