After 3 months away at sea … fantastic ports and places to be sure! … I’m happy to be back home in my beautiful paradise. Yes, we’re in the rainy season, which frankly I love more than the dry (or “less rainy”) season. There seem to be more butterflies than ever, probably because I planted my garden to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Yes, there is catching up … pruning and “honey do” items … but to sit on the porch and watch the sun rise in the morning with my own home-grown coffee … man, did I miss my own good coffee on the ship! … or sit in my own, private spa and sip a drink and watch the sun set … nothing against cramming into a ship spa with 6 other passengers, BUT at home I don’t need a bathing suit! Well, it IS paradise! What can I say?
Sometimes I just need to relax … stop running ….and enjoy the moment and the process!
February was on one of my new favorite ships … PEARL MIST. I love the idea of a stateroom with private veranda, under 200 guests who are interesting and fun to get to know, where everything is included … nice! And the perfect ship to visit Cuba. We loved Cuba! Yes, it is somewhat a work in progress, but the people are warm and welcoming, and the architecture, although sometimes needing renovation, which is happening, is fantastic.
I got off PEARL MIST and literally walked down the terminals in Fort Lauderdale to board CORAL PRINCESS. CORAL was built especially to be the largest cruise ship at the time that could fit through the historic Panama Canal. The godmother was Mireya Moscoso, then the President of Panama and President when the Canal was turned back to Panama. CORAL with about 2,000 passengers is actually a “smaller” cruise ship by today’s standards. The great thing for me is that the reason WHY people book a Panama Canal cruise IS the Panama Canal. It’s fun to have a big theater filled with folks who are eager to learn about the Canal, sometimes even sitting in the aisles! And the most fun thing for me is to get up at 4 am, walk out on deck and see folks already out and waiting for the transit to begin. On complete transits I start the narration at 5:15 am and go on … and off … telling folks what’s happening until late afternoon. I love it, and the guests do too!
So Cuba, Panama Canal, Aruba, Cartagena, both sides of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico … t really is a fun retirement.
So … back home.
Folks are always surprised when they see the skyline of Panama City and all the construction going on. Many aren’t used to a vibrant economy like Panama. And the future … looks great. I found this news article this morning, which I can’t resist repeating. If you are looking for a place to retire or looking for an expat lifestyle the state of the local economy is important.
Government revenues forecast to grow 42.5% in 5 years
PANAMA GOVERNMENT revenues will grow 42.5% over the next five years according to estimates endorsed by the Cabinet Council and published in the official Gazette.
The publication indicates that for this year, the current income of the Central Government will be $8.443 billion and in the year 2022 it will reach e $12. 34 billion.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP is currently estimated at $5.9 billion, and by 2022 will reach $8.9 billion (+ 50.8%).
The document containing the figures also states that by 2017 the Social Security Fund is expected to have income of $3. 545 billion, a figure that would grow 39% to $4.930 billion by 2022.
The estimates were published in the Official Gazette because Law 34 of June 5, 2008 rules that during the first four months of each year, the Ministry of Economy and Finance should make public the Macroeconomic projections for the next five years. [Newsroom Panama]