Where are we?

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Heading to Cartegena tomorrow :)


Enjoying our coffees out on the balcony. Think today's weather should be ok


Looking down at the pool from the balcony 

Had another fun day in Panama City today - got over to Casco Viejo (Spanish for Old Quarter) AKA  Casco Anguio and AKA San Felipe not sure why it has so many different names. But it replaced the original Panama City that was burned down in 1671. After walking in the newly revived area it reminded me of the French Quarter in New Orleans where the buildings all had little balconies in front. The area was pretty well abandoned in the early 1950's when suburbs were being built near by. This caused most of the buildings to be abandoned and deteriorate. Then in 1998-99 people started coming back,  renovating the buildings and moving back in.  There is some much reconstruction of the old building going on right now that in another few years it will look totally different I'm sure.

We took the subway over to the area and then walked the 2kms to the area along pedestrian only streets.

Waiting for the subway in the right area. There are green areas to leave open for people who are getting off the subway, but Panamanians are not unlike other Central American people - they dont like to wait! Once the door opens they just push in making it difficult for the people exiting :(  Today is sneaker day with nice memory foam insoles for my sore feet LOL!!!

Here you can see the green area for people to exit. 

Off the subway and onto the pedestrians only streets

Plaza 5 de Mayo - May 5 1914 there was a huge fire and 6 firefiighters died and this monument was built in their memory 

Nice green areas along the walk

In this area there are lots of containers that have been transformed into stores. Some have one store and others  have 4, each being only 4x10. 



I was quite aways from this crosswalk and thought that if I zoomed in to get a picture of this indigenous Guna girl she wouldn't notice - but she did!  After I took this picture I moved over and took a picture of a building pretending I was taking pictures around the square, but she kept looking at me. 

This is the second picture and you can see that she is staying behind the pole. The reason I wanted a picture is to show how bright and colourful their clothes are but also the "socks" They are made of yarn and twisted. Hard to explain but looked really cool. 

I then snuck this picture of a Guna girl chatting with a bank guard while I was in line waiting to use the ATM. You can see her "socks" a little better if you click on the pic and enlarge it. It only goes from ankle to knee and they always wear sandals. Guna people are from the San Blas Islands. 
Lots of stores along this walk as well as all of the fast food outlets, McDs, Wendy's, Subway, KFC, Dominos- all here. But not much for street food at all.  Plus lots of stores advertising "American Clothes"- same as in Honduras. But these are all second hand clothes sent from the US. The stores are always busy.

Once we turn the corner at the end of the pedestrian street the building really change! So many newly painted with beautiful balconies. Nice area to live.



Plaza Santa Ana where we sat and eat a donut and did some people watching :)  This park is at the top of the Casco Viejo area and is also close to the Cafe Coca Cola open since 1874 - but we missed it. 

Now we come into the Casco Viejo area





This is Señora La Merced Church built in 1671 from stones moved from  the original church is Panama Viejo after it was burnt down. Its the only church that still has its original wooden roof and columns 

Looking up at the wooden roof and columns


Always love the big medal door knockers on the church doors :) 


This use to be the churches convent but is now used by the Panama's Foreign Relations department

Independance Plaza

It was getting to be around 1:30 so started looking for a place to eat. We checked out a bunch of menus and finally picked one that had nice choices for lunch at $8-9 which included soup and a drink! Not alcohol though :) This price was about half of what other menus were showing.  So I choose the fish which was DELICIOUS with a garlic sauce, fried plantains and coleslaw. Dwayne choose the red pasta with shrimp. The soup was a vegetable soup with yucca - really tasty to.




 After lunch it was raining a little so we decided to walk back to the subway and take Line 1 to the new Line 2. Line 2 is an elevated track so we can see a little more of the city - Line 1 is mostly underground.

Here are some of the buildings not renovated yet in Casco Viejo


Probably get this one pretty cheap - just needs a little TLC!

Look this one already has a nice big tree growing in it :) 

Once we were on the Line 2 for about 20 minutes I was getting tired and needed to find some coffee!! So we got off and walked along some stores until we found a..... BAKERY! They had the most delicious looking cakes. I always wonder what happens at the end of the day or maybe 2nd day and the cakes are not sold - does the owner have to eat them??? :)  Well as it turned out as we were having our coffee a guy came up and started talking to us. He thought we owned the Toyota Land Cruiser (old one) parked outside that was all decked out for overland travel. Told him no but that we would be picking up our Pleasureway in Cartegena in the next couple of days to travel through South America. He said he had done lots of travelling in South America. He was born in Colombia but moved to Panama when he was young and later his parents moved to Costa Rica but he stayed here. He's also been all through Central America. As it turns out he is operations manager of Viva El Pan which is the bakery we were in.  Its like a franchise and all the baking is done in a large building and supplied to all the Viva El Pan bakeries in Panama City. I asked about what happens when the cakes dont sell, he says they know how much to order and normally sell in a day. On Saturdays its 50% off day, Sundays closed and then Monday all fresh baking again.  He gave us 4 french buns to take with us because he said they are really good! Had a nice chat with Douglas The Bread Man :)

Look at these cakes 😋😋





Shortly after that it was time to head home to start packing and get ready to fly out tomorrow. We're been checking where the van is and it shows it should now be in Cartegena by tomorrow at 5AM - we probably just missed seeing the container ship go through the Panama Canal yesterday! LOL!!


Picture of the outside of one of the stations of Line 2 - pretty cool designs
And there is the train.
One last picture looking out our bedroom window as I'm writing the blog :)
















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