November 1, 2015
Well I have had a lot to think about for the last month or so. I have been hoping that we could get some business going here before the money gets too tight. Gary is still in the midst of working on the vacuum food dryer project and so hasn’t had much time to help me get my greenhouse, chicken house, or bathroom completed. I really need green houses since I haven’t had the greatest luck growing things during this rainy season. The fungus gets to most of the plants. I need to be growing enough food to feed volunteers if I want to advertise to have others help me work the land. I can’t work this farm alone, especially since my hip acts up on occasion. I don’t need to tell you all that I ain’t a spring chicken! I began to think….why stay here and wait when I could be doing more to keep things going? I could go back to the United States and get back on the hamster wheel to bring in some cash. I have several more years before I am able to collect any social security and working more before I am eligible would hopefully reset my SocSec rates at a higher level when I do collect (if it is still available for me)….
I was watching Beto work chopping brush and planting corn. He is amazing. He has been doing this kind of work since he was a small child. He is able to get more done in one day than I can in a week! And I am not exaggerating. I thought….why not go back to the US and work for a while instead of physically killing myself here. Then I could send some money down to Beto to have him help me keep the farm going while I am away. Even if I paid Beto for only a couple of days work a week, it might be well worth it. I pay Beto $15 a day when he works. In the US he would be getting $15 an hour!
I was thinking of going back to Traverse City to look for work (which is a possibility). Then I was talking to my friend, Steve, who lives near Santa Fe, New Mexico. He offered to help get my feet on the ground there if I wanted to. That area of New Mexico is really beautiful and I have always wondered what it would be like to live there. I would be exposed to a lot more Spanish speaking people too. I don’t want to lose the Spanish I have picked up. It is also a bigger town with hopefully more job opportunities. Well…maybe I will get the chance to see for myself. Looks like I might be off on a new adventure in the Spring while still keeping my old dream alive back here in Panama. At least I am leaning toward going to New Mexico at this point.
Once I have retirement income, it will be much cheaper to live here than in the US. It would be nice to be able to go back and forth between the two. I know how to live pretty cheap and that is what I plan to do when I go back to the US. I am actually looking forward to it now that I have made that decision. Spirit Airlines has reasonable flights (including one way fares) and I could fly through Detroit or Chicago, do some visiting in Michigan and then fly the next leg into Denver (Spirit only flies to certain cities) and take a Greyhound bus into New Mexico. Life is full of detours and surprises so you need to be able to change tacks so that you can navigate the waters without capsizing. I am sure things will fall into place as I get closer to leaving here (in the middle of March).
Gary is hoping to get some type of crowd source funding for more of the same projects once he gets the dry project finished. I have that video clip animation that Brian (the Argentinian) did for us and I have a video of Gary talking to the locals here about the project. I have sent those clips to a young American gal (the daughter of a friend) who is working on a ranch in Australia. She seems eager to get some extra online work and she has some really good ideas. First the project has to be completed before we can finalize that though. Beto is helping Gary with sanding a lot of the metal for the dryer chamber tops and the workbenches and they are working on it daily but everything is time consuming. Gary can explain more in a future blog.
I did sell two male puppies so far. I paid Beto $10 to drive me up to the bus stop with the two puppies (Beto’s mom just bought a beater car and Beto is the family driver). I put the “cachorros” in a cardboard box and took them to David on the bus. They were pretty good puppies and all the folks on the bus were smiling at them. I gave the third lighter male puppy (the one that looks like Courage) to our old neighbor Jorge since I had promised him one if he helped us find land (which he did). I will take the two remaining females into David in a week or so. Mauricio, the owner of the petstore has the puppies vaccinated at the Vet next door. Then they hire a young indigenous fellow who bathes the dogs and cats that get sold there. My first male puppy sold to a Chinese fellow who wants a guard dog. A big German Shepherd will certainly be perfect for that job.
After ten months I also finally got the title to my land! The lawyer I found did a very good job for me. He didn’t speak much English but we were using Google translate to help us communicate. The brothers who sold me the land met me at the Purple House and picked me up in their truck. We then met the lawyer in a parking lot and then walked to a nearby internet cafe so he could produce some documents. Sounds a bit shady 😉 But it actually worked nicely. Luis charged me only $150 to do two afternoons of work for me! I had to pay the notary $170. He is the person who organizes the paperwork and puts it on file etc. Notaries here do more than just witness signatures it seems. Two weeks later my lawyer even picked up the completed title from the public records office and delivered it to me at the Purple House! I have heard so many horror stories about Latin Lawyers and the scams they pull on gringos, but I seem to have found a good one. I did have Gustavo (from the Purple House) read my paperwork before I was willing to sign anything. So now I am officially a land owner here!
Until next time….