Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Panama City!

I've been on the road for 3 weeks today! I've been in Panama for a little over a week. Overall it's been beautiful. Costa Rica was amazing, but I have been enjoying the variety of Panama. I started in Panama City and was there for four days. Just walking around and soaking up Casco Viejo--the old part of the city--was one of my favorite things. It is such a mixture down there. When the city expanded the rich moved out and it became basically a slum. Now though, some of it is being restored, some of it remains beautifully delapidated and some buildings have remained just as brilliant as they were a hundred years ago. I love the fact that you can find a colonial church, Havana-esque crumbling buildings, boutique restaurants and even the Panamanian White House within the same block.

One night I also took in their National Theatre and went to an opera. The orchestra was great, the surroundings were fabulous, but the singing and especially the acting were right out of a high school production. And there was some kind of mental dissonance hearing Mozart in Panama City--it felt like I should be listening to some salsa instead. For 10 bucks though, it was a great experience!

In the city I also went to the old ruins of the Spanish city from way back in the 1500s. It wasn't Rome, but it was interesting enough. Probably the most interesting part though was my taxi driver who agreed to take me there, wait for me to see the ruins and then take me back. He offered half the price of another taxi, so I said OK. When we got there I double checked to make sure that he was going to wait for me, when he said no--he was going with me, as my guide. OK, whatever.

When we got inside he told me that even though he was from PC he had never ever been to the ruins. (As you can see, he was a great guide.) Anyway, I think I taught him more than he taught me, but it was entertaining nonetheless.

The canal, conquoring the Red Devils, and spending one of the mornings walking Ave. Central/Espana rounded out a nice stay in the capital.

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