My wedding is next Saturday. We have guests arriving from Canada to enjoy it with us. I get a kick out of the questions they ask. "Is it safe?", "Will we get malaria?", "Is the water ok to drink?".
I mean, I get it, but it kind of opens my eyes to how little we are aware of on a global front in Canada. Panama is a healthy, normal, thriving country with safe water, normal crime rate, and probably the same risk of malaria as lime disease in Manitoba from the wood ticks.
Everyone I told that I was moving here got all wide eyed and just could not believe that I would go to such a poor third world country and put my life in such risk. It is laughable. I drive a 1998 BMW and it is the biggest heap here. There are so many luxury cars here that the BMW dealerships are among the largest and most beautiful I have seen, and there are Porsche SUV's everywhere. Luxury condos and million dollar houses are all that fuel the real estate market here and everyone has a blackberry. Third world, right.
English as a second language is very common and more and more people are seeing the importance of it everyday. There are many english immersion schools here and half of my wife's coworkers are bilingual. I can usually find an english speaker anywhere I am, quite easily.
The bottom line is that this is the best country that I can think of for retirement, or just reducing your cost of living and trying out a tropcial location. Low crime rate, largely bilingual, awesome climate, perks for retirees, insanely low cost of living, beautiful, friendly people, safe water, good health care, improving infrastructure, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, I can go on and on, maybe in my next blog.... I'll title it "Why Panama?"
So if your loved ones scare you one day with "I'm off to Panama!", don't worry too much, just ask one of the tens of thousands of North Americans that are already here.