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Part 3

El Valle, More Carnival in Las Tables, Petroglyphs in Nancito, Boquete


After Penonome, we went to El Valle, a town in the cool mountain interior.  We stayed at Los Capitanes, run by Manfried Koch, a retired civilian sea captain.  He was a charming man who told us many stores about his life as a captain, how he came to be in Panama, and how he lived now.  The mountain in the back is called "La India Dormida", or the sleeping Indian. The nearby petroglyphs--pretty crazy and garbled--are a local attraction.  I wasn't that thrilled, though, because they've been painted over with latex paint, "so that you can see them better", as the boy we hired to take us to them told us.  It ruined the appeal for me, though.


The boy on the right showed us up to the petroglyphs... ...and a local waterfall.


Afterwards, we went on a walk in the area and found this beautiful wooded pasture area. Leaf-cutter ants carrying leaves and blossoms home to their nest.


Boys playing soccer in the evening. The front lawn of a nearby resort.  This is a ritzy area, close enough for the wealthy from Panama City to come for the weekend.


Lots of luxurious houses... The next morning, Manfried brought bread from the local market.


We visited the market as well.  Good prices on citrus fruits and handicrafts. We bought some molas, a colorful multi-layered appliqué sewn by a Kuna Indians.  Their women wear a distinctive dress, which includes beads wrapped around the forearm and calf, a mola sewn to their blouse, front and back, a longish skirt, and often a gold nose ring.


These look like miniature furniture, doesn't it?  It's not miniature, it's just very roughly hewn wood.  You could buy a set like this for about $150.  Of course, shipping to the US would be another story.


Near Santa Clara we found the ruins of an old Panamanian army base, which was destroyed in the US invasion in 1989.


Later we went to the Carnival celebrations in the town of Las Tablas, supposedly the best in the country.  We learned that unless you're going to be here the full 4 days of Carnival, you really need to plan your trip for when things are happening.  We wanted to see the impressive floats we've heard about, but that was another day.  We did see huge crowds of really drunk very young people.


We asked a soldier, who was patrolling the streets, where we could go to photograph some floats.  He asked his commanding officer, who assigned 3 soldiers to accompany us to an area where some floats were. Having an army escort was cool!


Floats, and other Carnival scenes.




As we were walking with our army escort, a guy on the street dropped a dollar bill.  The officer in charge picked it up and returned it to him, probably expecting a "thank you".  They got into a little discussion that I didn't understand too well, and  apparently the guy made an insulting comment to the officer.  This was the end of our army escort.  They were fully occupied in dealing with this guy. A shave ice vendor on the right, with the red cart.


Drunken guys carrying a cooler of beer around. A bank building has its windows boarded up in anticipation of rowdy crowds.
EricAndSylvia  |  Pictures  |  Panama  |  Part 3   <<< 1 2 3 4  All >>> © 2013 Eric Vasilik