Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Casco Viejo on Panamanian Mother’s Day

Daryll writes:

Yup that’s right, today (Wed. Dec 8th) is Mother’s Day in Panama.  It is a holiday with the city shutting down with only restaurants and corner stores open.  There was a torrential down pour last night so we wondered across the street from our Hotel for dinner.  Food and beer are cheap, be it in a grocery store or a restaurant; however still all relative.  “Note to self, need to take more pictures of our meals”.

We got up this morning to more rain and it hasn’t stopped all day.  A visit to Panama City wasn’t going to be complete without a visit to Casco Viejo; so despite the rain, we donned our rain gear and took a taxi over.  Being Mother’s Day and combined with the rain, there were very few people out and the streets seemed almost deserted except for the police on almost every corner which made us feel that much safer. Ang and I asked politely to have our pictures taken with two different police officers and I only noticed this after the fact and once we went through the photos we had taken during the course of the day – during our initial conversation with the police officers, they were extremely friendly, smiling and talkative, but once we pointed the camera at them, their facial expressions changed becoming more serious and their hand on their firearm.  Not sure what that was about.

Trigger Happy I

Trigger Happy II
Casco Viejo is the historic part of the city, established after the settlement of Panama Viejo was destroyed. Together they form one UNESCO World heritage site. Many old houses and buildings are already restored or in the process of being restored, but there are several old derelict buildings with just the facade standing with metal supports with an empty shell. Architectural beautiful buildings, the city combines old with new that seems weird at first glance, but makes for some great photos.

Old with New
As we wondered around the shoreline, it gave us a great vantage point of the “Bridge of the America’s”, the line of cargo ships waiting their turn to enter the Canal and the sprawling skyline of Panama City.  Passage through the Canal is based on weight and costs anywhere between $300K to $500K per vessel, so you can imagine the amount of revenue that is being generated on a daily basis.  I was surprised on the amount of development that is going on, on the waterfront of the city.  There are skyscrapers as far as the eye can see and the new Trump Tower is very evident amongst all the new buildings.

Bridge of the America's
The Trump Tower is the curved building that towers above the others
Due to the time it takes to load the bikes, we load them tomorrow afternoon and spend one night on board together with the Captain prior to the other passengers arriving on Dec. 10th when we set sail.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it stops raining by then. 

We’ll be out of contact for the next 6 days and hope to have another update once in Colombia.

New photos of Panama added to the photo album.
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