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Another Holiday

Puente de las Américas (Bridge of the Americas)
Today was a big holiday in Panama, MOTHER'S DAY! Yup, Mother's Day is an official government holiday and it’s a big deal. Restaurants and florists do a booming business, but government offices and banks are closed up tight. It’s also what is called a “bridge holiday” here in Panama, most of us know it as a “three day weekend”. The “bridge” refers to either the Puente de las Américas (Bridge of the Americas) or the Puente Centenario (Centennial Bridge) the two bridges that cross over the Panama Canal and which Panamanians use in great numbers to escape the city on these long holiday weekends.

Puente Centenario

Hope all you mothers had a great day. Take care.

Night at the symphony

National Theater in Casco Viejo
Last night we spent a very enjoyable evening at the National Theater at a free concert by the Joven Orquesta de Centroamerica (the Youth Orchestra of Central America). Fifty or so young musicians from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Panama put on a stunning performance. They played a wide range of music and had a couple of adult guest soloists, but the youngsters were clearly the “stars”. It was also interesting in that they started the concert with just the brass section on stage, then the string section had their turn, then the entire orchestra. Read more

Casco Festival

Casa Gongora
This week the Festival Internacional de la Cancion de Autor (International Festival of Singer Songwriters) had it’s final events. The festival was a series of free concerts - this year featuring the guitar and had performers from Panama, Spain and Mexico.

On Wednesday, Jane and I walked two blocks (stopped for ice cream on the way) to Casa Góngora for a small indoor event. Casa Góngora in a partially restored building that is the home to the Casco Antiguo Cultural Center. Read more

Just another day, until . . .

Art class in the plaza
On any given day you can see just about anything in Casco Viejo. School kids on a tour. Art classes in the plaza. Police on their morning run. Vendors and craft sellers. Tourists. Last week our neighbors plunked a tent down in the middle of the street (albeit a side street) and two soccer goals for the kids - somebody’s birthday party. It was an all day festivity ending in the required fireworks. Read more

Feria Nacional de Artesanias

Centro de Convenciones ATLAPA National Handicrafts Fair

Jane and I walked down to the ATLAPA Convention Center to check out the National Handicrafts Fair. Tickets for us retirees (jubilados) - a whopping $1.00 each. Inside we saw a variety of arts and crafts which would have done a great job of giving any house a true Panama look. Alas, no house. After wandering around for a couple of hours Jane did buy a Molas decorated purse. The real highlight of the outing was the entertainment.

Read more

Panama's Red Devils

Red Devils (Diablo Rojo)
The “Diablo Rojo” of Panama are both famous and infamous. Their planned demise will either be a giant step forward or the death of a cultural icon - take your pick. These recycled U.S. school busses have been a fixture on Panama’s streets for decades. Given no viable (affordable) alternative, Panamanians crowd onto these vividly decorated, loud, exhaust belching antiques and hang on for their lives - literally. Read more
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