The lights of the city glistened and twinkled in the distance under a cloudless night sky as our select group gathered on a rooftop bar in the historic area of Panama City known as Casco Viejo.
Surrounded by history, the old quarter of Panama City has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage District and was the stage for a lively night of fun at the Tantalo Hotel and Rooftop bar. Views of the city skyline, combined with close up views of French and Spanish architecture in the neighborhood, and the cool tropical breezes coming in from the ocean, made this a perfect place to unwind.
I was at a special event being hosted as part of International Living’s Panama conference, one exclusively available to VIP attendees…including members of the Lifetime Society. This inner circle of elite IL readers got an opportunity to relax in an informal setting, enjoy a cocktail or two, and socialize with IL staff, conference speakers, and correspondents like myself, who live overseas and have a wealth of experience to share.
These potential expats had their questions answered and made new friends…and important contacts. One couple I spoke to, who were attending from Texas, said, “Talking with people living here is priceless. I get a better feel for the country.”
Conversations included the topics of visas and how to get them, buying property, the culture of Panama, cost of living, housing, and how to move. Another couple told me, “Having an event like this is great so that we can listen in on others’ conversations. We found out many of us have the same questions.”
More importantly though, the event gave the VIPs the ability to personally connect with the correspondents and speakers living in many different areas throughout Panama.
Of course, we’d met and mingled with the Lifetime Society members during the conference—the special VIP lounge at the event is a great place to do that as we chill out with complementary drinks and snacks. VIPs get to ask us questions, get advice, or just talk away from the crowds in a relaxed, informal setting.
By the way, these VIPs didn’t pay more to attend the conference…they actually paid less than the regular price, and got a 40% discount on any of the books, reports, and resources they bought while attending.
But while the daytime conference is essential for people who are serious about moving overseas to get the information they need, it’s at these members-only evening receptions the real connections are made…over cocktails and canapes.
On our rooftop bar looking out over Casco Viejo, as often happens, throughout the evening VIP members exchanged contact information with us editors, correspondents, and experts. Several members said they would come back to Panama for more of an exploratory trip, and of course many of us said we would love to show them around when they came.
Maybe one day I’ll meet you at a VIP cocktail reception, and we’ll make plans to show you the Panama I love.
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