My journey to Panama started several years ago when some friends of mine retired here. We had at one time been boat neighbors in a few places and rode out several hurricanes together. I was very close to these friends and had visited many times due to the close proximity to Florida and the cheap flights on Spirit airlines. I will never forget the 6:30 am call from my friend. It went like this at 6:30 in the morning she called and said “get your ass out of bed and get on line” I rubbed my eyes and said “whats wrong?” . She said “Spirit Airlines is having a sale… Penny flights to Panama”. This meant one penny each way. Say no more, so I booked and got the flight, just because it was there and I could. How cool was that?
After several visits to Panama it was mentioned to me what a great place to invest in for real estate. It was the next “Costa Rica for expats”. I said to myself if I found something nice and inexpensive, that I could maybe flip in a few years then I would do just that. My intention was to stay no more than five years. A great place was shown to me and I bought in August 2008 and closed in September 2008 .
Then the market crashed in October 2008. Oh shit…I lost my cushion. Well I’m in it now I thought. I had to make a decision to stick the house right back on the market and wait for it to sell. Or I could move forward and try to get a loan in Panama to replace the cushion I lost. That’s what I did. I had intentions on doing an addition and had an American contractor lined up to do the work. He spoke my language and that was half the battle.
He could get the work done in X amount of time (lies of course) and he would charge X amount of money (more lies). As it turns out out not only did he lie but at the same time he was doing my addition he started a remodel of his own…hmmm how convenient. I wasn’t here to watch the delivery of block and sand etc. and while I cant prove it I’m certain that I paid for a large portion of his remodel. I wont waste any more time on the subject as I’m sure there are loads of bad contractor stories out there. I just happen to have an intolerance for liars and that’s why it hit me so hard. My problem not his.
So I got the loan after five months and started the guest house business. If I know how to do anything its cook and take care of people. Not having a budget for marketing, I utilized any avenue for free advertising. Thanks to trip advisor and word of mouth people were able to find me. My Guest House is Ginger House . I have been lucky enough to meet people from all over the world and share my little corner of this wild country. What a great experience its been.
In this mountain community I am one of few single people living this adventure. I have found over the years that my married friends tend to spend more time with their married friends. It isn’t easy being the third wheel but I can say I am comfortable being alone in my own space. I have seen new friends come and old friends go, its part of life. When you are close to both husband and wife it can be a friendship that ends as fast as it begins. Husband complains about wife, wife complains about husband and while not sharing with each of them what the other is saying it turns into a dysfunctional situation. I have no room for that in my life so I am easy and quick to cut ties. And so it goes.
I am ready to move on from this adventure. I feel honored to have been a part of the healing process of some of my guests and for others the bridge that has brought them to this incredible place. Its time to go and I can feel the pull very strongly. Soon I will say goodbye to the monkeys, toucans and the wild west ways of living in a third world country. Stay tuned though for short stories and blurbs of some of the crazy things that have transpired during my stay here. And on to the next!