The Panama I love and yearn for is hidden beneath a mass of concrete, vehicles, noise, and bustle. It’s there. Somewhere. The people are unchanged. There’s just so much more humanity than ever before. And the traffic! Don’t get me started on the traffic.
Don’t misunderstand me, change is good! Onward and upward, right? But change can be hard. And crazy!
For the past few days we’ve been getting our feet set and not blogging much. Now it’s time to catch up.
When we arrived in Panama City last week we got our rental car (see previous post about that annoying process) and went to a friend’s house to stay for a few days.
We spent the next few days eating her delicious cooking, learning how to make some delicious Panamanian food, and taking a few outings around the city.
We walked around Casco Viejo, the old part of the city.
We also took a walk along the Cinta Costerra, a strip of beach front that wasn’t there when I lived here. It used to be a two lane road with a sidewalk along the bay and was slightly seedy. The city built out enough land to add a road and a really pleasant walkway with parks and trees.
On Sunday we went to the other side of the isthmus to a little burrow called Rio Rita where a church my dad helped plant still meets every Sunday. Much to our delight there were two baptisms that day and the ladies of the church made a meal of good old fashioned Arroz con Pollo, just like the olden days.
This woman has not changed one bit except for a little more gray. She fiercely protects the church, cares for the people, and calls herself my mother. She watched me grow from a girl of 8 to an adult. She’s sent two daughters off to the US and continued being the matriarch of her family on a massive family property that is a landmark along the highway into Colon.
Speaking of change, she’s gracefully accepting the change while keeping things as much like they were as she can. Observe the size of the pila (massive bowl pot) she’s cooking in. She proudly informed me that no microwaves were harmed in the making of this food, in fact she made it old style, over a wood fire. It was the best.
My grandfather visited this church back in the day and he called it the most beautiful church in the world. It’s situated on a hill and the ocean breezes keep it cool.
And there you go. Our first few days in Panama.