Saturday, June 29, 2013

MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN PANAMA



PANAMA PERTINATE

The term expatriate or Expat has changed in perception over the years.  It used to be defined as mostly a malcontent; one was not happy with their birth country.  Over the years that has evolved to just someone living abroad – outside their home country.

When I first arrived in Panama, Ten years ago, the expats that lived in the Chiriqui were focused on the cheap cigarettes, cheap booze, and chasing young Panamanian women (men). These people remain; older and sicker, but they are not the majority they once were.  Prices and Panama’s sin taxes have curtailed that category of expats.  Now we have a broad spectrum of North Americans and Europeans living here.  Some come to build their dream homes and live in the gated communities, while others get immersed into the Panamanian society and customs. There’s a third category I’d like to highlight once in a while in this blog; THE GIVERS. There are a handful of these individuals I'll be showcasing over the coming months.  They make me proud to be an EXPAT.

Expatriates can and do make a difference in our province of Chiriqui.  I’d like to showcase some of the people I’ve been involved with over the years.  I’m going to start with my good friend and neighbor, Christopher Smoot.

Chris came to Panama four years ago.  He’d lost his wife to cancer five years prior and found a new love and a home here in Chiriquí.  His Spanish skills are excellent and he was able to easily assimilate into the Panamanian culture.  He’s known affectionately as ‘el paparazzi’ because of his hobby of photography. If you live near David, you’ve probably seen him capturing the action at all the public events and many weddings and parties.  Chris doesn’t charge for his services and spends hours each week downloading the photos he took and delivering them to the parties represented. I’ve known him to drive to Tole’ and Las Lajas to deliver a USB flash drive to a school so the kids could have a copy of their event that took place in David the week prior.
 

Chris also donates his time, talent, and food products with Nutri Hogar.  Helping those malnourished tykes has been one of our common causes. In addition he teaches an illiterate youth with learning problems the basics of math.  He also volunteers at one of the private English Schools to converse with the students in the language they are studying.  Al in all a good guy with a big heart that is here in Panama to make a difference.
 

Check some of his photos on the sites below.


 

 While we’re on the subject of Panama and the tropics, check out the 3 five star reviews TRES PIEDRAS received in the first week of publication.
 

5.0 out of 5 stars Another Panama Portrait, June 24, 2013

By 


This review is from: TRES PIEDRAS (Kindle Edition)

Tres Piedras is the latest book I have read and I just completed it today.

I know the author, Robert Hatting. He has helped me on multiple occasions with cases I have had volunteering as Warden for the US Embassy in Panama.

One case was a young man whose father (a treasure salvager) was murdered off the coast of one of the locations mentioned in Tres Piedras. Bob's knowledge of ships provided excellent consulting for the young man who needed to sell his father's boat. Bob appraised it and his estimate was on target.

Bob's ship experience winds up being a large part of Tres Piedras.

On another case, Bob volunteered to be the auctioneer to help me sell off the belongings of a US Citizen that was murdered in Panama and whose kids could not afford to come to Panama to settle their dad's affairs. I imagine auctioneering is something he picked up during the cowboy phase of his life. The country in Bob shows up in this book.

I have read and enjoyed another of Bob's books, which was The Last Fruit Stand on Guam. Yes, Bob spent time in Guam and added that experience to his book inventory.

Bob has lived an interesting life and his life's experiences seem to find their way into his books. Tres Piedras is his latest and he calls it a novella, because it is shorter than most of his other books. The majority of this book takes place around Panama.

In an opening note in his book he wrote the following.

"TRES PIEDRAS was inspired, and certainly influenced, by my recent exposure to the woman I've dreamed and written about my entire adult life. She was always a fictional character; the loyal life partner that made life worth living. Now, this heroine is part of my real life and inspires not only my imagination but my way of living."

I am happy that Bob has a lady in his life. I am happy she is making writing as well as living fun for him again.

I will tell you this. This book is written in ADULT language, and the scenes contain plenty of sexual narrative. If you are prudish in what you like to read or if you have a weak heart, I would pass on this book.

However, if you want to put a little salsa in a dreary afternoon, it will spice things up for you.

I liked it!



5.0 out of 5 stars Romance, action, exotic setting - it's all there!, June 16, 2013

By 


This review is from: TRES PIEDRAS (Kindle Edition)

I read this story in just a few sittings, enjoying myself very much. A delightful romance between two out of the ordinary people kept me glued to the pages as their story unfolded, from a chance encounter to the full time romance with action and adventure on every turn.
These well developed characters had my heart from the very beginning, especially slightly mysterious Cecilia, so different from the usual heroines we are offered in movies and books. Willis had my full sympathy too, his calm, slightly amused confidence and his approach to life winning me in just a few pages. Their journey from Oregon to Panama provided a delightfully new, unfamiliar setting, to ignite my enjoyment of the story even further.

A great read I recommend highly to anyone who enjoys a good book.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Electrically Charged Adventure, June 19, 2013

By 

Lee (London UK) - See all my reviews

This review is from: TRES PIEDRAS (Kindle Edition)

On this is my second dip into the Hatting oeuvre, I was both surprised and suddenly pleased that with his gift for keeping readers on the edge of their seat with lashings of adrenaline-filled adventure, he weaves into "Tres Piedras" an electric coil of love that is both emotionally-charged and very real.

John Willis thrives on danger and meets the yin to his yang in the sparkling femme fatale Cecilia, who rides the big waves with him on a fishing boat out of Oregon heading south to the narcotic-trafficking, trigger-happy cop infested waters of Panama. They get into scrapes as fast as they get out of them, but that just fuels the bed action, deliciously described and with the same sense of danger running through the journey.

With his eye for eccentric characters and neat plot twists, you get a feeling as you turn the pages that execs in their Hollywood glass offices will be making a phone call when the book crosses their desk. With news in the air that a new canal may be built in Panama, and a rival waterway through the pristine jungles of Nicaragua, this is an opportune time to take readers on a journey into the Caribbean.

 

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