This post is based on a visit taken more than ten years ago but I decided to visit my photographs since my planned trip for 2020 was postponed because of the current pandemic. I was looking forward to seeing some of the changes since I was there such as a subway system, to see the area where Americans lived before the management of the Canal was handed over to the Panamanian government and to see the cruise port. During this visit there were many areas of development where communities were being built some of the houses were already completed and many seemed to be nearing completion.
My friend from Panama was contemplating returning there to reside permanently so he invited us to visit and see the country. A group (family ) of us went; it is so good when you go with someone who is knowledgeable of the place and you get a chance to really interact with the natives and visit places not usually visited by tourists.. I am not sure what I expected but found the place to be quite modern with many high rise buildings and decent roadways. One thing I realized very quickly ia that I would not drive there. It brought back memories of my visit to Mexico where traffic just seemed to be speeding all the time and it appeared that to survive you have to be an aggressive driver. The thing that struck me immediately was how overly decorated the buses were. I was concerned about visibility as in some instances even the windows were decorated but they were beautiful though. I understand they are no longer that decorated.
The food was very familiar to us as it reminded me of those we were accustomed to eating in Jamaica. Platanos (fried plantains) is very common and Corvina (fish) were definately my favorites. We drove a little out of the city over the Bridge of the Americas to Vera Cruz on the beach to have fresh seafood at one of their restaurants. It would appear that every time you saw us we were coming out of a restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We dined at some of the local restaurants that was not formal and patronized by the local residents. All I can say is the food was excellent.
We visited a theme park on a hill Mi Pueblito which had replicas of colonial and indigenous buildings and exhibits of Panamanian folkore. We had a Panoramic view of the old city which included the sight where Manuel Noriega held battles.
Shopping is very popular there as people from the Caribbean often visited to purchase goods for their businesses. Panama seemed famous for table linens (embroidered and decorated) and for the quality, fairly reasonably priced. Needless to mention I purchased a few items. We attended a folklore show where the entertainers were dressed in their national dresses.
We went to the MiraFlores locks. When the lock is closed it creates a pathway that you are able to walk over to go down to where the operations are an area I call the engine room. We were warned not to look down but I did not realize at first that we were crossing over the locks. There were rails there anyway.
in the center distance is a mule that runs on tracks alongside the locks. To the right is a vessel making its way through. Members of my group making their way.
The mule which is a locomotive train that guides large ships through to prevent damage to the locks.
We also drove to Portobelo to visit the church of Saint Felipe where the statue of The Cristobal Negro (black Jesus) is housed. The Catholics celebrate a festival where the statue is included in the parade. There are several stories around the origin and how it ended in Portobelo. There are several robes worn for the different celebrations.
We made a brief stop at the Portobelo ruins which is the fortification that protected the port. Many of the cannons remain intact.
On our way back we stopped for a dip in the ocean and of course at a restaurant on a cliff where we could see fishermen carrying their lobsters. We visited a nightclub where we enjoyed both popular familiar rhythms as well as salsa. We enjoyed two nights of parties hosted by friends particularly for us. Looking forward to the next visit.