Panama’s Latest Road Hazard

Well, today, just before noon I completed the Panamanian Driver’s License saga.

I arrived at the license bureau in David at about a quarter to 10 to stand at the end of a long line. On a previous visit I’d asked the guard at the door if there was a day or time that was better than others. He said there wasn’t. You just had to take your chances.

The line actually moved quite rapidly, my papers were all in order and accepted and then I simply had to wait to be called. That took about an hour and a half. Quick photo followed by an eye test and immediately afterwards a hearing test. Go pay $40 and wait again for about 20 minutes and there it was. In living color with an absolutely horrid photo but done and done. I’m now eligible to take part in the demolition derby known as Panamanian traffic.

To be honest, the Florida DMV could take lessons from the office here in David. They were courteous and efficient and a lot easier to deal with.


Filed under Living Abroad, panama, Retirement Abroad

3 responses to “Panama’s Latest Road Hazard

  1. Well, of course your photo was awful. There’s a universal requirement somewhere for horrid drivers’ license photos!

    Glad the saga’s over. Now, I have to ask. I may have missed something, but what are you going to drive? Did you get yourself a car? Can you rent cars there? (That’s silly. I’m sure you can. But in your town?)

    I’m thinking about making a couple of 2-3 day trips over the next couple of months to visit friends around the state. The way gas prices are going, it’ll crack $5/gal before Memorial Day. Grumpgrumpgrump…..

    I’m going to buy a motorcycle. I know someone who has a Suzuki 125 for sale. He says he gets almost 70 mpg and our gas is high, too. High test is $4.85/gal right now. It’s really tough on the Panamanians who don’t make a whole lot of money in the first place. Bus prices have risen in the last couple of weeks because of the spike in gas and diesel prices. The trip down the hill to David, after the 30% “Jubilado” discount used to cost ninety cents. It’s now $1.05. Last year the trip to Panama was $8.80 and it’s now $10.60. Now, consider this…President Martinelli recently raised the starting pay for policemen to $400 a month! A hundred bucks a week is what they make (and you wonder why they try and extort “la mordida?) While the 30 cent hike for a round-trip to do my grocery shopping isn’t such a big deal to me, it certainly is for the every-day Panamanian.

  2. Weren’t you driving on your U.S. license before? Do you own a car in Panamá?

    You’re only allowed to drive with your U.S. license for 90 days after you receive your carnet and I’ve been here for a year TODAY! No, I don’t own a car here but I’m going to buy a motorcycle soon.

  3. P.S. your foto can’t be any worst than my last Panama passport foto, I carry my expired Panama passport & current cedula (of course) to prove it’s me in case they question my current passport.

    My DL photo is probably the WORST photo of my life. My Florida DL photo isn’t great but Panama went far and above the call of duty in capturing the worst of a person. I look like I’m just coming off a two week bender and I haven’t been drunk in years.