Archive for March 2010

Panama, part 2!

March 21, 2010

hello from panama! we landed here safe and sound late last night, and have recently returned from a motorboat tour of the Panama Canal!

I’m not sure why, but I think my post-Uganda trip brain expected Panama to be just like the US (or at least very similar) because I remembered it being surprisingly developed last time I was here. For the record, it’s not. At least Casco viejo, where we’re staying, isn’t. I forgot how interesting this neighborhood is – basically, you find beautifully restored historic buildings with colorful facades and iron-railed balconies juxtapositioned to abandoned, dilapidated houses with remnants of people’s belongings in them. Things are safe, but the inevitable Latin American cat-calling and yelling at women is still present, which I had forgotten about. Prices, at least in our neighborhood, are surprisingly high. Panama uses the American dollar as their currency, and I’ve paid pretty much the same prices for dinners and drinks as I would have in the US.

This is my first time returning to a place I’ve traveled to, and it’s been an interesting mix of remembering a number of things I had forgotten, and surprising myself with how much I remember from a year ago. For instance, I found our favorite breakfast place again today, where you can get some eggs and tea with sweetened condensed milk (GLORIOUS, in case you wouldn’t think so) for about a dollar, and there’s a happy round asian man who takes your order every morning. Spanish is coming back to me more than I expected it to, which is also exciting. I forgot a lot about the culture here, I think because this trip was sandwhiched between a trip to Peru and Uganda. In my head, I had decided that Panama had very little of its own culture, because those two countries bore their heritage and traditions so proudly and loudly, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the cultural differences I have found so far.

Anyway, tomorrow is a day of meetings and a long (but hopefully interesting) day! For now, it’s a bit more tea and internet time, and then we’re off for dinner and I hope some delicious mojitos!