Panama Here We Come!

by Helen

November 4th 2008

For 47 years I knew nothing about Panama save perhaps for the famous hat and the canal of course. Now, just four months after a first conversation about Panama we have left our home on the Bodrum peninsula, on the Aegean coast of Turkey, and are moving there. How did this happen? Read on…..

Bodrum has great weather and has really hot summers but despite a lot of sunshine, the winters (especially at night), are cold and we, being a little thin blooded and in the mood for an adventure, decided to avoid the coldest wettest months in Bodrum by travelling around Panama for a while. We had heard from a friend that it was beautiful there, not expensive and most importantly, warm all year round.

At about the same time we we working on setting up an information website which could generate income from Google advertising – a sort of first foray into the world of e-business. We had just discovered an on-line site building service called appropriately enough Site Build It that not only gives you an easy step-by-step process for creating a great website but also does all the clever behind-the-scenes stuff to ensure we get listed on search engines etc. It also gave us the facility to test out various ideas to see how economically viable they would be. As we had started to research Panama already and we had not really found much on the subject in any one place we decided to create the everything-panama website.

After covering the main pages on the different exciting places to live, the fact that English is widely spoken, that Panama offers generous government incentives to foreign investors, that income from abroad is tax-free, that the country has a vibrant real-estate market and the cost of living is low – we turned to each other one day and said ‘why bother just going for the winter let’s actually move there – it sounds great!’.

We then proceeded to get really excited at the prospect of being able to buy great Chilean or Argentinian wine for $2.50 (as opposed to $12 for something vaguely drinkable in Turkey) and of all the fabulous restaurants that will tickle our taste buds once there. We also fantasized quite a lot about spending weekends on the beach sipping beer that cost 50c from a bar or whizzing through the rainforest canopy just outside the city on one of those zip-line things.

Now here we are, with our wordly possessions drastically reduced to 5 rather over-stuffed suitcases (a liberating feeling I have to say!) on a 10 day stop-over in England (to wear our woolly sweaters one last time) before flying off to Panama City to start a whole new life.

We have searched the net for furnished places to rent (encuentra24.com and compreoalquili.com seem to be the best), got over the slight shock as to the price of them (we are going to have to pay around $1300 a month for a two bedroom place in a good area like Bella Vista, El Congrejo, San Fransisco or Clayton) and have set up some appointments with realtors to see some properties once we arrive. Good places go fast so we will see what is available when we get there. We discovered by talking to people that the rental price can usually be negotiated down somewhat, which was interesting.

While trawling small ads we came across an ad for an experienced sales-person to sell Texan oil as an investment. Joe spoke to the boss and they will meet to talk about it on our arrival, which is cool. As for me I will continue in the world of property and will set up a company which will launch a real-estate marketing site supporting local realtors. I’ll also be improving this site too.

By the way, three months after starting to build it (with zero experience in the wonderful world of websites) and just three weeks after starting Google AdSense we are already getting 50 visitors a day to this site (everything-panama.com) and have just earned our first $25! Yippee, that’s enough to pay for our first dinner in Panama!

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