Posted by: Panamá Jeff | September 7, 2009

Little Differences

miramarThroughout my daily routine I constantly notice little differences between my birth nation, USA  and my current country of residence, Panama. Most often they are little things that I’m sure go unnoticed by most people but not by me, I’m very observant by nature so I tend to notice these things. I will give you a few examples that happened to me this past Friday night. Earlier in the week a friend of mine called me to tell me that another friend of mine, Kelly, was on t.v. singing, of course I was at work at the time so I could not turn it on to watch.  A few days later I was telling Kelly how I heard she was on t.v. she mentioned she was singing Friday night at the Hotel Miramar, which is a fancy hotel right across the street from me. I have seen her sing a few  times before and always enjoy it, so I figured I would walk across the park into the fancy schmancy hotel and have a few drinks and listen to my friend sing. Upon entering the hotel I walked around for a few minutes before deciding to ask someone where I was supposed to go, as it turns out I was in the side for residences. Miramar has two towers, one as a hotel and one for rich people’s apartments. I asked one of the young bell boys working where the bar was and he immediately knew I was looking for the hotel bar next door. Now I imagine in the states I would have gotten some directions to walk out of the building, hang a right and walk down towards the other tower, then through those front doors and a few more small insignificant details to find the elevators. Instead this young  gentleman told me he would show me, and not only did he walk with me to the correct building and correct set of elevators but we took the employee shortcut. We walked through some employee only areas, down some hallways with offices, through a kitchen for one of the hotel restaurants and out into the middle of a dining room, pure VIP style. Once we made it out of the dining room, the elevators were right outside the door where he pushed the elevator up button and said, “5th floor, exit the elevator and go right”.  Now that is how a man wants to be shown where to go in an unfamiliar place!

 So I am in this bar, sitting alone, drinking my rum and listening to Kelly sing which I always enjoy. There are a few songs she shares the lead vocals with her drummer, and in this one particular song there is quite a bit of time that goes by where she doesn’t sing anything, she is just dancing and having fun. Well one of the older gentleman at the bar decides to get up and invite Kelly to dance, to which she obliges (yet another night I wish I could dance). So these two are dancing on the dance floor out front of the band and well it comes time for Kelly to sing her part but she’s busy dancing! Another gentleman gets up out of his seat from his table in the crowd, walks right up to the microphone and starts singing to fill in, and does a decent job at it too! Can you imagine the reaction at a hotel in the states if someone from the crowd tried to get on stage and sing into the microphone?  Also this was not the only instance of someone singing or talking on the microphone throughout the night, this happened a total of 5 times throughout the night, with 3 different people. Weird? Maybe. Amusing? Definitely!  I have countless of examples of these little differences and could write about many more, the ones I can actually remember but the point is, it happens all the time and I notice.

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.


  1. I wish I could sing. I’ve actually helped out with the chorus for a band we used to follow around when we were young… but my singing voice could break glass. Seriously.

    You need to learn how to dance Panama… or atleast dance regardless. Even if you’re terrible it’s still exhilarating! 🙂

    They make us walk people to the bathroom at my work. I say MAKE… but it’s really that I just want to be a super excellent employee like people in Panama. 😉

  2. In Panama, some folks complain about the lack of customer service. In my experience here and elsewhere, it depends on who you hang with. If you hang with folks with big money or those who deal with them regularly, you find you have to buy their attention. Hang with those who have less and you have a very different and much nicer experience.

    Funny thing about it. Works the same way in the States.

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