The past couple of days have alternated between interesting and touristy to quite dull indeed.
Since the former is all you’re interested in, and I can’t imagine that many of you want to hear how due to minimized food and financial resources, I ate Cheerios for two meals on Sunday.
Sunday morning I ventured out to the Crossroads Bible Church and was reminded how much I love being with the body of Christ. After the service I headed to Panama Viejo.
This driving venture took me to a part of town I had never been before, but I studied a map and concluded that with a few turns, I could make it. And I did! I am officially thankful for my at least average sense of direction and ability to read maps.
So, for those of you not up on Panama history etc, (which I certainly was not, since this site didn’t find its way to my bucket list.) Panama Viejo is all that remains of the original Spanish settlement.
I’ll leave you to consult the internets and Wikipedia for exact information. Honestly, it was warm and humid and the prospect of trying to read signs with my tragified Spanish did not appeal to me. So, I think I remember something about the Spaniards building in the 1600s?
From the tower was a lovely view of downtown
You may (not in this low resolution) notice all the cranes on the towers. That would be because a surprising number of these skyscrapers are still under construction. My unexpected tour guide in Casco attributed the money behind such endeavors as courtesy of drug lords.
As a cultural side note, Panama’s role in the world of drug trafficking is interesting and evolving. The forested region in the Darien to the south, on the border of Colombia, is largely off-limits unless you’re hoping to run into drug traffickers and be shot. Although I’ll admit I haven’t encountered the drug scene at all, talking with people who have traveled with the Peace Corps and other aid organizations has brought up the interesting point that in a lot of drug-ridden countries, it is frequently the tourists – not the (non-trafficking) locals – who foster the negative, substance-driven reputation.
At any rate…the humidity was drowning that day, so I couldn’t stay for too long.
I really enjoyed the ruins though. Much like those in Europe, they remind me of our collective (relative) longevity.