In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
Recently, while living in
Guatemala, Billy decided he wanted to go to
the country of Panama. We have always heard good things about Panama, with its
notable friendliness to Expats.
So, off we go to explore
Gratefully, after an
uneventful flight, we arrive in Panama City's Tocumen airport. Then we go outside to find the promised free
shuttle to our hotel.
Not surprisingly, there is
But there is a man
in a lime green tee shirt with a TAXI sign and he flags us down. He offers to
take us to our hotel for $30USD (we heard $35 elsewhere) and we almost took his
offer, but instead we restate that we
are to have a free shuttle to Hotel Bella Vista as we have reservations.
He takes a look at us, and
wonderfully, he walks us down the airline terminal about 100 feet and introduces
us to an other shuttle driver who will take us for free. The driver grabs our
luggage, puts it in his vehicle and we are off.
The view out the windshield after the
downpour lightens up
We look out the window of the van and we can
barely see across the street. A tropical storm has greeted us, and all we can
see are white opaque sheets of rain. Windshield washers are ineffective, because
as soon as they clear the water, the windshield fills up again. We wonder how the driver can
see at all and we notice that other cars are pulling off to the side of the
Lightning flashes, thunder cracks and the
streets are getting flooded. The driver seems completely undisturbed.
Our first glimpse of the Panama City
As we ride into town, the view is reminiscent
of coming into
Bangkok, with the towering skyscrapers in the city and tropical plants
alongside the road.
We drive on a bridge that crosses over
swampland. We figure it's low tide and the water is out, leaving the land
totally bare and mud filled. (You can see the shallow mud area in the upper
right of the photo.)
The city looks spectacular, and even though
it's only 3:30 p.m., one can imagine what it looks like at night.
near the city the weather clears up, and the streets are dry as we
City is a place with hundreds of hotels to choose from. There are several
districts and hotel prices can run all over the map. There are
hostels and hotel rooms in the $25-a-night price range all the way up to $200
and $300 a night.
chose a simple hotel that had air conditioning, WiFi, a restaurant attached and
(ahem) a free shuttle from the airport all for $35 a night. An ATM was about 500
feet to the left, and a mini super was about 500 feet to the right. For our
several night's stay, it suited us just fine.
Our neighborhood -
notice the hand painted mural
We heard the financial
district was where some very swanky hotels were located, and maybe it was the
place to be, but our neighborhood wasn't bad at all. Clean, well kept, and
plenty of stores for supplies were close by. We like to have options for
affordable restaurants, and with this being the capitol city, we thought the
prices would be higher than those in the interior of the country.
The Panama City skyline
from Casco Viejo
The next morning we were
planning to go to
Casco Viejo, the old Colonial section of Panama City. Casco
Viejo, or Old Town, was built in 1672 and is the second Panama City. The first
city was built in 1519 and was purposefully burned to the ground in 1671 to
prevent the pirate Henry Morgan from attacking and looting it.
This view of the
skyline is while we were standing in Casco Viejo.
A simple local restaurant near our hotel
About half a block from our hotel was this
restaurant, a local hangout. They served pizzas and typical Panamanian cuisine
for very good prices. Fans kept the air moving and it was very pleasant, in a
tropical way, to be sitting there having a meal.
Inside for a better look
The restaurant had one
waitress and three cooks. When it got busy, it was hoppin'.
Here we are just hanging out in the
Needless to say, with the daily tropical
storms and the humidity being between 90% and 100% all the time, it was hard to look fresh
and keep the hair behaving. Billy had no problem with
his hair though... !
A "nameless" local dish
Since this restaurant was so close by, had
great prices and served delicious food, we ate dinner there the 3 nights we
stayed in Panama City. One night we saw several tables order plates of appealing
looking food, but we had never seen anything like it before. We asked one of the
cooks what it was and he began to explain.
Better yet... he simply made us one to try!
With a fried plantain on the bottom, cole
slaw was piled on next, then shredded meat, crema and cheese. Yummy!
pizza at Restaurante Rico Sazon
Here's a photo of Rico
Sazon's pepperoni pizza, enough to feed the both of us. With two drinks and a
tip, our bill came to $7.50USD.
Vista Via Espana, Perejil a un costado del Antiguo
Panama City, Panama
Tele: 507. 264.
1193/4029 Fax: 507. 264. 3696
Air conditioning, hot
water, security, Cable TV, WiFi, Parking $35 night for double
stories and photos of Panama, click
About the Authors
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their time, and who doesn’t
want to mindlessly follow the crowd.