Evening, Saturday, November 19
I am sweltering here in Boquete, even though the area is touted as having almost perfect temperatures of 65 - 72 degrees Fahrenheit year round. I don’t know what the temperature is tonight, but I am soaked to the skin. It is noticeably cooler than in the Tonosi area though, so maybe I just feel hot because of the very high humidity.
I went for a walk several times tonight, covering most of downtown Boquete. The place was hopping with Panamanians out for a good time. I saw a few obvious visitors from outside Panama, but not many. I ran into Reinhold yet again and he told me that there was a hangout about five kilometres out of town where the expats hang out. I couldn’t be bothered heading out there. I am more interested in the local flavour. I see plenty of North Americans at home.
I did run into one gent at my hotel who told me that he was originally from Vancouver but lived in Utah for the last fifteen years. He is visiting Boquete to see if it might be a good place to live. His first impression: He doesn't think so.
I think Boquete would be a perfectly acceptable place to live, but not necessarily a good place to invest at the moment. Real estate values have spiked because of all the hype about Boquete and I think the market for upscale homes, or even average homes geared to gringos, is overpriced. Prices are not much cheaper than they are in London, Ontario. Of course, they have the perfect temperature here, no heat or air conditioning costs to pay and just about everything except for the real estate is inexpensive. I'm sure the prices will continue to surge upwards here, but if I wanted to invest in a real estate market bubble, I could just as easily do so at home.
I'm still going to look, though. Maybe I can find a finca (farm) in the area for a reasonable price and sit on it for a few years. Local taxes are low, so there isn't much in the way of ongoing costs to hold a land investment. Of course, there is the opportunity cost, whatever you could have earned had you invested the money elsewhere.
If you are a young man, looking to come to Panama to make your fortune and perhaps find a gorgeous Latina while you're here, this may also not be the place to be. There is no shortage of beautiful Latin women here, but the ratio is not what it is in the lowlands. I may be a happily married man, but I'm not dead. My eyes still work. My brain still processes data reasonably well. I believe that the area between Panama City and the Azuera Peninsula is the place to find that dream Latina.
I know my wife will forgive me for saying this because, after all, I am merely giving advice, not planning a defection myself. Let me put this all into a context any red-blooded American male can understand: If you like Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lopez, Penelope Cruz or Paz Vega, come to Panama. You will see facsimiles of these beauties in dress shops, in offices, chatting with their friends in public squares, in fact just about everywhere. Now, are you ready for the really good news? You will find their even more beautiful sisters, the ones who adore gringos, right beside them.
Of course that is just my humble take on the subject. I could be wrong.
And that’s it for this time... Good night.