Archives for category: Panama

When I last posted on our lives in Panama we had just moved into our apartment, I had yet to finish my masters, and the holiday season wasn’t even on the calendar yet. Since my last post I have made three trips back to the United States in order to wrap up my degree and visit friends  and family for the holidays. A month back and I’m starting to feel like we are really settling into our lives here.  When I scan through photos to post our camera is almost entirely comprised of photos of the meals I’ve cooked up (choices can be limited here which has meant me venturing into bread making) and the malls.  While I wish to believe the remainder of our time has been spent doing more interesting things, I would be lying.

I'm not sure we can go back from homemade pizza.

We have spent nearly six months working on opening bank accounts and getting mail to a country without a postal service and watching the Daily Show. Panama runs slowly and on an insurmountable number of staples. If you watch early Law and Order episodes, I mean like Lennie and Mike Logan early, that’s basically what Panama looks like when you go around. New York circa 1995. There is construction everywhere; it is like the rescission never even happened here. However, that also means you book your flight with a travel agent, you never send anything electronically, and they require original copies of everything stapled to a notarized copy of your passport signed by the president of HSBC bank.

This has been the most frustrating part of our experience, learning how to operate like we aren’t part of the Millennial Generation just off the plane with our digital genius phones wanting everything in a matter of moments – including a bank account. I have come to realize more and more since moving to Panama how much I took for granted the luxury of living in the United States as a privileged  white girl. Don’t get me wrong; VIP movies with lounge chairs and waitress service is awesome. So is the weather when its not the rainy season (which we have finally pulled out of, this means its a sunny 95 everyday with a breeze off the jungle) and the cheap cost of living. But I still want the convenience of sidewalks, decent roads, and educational standards.  You wouldn’t think that educational standards would be something an unmarried childless woman would be concerned about but when you start dealing on a daily basis with a population with an average education level of 7th grade it changes your perspective.

I was all in a hot tizzy before I left the United States about the state of our union but now that I am faced daily with the challenges of a developing country, you can’t imagine how worked up I get now.  I’m a white girl who can’t just go pick up her hummus from the grocery store.

Here is some photos and video of life in Panama

Click below to check out the video!

The walk to the Meat House. This is one of the few sidewalks in Panama City.

The RAIN! Couldn’t be happier that we are out of the rainy season. You kinda get trapped when it starts to rain like this.

Normal to see people exiting and entering the bus from the back. HEY OH!

The nearest grocery store. Most times they only carry turkey bacon. Life is tough.

P.S. We can’t stop watching Battle Star Galactica. Somehow we both missed the boat on that one. I recommend watching it if you haven’t already. HOLY CRAP ITS AWESOME.

P.S.S. We should know by the end of February if the Department of Justice is going to bother paying US players back. End of the month deadlines keep being promised and then they slip by with slivers of information being sent out. We are also hoping that a Congressional bill is passed in the United States before the end of this session. It wouldn’t be the best option if States handled online poker regulation themselves. Having States handle online poker within their boarders themselves means it wouldn’t be as lucrative for everyone and while I was born in Iowa I’m not up for moving there.

I will humbly admit it has been an extraordinary amount of time since I had last posted and I’ve got a lot to catch you up on. However, its become daunting to even think about how much has happened since Scott (Mr. Hoes if you forgot) and I put 95% of our belongings into storage and packed the remaining into a couple of suitcases.  Since we were dropped off at hotel near O’Hare in August, we have had a couple of kinks, and I may have aged a couple of years in the process, but it has been well worth it.

All I need in the world (I'm allowing myself this one moment, or any moment when Peaches is mentioned, to being sentimental)

3 Week Tour before even arriving in Panama City Panama 

Stop 1 for less than 24 hrs: 500 lbs of luggage= Dresses, shirts, Cardrunners gear, a HUGE computer monitor, and a computer tower dropped off in Pittsburgh.

After a lovely dinner at Bravo! with the Augustines’ of Pittsburgh we headed back to bed for an early night because we were suppose to catch a MegaBus the next morning to D.C. to visit Scott’s ADORABLE niece.

Stop 2: Down to 2 carry on bags so not to be stopped by TSA....again. Bus missed due to rain and we find ourselves searching for a rental place in Pittsburgh at around 7 a.m.

Once we successfully arrived in D.C. (by car instead of by bus and only by the skin of our teeth thankfully because Mr. Hoes drank enough Coke Zero to fuel a machine) we settled into what we thought would be a carefree weekend – Hurricane Irene arrived shortly after. We had spent the day at Busch Gardens (AMAZING except for the pasta in the cafeteria) and, after drifting into some semblance of sleep, we heard (and felt) a tree crash through all three stories of his brother’s house. Resulting in this:

Suddenly moving to Panama seemed like the safer choice

I was happily selected to watch Baby Augustine instead of being on clean-up duty. After jumping between hotels for a couple of days we headed west!

Lucky for us my Dad, Step Mom, and their four children are entertaining because otherwise its a long ways to go for a pretty view and a collection of interesting folks.

Northern Idaho. You can see Canada in this photo for those looking to flee. "God's Country" -Dad

We stayed with my Dad for a week to enjoy the festivities of my cousin’s wedding. My father’s cousin and life-long best friend from Iowa also arrived with his wife.  There are few people, including myself, that could ever keep up with my family when it comes to finishing off the booze:

In his own words "TOUCHDOWN IOWA"!

After enjoying the sights of Northern Idaho we ventured back to Pittsburgh to spend some time with Scott’s parents, attend a Pirates game, and figure out how to get ourselves down to four pieces of luggage and four carry-ons. We needed to go this far:

My spanish isn't good enough to explain how far that is.

Amazingly we got that far and so did our luggage (including the monitor and tower with no damage). We arrived at night and were escorted to our temporary three week apartment by a private driver hired by the real estate broker. He was a perfectly nice driver who insisted that taking a taxi in Panama is equal to playing Russian roulette and humbly recommended that he provide us with all our transportation needs. Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t a ponzi scheme either.

Over the next few days as we were trying to get a notion of how Panama City is laid out, we avoided taking cabs despite the heat and jungle rains (I never knew it could lighting when its totally sunny and not raining!). Lucky for us the online poker community, like the american juggalos, helped us connect with a pair of aces (sorry…had too). Martin and Brenda, he an online poker player and she a national singing treasure, have welcomed us into their home, showed us around town, and have been our go-to for information since as early as June for things like learning how to properly take a cab (it is an art form here) or how to find your way around a city that doesn’t name its streets. Thank goodness for friendly people; this transition would have been much more difficult without this top pair (shameless).

You should for sure check out Brenda’s youtube clips of her singing in Spanish, Chinese and English. I can’t even sing in gibberish.

Finally, here are some general photos of us in Panama and a poster put up in our new neighborhood to give you a feeling of the flair around town.

I'll trust any figure floating along the express way in Panama.

Our first apartment was in an area of town that wasn’t very good for folks who don’t have a car, although it did have an ocean view. We ended up moving to an amazing apartment in the El Cangrejo that has a view of the rainforest which isn’t to shabby. Our building is brand new, which sounds like that wouldn’t be an issue, but in a city that literally has no addresses it gets interesting explaining to the cable guys where to find the new white apartment building just off to the right of the statue of the Einstein head near the Meat House.

Mr. Hoes in his new hat. Thats "old town" behind him. We had just come from the public fish market-not recommended if you have a weak stomach. We purchased green peppers which I still can't bring myself to cook.

the Pocket Queen in her new hat. Thats the newer Panama City behind me.

P.S. The local cable company isn’t playing reruns of Brothers & Sisters, so I blog while making homemade hummus without a blender. I realized that prior to blenders all human food must have looked like cat food.

P.S.S. Normally I mention more of online poker news but lately the roller coster has driven me to the point of hysteria and I am happy to continue singing French Revolutionary songs to myself. I’ve posted news articles for updates under the Laymen Online Poker News page and very much relate to this twoplustwo post…

Despite the fact that since my return from Vegas a couple of weeks ago a considerable amount has happened (primarily Mr. Hoes cashed in the Main Event- yes thats absurdly attractive) there is still a looming feeling that things are on hold and I’m caught in a grocery limbo; you know you’ll be going out-of-town soon so you plan accordingly but you know you’ll still have leftovers that go bad. This pending move has meant I’m purchasing smaller amounts of olive oil but still stocking up on vats of wine. At some point we will scroll through my Gmail calendar and make the necessary leap of choosing a date of departure but with the pending Full Tilt announcement it doesn’t seem necessary yet. I never thought an online poker company would have played such an important role in my future decisions; this must be growing up.

There is also a considerable amount of comfort that can be found living in limbo and after a bit of reflection during a recent car trip to Akron, OH for my best friends bridal shower, I realized that I’m enjoying it. Living in limbo allows for the comforts of now and the luxury of making decisions without a great amount of consequence, all the while enjoying the promise of something coming tomorrow. There are many instances around the world  at both the macro and micro level that dramatically illustrate the danger of lingering around in a state of limbo (or the unknown intermediate place or condition between two extremes). I’m not sure if it is because I’m back in graduate class pondering over the state of affairs in South American countries or if it is because I’m in my 20s and I’m surrounded by people living between choices that I’ve been so struck by the existence of limbo. Either way if you are in a state of limbo because there was a supernova action involving the Department of Justice and I.P. addresses, or if you are simply in your 20s, it’s ultimately the choice of which leap you make, or possibly that you make a leap at all, that defines you. I’m ready to make the leap and enjoy the scary, the unknown, and the end of my graduate career in political science which at times feels like I’m studying a world that can be summed up with the following:

Apparently the PPA didn't get the memo.

Not only am I enrolled in my last graduate class (that sounds awesome) but Mr. Hoes went all the way to Day 5 (no thats not sexual) and made the dollars. These short term success have lead me to continue referring to us as the power couple (this is what limbo is doing to me). Being in Chicago while Mr. Hoes pushed through to day 5 of the Main Event was something of an experience. I am now more familar with PokerNews and the WSOP website then I care to fully articulate; not to mention the daily 2:05 p.m. and 6:20 p.m. PST addrennilline rushes from Mr_HOES twitter posts for roughly a week. Needless to say I struggled through work and had the continued urge to stand up in my cube and yell FUCKINGGOFORIT.


Being Mr. Hoes of course he played his heart out and went for it which makes me a very proud girlfriend and he the following:

"Makin it rain on them Hoes"- Mr. Hoes.

Meanwhile, I was enjoying a bridal shower/bachelorette party in Ohio that included booze, food, 80s music and a parrot who knew how to enjoy himself.


A moment that would make my Father proud

Who knew a night out in Akron, OH could prepare me for Panama. FUCKINGOFORIT!

P.S. Mr. Hoes arrived Sunday and I’m not sure Alley McBeal will be making an appearance any time soon. Battle Star Galactica anyone?

(June 26- July 7) In a little over a week, the Black Friday ride accelerated towards optimism, consequently plummeted, and now is lingering just before the exit as we all wait for the fat kids to unload and load in the car ahead of us before we all find out how the photo turned out. Having been raised Catholic I’m inclined to feel two things: 1) the famous Catholic guilt but also 2) the rarely discussed eternal optimism that is always there.

(June 28) Tuesday after work I happily got my nails done knowing I had  a new dress from J.Crew to wear in Vegas (this is a reference for all you non-poker players females that MAY read my blog) before meeting up with my close friend Kate (Kate, why don’t we have any appropriate pictures I can post of us?) for dinner at The Union in Evanston. We enjoyed awesome calamari and pizza while I rambled with excitement  about the recent news that Jack Binion was rumored to be looking at investing in Full Tilt  and that I’m going to be strutting off to Panama with my über smart online poker player.  With the white wine flowing, Kate and I enjoyed ourselves (right Kate?). We concluded the night and then I lofted off to bed to sleep through the night. SIGH. Then of course Wednesday came.

What a face, what a mug, could it be true! Jack Binion!

(June 29) Wednesday morning I check twitter to see how Mr. Hoes had done in cash games only to find a tweet (given the weight of the situation that word sounds more absurd than ever) from Subject:Poker about how the AGCC had suspended Full Tilts licenses. I hadn’t even brushed my teeth and I was already disappointed with the day. The energy these events consume is astounding and I’m not even a player. Carrying a stone of anxiety in my stomach, I dragged into the office knowing I would be waiting a long while to talk to Mr. Hoes about the events of the morning, which also included a raise for me at work. I turned my attention to my duties and 2+2 hysteria (I never really knew the internet until I experienced

At this point I completely assumed there was no hope because logically (yes, women have it) on a whole this didn’t benefit even those with the greatest amount of power. Dumbfounded and only certain there were back door deals happening I plugged through work and a Whole Foods buffet lunch before heading home to prepare for Vegas (yes, having new dresses to wear over the weekend helped. I am a woman after all).

(June 20) Thursday I was bound for Vegas, pockets lined with a non-profit raise, and  feeling very much like the photo below…  I was westward bound.

Between the time I loaded the Southwest flight and turned on my phone after we landed the news had positively changed! Phil Ivey dropped the suit and there were European investors! What the holy flush! This was the best possible news and  I’m about to be greeted by Mr. Hoes himself; the eternal optimism was all fired up! I could not read, tweet, retweet, post, email, or text the L.A. Times article fast enough.  As I began reading through everything and even by Friday when news broke that the French also suspended certificates (I don’t believe they really have licenses that would mean I have to take them seriously and I’m just not prepared to make that commitment) I was still optimistic.  My mood, expectations, eternal optimism, and inclination towards conspiracy has manifested into the opinion that the rice cooker in the back room is steaming up. When this is all wrapped up I think I’ll look back and be able to say:

For you.

In the mean time I’m enjoying the start of my final class in graduate school, success at work, Joe Rogan shows in Vegas followed by Eyecandy, frozen yogurt at the Palms while playing black jack, all-nighters at XS, a night of Rhianna in concert with girlfriends of other poker players/industry folk, all the sushi I could consume, and entertainment from poker players from West Virgina, Boston, to St. Louis while staying at the house of cards! All thanks to Mr. Hoes who always guarantees me  an adventure, my happiness, comfort, and exposure to the most interesting collection of people. DOJ BE DAMNED, I’m an optimist!

P.S. I’m collecting donations for a camera that is of worth so I can provide more interesting shots than the ones taken on my phone at the Rhianna concert and I’m not sure whats happening in Ally McBeal but I like it.