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Author Topic: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)  (Read 767 times)

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Offline Hector_Lavoe

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Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« on: March 17, 2017, 06:02:06 PM »
I recently came back from a trip to Panama City, Panama and as a city/place it is fantastic! I absolutely get why it is so popular among expats from North America. The place is a vibrant tropical metropolis with gleaming modern skyscrapers and a modern infrastructure (including the first & only subway in Central America).

A ONE WOMAN TRIP:
This was more or less a "one woman" trip as I was there to visit a woman I met two years ago in Nicaragua. Yeah, I am open to any constructive criticism as I had previously written her off due mostly to some family related issues which are out of her control. She moved from her native Nicaragua to Panama about 18 months ago for better economic opportunity. The "evangelical" influence of her mother was a non-issue in Panama since she her Mom does NOT live there. Two of her sisters also live in Panama but they are very normal/cool people.

We kept in touch off and on over the past two years. She had been in a relationship with a local guy until the very end of last year. The guys down there get away with MURDER! The guy she was with was a control freak and absolutely "cheating" on her. Cheating in quotes because to him it wasn't cheating, he was just doing what guys do. Suffice it to say, all that machismo stuff boils down to 100% weakness in my opinion. The wimp had the audacity to tell her he'd "hit" her if she ever left him AND he would constantly take her cell phone from her to "check" her messages and even reply to messages for her. He was a jealous fool who deep down knew he did not deserve her. I am not anything spectacular but I've seen pictures of the guy...he looks like a weasel. And when she did finally break it off with the guy, the piece of sh&t did hit her in the arm (hard enough to give her a small bruise).

Is that enough drama for you?

She had always wanted me to come back for Trip No. 2. I recently hit 50 and she is 26. I just figured I ain't getting any younger. I've been on numerous trips over the past several years and this lady is the one that I could never forget. So as we re-connected I figured why the hell not take a chance? Her thoughts/words to me could be roughly summarized as: 

"Well we had a nice chemistry before. Why don't you come visit me in Panama City? I always felt you are the type of man I would like to be with for the long-term. The only way we will both know for sure is if you come to visit me."

This is a glamour shot of her (to be deleted in the near future):


BRIEF CITY REVIEW:
With the Panama Canal only 15 minutes from the city center, Panama City is an international hub of trade and immigration. Yes, the street traffic is INSANE during the week but the roughly 1.5 million metro area packs a punch.


Skyline View from bayfront park

The very urbanized capital is stacked with gleaming high rises between chic clubs, hotels and restaurants.  A center of international banking and trade, the sultry skyline has echoes of Miami. By contrast, the peninsula of “Casco Viejo” (the Old Quarter), a 5 minute cab/uber ride from the modern city center, has been transformed from a neighborhood of urban decay and crime into a thriving colonial neighborhood. Cobblestones streets link newly restored boutique hotels with salsa clubs and rum bars.


The Casco Viejo (Old Quarter)

In the midst of all the concrete canyons, you can escape to the “Parque Natural Metropolitano” which is a rain forest a mere 20 minutes from the city center. On a hill north of downtown, this 650-acre (or 265-hectares) park protects vast expanses of tropical forest within the city limits and serves as a wilderness escape from the city center. There are two main walking trails, the Nature Trail and the Tití Monkey Trail, which join to form one long loop. At the top of the trail, the mirador (“lookout”) offers panoramic views of Panama City, the bay and in the other direction almost untouched verdant rolling hills.


Skyline view from Parque Natural


Parque Natural

Along the urbanized bayfront the city has built a greenbelt of pedestrian paths and bike paths that hug the waterfront. This is a gathering place for families, bicyclists and joggers. Really a beautiful spot to take in the sunset. The weather is tropical. I was there in the "dry season" (Dec. to April). The weather is hot and humid during the day but quite pleasant in the evenings.

Last but not least, the Panama Canal is only about 15 minutes from the city center (assuming no traffic). An engineering wonder of the world with a tragic and interesting back story.
 

THE WOMEN:

While I was there to meet one woman I still wanted to have a Plan B in case the whole thing fell apart. For a metro area of only 1.5 million people, this place packs a punch with regards to its urban amenities: parks, museums, restaurants, hotels and its very own subway. HOWEVER, Panama City appears to punch below its weight in terms of the ladies. Just not nearly as many hot women as you'd expect to see in a city with so much wealth (relatively speaking). The cutest women you'll meet there are very likely women from Venezuela or Colombia. Granted I am basing this on a my very unscientific observations of just under one week there.

Plan B ended up not being necessary but you can meet women here: many good malls, bars, restaurants, etc.   

Without getting too much into details, we hit it off pretty good. I still think I am nuts due to the age difference and yes her family is a bit of a wild card. But as long as they are in Nicaragua I don't care.

Just before we re-connected I met a 28 year old Latina here in the U.S.A. She was born in Florida and honestly she is also marriage material. We hit it off pretty good too. The "local" Latina is definitely ballpark to my Nica/Panama City girl with regards to looks, etc. On "paper" I should go with the local girl as she is here, she has a college degree, we share a North American culture, and she couldn't possibly be into me for a green card (she is a U.S. Citizen).

All that said, I just really dig the Nica more. Can't really say why, I just do. I've not yet bought my return ticket to Panama but she is expecting me to come back soon and I am planning to go back soon.

 






« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 06:19:30 PM by Hector_Lavoe »

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2017, 06:44:03 PM »
I recently came back from a trip to Panama City, Panama and as a city/place it is fantastic! I absolutely get why it is so popular among expats from North America. The place is a vibrant tropical metropolis with gleaming modern skyscrapers and a modern infrastructure (including the first & only subway in Central America).

A ONE WOMAN TRIP:
This was more or less a "one woman" trip as I was there to visit a woman I met two years ago in Nicaragua. Yeah, I am open to any constructive criticism as I had previously written her off due mostly to some family related issues which are out of her control. She moved from her native Nicaragua to Panama about 18 months ago for better economic opportunity. The "evangelical" influence of her mother was a non-issue in Panama since she her Mom does NOT live there. Two of her sisters also live in Panama but they are very normal/cool people.

We kept in touch off and on over the past two years. She had been in a relationship with a local guy until the very end of last year. The guys down there get away with MURDER! The guy she was with was a control freak and absolutely "cheating" on her. Cheating in quotes because to him it wasn't cheating, he was just doing what guys do. Suffice it to say, all that machismo stuff boils down to 100% weakness in my opinion. The wimp had the audacity to tell her he'd "hit" her if she ever left him AND he would constantly take her cell phone from her to "check" her messages and even reply to messages for her. He was a jealous fool who deep down knew he did not deserve her. I am not anything spectacular but I've seen pictures of the guy...he looks like a weasel. And when she did finally break it off with the guy, the piece of sh&t did hit her in the arm (hard enough to give her a small bruise).

Is that enough drama for you?

She had always wanted me to come back for Trip No. 2. I recently hit 50 and she is 26. I just figured I ain't getting any younger. I've been on numerous trips over the past several years and this lady is the one that I could never forget. So as we re-connected I figured why the hell not take a chance? Her thoughts/words to me could be roughly summarized as: 

"Well we had a nice chemistry before. Why don't you come visit me in Panama City? I always felt you are the type of man I would like to be with for the long-term. The only way we will both know for sure is if you come to visit me."

This is a glamour shot of her (to be deleted in the near future):


BRIEF CITY REVIEW:
With the Panama Canal only 15 minutes from the city center, Panama City is an international hub of trade and immigration. Yes, the street traffic is INSANE during the week but the roughly 1.5 million metro area packs a punch.


Skyline View from bayfront park

The very urbanized capital is stacked with gleaming high rises between chic clubs, hotels and restaurants.  A center of international banking and trade, the sultry skyline has echoes of Miami. By contrast, the peninsula of “Casco Viejo” (the Old Quarter), a 5 minute cab/uber ride from the modern city center, has been transformed from a neighborhood of urban decay and crime into a thriving colonial neighborhood. Cobblestones streets link newly restored boutique hotels with salsa clubs and rum bars.


The Casco Viejo (Old Quarter)

In the midst of all the concrete canyons, you can escape to the “Parque Natural Metropolitano” which is a rain forest a mere 20 minutes from the city center. On a hill north of downtown, this 650-acre (or 265-hectares) park protects vast expanses of tropical forest within the city limits and serves as a wilderness escape from the city center. There are two main walking trails, the Nature Trail and the Tití Monkey Trail, which join to form one long loop. At the top of the trail, the mirador (“lookout”) offers panoramic views of Panama City, the bay and in the other direction almost untouched verdant rolling hills.


Skyline view from Parque Natural


Parque Natural

Along the urbanized bayfront the city has built a greenbelt of pedestrian paths and bike paths that hug the waterfront. This is a gathering place for families, bicyclists and joggers. Really a beautiful spot to take in the sunset. The weather is tropical. I was there in the "dry season" (Dec. to April). The weather is hot and humid during the day but quite pleasant in the evenings.

Last but not least, the Panama Canal is only about 15 minutes from the city center (assuming no traffic). An engineering wonder of the world with a tragic and interesting back story.
 

THE WOMEN:

While I was there to meet one woman I still wanted to have a Plan B in case the whole thing fell apart. For a metro area of only 1.5 million people, this place packs a punch with regards to its urban amenities: parks, museums, restaurants, hotels and its very own subway. HOWEVER, Panama City appears to punch below its weight in terms of the ladies. Just not nearly as many hot women as you'd expect to see in a city with so much wealth (relatively speaking). The cutest women you'll meet there are very likely women from Venezuela or Colombia. Granted I am basing this on a my very unscientific observations of just under one week there.

Plan B ended up not being necessary but you can meet women here: many good malls, bars, restaurants, etc.   

Without getting too much into details, we hit it off pretty good. I still think I am nuts due to the age difference and yes her family is a bit of a wild card. But as long as they are in Nicaragua I don't care.

Just before we re-connected I met a 28 year old Latina here in the U.S.A. She was born in Florida and honestly she is also marriage material. We hit it off pretty good too. The "local" Latina is definitely ballpark to my Nica/Panama City girl with regards to looks, etc. On "paper" I should go with the local girl as she is here, she has a college degree, we share a North American culture, and she couldn't possibly be into me for a green card (she is a U.S. Citizen).

All that said, I just really dig the Nica more. Can't really say why, I just do. I've not yet bought my return ticket to Panama but she is expecting me to come back soon and I am planning to go back soon.
Thanks for the trip report. Nice that you have options. Just remember long distance relationships are more difficult. You can't be sure the Nica is exclusive with you so feel free to follow up with the 28 year old here while keeping options with the Nica open too...

Offline Elexpatriado

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2017, 07:05:45 PM »
Your not scared of the nut ball jealous boyfriend?


Ex boyfriends can be wacky. These Latinos want all the women to themselves..

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2017, 07:05:45 PM »

Offline buencamino3

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2017, 08:00:29 PM »
Really terrific report Hector and great photos. I was there in 1999 for a Spanish class with home stay. I do remember it was hot and muggy. The girl is gorgeous.
Hermosamente feliz

Offline Awesome

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2017, 08:04:17 AM »
Great trip report and fotos!

You must be a decent looking 50 year old if you have a 28 year old educated gringa wanting you.  That would put you light years ahead of scrubs like expat and bc.

Offline robert angel

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2017, 09:20:49 AM »
Great trip report! The pictures match! Once again, it shows that putting in your time and not burning your bridges if things don't go exactly perfect, can really pay off. Good think---err, appropriate typo there, but meant good 'thing' you followed up.

Sometimes you gotta keep following that dream. Sometimes you don't know you've seen what's probably the 'best' until you've seen more of the rest. Took me 4 stupid ass years, traveling the globe, spinning my wheels, dating too many 'not quite rights.' I was also putting road blocks in my own head. It's one thing and a good one to see 'red flags' but another thing to worry about things that in the big picture, don't exist or otherwise don't really matter. But I was going nowhere in reality, before I came full circle and married my wife, who I'd met so long before, and through personal introduction at that....

Where your lady lives presently seems to be better for her head than before. With some TLC in a new environment with you having her back, probably helping her grow new roots here and learn English, it sounds really good. Yea, sounds like it's not all a totally 'done deal' yet, but sounds like the cake's about baked and that the recipe's great!

But hey, this is about YOU and HER and thanks again for giving P-L a great report!

https://www.google.com/search?q=van+halen+that%27s+what+dreams+are+made+of&oq=van+halen+that&aqs=chrome.3.69i57j0l3.7726j0j4&client=tablet-android-samsung&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#mie=e,,van%20halen%20that's%20what%20dreams%20are%20made%20of,H4sIAAAAAAAAAONgVuLRT9c3LDTNyCvKLUx6xOjJLfDyxz1hKYdJa05eY7Ti4grOyC93zSvJLKkU0uFig7KUuASkUDRqMEjxcaGI8AAATWyVTFwAAAA

Dreams
Van Halen
Lyrics
World turns black and white
Pictures in an empty room
Your love starts fallin down
Better change your tune, yeah
Reach for the golden ring
Reach for the sky
Baby just spread your wings
We'll get higher and higher
Straight up we'll climb
We'll get higher and higher
Leave it all behind
Run, run, run away
Like a train runnin off the track
Got the truth gets left behind
Falls between the cracks
Standing on broken dreams
Never losin' sight, ah
Spread your wings
We'll get higher and higher
Straight up we'll climb
We'll get higher and higher
Leave it all behind
So baby dry your eyes, save all
The tears you've cried
Oh that's what dreams are made of
'Cause we belong in a world that must be strong
Oh that's what dreams are made of
We'll get higher and higher
Straight up… Full lyrics on Google Play Music
Whether you think you can or think you can't--you're right!

Offline iambboy8012

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2017, 01:33:51 PM »
Yes great trip report, liked the pictures, actually the view of the city made me want to visit!

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2017, 09:13:41 PM »
Hector one thing to find out with the Nica is if her family is at all financially dependent on her. If not, that's a major plus.

Offline robert angel

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2017, 11:56:20 PM »
There are more banks in Panama than there are in Switzerland
Whether you think you can or think you can't--you're right!

Offline Elexpatriado

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2017, 08:55:38 AM »
Great trip report and fotos!

You must be a decent looking 50 year old if you have a 28 year old educated gringa wanting you.  That would put you light years ahead of scrubs like expat and bc.

So I dont understand...this is some kind of contest and you are the Judge?

If so, you win the booby prize, with your fake Venezuelan fotos, taken in the bathtlroom  in grannies basement with $10 worth of Bolívares you picked up at the  money exchangre in the Galeria..LOL

Dont know why I even bother to respond to your trollish posts..I should leave it to RA with his multiparagraph vehement tirades against you..ja ..ha

Offline Hector_Lavoe

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2017, 12:14:45 PM »
Thanks for all the replies.

Hector one thing to find out with the Nica is if her family is at all financially dependent on her. If not, that's a major plus.

MC: She does send money home to her Mom. So that is an issue that we would have to clarify if I were to bring her back to the states. I am not about to become a credit card for her family, etc.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 12:16:16 PM by Hector_Lavoe »

Offline Elexpatriado

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2017, 12:23:40 PM »
Well you better make sure she works in the,states and sends her own money.If you expect her to be an "Ama,de Casa" and not contribute to her family like she always did, it wouldnt be fair to her, and most likely go over like a led baloon.

My guess is you will probably be supporting the family one way or another..even if it is indirectly. Of course you want to límit that.

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2017, 01:04:55 PM »
Thanks for all the replies.

MC: She does send money home to her Mom. So that is an issue that we would have to clarify if I were to bring her back to the states. I am not about to become a credit card for her family, etc.
You can try to clarify but once she's with a "rich" gringo her and mom's expectations are likely to go up. Sad but true....

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2017, 01:04:55 PM »

Offline Hector_Lavoe

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2017, 02:42:12 PM »
^Elex/M.C.:  You both make valid points. I have certainly thought about it and will have to clarify all of the above with her in due course.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 03:02:11 PM by Hector_Lavoe »

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2017, 03:26:11 PM »
^Elex/M.C.:  You both make valid points. I have certainly thought about it and will have to clarify all of the above with her in due course.


Be very careful how you breach that subject. Extremely delicate. The last thing you want her todo is think you ar resentful of her mom or family.


Might have to go througha little "fire and briomstne " before you come to a mutual understanding


Put yourself in her shoes.. she marries a guy that makes 10 times her income. Her one and only mother needs an operation,, or just  a new mattress.


Shes not going to think too much of you if you spend it on new golf clubs.Has to be some give and take.


Helping out lay -about brothers , sisters and cousins  and the like is where I would definitely draw the line. But there are always extenuating circumstances. Its not as easy as its made out , espescially if you are a guy with a big heart, who has compassion.








Offline Hector_Lavoe

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2017, 03:46:22 PM »
^Elex: Yep, good points.

When I was in Barranquilla at the end of 2016 I met a lady with a degree in law. 30 years old, no kids. She was beautiful too. Yet, here I am chasing after this girl. I must be a little bit crazy.....

Offline Hector_Lavoe

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2017, 03:58:09 PM »
Your not scared of the nut ball jealous boyfriend?

Ex boyfriends can be wacky. These Latinos want all the women to themselves..

Yeah, the thought did cross my mind. Lucky for this guy he is in Panama. I met this girl's brothers when I was in Nicaragua. They would break the guy in two pieces if they could get near him.

 

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2017, 04:01:31 PM »
Really terrific report Hector and great photos. I was there in 1999 for a Spanish class with home stay. I do remember it was hot and muggy. The girl is gorgeous.

Thanks B.C. Yes, it is hot and muggy. Very similar to Barranquilla. I did find the evenings to be reasonably comfortable.

I was there in the "dry" season so I imagine it is even worse during the wet season.

From what I hear the skyline has changed drastically since 1999. Wish I had been more focused on the region circa 1999. Better late to the party than never...
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 04:03:52 PM by Hector_Lavoe »

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2017, 05:20:06 PM »
Even if you did cover what she's now sending to her family in Nicaragua, jeez how much could it possibly be?  There's no way it could be more than $100 a week.  She could get a part-time job in the states and easily earn enough to maintain that level of support.


I know nothing about the rest of Panama, but I know the prices in the Panama City airport are outrageous.  I was there for a layover on my way to Medellin in November and a basic little sandwich and bottled water cost me like almost 15 bucks.

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2017, 06:02:36 PM »

Be very careful how you breach that subject. Extremely delicate. The last thing you want her todo is think you ar resentful of her mom or family.


Might have to go througha little "fire and briomstne " before you come to a mutual understanding


Put yourself in her shoes.. she marries a guy that makes 10 times her income. Her one and only mother needs an operation,, or just  a new mattress.


Shes not going to think too much of you if you spend it on new golf clubs.Has to be some give and take.


Helping out lay -about brothers , sisters and cousins  and the like is where I would definitely draw the line. But there are always extenuating circumstances. Its not as easy as its made out , espescially if you are a guy with a big heart, who has compassion.
+1. We gringos have to accept that these ladies parents are #1 to them. But we can and should be able to get away with refusing to support any other family members...

Offline Hector_Lavoe

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2017, 07:06:17 PM »
Even if you did cover what she's now sending to her family in Nicaragua, jeez how much could it possibly be?  There's no way it could be more than $100 a week.  She could get a part-time job in the states and easily earn enough to maintain that level of support.

Yes, she has probably done the math in her head. It would not be difficult to continue support her Mom and with less effort, if based in the U.S.A.


I know nothing about the rest of Panama, but I know the prices in the Panama City airport are outrageous.  I was there for a layover on my way to Medellin in November and a basic little sandwich and bottled water cost me like almost 15 bucks.

Yep, Panama City is by no means cheap. Much more expensive than most other places in Latin America.

According to this ranking it has the 6th highest cost of living in Latin America.
https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/index/latin-america

Fortunately for me the hotels right now are "cheap" because of over building in anticipation of the Panama Canal expansion.


Offline Hector_Lavoe

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Re: Trip Report: Panama City, Panama (Feb 2017)
« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2017, 08:10:59 AM »
Update: I made a second trip to visit this lady in April. And I have since pulled the plug on our continuing together. She is a good girl but my feelings about her changed. She was disappointed but we are still on good/friendly terms.


 




 

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