My sweet adventures in Panama 2011!
O.M.G. you guys! I am so sorry I haven’t blogged in months!!! But I have been a busy lady! I went to Panama, Central America this summer and let me just say it was AH….MAZ….ING! I totally needed that vacation. I haven’t been to Panama since 1996 and sooooo much has changed since then. From new highways, to improved buses, although, a lot of people still walk miles and miles and miles….along the highways just to go to work.
I mean, if you can imagine walking from let’s say, for those of you in Atlanta, from Gwinnett County to Buckhead, & for my L.A. people, from Beverly Hills to Koreatown….that’s the kind of walking I’m talking about, and not even for a decent pay, less than $5 a day, and they do that EVERYDAY. It makes me so grateful for having adequate transportation, albeit, public (oh, my car is in Atlanta). It nevertheless makes me grateful.
I had the opportunity to see my family and that was in itself completely humbling. My family lives in an area called Colon. It is one of the more poorer cities in the country, with a high crime rate and an even higher poverty rate. There are high-rises, some as much as 15 stories high, with no water and no running elevators. You do the math.
I saw people bathing on the streets under fire hydrants.
I saw children playing soccer (futbol) barefoot among the sewage waters….and this is the thing….they were happy.
Everyone was happy. Know why?
Because Panama is a God-Fearing country. My people honor the Lord and trust in him completely. They don’t complain (well, not for the most part). Everywhere I went there were scriptures on buildings, EVERY BUILDING IT SEEMED had a scripture of some sort.
If I walked to the Botega, which was everyday, someone smiled, everyone said…”Buena Buena” which is translated into “Hello” or literally “Good Good”. I thought that was pretty cool. Actually, I thought it was awesome.
It wasn’t as though, they were like, “Oh, we’re poor, so let’s be depressed about it.”….It was like, “This is our life, this is how we deal with it and embrace it, and love it”.
Colon is comprised of a total of 16 streets and there is a Parque (Park) that runs through the very middle of it….and daily, people are HUSTLIN! Selling chorizos, maize, kudamundai (google that one), sauce, socks, shoes, painting nails (yes ladies, on the sidewalk) pressing hair OUTSIDE, shining shoes, selling cds, WHATEVER! Daily dominoe games, boxing matches, basketball games, I COULD GO ON AND ON.
The humidity is OUTRAGEOUS, well over 100 degrees…everyday! It took me two weeks to get accustomed to it, but it does wonders for your skin. No A/C where I was at, so you already know! 5 showers a day….tons of water etc. Everyday I would go to the playa (beach) on Calle Primera (1st Street) and watch the cargo ships as they entered the Panama Canal, or I would sit under a palm tree and observe people, write, or just enjoy the moment. I met Miss Panama 2008 on a whim in the park and honestly, it was the little moments like these that will be forever embedded in my heart.
The shopping is INSANE!! You could literally take about $3k there and come back to the states LAID OUT for years! I had to resist going to the Zone Libre (The Free Zone) where there are just blocks and blocks and blocks and blocks (and construction of NEW BLOCKS) of TAX FREE shopping.
I went hiking in the Ancon Rainforest and experienced a type of serenity that you only read about. When I signed in (because you know if I came up missing…..SOMEBODY was coming for me! LOL) there were only 5 people signed in, and you have to sign-in, in order to enter the forest….3 were from Europe, 1 from Panama & 1 from the U.S.! In other words, it wasn’t no #RunyonCanyon or #StoneMountain. This was real….step on a snake….monkey-flying….birds chirping….ant mounds…..forest. I was scared to death…but I’m adventurous so, I had my backpack, and my little survival kit in case something went down! Miss Indiana Jones basically.
I also enjoyed a nice Red Snapper dinner on the strip, aka The Causeway. Basically, I ate seafood like this EVERYDAY for under $8! The Causeway is basically a highway that connects several islands together. And when I say it was lovely….it was lovely. Beauty. Watching the yachts at dock and sipping on a little bubbly during a mid-day summer storm was the ABSOLUTE business! I will do it everyday as soon as I blow up!
Of course, you also know that I was handling my business with my screenplay I am writing. Its top secret, but let’s just say, Anji is in the GAME!
My vacation also landed me in Portobello, one of the quaintest towns that I have yet to visit since my trip to Aviano, Italy years back. Once a year, people from Panama City travel approximately 45 miles….by foot….and crawling the last couple of MILES….to this small coastal town to beg for redemption of past sins to the Black Christ (Cristo Negro). You can google this if you want to know all the in’s and outs.
All in all, I could probably rant about this trip for a while, but I won’t. I have footage that I will post as soon as possible that will further add to your imagination. Until next blog….be blessed!