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PanamAndrew.com

Working, Living and Playing in Panamá

Panamá has many things: A great metro system, plenty of malls and shops, a couple bustling causeways, great food, fresh fruits and vegetables, and all the internet connectivity I came to expect when living in Canada. We can find almost everything we need here, and are eating healthier than we ever did in Vancouver (except for all the fried chicken… but it’s so good here!).

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However, when we can’t find a particular item, we turn to Amazon. But how do we get Amazon in Panamá?

When we were moving here we did some research and found that despite Panamá being nearly a first world country, it still lacks a decent and safe postal service. Things tend to just “get lost”. The answer? Private sector to the rescue! 🙂

Mail Boxes Etc. is a service we decided to go with, mainly because it’s super close to where we live, it’s been around for a while in many different countries, and it uses UPS or Fedex as its underlying courier company. We simply registered with them and got a postal address in Florida. Then anything we order (or that our friends or families send us) goes to that Florida address and is then couriered to the local Mail Boxes Etc. store. After that we go and pick it up. They hold packages there for a month, so it’s actually more convenient than having to be home at a specific time to receive packages.

This is my bike ride from our place to go pick up mail:

 

This all comes at a cost, of course. They charge by the weight, and you have to pay some duties or taxes on some specific items, but on the whole the convenience of it all makes up for those costs. Some months my bill is $35, but it’s been as high as $400 when we first moved here and needed to order a vacuum and our surround sound system (well, maybe we didn’t need the sound system, but, hey).

The only downside is, it’s super expensive to mail stuff out, even a letter, because it has to be couriered to Florida first. For example, I needed to send in a document to my brokerage in Canada and it cost $65! For letters that aren’t so important, it may be fine to use the postal service, but we haven’t tried yet. Hopefully we can figure out a good solution to mail out all our wedding thank you’s, or we’ll have to start a Kickstarter campaign for it!

Bike Face

Bike Face

 

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Last night was our first big festival in Panamá, The Day After! Check out the lineup:

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Click to expand

We got VIP tickets, which allow us to skip the lineup and we have a raised area back behind the sound booth. However, next year I probably will just get the regular tickets, since I prefer to be in the crowd anyway and as you can see, there were no lineups to speak of unless you arrive super late.

This is a first -- absolutely no lineup at willcall

This is a first — absolutely no lineup at willcall

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Body glow painting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jack Novak was awesome and the first act we saw, Dzeko & Torres (Canadian Content!) were great, and Tiësto did a fine job closing the night out. DVBBS were really high energy. Really liked Conor Cruise‘s set too. We also saw a few acts on the Beatport stage like Art Department , Damian Lazarus, and Michael Scheffler that were really good.

View from VIP booth

View from VIP booth

But I prefer closer

But I prefer closer

We ran into some Canadians from Victoria BC who had come to Panamá just for this concert! They were hard to miss, draped in flags, scarves and body painted maple leafs.

Tonight we’re looking forward to M.A.N.D.Y, Claude Vonstroke, and Afrojack! Any other recommendations to go see tonight or tomorrow, leave a comment!

Now just gotta sleep off this headache…

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Christmas was a little odd this time around, mainly because we didn’t feel the changing seasons as we moved from August to December. Somehow that had the effect of a time warp, and then all of a sudden it’s December and we’re buying a Christmas tree.

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See what I mean?

I must say I don’t miss Canada’s overpriced Christmas decorations. We got a 6″ fake tree, decorations, and 6 sets of programmable lights for around $35. I’ve never been able to find even just a fake tree in Canada for less than that.

However I did miss the snow a bit. Just a bit. I guess I miss the idea of snow and the things you can do in it. But I’ve also found some parallels here. Instead of snowboarding, there’s wake and kite boarding. Not quite the same as the freedom of being on fresh powder, but I get by.

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Christmas Day from Panamá City

As for Christmas itself, I was impressed by how active people seemed to be during the day. I always remember being basically indoors all day, playing with my new toys, eating candy and drinking spiked eggnog. However here it seems everyone just goes outside and walks around.

Tons of people just out and about

Tons of people just out and about

And now for some more Christmasy and New Yearsy pictures!

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Night on Christmas Day

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Pre-turkey swim

 

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Kite Surfing at Nitro City. Describing how I dodged that time.

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Wakeboard park at Nitro City

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Salt water lake with a tow rope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas!

Happy New Year!

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