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Panama's Most Wanted Gringo
Dumb tings' happened during the "China-virus"
Panama is paradise, especially when strictly looking at Latin America.
The place is beyond safe, stunningly beautiful, and features first-world amenities in every imaginable way.
Plus, the country is one of the best in the world for yachting and sailing — with over 1,400+ islands dotting the country’s coastline.
Not only that…
I’d been to Panama before too.
In 20214, I spent some time in the capital, Panama City. It was wonderful back then.
I also checked out the San Blas Islands and Bocas del Toro while in the country on that trip. Both stunningly beautiful.
Even met a nice Panamanian girl who traveled with me to Costa Rica for a bit.
So when I decided to head back to PTY during the “China-virus” days…
I had high hopes.
World-class apartments, modern amenities, safety, and a budding crypto scene — was the expectation.
What did I find?
A country hyper-obsessed with a little virus, that wasn’t actually affecting Panama that much.
And by hyper-obsessed, I truly mean it. These people were “off-their-rockers” in love and obsessed with the ‘rona.
But don’t just take my word, let’s look at a few stories that illustrate how asinine Panamanians were about Covid…
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Panama’s Most Wanted Gringo
I looked down at my phone…
The administrator of the building had been writing me feverishly on WhatsApp, even sending me a photo.
I opened up my phone to check what was up, only to see this:
A photo of me standing alone in an elevator?
What was the issue?
I WAS NOT WEARING A MASK.
See, what had happened was…
Some liberal Latino had asked me where my mask was when I got in the elevator.
I shrugged at him.
I had just woken up and hadn’t even had my morning coffee yet. Barely half-awake.
He then tried to raise his voice and demand I wear a mask or get off the elevator.
I gave him a stern look and said: “Hell no!”
The look on his face was priceless. I shit you not he looked like he was about to cry as I held eye contact with him.
His eyes quickly darted to the floor and his body language went from all “puffed up” and aggressive to as meek as humanly possible.
What a bitch.
He then went directly to the administrator’s office and complained about me.
What a bitch.
Now, I had already blocked the building admin for nagging me about masks previously.
She was writing me on a second phone number, her personal number. Writing me demanding I wear a mask, as the police were already on the way, and she had “proof” of me living a mask-less life.
In the eyes of this “CNN En Espanol” watching building administrator in Panama, I was:
Panama’s Most Wanted Gringo
I laughed while responding to the photo she sent me, which she did not appreciate.
She responded saying I needed to move out of the building if I was not able to abide by the rules and that the next time she saw me without a mask she would call the police again.
Then the owner of the apartment wrote me saying he would be forced to cancel the lease if I couldn’t wear a mask in the building.
I said I’m not going to wear a mask.
So the lease was effectively broken.
I was “kicked out” of my apartment in Panama because I wasn’t wearing a mask in the elevator — in 2022.
Not peak-Covid 2020 — or even 2021.
I started packing my things and moved to a Marriott Residences Inn down the street — where no one bothered me about a mask for the three-weeks I was there.
But I did lose $1,800 USD in the deposit.
The dickhead owner of the apartment tried to claim I owed him another $1,800 for breaking the lease. I read the contract and told him that’s not true. He threatened to sue me. I told him good luck. Panamanians ;(
More ‘Rona Idiocracy in PTY
In the first building I stayed at in Panama, they also loved the virus.
Especially the subhuman species that was the gym attendant at the building.
This made it super easy to pull the mask down while actually doing my sets in the gym. Then catch my breath and pull it back up.
The gym attendant caught me doing this and walked over:
“You have to wear a normal blue face mask. What you’re wearing doesn’t work.”
I looked at her like she was crazy:
“No, thanks. I’m good with this. There’s no difference.”
She went crazy and started screaming at me. I just looked at her and then went back to my workout.
Five-minutes later, the security guard with his gun rolled up to the gym:
“Hey, you have to listen to her. She is in charge here. You have to wear a blue mask.”
I started laughing at him:
“Ummmm, so you’re telling me you truly think there’s a difference? Between what this masks does and the blue one you can buy for $0.50 at the pharmacy?”
He didn’t reply and walked away.
The building administrator at this place called me later that day:
“Hey Jake, if you cannot wear a blue mask like the gym attendant asked, you won’t be able to use the gym here anymore.”
Me: “Cool, I’ll be moving out soon. The people working here are too stupid to live here any longer.”
And I hung up.
Power-Tripping Panamanian Cops
I was walking at the park, about to go back to my apartment. I had some groceries in one hand and was waiting to cross the street at a stoplight.
A cop pulled up next to me. He starts motioning to put on a mask.
I shrug my shoulders at him.
He pulls down his helmet cover and starts yelling:
“You’ve got to put on a mask!”
“Fuck! Do I really want to get fined for this? Should I just put it on?”
I decide not.
So I slowly start acting like I’m going through my pockets looking for a mask. As slow as I possibly can.
10 second go by.
15 seconds go by
20 seconds go by.
I still haven’t “found” my mask, as the cop is staring on intently.
The light turns green, he’s still waiting for me to put on a mask. The cars behind him all start honking, pissed off he is holding up traffic.
He gives me one last look and then speeds off.
Fuck the Panamanian police.
“High-IQ” Taxi Drivers
I’m visiting Bocas del Toro, as stunning beach town in northern Panama, with a group of friends.
We’ve got six people with us, so we have to call a larger taxi van every time we want to go to dinner from the hotel.
Not a big deal.
We call one, wait a few minutes, and then hop in upon arrival.
We did this one afternoon.
Driver showed up, we hop in, driver cruises off.
About a minute into the ride, he notices no one in the car is wearing a mask.
He begins to freak out, “Hey, you guys all have to put masks on! It’s the law.”
Me: “Uhhh, we don’t have any with us. Don’t worry. We will give you a good tip.”
Him: “No, it’s the law! I will get fined $50 by the cops if they see me driving you.”
Which was a load of bullshit, as we had taken 10+ taxis in Bocas by this point and no other taxi seemed to care.
Me: “Ok, no worries. If we get pulled over, we will pay the cops. Just drive.”
He slams on the breaks: “Get out!”
Me: “On the side of the road in the middle of nowhere?”
Him: “Get out!”
Our whole group starts laughing at him…
As we all exit, it’s a choir of:
“Fuck you! You’re an idiot!”
He was pissed and sped off.
Everyone in our group except one guy left Panama the following week — with little desire to come back.
Rude and indoctrinated by the government is no way to go through life — yet was the de-facto mode for the majority of locals in Panama.
Should You Visit Panama? | Verdict
As you can see…
The vast majority of the country was complete and utter dickheads about the “China-virus” — even in 2022.
The only cool people in the country, who didn’t care about masks, vaccines, and the like?
BJJ class each day was my only escape from the lunacy in Panama.
The only place where morons didn’t nag me about masks 24/7/365 in the country.
I also went to watch a number of my classmates compete in MMA events during this time — no one cared about masks during those events either.
Or during the BJJ competition I competed in there. No masks. No vaccines. No issue.
P.S: Some of the local crypto bros were super anti-mask and vaccine too. Super cool guys. You know who you are ;)
Every other Panamanian I met was obsessed.
Beaten in submission from an overbearing government dead-set on fucking the local populace over.
Which they did.
I left Panama with no desire to return.
So did a number of people I was hanging out with while living in the country.
I’ve had a handful of travelers message me privately on Twitter saying they also left the country because of how Covid was handled there — and will NOT be going back.
Panama was positioned to boom during this decade of uncertainty. Great banking. Great infrastructure. Super safe.
Smart people are avoiding the country like the plague.
I recommend you do the same.
Do NOT go to Panama.
Local Panamanians are telling me the situation has changed and there’s no more restrictions.
I could care less.
The country has shown its true colors and is not a livable base city for expats any longer — at least in my book.
Ya tu sabes,