Our marrying process was very well synchronized.  Performed like a symphonic orchestra.  Got the keys to our new house on July 10, 1980.  Married in Aguadulce on July 11, 1980.  Moved to our new home on July 12, 1980.

Initially, we had no stove, refrigerator, lighting or much furniture, except a queen-sized bed, a small round dining table (we still have it), a portable electric light, and an ice-filled Igloo as an improvised refrigerator.  However, with all those restrictions, life was sweet.  We were young, full of hopes, very much in love and our house was very cozy.  The neighborhood was first-class and our neighbors were moderately friendly.  Asking for more would be a sin.

The area of El Bosque was sparsely populated.  Lots of birds singing in the morning, almost no noise pollution, clean air and no towers.  It was like living in paradise.  Even though we lived about eight miles away from downtown Panama, the suburbia was great as previously described.  We were baking our cake and eating it too.

Then the city started to creep towards us and our paradise began to slip under our feet.  As we speak, we now have seven huge towers at the entrance of our neighborhood and two more are underway.  Traffic has escalated exponentially, noise is going through the roof, and irritating radios are blaring from nearby houses.  Yep, we are now trapped in the middle of the metropolis.  Suburbia is gone!

After thirty-five years, the city has gobbled us.  To capture history in the making, last Sunday I went out to a McDonald’s branch at the entrance of El Bosque to take a picture for posterity.  This is how El Bosque looked on April 26, 2015.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

8 thoughts on “Suburbia”

  1. That is amazing you still live in the same home as when you got married. How wonderful as I’m sure you have made your own mark on the house and made it yours. It is interesting how cities seem to take over and swallow up the surroundings but also sad because look what is happening to our natural surroundings.

    1. Morning Barbara,

      Yes, this has been our only home and the last one. We have deep roots in this place and don’t plan on leaving until the man upstairs makes a calling.

      Yes, I liked it better when El Bosque was a suburb of Panama City, now it has evolved into the city itself. This is not was we wanted, but what can we do, except adapt to the new environment as Charles Darwin used to say?



  2. December 17, 1968. That was the date I arrived in Panama, actually Howard AFB in the canal zone.

    In the following 3 years, I would meet and fall in love; with Panama and the girl I’m still married to. I am still in love with both although Panama has changed much more than the girl, and not always for the better in my view. Panama City especially, is now in a hurry to rush toward the future. It is much like the USA after the baby boomer years, the push to build as much as possible as fast as possible. I liked the old Panama better.

    1. Hi Jim and Nena:

      I arrived in Panama City, by bus in 1962 to study at Instituto Panamericano (IPA) High School. I was a country boy extracted from a banana plantation in Changuinola, Bocas del Toro. Eveything in the city was new and fascinating. The Bridge of the Americas was just being finished. We used the old ferries to cross the canal.

      I’m with you. There is a construction fever out of control. Without regulations we’re heading in for trouble. I prefer the old pace of the Panama of yesteryear. At my age, I like a slow-paced lifestyle, if you know what I mean.

      Thank you for reading Lingua Franca.

      Take Care,


  3. I, too, prefer a slower pace, Omar. Do you miss Bocas del Toro? I’ve heard some about the islands and they sound so laid back that I would love to visit.

    1. Yes Barbara, I do miss my growing years in Changuinola, Bocas del Toro. It was like living in Shangri-La. Most of all, I miss riding horses, playing golf and swimming in a gorgeous swimming pool the United Fruit Company provided for their employees.

      Yep, those were “the good ole times”.



  4. It’s happening everywhere, Omar. Even in some of the loveliest neighborhoods of Houston, small homes are being torn down and replaced with two and three story houses so large they take up every bit of the lot.

    One of the things I cherish about my apartment is my view. Everything around me has developed as much as it can, because of the water, and if I can manage to make the payments, I can stay. The view is more expensive than I like, but the other side of the coin is that there’s no way I ever could afford to live in this area in a house. There are million dollar homes around here — not for my kind!

  5. If I had the money, I would be very happy to move to the countryside; the problem is that the same phenomenon is happening there. Large migrations from the United States, Canada and Europe have triggered the prices of real estate. Buying land is almost impossible for people with a restricted income like ours.

    At my age, I have developed an aversion to traffic jams, noise, high-rise buildings, and sparse vegetation. We are losing our parks at alarming rates. Construction fever is ubiquitous wherever you set your eyes.



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