We spent the week in Panama City, Panama working to get our Panamanian bank account open and register with immigration to show our intents on becoming a resident of Panama.
We arrived at our hotel on Tuesday afternoon and since our room wasn’t ready we went to the hotel lounge and had a glass (or 2) of wine. Once our room was ready we went up to get in our swimsuits and head to their beautiful pool. Hung out at the pool for a little while and went back up to the room to shower, change and head out for dinner.
One of Allan’s tips while traveling in another country where people speak a foreign language was to always find an Irish pub. People will generally speak english and they would most likely have good beer. We found an Irish pub a couple of blocks from the hotel called Blarney Stone. We sit down and what do you know, the guy at the next table was from Ireland and used to work there. We talked with him and his friend for a little while then decided to just have a drink and then go find somewhere else to go for dinner.
Our new friend suggested a place called Gauchos that was around the corner. We arrive there around 5 pm and were the only patrons. Allan ordered the steak and I ordered grilled chicken….yes…chicken at a steak place but let me tell you, it was the best grilled chicken I ever had! I highly recommend the place if you ever find yourself in Panama City.
The next morning (Wednesday) we went to the attorney’s office. The ride there was a little crazy. They call Panama drivers Panamaniacs due to the way they drive! I just tried to look at the beautiful buildings instead of the road because it made me nervous!
We arrived at the attorney’s office, safely, and her assistant takes us to the other side of the city to open a bank account. We went to this location because they have a good working relationship with this particular banker.
Apparently many of the banks don’t want to help gringos because the process takes some time….time…like more than 3 hours of time! We arrived there at 9:40 and left around 1PM. While there Allan had to sign ALL the paperwork the EXACT way he signed it on his passport. Have you ever tried to sign your name the same way you signed it before EXACTLY? It was difficult especially since he messed up on it on his passport. LOL!
We then went back to the attorney’s office and had to fill out other paperwork to prepare for immigration the next day and both of us this time had to sign the papers EXACTLY as it is on our passports! We left our attorneys office around 2PM for a business meeting Allan had scheduled with an owner of a business he is interested in buying in Bocas. After that meeting he notices an email from the attorney. They need our passports so that her assistant can get in line at immigration for us the next morning so Allan had to Uber back to the attorneys office and I Ubered back to the hotel.
We had to be back to our attorneys office before 8AM Thursday to head down to the immigration office. We arrive and one of her assistants take us to Immigration to meet with one of her other assistants that had been waiting there in line with our passports for us since 5:30AM. We arrived around 8AM and waited for about a 20 minutes before calling our number. Allan goes first, then I go. While I was sitting at the window the gentleman was doing my paperwork when another guy comes over behind him, picks up my passport and asked me where I am from. Our attorneys assistant asked why he needed to know that and apparently he tells her that he thought I was pretty. I was the only blonde gringo in the building. LOL!
After we are done, they give our attorneys assistant a slip of paper and she goes to wait in another line. They come back about 20 minutes later and gives a different slip of paper to the guy behind the window and he gives her our passports back. We left and went back to the attorney’s office to do even more paper work and headed to a different hotel that was closer to the airport and was along side of the Panama Canal.
We got to the hotel just before lunch so decided to search for a place to eat. We choose a place that is right next to the canal called Atlantic & Pacific Co. It was in a museum like building so we had to pay $20 each to go into the museum. It was nice sitting next to the canal at the Miraflores Locks even though we didn’t get to see any boats go through the at the time. WE had a buffet lunch for $35 each. Lunch was around $100 with tip. With entrance to the museum and lunch we just paid around $140. It was a good experience but a true rip off if you ask me!
We see a short film about the canal, go through the museum and then go to head back to the hotel which was basically a mile down the road. A taxi driver asked if we wanted a ride and instead of calling and waiting for a uber we agreed. As we were walking to his car (non-taxi vehicle by the way) he says it will cost $6. We just paid a little more than $2 for the uber to get there. I was mad and was going to negotiate the price but Allan said to just let it go and lesson learned. No more taxis for us when we go to Panama. In Bocas there are only have taxi’s but they are really cheap!
We enjoyed Panama City, but we enjoy the roosters crowing and the quietness Bocas has to offer compared to the traffic and rush of the city life. What a change for this NW Indiana/Chicago girl!
Bocas life is for us!!