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Nueva Avenida Balboa

Avenida Balboa
Today we needed to run a couple of errands in the El Cangrejo neighborhood. A two dollar taxi ride, then we walked around and amazingly accomplished everything on our list. It was around noon and there had been a light rain that cooled things off a bit - so we decided to hike back to Casco Viejo. Besides, we had wanted to eat at Restaurante Boulevard Balboa which was at about the halfway point so we could always grab a taxi if our legs gave out. We had been once before (on our 2006 visit) when a Panamanian took us there. I had a “combinación especial”, Jane a Cubano and a chocolate shake - everything was great AND we took half home with us for dinner. Read more

The Hill

Flag on Ancon Hill
From about any location in Panama City you can see a huge Panama flag atop a very prominent landmark - Ancon Hill, 650 plus feet high. While we had the rental car (between all those important errands) we decided to play explorer. The guidebooks said there was a road to the top of Ancon, the challenge was finding it. Off we went to Balboa (originally a Canal Zone town) and Quarry Heights, where the U.S. Southern Command was located. After finding a road behind the current headquarters of the Panama Canal Authority that looked promising up we went, until - we came to an imposing guard post. Oops, maybe we were not on the right road after all? Edging forward, we finally decided that it was just a leftover from the U.S. Military (you come across these things frequently in the old Canal Zone) and where once you would have encountered a serious MP we were greeted by a bored Panamanian guard waving at passing tourists. Read more

Avenida Central

Avenida Central
Avenida Central is one of Panama City’s main avenues, originating in Casco Viejo just a few feet from the front door of our apartment and running to the edge of the banking district. Today we took a little walk down Central to the “peatonal” section (pedestrian mall) to check out the shopping. This area of the city is not on the “must see” list of most tourists (some guidebooks even say avoid the area) but if you live in the city and want to find stuff at reasonable prices, this is the place. Plus it’s just an interesting, not sterile, slice of life in the big city - with real people going about their daily lives. Disneyland cute and perfect it is not! Read more
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