April 2015


What a whirlwind week we’ve had, and we’re just about ready to hop on that midnight plane to Panama on Wednesday. Hmm, “Midnight Plane to Panama” – sounds a bit like a spy novel! By far our biggest achievement in this past week has been getting all of the dogs’ paperwork squared away, with every “i” dotted and “t” crossed for both the airline and the Panamanian government. Because I am married to the world’s most organized man, this went very, very smoothly with only one little moment of panic at the USDA office when the dude behind the counter thought we were missing part of the vet form. Here’s a tip: while we were at the Panamanian consulate, we got also got our marriage license and birth certificates apostiled. Down the road, if we decide to go for permanent visas in Panama, we’ll hopefully have saved ourselves some time and effort…

Exactly two weeks from today, we’re hopping that red-eye flight to our new life in Panama. We just know you’re on the edge of your seats, wondering what we’re up to – so here’s a little status report!

In typical intuitive doggy fashion, Maggie and Rosie know something big is afoot – although I don’t think they have a clue how much their lives are about to be turned upside down. We’ve gotten them re-acclimated to their crates, which wasn’t too difficult since they were crate-trained as puppies. Funny story: the other day a visitor came to the front door, and when we gave them the “crate” command they both ran into the big crate together! Good thing they’re buddies . . .

010202308129d0b254920d25dbde4a0d71ad24fdefThe other day we took a trip to the Copa Airlines cargo office at LAX and spoke to Jaime the ops manager. Jaime is a very nice and helpful young man who put us completely at ease about the process of getting dogs, crates, and paperwork dropped off prior to our flight. We took one of the crates to show him and got his blessing, and we were pleased to find out we don’t have to replace the connecting hardware or provide labels, ties, etc. (as we had been told before). We just provide water bottles and a little food, and Copa does the rest. It’s clear that they’ve flown many, many animals and know exactly what they’re doing, which is an enormous relief to us.

Unless you live under a rock, it’s been pretty hard to ignore the big — nay historic — news coming out of Panama lately. With the conclusion of the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, we’re thrilled that Panama has gotten some time in the spotlight. Folks, this is what a dynamic and progressive country looks like! And how great is it that, instead of continuing the stupid pissing contest with Cuba that’s been going on for decades, we’re actually sitting down together and talking? John and I welcome the normalization of relations with Cuba. When we were on our sailing voyage, we had always dreamed of visiting there but had to pass within 20 miles of the Cuban coast (on our passage across from Mexico to Florida) without stopping. That was right around the time Pres. Bush declared that U.S.-flagged private vessels would be impounded for going to Cuba. We…

Remember what I said about not taking any stuff with us? Easier said than done.

With a little over three weeks to go (yikes!), the sorting, decision-making, and packing is in full swing. It’s a bit more complicated than our last “household liquidation” because we don’t have a boat to move stuff to. It’s all about what we want to take on the plane, ship down, or store.

The Pazera household now consists of five piles: the stuff we’re taking with us as checked baggage in three or four rolling duffel bags, the stuff we’re sending down with a shipping company in what’s known as a less-than-container load (LCL), the stuff we’re storing at a friend’s storage unit in San Diego (thanks, Donna!), the stuff we’re mailing to my parents for temporary safe-keeping until we can fly it down there, and . . . finally . . . the stuff we’re selling.

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