washing the car

Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to wash a car… and as you can guess, I’m not actually physically washing the car, I’m paying someone else to do it. 

That’s the beauty of living in Panama. 

One of the many things that I like about living here is hired help – someone to help clean the house, someone to help me do the shopping (yes, I have been known to pay a driver to go shopping with me when I feel I can’t handle the load), someone to help put up the picture frames in the house, and someone to take out the trash.  Well, not quite… I do take out my own trash.  But, it’s been forever since I had to wash or iron, and I don’t think I’ve mopped my own house, except for when there’s a spill. 

And then there’s the down-side to life in Panama. 

There’s the trash on the streets, for starters.  Not in Panama City, since we have a mayor at the moment that is really into “keep it tidy”, but the moment you step foot out of Panama City, you can tell that we live in the Third World. 

And then there’s the attitude to pedestrians.  It’s as if they didn’t exist.  It doesn’t matter that many Panamanians don’t own a car and walk to catch a bus or other public transport, but there is a complete disregard towards the existence of the pedestrian.  Maintenance of the sidewalks leaves much to be desired.  That’s if there is a sidewalk.  In most of the little towns, no allowance has been made for pedestrians.  They walk on the road, or get their feet wet and dirty in the grass or mud along the road. 

That’s not to mention the missing man-hole covers.  It’s dangerous enough as a motorist, since you could completely destroy the wheel base if you hit these black holes, but as a pedestrian, they would swallow you whole if you step in one. 

But all of that aside, I am happy in this little country, of just under 3 million people and only about 10% of the size of New Zealand.   


  1. Yeah well you would have an empleado do your dirty work!!!
    Me, I just have myself to rely on so I guess if I want my car washed then I will have to find a bucket and a hose and some suds…
    Here’s to reality checks!!!

  2. Well, I do remember having to wash my car in NZ, but that was a long, long time ago! It only costs like $2.50 here (which isn’t even $5.00 in NZ). You couldn’t get someone in NZ to wash the car for that, even a school kid!

  3. And I also remember washing your car in NZ – I remember we both would end up incredibly wet! I have watched Tam wash her car over here in the UK – does that count?

    Imagining you falling down manholes … and what you might discover down there! A whole undiscovered world … another layer of living?

    Sun shining, off walking by the river … where have you gone away to this month to get out of Panama City?

    Love you

  4. Well, this past weekend Christine, Ritu & I went and stayed in a little hotel on Taboga. It was wonderful. Caught the ferry over on Saturday morning, had lunch, had a nap, got up and went for a walk. Had a very laidback dinner, and then an early nights sleep.
    Sunday morning we went for another walk, and then hired a boat to take us around the island, and saw all the baby pelicans (Taboga is where they come every year to breed, and so it’s a wonderful little colony of pelicans around the back side of the island).
    Will publish photos later.

  5. is that time of month already? so much talk, and agreement on this end, of how woooooooonderful the weekend was, but now it’s just a memory, and by golly I’ve got to wait about 5 weeks for the next one…hm! Anyhoooooo, this blog just shows the wonder of the family we’ve kept near and the amazing friends we’ve picked up along the way. Even though they nod in support, they also manage to tell us who we really are….such a song and dance for the self-esteem!

  6. Funny you mention man-holes. When I was but a young lad in Panama walking down those dilapidated sidewalks, I gazed around at my surroundings failing to watch what lied before me and fell in one…caught me right in the chest and I learned my lesson. I see nothing has changed in almost 20 years…damn that makes me pretty old.

    I can’t sympathize with you not washing your car or ironing your own cloths. You’re familiar with the exchange ration here in the UK…ouch. Even though Uncle Sam pays me pretty handsomely…on the economy I can cut that in half, which rules out any hired labor.

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