Sunday, June 21, 2009

Return to Panama

Arrived back in tropical mountainous Panama a few days ago from flat and sandy St. Pete Beach, Florida. Have some shopping done so we don't have to 'live' at the marina restaurant. Also, a big thing, was to purchase a card to add $15 air time to our cell phone. They come in denominational varieties like $5, 10, 15 and I guess much more, but I was only able to procure a $15 dollar card. It gives us 150 minutes of local airtime (10 cents/min.). Not sure but I think it costs about $.25/min. for U.S. calls.

Amazingly tall Royal palm, perfectly straight and UP, UP and Out'a Sight!.

The flight from Orlando was unimpressive except for the Real Food, Copas Airlines serves! Boy is it nice to get something tasty and relatively filling, rather than a 1/4 bag of peanuts or some toxic blend of chemically treated soy and corn syrup treats that I wouldn't feed to my dog! Dorothy even thought to sign in for a Fruit Plate during her online purchase of the tickets and it was a really nice presentation. Real food with adequate quantity to satisfy and make nearby passengers a bit envious of her selection :)

Anything 'but' straight was this huge tree and many of these were in this area.

No real time was spent in Panama City, Panama, the base for their International Airport, but we did stay overnight and toured

Even the ant hills are big down here!

the Casa Viejo (the Old part of the original Spanish city.) briefly the next morning. Not much left after hundreds of years except the external walls of many buildings.

The exceptions are some incredibly degraded old buildings still acting as housing for the poor and maybe 10% restored structures housing new business ventures.

So many were vacant shells. I suppose there has been a "buying up" of this historical area by the rich as well as developers that allow them to be brought down to this stripped condition and then let sit idle until it looks like money can be made by a rebuild.

Many other old buildings just house the poor. We were told the crime rate just a block outside an imaginary like a block from were we were dropped off is a serious threat to tourists and locals alike. With poverty as high as it seems in this area, it is not a surprise.

In all countries we have been to, there are churches and cathedrals of old that still stand modestly preserved.

The wealth of the towns and cities have disappeared, but what money is left seems to have been shared to keep these monuments intact. Casa Viejo is an interesting area, that I know I could spend a few busy days with my camera in hand.

Roofs rotted and leaking, doors missing, railings with missing sections, but life goes on for those trapped by their surroundings.

Dorothy was able to get some shots and sorry to say a setting was incorrect on many but we have enough to present until the next time we explore the area.

Before we flew out of Panama City's little airport, the one for local puddle jumpers and helicopters, we walked around the area near our B&B and took a few shots of the natural surroundings. It's amazing to me, originally a kid from NYC, to now have the opportunity to be in some untouched landscape. The vegetation comes on all variations and as the photos here show, they can be extremely tall, straight and thin, or tall, curvy and fat!

Casca Viejo is the outermost portion of the city in this shot.

By early afternoon we were on a 30 seater on AeroPearlas headed to Bocas del Toro. Shortly thereafter, aboard our boat, we did some unpacking and then enjoyed a cocktail or two before dinner.
Life is Good.., as stated on the shirt my mother in law recently gave me!

Gold, gold and more gold. Probably not all gold, but sure looks impressive to me, so I can imagine how it impressed the indigenous Indians the priests were trying to convert.

The boat looked wonderful and I am thankful to the climate here and certainly to the marine staff who washed it. Everything seems to work aboard, which is 'even nicer'.

The future look of the Old City.

We DO have a mysterious color showing up in our otherwise drinking water clear bilge water. It started months ago and looked like ginger ale. It was.

Old abandoned apartment house. New tenant.

Dorothy found nearly 3 cases of expensive/health food store variety of Ginger Ale packed away, who's cans had over the 'years', begun to leak into the bilge....hence the discoloring of the water. However, the color now seen looks like chocolate.

Hmmmm. I found the source and will write more later... It's a good story.

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