Posted by: pennyinparadise | January 4, 2020

European Trip

In late September Jim and I flew to Ireland for a week on the Emerald Isle.   FABULOUS.   Jim has been trying to get me to Ireland for years.   I resisted and now sorry I did.   I can’t wait to go back this summer and see even more of this amazing country.   Here’s some videos on our trip (click on the blue links for each video.


After Ireland we flew to Rome, Italy to board Holland America’s newest ship, the Nieuw Statendam.   Our spiritual teacher, Dr. Joe Dispenza, hosted 800 people on this ship where we attended 10 workshops with Dr. Joe and made several shore excursions.   Monte Carlo and Florence were scratched from the shore excursions due to high seas, but instead we stopped at the Island of Corsica.   Corsica has been owned by both France and Italy throughout history, and is now French.   Napoleon Bonaparte was born here and you’ll see his home in this iMovie.


We loved Corsica and have decided to spend 2-3 months there and on to Ireland for another 2-3 months.   We’re leaving San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where we have been for the last 2 years.   We’re ready for a new adventure and learning a new language.  They speak both French and Italian on Corsica, but not much English.   First, we’re going to our home in Boquete, Panama (which is on the market) to finish a construction project downstairs at the house.  We’ll be there for a couple of months before heading off the Europe for 4-5 months.  We’ve rented our second home in Boquete, to a wonderful single woman, and we have a live-in caretaker in the big house….so we’re free to go to Corsica.

Stay tuned…..more to come

Posted by: pennyinparadise | December 25, 2018

Mexico Update with iMovies

I’m just loving making iMovies….they make my blog posts so much more interesting than those old still photo galleries.   The first 3 below are new posts and those that follow have been here for a while.   Just click on each link to view the iMovie.

I’ll be making more, especially when we go to Ireland in late September, 2019.   After years of asking me to share his love of the Emerald Isle, I look forward to it.    From there we will fly on to Rome where we will board Holland America’s newest ship for a 10 day Mediterranean cruise with our spiritual teacher, Dr. Joe Dispenza.   The ship will visit Gibraltar, Cartegena, Sevilla, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Marseilles and Florence before returning to Rome.   There will be lots of movies to share about this trip, to be sure.  In the meantime, enjoy the links below.


We’re living large in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

We turned 76!! – a look back as we move well into our third quarter of a century!!

Golf in Mexicoa view of a few of the courses we’ve visited

Music in Mexico – a sampling of the incredible music we have enjoyed in San Miguel

Mini-Vacations in Mexicoclips showing different places we’ve visited so far, here in Mexico





Becky The Boston Terrier – clips of Becky from her puppyhood to her new life in Mexico.


Also, I’ve made movies about our houses in Panama.





Villa La Rosa – our primary residence in Boquete, Panama, which is now ready to receive its new owner





Villa Escondidoa villa I built for my mom in Boquete, with a caregiver apartment below.   Unfortunately, mom passed away 2 weeks before we could move her here, so now it is a rental unit.

I hope you enjoy these…..and will visit the blog and share it with others.   Have a happy holiday for 2019 and please keep in touch.   We love to hear from you all.

Penny Ripple & Jim Wasson

Vagabonds at Heart





Posted by: pennyinparadise | September 1, 2018

I’m Making Movies!!

WOW…I’ve learned how to make iMovies on my computer.    Here are my 2 first efforts.

Our home in Boquete

Our rental villa in Boquete


Posted by: pennyinparadise | September 1, 2018

Life in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

I cannot find words to express our joy in being here in SMA (San Miguel de Allende, Mexico).   It is totally different from Panama in many ways.   First of all, it is desert, not rainforest.   Second of all it is higher elevation (6,600 ft compared to 4,500 ft).   And it is charming, charming, charming…with tons of cultural activities, art, music and Mexico is filled with different and exciting places to visit.

I know….I know.   You are all saying MEXICO!!!   How can you live in Mexico where all the cartels and crime are?   Well, we’re not in the drug business so we aren’t part of the crime of cartels.   We exercise the same caution we used when living in Panama and in the 9 months since moving here, we have had no experience with crime.   On the contrary, we feel very safe and know the people here to be kind, courteous and easy going.   As a matter of fact, I feel much more unsafe when I visit the USA than I do in Latin America.  It was the same in Panama and Ecuador when I lived there.  Every time I tune in to American TV news (which I avoid whenever possible) I am appalled at the shootings in schools, parks and buildings there.   So when people ask “Are you safe there?” I just have to laugh.

I’ve also learned a new technology called iMovie, which will provide a more convenient way for you to see our photos….so here goes….

I haven’t had a chance to capture photos of all the art galleries, music concerts and restaurants here..I’ll do that soon so stay tuned!

Posted by: pennyinparadise | April 2, 2018

Hospital Visit in Mexico

One of the first thing people have asked me when I moved to Panama, Ecuador and now Mexico, is….”Are you SAFE there?”.   My answer is always the same….”Are you SAFE there?“.

The second thing people ask is “What is the medical care like” and in Panama and Ecuador I could easily answer….”well, it’s adequate but not great”.    Now, in Mexico, I can actually say “It’s EXCELLENT”.    I  have now spent 5 days in the new (opened in August 2017) hospital MAC in San Miguel, just 4 blocks from my house.  Seems my colon has developed some lesions and this caused me to be admitted into the emergency room.   Luckily, I was able to get health insurance just 12 days before I turned 75, when I would no longer be eligible.  And, luckily, the doctor I’ve found here just happens to be the Medical Director of this new hospital.

Clean, modern, efficient….and excellent.  I had the full monte….xrays, CT Scan, Endoscopy and Colonoscopy.   All excellent.  The ambulance is operated by Cruz Rojo (Red Cross) Mexico and is FREE!!   The doctors and nurses were wonderful.   I am really, really happy to have had this experience.

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Fun things are always happening.  A huge 2 week flower show in one of the parks offers lots of plants.   Music shows abound….of all types.   And people here love their dogs…’s a little guy riding on his owner’s motor bike.

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I’ve joined the country club and was just beginning to play with some women when I ended up in the hospital.  I’ll get back on the course this coming week.

Golf Friends

I’m having Mani/Pedi appointments and this little lady sat next to me this week.  She was very experienced in this and picked out a beautiful pink polish.

This little girl was very, very accustomed to having her nails done

Posted by: pennyinparadise | March 10, 2018

We’re Moving to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

After we vacationed in several Mexico places, we fell in love with San Miguel de Allende, Mexico which is 4 hours north of Mexico City in the high central desert of the Sierra Madre mountains, 6,600 feet above sea level.   It’s dry, which is a big change from the rain forest of Panama.

As you may know, every 5 years or so I get the urge to move to a new place.   In 2008 it was to Cuenca, Ecuador.  18 months later I returned to Boquete.   So, I’ve rented a house here in San Miguel de Allende (SMA for short).   I’ve had to construct a fireplace and 2 split heat/air units to handle the cold in winter and heat of summer.  I’ve also added water treatment, electric garage doors, gardener bodega, washer/dryer and done lots and lots of fixes to plumbing and electrical.   I know that’s not a good idea, but I can’t help but make myself comfortable.

Jim is working on some finishes in our Boquete house, preparing it for sale.  He joined me here in late February for his birthday, then on to the US for business, and back to Panama to continue work on our house.   When he is finished the project he will return to San Miguel, where we will stay through November.  We will have had a full  year’s experience by then, and will decide whether to split our time 1/2 Panama and 1/2 Mexico, or choose one or the other full time.

Becky the Boston Terrier came with me…we survived the cold weather and are now (in mid-March) enjoying the warm.

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A few days after I arrived I celebrated my 75th birthday.   As someone said “If I’d known I would live this long I’d taken better care of myself”.   But this special day was full of surprises.

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My cousin Joy, who moved to Panama 6 years ago, came with me when I moved.  She fell in love with SMA too, and bought a cute condo on a beautiful garden with a river at the bottom.   After trips to see her family in SFO and a trip to Spain with her best friend from childhood, Donna, she will return to SMA to close on and occupy her new condo.  We had a big BOOM the other day, and the whole house shook…turns out a condo under construction across the river from Joy’s condo, had a gas explosion.

Gas explosion across the river from Joy’s new condo in San Miguel

Our wonderful driver Roman is a fabulous guy.  He’s a professional baseball player in northern Mexico, and returns to San Miguel (SMA for short) in off season.  He helped me renovate the house by handling all the subcontractors for me, he took me to buy my car, get my driver’s license, etc. etc. etc.   In return, Jim gave him golf lessons.   Here are some Roman shots:

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There are many things I love about SMA, not the least of which is the FOOD!!  There’s a nearby fabulous upscale mall with great restaurants in it, including PF Chang’s.

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Not only is the food (and ambiance and service) in restaurants a joy here, but there’s music everywhere all the time.

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So….we look forward to posting lots of news in the future, as life develops here in SMA!

Posted by: pennyinparadise | January 21, 2018

Mexico – San Miguel de Allende & Dolores Hidalgo

San Miguel de Allende was the frosting on the cake!!!   We fell in love with it.  Culture galore!   Great restaurants, art galleries, museums, theaters, music….really great.   We had a great Airbnb condo.

Our Airbnb in San Miguel

Map of San Miguel Centro

Entrance to our Airbnb

Some street scenes, churches and buildings in Centro, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are in the gallery below:

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The homes in San Miguel are mostly behind walls with courtyards and beautiful interiors.  Here are a few photos of some homes.

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There are various hot mineral baths in the area….our favorite is La Gruta (the grotto).  Acres of beautiful lawns and gardens, restaurants and pools.   The pools run from medium to warm to hot.   You can spend the entire day there…it’s a fabulous experience.

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One of the highlights of our visit to SMA was the huge variety of restaurants and the wonderful food and courteous and prompt service.

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Of course, no vacation is complete with golf, so we played a couple of times in San Miguel.   My favorite course is Ventanas (Windows), which is a Nick Faldo designed course.   One hole had 12 sand traps in front of the green!!

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Besides great food and art, there is great music everywhere.   And, an occasional horse.

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About an hour away from SMA is Dolores Hidalgo….birthplace of Mexican National Independence and where they make the colorful Talavera pottery.  En route is Los Laboradores development, which is lovely and unusual.

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Posted by: pennyinparadise | January 21, 2018

Mexico – Guadalajara, Tequila, Talaquapaque, Tonala & Ajijic

After leaving Puerto Vallerta we flew to Guadalajara, where we stayed in a lovely condo in a great part of the city.  Beautiful homes, restaurants and the US Embassy.

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There are 2 private trains that take you to the town of Tequilla (yes, with 2 ll’s) where the liquor was invented hundreds of years ago by indigenous peoples when they discovered the Blue Agave, when burned in the fire and left to ferment, created a mood altering beverage which they named after their town.   Now there are hundreds of thousands of acres of Blue Agave grown in this area.   The 2 trains are Jose Cuervo (means Crow in Spanish) and Herradura (means horseshoe in Spanish).

We boarded the train in a big, modern terminal and had a ball en route to the Herradura factory, which has been in business for over 100 years.  The brand was bought by Brown Foreman, but the family still lives on property in the big mansion.   The trip included lots of different tequila drink recipes on the way there and back.  We got a very comprehensive tour, followed by a lunch and show by a huge troupe of Mariachi musicians and costumed dancers.   GREAT fun.

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Another day we drive to Tolana, a small town of crafts and arts, near Guadalajara.  Another day we visited Talaqapaque where artists abound.  Our driver, Miguel, was entertaining and educational.  Like Chicago had COWS, Toronto had MOOSE, New Orleans has FISH and Ocala has HORSES…..Talaqapaque has PIGS….and Jim kissed them all!

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Not far from the Guadalajara Airport is a HUGE lake called Lake Chapala with several small towns around it.   We visited Ajijic, which is a charming little town on the lake, which is 65 miles long and 30 miles wide.

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Posted by: pennyinparadise | January 21, 2018

Mexico – Puerto Vallarta & Bucerias

This year our vacation trip was to Mexico.   First, to Puerto Vallerta, or more accurately to Bucerias (a coastal village 10 miles north of PV).   We stayed in an ocean front condo with a lovely swimming pool, which was greatly appreciated.   Even in October PV is hotter than hell and you either have to spend mid-day inside in A/C or in the pool or ocean.

Bucerias is a quaint little village with good restaurants and shops…we had a great time.

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A couple of highlights to this first leg of our trip were:

TERI & DON MURRAY…..years ago when I first moved to Panama, I enjoyed the friendship of this couple who were world wide adventurers.   After leaving Boquete they moved to Brazil for a while and then to Orcas Island.   We lost touch in the last few years.  So Jim and I are walking down the street in Bucerias and I hear my name….and there are Don & Teri Murray just pulling away from the curb from the restaurant where they had breakfast.  YES….after all these years, on the street of a small town in Mexico, we run into each other.   I forgot they had lived here years ago and started a bakery called Pie In The Sky, which they sold to people who now have 5 stores.  If you want a fun read about some of their adventures, you can get their book PIE IN THE SKY ADVENTURES from Amazon.

Teri and Don Murray at the Marina in Bucerias

Jim and Don at favorite ExPat hangout

One day we treated ourselves to a luxury game of golf and overnight at the Four Seasons Resort and Golf at Punta Mita.   It was SO HOT that a guy came around every 3 holes with ice water neck scarfs and bottled water.   This course was designed by Jack Nicklaus and is only available to guests of the hotel or residents.   It has the ONLY naturally occurring island green on earth.

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Posted by: pennyinparadise | December 24, 2017

Boquete’s Flower & Coffee Faire 2018

For years Boquete has created a Flower & Coffee Fair.

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