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PANAMA – The long awaited Panama-Canada Free Trade agreement will be signed in Toronto Canada on May 14th said Panama’s Commerce and Industry Minister Roberto Henriquez. The countries completed the agreement early this year and the agreement would give Canada immediate access to Panama’s markets and services while Panama’s access is tied to a deadline. Both countries need to ratify the agreements in order to start up trade. We were told that before the end of 2010 they would be operational.

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Speaking at the Live and Invest in Panama Conference

Speaking at the Live and Invest in Panama Conference

I was invited to speak at the Live and Invest Overseas Conference a while back in Panama City. The Conference was very well organized by Kathleen Peddicord and Lief Simon; attendees flew in mainly from North America for from several days to several weeks to explore Panama.

My subject this conference (I had spoken a number of times for previous International Living Conferences) was “Opening a Business in Panama – Our Experience”. We also set up an information table about Taboga Island and our B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical.

Conference Table for B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical

Conference Table for B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical

People often ask me, if not for financial gain, why do I speak publicly at these types of Expat / Investment conferences?
My answer is quite simply, I love the challenge of speaking to a large group, and the opportunity to speak about Taboga Island.

Expat

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Tomorrow evening, June 26th, 2008, Cynthia Mulder of Cerrito Tropical will be a guest on KYS 104.3 between 6 and 7 PM and will chat with Ursula Kiener Ford about opening a small business in Panama, and how she and her husband got started with their Bed & Breakfast Cerrito Tropical on Taboga Island.

KYS 104.3 is a new radio station in Panama with an adult contemporary theme; listen in from Monday to Thursday from 6 -7 PM. Ursula´s co-host on the show is Jacob – the editor of the English publication The Visitor.

The regular talk show is mixed with some musical interludes. Subjects range from real estate, tourism, what is going on in Panama, how to invest, health, the news, etc.

http://kyspanama.com/
KYS RADIO 104.3
Ursula Keiner Ford
forlacol@gmail.com

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melina typaldos

Melina Typaldos Designs was founded in Panama in 2001. Melina studied in the US and is a well respected emerging jewelery designer and uses semi-precious stones and both silver and gold in her modern designs. She has also created a beautiful new line of tableware and accessories. Gifts and jewelery from about $40. Special orders on request.

Among the many Melina has designed for include the First Lady Vivian Torrijos of Panama, the former president of Panama Mireya Moscoso, the Miss Universe Pagent in 2003, the Princess Leticia Ortiz of Spain, Actress Halle Berry, General Franco of Spain´s grandaughter Carmen Martinez-Bordius Franco. Melina also exhibits her designs around the world in fashion and trade shows.

Located in Marbella, in the mall across from World Trade Center, around the corner from Sheraton 4 Points, and also in MultiPlaza and Miami.
Location: Calle 45 Bella Vista Panama, Panama
Telephone: 507-613-2222 / 507-227-5353 /214-7597
Email: support@melinatypaldos.com
Website: www.melinatypaldos.com

Location: P.O Box 025275 Miami, Fl 33102-5275
Phone: 305-860-1993

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Dolce

DOLCE CAFE is located as you go up Via Argentina in Panama City from Via Espana on the right side. The café is the creation of Angel Bakx, an honest to goodness pastry chef from Canada. Not too many of those around these areas eh? (I have to let my Canadian background hang out somewhere!) Dolce is a delightful little cafe, decorated with a cosy, relaxed ambiance; a quiet retreat away from the hustle and bustle of Via Argentina and Panama City.

brownies

Savor and linger with sweet and sensational homeade delights such as Butter Tarts, Flourless Chocolate Cake (meaning it is mostly luscious chocolate!), Lemon Pie, Strudel, Muffins, Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies.

Notice I have started with the sweet stuff first, now you know where my soft spot is. So before the dessert you can order homeade soup, chili, quiche, bratwurst and sauerkraut, chicken wings, salads…. and more. If you are craving an American style breakfast, in the mornings you can order up 2 eggs and bacon.

Angel´s food is created from scratch, and with a lot of love I´d say. That is a rarity nowadays. She even offers old-fashioned Root Beer Floats and Brownie Parfaits.

I tested Angel´s butter tarts and cherry crumble. Absolutely buttery-delicious made with real brown sugar. Mouth watering and rich. Reminded me of eating special treats in my grandmother´s kitchen, Nanny baked cookies and sweets almost every day. Everything she made too was from scratch.

Prices are reasonable: Coffee $1.50, Breakfast $3.50, Cookies and Butter Tarts $1.00 ea, Cakes $3.00 piece, Soup $3.25 bowl, Bratwurst on a Bun with Sauerkraut $5.00.

Dolce 3

Chef Angel smiled and told me “a lot of my pastries are made when the mood strikes the chef”, that can be translated to: menu varies from day to day.

Angel has an English book-exchange library where you can bring on your novels and trade for new ones. She will soon have a mailing list to let her fans know about special events. Drop in for tea (or coffee), she always greets her guests.

Dolce 2

Dolce Cafe, Via Argentina before Taco Loco. 8 am to 8 pm, Mon to Sat, Sun 8 am to 4 pm. Tel: 264-1216 angiebakx@yahoo.com

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Chateau Xello

CHATEAU XELLO: Tired of hanging out in a less than savory neighborhood when you visit Panama City, all because the moderately priced hotels in El Cangrejo are full? I hear that a lot from friends who were late reserving rooms in the city; they just cannot find one.

This week I visited with the Brokke family of Chateau Xello. Tucked away in the tranquil upper middle class residential neighborhood of El Carmen, very close to downtown, within walking distance of Via Espana and Price Smart.

Twenty clean rooms (most having some kitchen facilities) in 2 adjoining homes, a lovely pool and thatched gazebo in the back and access to a park. Air conditioning, breakfast, internet service, cable TV, telephone and hot water included. The Brokke family can also assist with taxis and tours.

Nightly, weekly or monthly rentals available. Rates are from $50 per night for a single, to $60 for a double. Rates will go up next month, just a little I was told. Some accomodations are larger rooms or suite apartments so ask what they have to offer for your requested dates. Get good directions because there is no sign on the building. Email them or call for rates. info@lechateaudexello.com, www.lechateaudexello.com Tel: 380-0726, 6609-4287

Le Chateau de Xello
Calle 2da. Norte Nvo. Reparto
El Carmen, H-18-19
Panamá

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Tucked away in Paitilla, creative food, modern upscale ambiance.
Viso 52 Entrance

Viso Fifty Two Restaurant: It wasn´t by chance that I am writing this review tonight, several readers have requested it. I enjoy Viso Fifty Two, having eaten there a number of times already. It opened in Panama City late January this year and the food is truly creative, none of the menu items are ho-hum, they are all interesting and new. Well prepared in the spotless show kitchen by highly trained chefs. Not only that, it is in my neighborhood. I can enjoy a nice glass of wine and walk home!

Tucked away in a corner of Punta Paitilla, Panama City, Viso Fifty Two is conveniently located to downtown areas, only a few minutes by cab to major hotels. Unless of course it is rush hour when Ave. Balboa is jammed, but they are not open until 7 pm when the traffic is settling down.

Panamanian Chef Mario Castrellon is no stranger to great food. He studied near Barcelona, in Sant Pol de Mar for 4 years, then did a stint in the Canary Islands before returning home. He was the opening chef at La Posta restaurant where he worked for two years before opening his own catering company Mas Catering.

He changes the menu on a regular basis, every couple of months and offers specials on the weekends. In fact they have just changed and expanded the dessert menu. No diet food on that menu, sorry. Chef Mario calls his food Creative Comfort Food which is a little Fusion and a lot of Comfort he says. He focuses on fresh Panamanian ingredients and favorites when creating his signature dishes.

Chef Mario Recommends: Starter: Polenta Tamale with Ossobuco and Spicy Shrimp $6. Main: Grilled Octopus with Hearts of Palm $12.50. Green Mango and Avocado Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette $6.50. Dessert for the sweet tooth: Apple Crisp with Almond Topping $6 or Flourless Chocolate Cake $6 (a chocoholic´s dream).

Just as I was talking to Chef Mario friends walked in. They were just starting their meal when I finished my meeting with the Chef and were enjoying the green mango salad, the bread basket which has an assortment of unique breads and crackers, and a full bodied 2003 Rioja. They described their salad as delightful and felt that the wine was very good value. Later I will report on how they felt their meal was, I didn´t want to intrude any longer.

Other recommendations from friends who frequent Viso 52: Zucchini Wraps with Ricotta Cheese, Lemongrass and Pepper $7.50. Ravioli with Portobello Mushrooms in Crimini Sauce $13. Grilled Lamb with Pistachio and Mint $21.50. Angus Filet with Mushroom Risotto and Asparagus $14.50. Tuna in Miso Glaze with Green Beans, Crimini and Sprouts $14.50.

From personal experience when I ate there I found the zucchini wraps to be a tasty surprise; a ricotta cheese filling rolled in a paper thin strip of zucchini with punch of spicy pepper. The ravioli rich and elegant, melting in your mouth. The tuna was one of the best prepared steaks I have ever eaten, not at all fishy like tuna can be and with the delicate, salty flavor of miso to balance the bold flavor of the tuna; I ordered it rare, to medium rare. My friend had the medium but it was not the same texture. If you like raw fish, I recommend it on the rare side.

Ambiance and decor are elegant, service excellent. Prices on the upper end but not unexpected or out-of-range for this type of dining experience. Bathrooms are clean with ultra modern decor (Strangely enough, I always check the bathrooms, if restaurateurs put money and/or creativity into bathroom detail as well as the front, I can see they have an eye for detail and understand the total experience of their diners-everyone has to use it!).

Balboa Ave Sign

Wine: They have a well rounded wine list starting at $19 for white and $25 for red up to $190 for Dom Perignon. Over 70 varieties to choose from plus a wide assortment of other alcoholic beverages. Lemonade is tasty too!

Interior Viso 52

Bar: Swig by Viso Fifty Two will open in about 2 weeks and was described to me as an Ultra Lounge. They told me that it will be a modern upscale lounge with dancing. Opening soon, 5 pm till closing.

Viso Fifty Two Restaurant: Galerias Punta Paitilla, Locales 5&6, on the corner of Ave. Balboa (Popeyes corner, near Arrocha) and Via Italia. Open 12 noon – 2:30 pm and 7 pm – 10:30 pm. Reservations are recommended, especially for dinner. Tel: 215-0349, 215-2072 Email: visofiftytwo@yahoo.com Both Chef Mario and the manager spoke English. Valet parking is offered.

Mas Catering: Tel: 6674-2884, catering@mariocastrellon.com

Cheers!

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