Hola yet again Panama people; get ready for the latest and greatest from Ocean Ridge Estates. I know itâ€™s only been two months since the last issue, but the neighborhood keeps expanding. Let me tell you all about it:
1) The Dutch invasion. Say hello to Pieter and Joka Hoogenboom, a really nice Dutch couple who have been living in northern British Columbia, Canada, for the last 25 years or so (photo). Theyâ€™re a little tired of Canadian winters, so they bought lot 4 and they seem pretty excited about the place. In fact, Pieter called his brother Leo in Alberta, Canada, and Leo was so impressed that he bought lot 5 â€“ looks like a Hoogenboom takeover to me! Pieter is in the gas and oil servicing industry, while Leo is a greenhouse consultant. That means that he can help us all build greenhouses to grow food year-round, which I think is pretty great. Feel free to contact Pieter and Joka (Peter@dutchcasing.com) and Leo and his wife Willy (email@example.com) anytime you like.
2) Just like winning the lottery â€“ sort of. I think that most of you are familiar with the Machetazo, the supermarket in Santiago where we buy most of our groceries. Unknown to us, they have a â€œCustomer of the Dayâ€ program where the cash register randomly picks one customer per day to get all of their groceries for free. I knew something was up when the horns and sirens went off, the confetti came raining down, and all of the employees rushed over with balloons and cameras (photo). Panamanians donâ€™t need much of an excuse to party, thatâ€™s for sure. Okay, it was only $60 in groceries, but it was still fun.
3) The Great Chicken Experiment. Some of you have expressed an interest in raising chickens when you make the move to Panama, so we thought weâ€™d give it a try. We built a deluxe super-modern chicken coop (photo) and fifteen cute little chicks for 50 cents each. When they got big enough we had Jose the caretaker kill nine of them â€“ turns out Iâ€™m a little squeamish about killing critters that Iâ€™ve been feeding. Patricia wasnâ€™t squeamish at all about cleaning them (photo), and she cooks a good bird. However, when we did the math it came out to about $20 per chicken â€“ now I know why the locals just let their chickens run around, and donâ€™t feed them anything.
We turned loose the remaining six chickens, intending to have them more or less as pets, and hopefully get some eggs. However, a few nights ago something attacked and killed five of them â€“ Jose says it was probably coyotes. I guess the moral of the story is to close your coop at night; we named the one surviving chicken Nervous Nellie, and the name certainly fits.
4) New hotel. Okay, itâ€™s not new, but the Heliconia Bed and Breakfast (hotelheliconiapanama.com) has established itself as the only decent place to stay on the entire coastline. Owned by Loes and Kees, a Dutch couple (I told you we were having a Dutch invasion), the hotel has a very eco-friendly theme, and they take customers on tours throughout the countryside. They even go into the Cerro Hoya National Park at the southern end of the peninsula. If youâ€™re looking for a nice place to stay that is much closer than Santiago, I definitely recommend the Heliconia. No, Iâ€™m not getting any commission for telling you this, but I might want to talk to Loes and Kees about that!
Thatâ€™s it for this issue â€“ come on down to Paradise just as soon as you can.
Jay, Patrica and Loco