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Part 1

Panama City, Taboga Island and the Panama Canal


Anand was nice enough to come in the early hours of the snowing morning to take us to the airport.  Six to eight inches of snow fell that morning. Deicing the plane.


In Panama City, we walked down Avenida Central, the main shopping area.  Here they're selling medicinal herbs. The big ones are aloe. This is a strange fruit that I've never seen before, for sale on the streets of Panama.  I asked the name of it, but didn't write it down.


Authentic chicheme for sale here.  It's pretty good--it's like a thick blended sweet corn drink, with vanilla and other spices. We'd lost our compass (very handy for finding your way around a city), and bought a new one from Joseph Berger, a Polish immigrant who runs a army/navy store.  Very friendly guy.


Here's another strange fruit we tried.  Probably wouldn't try it again, but it was interesting.  The outside looks like a small round eggplant, and the inside is filled with large seeds with an edible pulp around them.  It left a strange gummy paste on my lips. This is in the Casco Viejo section of Panama city.  It's the old colonial part of the city, with lots of tourist potential, but it's also very dangerous because of gang activity.  We were pretty nervous when walking around, and finally decided to get out when a police officer on a bike gave us detailed instructions on where to go and where not to go.


Many of the buildings were empty shells, although Eric thought he saw families living in them. The cathedral.


Plaza de la Independencia Eric at an old abandoned military building, with a view of the financial district.


You can see the cops in the shade here.  They told us they were there to prevent criminals from taking over the building.


Old colonial street Calle de Pacifico.  Many young couples hung around here, sitting on the benches.


The ruins of an old convent. Outside the San Jose Church (it has a famous golden altar that didn't look too impressive to us), we met a group of young kids who wanted to have their pictures taken.  Just from looking at their poses, with the menacing gestures on the part of the boys, they seem very influenced by the world of gangs and rap videos.




This is a street the police officer who was warning us about the area told us definitely not to go into. Many of the local buses were very colorfully painted.


Writing up notes in our hotel room at the Hotel Covadonga.  It seemed pretty basic at first, but after we got back from the provinces, it felt deluxe! The next day we took a trip out to Taboga Island, an island inside the Bay of Panama.  The ferry went through the last part of the Panama Canal, and under the Puente de las Americas (Bride of the Americas) which is part of the Pan-American highway .


On Taboga Island, there's an overlook where you can see all the ships waiting to go through the Canal. This was our hotel room (Hotel Chu) on Taboga island.  Pretty basic, but clean and friendly.


The sitting area at the front of the hotel had a definite 50's style, plastic covered couches and all. This was the first of these little dugout canoes that we were to see everywhere.  They're tiny!
EricAndSylvia  |  Pictures  |  Panama  |  Part 1   <<< 1 2 3 4  All >>> © 2013 Eric Vasilik