Well, that was fast! I must admit, I didn’t expect this container shipment to go so smoothly. I was stunned when today we got a phone call from Brent, the Liaison with Ranier Shipping, who called and said,” are you on your way to the storage?” I said, Ummmm, I can be!” He said,”We’re here,at Chiriqui Storage”…You can imagine my shock! It’s true, our container actually arrived and has now been emptied into our storage here in Panama. I don’t know why I was so hesitant to have high expectations with this shipping experience, it’s all done and all went very smoothly.
From start to finish Rainier has been efficient, knowledgeable, and professional beyond my wildest expectations. The only annoyance we had was the trucker in California who made us wait for him both at drop off and pick up. Other than that, we are blown away by how smoothly each step went. I had visions of standing around at some hot crowded port in Panama paying off different people and having boxes missing while arguing with officials to get our container. I must be jaded from all the normal everyday crap we often have to deal with while dealing with all our immigration stuff.
Last week, we met with Brent at a coffee shop in town because he needed a check from us and a copy of our Panama ID’s. We sat and chatted with him for a while and he told us all about what his part is in facilitating a smooth transfer of our container from the port in Panama City to the Customs place in David. He’s been doing this for about 7 years and clearly knows all the in’s and out’s of dealing with customs agents and truckers and all the many people one must negotiate with to bring goods into Panama. Apparently there’s a lot that goes on kinda on the “down-low”and Brent is very knowledgable about the entire process, he’s the guy to have on your team, for sure! He really knows how to get his clients belongings out of customs with as little hassle as possible and he says he rarely has issues. I was hesitant to believe that it would go as seamlessly as it has gone, but he was right. He got it all done so fast as with no hassles for us whatsoever. Well, if he had been able to control the weather we would have been even happier but, alas, Master-Brent does have limitations….
Just about the only little kink we had was the rain. And boy, did we get rain! I know…it’s rainy season but so far this year it’s been unseasonably dry, not raining nearly as much as it normally does this time of year. Until we opened the container, backed it up to our storage container and the 6 guys began to move our things into our storage….Of course, as luck would have it, the sky darkened and began to dump a deluge that forced us all to take cover and wait for it to clear. They had set up a ramp from the container right into our storage container and it became a river of water going right into our storage container! Yikes! Of course they quickly removed the ramp but the damage had been done. Now, we’re going to need to go down to the storage for a while and open it up for an hour or so to let it dry out. Otherwise we may have a big mold and mildew issue on our hands! Which would be a really bad thing for our beds and everything that we have in there.
Dolega, where the storage is located is significantly hotter than it is up here in Boquete, which could be very good for moisture to turn into mold! Uggggg! Well, once again, ya gotta do whatcha gotta do….I’ll be on the ‘drying committee’ and driving down to Dolega each morning for the next few weeks or however long it takes to get our unit to dry out. Meanwhile, we got an email from our immigration attorney informing us that our residency visa is all done and we need to go to Panama City to pay and to do whatever else is the final steps to get that done.
After receiving our permanent Visa’s we are then eligible to get what they call a Cedula, which is something similar to a Social Security number in the states, at least that’s how I understand it. This is a simple thing (we shall see about that!), just pay some money and our attorney will submit the paperwork for that last document, we may need to go back to the city when that one is ready, we shall see.
The Cedula, we are told, takes us completely out of the immigration bureaucracy and we are here as permanent and legal residence. After receiving our Cedula we will be assigned a permanent Cedula number which will eventually be on all our important documents, like our drivers license and our car registration and things like that. The Cedula number stays the same and never changes,, similar to our Social Security Numbers in the States. And unlike our Passport number which changes when you renew it, the Cedula number will remain consistent. This will mean that we will have to eventually, within this next year, change our Driver’s license and car registration and such to have that Cedula number on them instead of our Passport number which is what they currently are connected to.
So, we’re trying to decide when to make a fast trip to the city, hopefully, sooner than later. We may do it this weekend. We could also kill two birds with one stone because our favorite home appliance store Elmac, is having a big sale on Sunday and we may try to visit the big one in the city to see if they might have a larger selection of things like toilets and sinks….who knows, maybe we’ll get a few things for our main house which we haven’t even started to work on yet. Well, 7 hour bus ride….here we come! Our adventure just keeps us soooo busy and I must say that with each milestone we manage to cross off our list It’s beginning to feel more and more like home here in Boquete! It may all sound like a ton of work to you but as we’re in the process of settling into a new beginning in a new country and having made the decision to turn our life into an adventure, there’s just a few technicalities we must address before we can really let our hair down and relax into all the newness. For now, we have only a few little details and we’ll be firmly ensconced and ready to enjoy our new home! Although,of course, we’ve already been enjoying each new day …How could we possibly not!