Differences between Panama and Scotland

Panama has some of the newest mountains in the world. Scotland has the oldest mountains on Earth, part of a granite chain linking Norway, Scotland and the Appalachian mountains in the US.

In Panamanian hardware store Do It Center, they sell MACHETES, unsheathed, on the bottom shelf. That’s the bottom shelf, where kiddies can reach them! In Scotland selling of any knife sharper than one from a cutlery set is banned to under 16s. Guess which country has the higher incidence of knife crime?

Panama has bright green parrots, toucans, spoonbills, ibises, pelicans. Scotland has great crested grebes, goldfinches, pheasants and golden eagles. Hang on, when I have ever seen a golden eagle? Perhaps once in my whole life. The birds are not shy of people in Panama, so even most of the spectacular ones are sighted frequently. The notable exception being the rare Harpy Eagle.

Panama has tropical palm trees, rainforests and trees with buttressed trunks. Scotland has pine forests and deciduous woodland. Both Panama and Scotland are equally beautiful, but in very different ways.

Tree with buttressed trunk, Panama

Crocodiles, agoutis and coati mundis are common sightings in Panama. Foxes are common sightings in urban Scotland, red deer in rural Scotland. Wild cats are there as well, but practically never seen, similarly the ocelot of Panama. A panther was reported outside a friend’s house a couple of weeks ago – what I would give to see one of them!

Panamanian bin men collect your rubbish if you pay them enough money. Scottish bin men collect your rubbish when they feel like it – but only if you take your bin to the bottom of the lane, mind!

Panama is hot every single day. Scotland is hot occasionally.

Panama keeps law and order with armed police (I think they have Kalashnikovs – something serious like that, anyway) and spot passport checks. Not much fun, but the place does feel safe. Scotland keeps law and order by sending police out for nice little drives, either in cars with the word ‘Community’ plastered all over them, or in trucks with riot windshields. The police are almost never spotted on foot in Scotland whereas in Panama they make regular foot patrols.

In Panama we are plagued by ants. In Scotland midges are notorious – but at least they don’t invade your house like the ants do! I have just eliminated every last ant from our house using copious amounts of washing up liquid. Just this morning I was fighting off flying ants from the roof of our patio. (With a large broom and more washing up liquid, just to give you the full picture!).

That’s enough from me for now. There are ants to be annihilated….

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