Panama Canal (Day 9)

December 23

Panama

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[Ships, boats, and floating things all circling for access through the canal . . . ]

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[By the dawn’s early light . . . ]

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[We would not be going through the canal on this day . . . ]

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[Coming into the port of Colon . . . ]

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[Colon, from which . . . ]

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[We would see tons of bridge cranes . . . ]

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[And then board a bus for the short cross-country trip to Panama City, on the Pacific side.]

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[Leaving Colon (this is all we ever saw of it) . . . ]

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[Our guide, whose name we have forgotten, was an interesting fellow.  His Ancestry.com profile would list him as Chinese and indiginous American.  . . . ]

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[Panama’s population was 4,034,119 people in 2016, compared to 860,000 in 1950.  In 2010 the population was 65% Mestizo (mixed white, Native American), 9.2% Black, 6.8% mulattoes, 13% White and 6% Native Americans. Ethnic groups in Panama include Spanish, British and Irish, Dutch, French, Germans, Italians, Portuguese, Poles, Russians or Ukrainians (a large number are Jews), and Americans (Wikipedia).  Our guide noted there is a large Chinese population in Panama.  Panama has a considerable population of Chinese origin. The first Chinese immigrated to Panama from southern China in the 19th century to help build the Panama Railroad. There followed several waves of immigrants, especially after the 1970s, when the ensuing decades saw up to 80,000 immigrants from all over China. At least 50,000 Panamanians are ethnic Chinese, though some estimates count as many as 135,000. Most of the Chinese population reside in the province of Chiriquí. Some studies suggest that almost 1 million Panamanians have at least one Chinese ancestor  (Wikipedia).]

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[Crossing the Panamanian countryside . . . ]

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[It was about an hour bus ride to Panama City . . . ]

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[Which is a modern city of skyscrapers . . . ]

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[I tried to shoot the skyline as we bused through the city . . . ]

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[SPI, the Institutional Protection Service, are the national security forces of Panama. Panama is the second country in Latin America (the other being Costa Rica) to permanently abolish standing armies, retaining a small para-military security force (Wikipedia).]

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[On the right, a similarity to Cedar-Riverside?]

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[Probably the most surprising aspect of the entire trip . . . ]

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[I really had no idea Panama City was Miami Beach, on steroids?  Hey, and Merry Christmas!]

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[Moving out to Old Town, a better view of the modern city . . . ]

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[We disembarked the bus for a walking tour of Old Town . . . ]

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[The breakwater approach . . . ]

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[With a nice subtropical park . . . ]

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[Mindful of New Orleans . . . ]

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[Casco Viejo (Spanish for Old Quarter), also known as Casco Antiguo or San Felipe, is the historic district of Panama City.  Completed and settled in 1673, it was built following the near-total destruction of the original Panamá city, Panama Viejo in 1671, when the latter was attacked by pirates.  It was designated a World Heritage Site in 1997.  Panama city was founded on August 15, 1519 and it lasted one hundred and fifty-two years. In January 1671, the Governor Juan Perez de Guzman had it set on fire, before the attack and looting by the pirate Henry Morgan.  In 1672, Antonio Fernández de Córdoba initiated the construction of a new city, which was then founded on January 21, 1673. This city was built on a peninsula completely isolated by the sea and a defensive system of walls.  Today this place preserves the first institutions and buildings of the modern city of Panama. It is known as ‘Casco Viejo’ (Wikipedia).]

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[A founding father . . . ]

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[People of age had just completed an hour bus ride right after breakfast.  Guess what we were thinking about?]

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[First president of Panama . . . ]

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[Yep, we had to pee . . . badly!  (Often a major concern on cruise shore excursions – might want to consider Depends on such adventures.  There seems to be dearth of public restrooms particularly in historic areas.)]

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[The Pink Panther?]

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[Another founding father . . . ]

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[Central Hotel Panama . . . ]

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[Finally, in agony, the Super stopped at this small police station.  They happily obliged our need.  And we had a nice visit . . . ]

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[Again, looking back on the skyline . . . ]

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[We’ll drive out there soon . . . ]

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[An artsy promenade . . . ]

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[We’re at the “end” of Old Town, Esteban Huerta Seafront . . . ]

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[And now heading back on a circle route.  Here, the French Obelisk . . . ]

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[French Plaza . . . ]

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[Big ole gnarly tree in the French Plaza . . . ]

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[It was more than warm . . . ]

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[The French Embassy . . .]

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[Feliz Navidad!]

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[Hi!  I’m in Casco Viejo.]

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[As I recall, the bricks are now merely an old facade.  It’s the ruin of the Santo Domingo convent . . . ]

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[Because it’s attached, I guess the unruins of the Santo Domingo convent . . . ]

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[On street level, a clothing store . . . ]

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[The Old Church (from the 1500’s) . . . ]

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[As noted (and the following internal photos), Saint Joseph Church . . . ]

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[The first head of state of the area that became known as Panama . . . ]

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[Some architecture shots . . . ]

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[Remember “we’ll drive out there soon”?]

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[Well, the end of the peninsula has every appearance of being the main marina . . . ]

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[With the skyline in the distance . . . ]

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[Why, of course – the Flamenco Marina!]

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[And the drive around . . . ]

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[Back off the peninsula . . . ]

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[And a roundabout . . . ]

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[Frank Gehry’s Origami-Like Biomuseo . . . ]

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[On the Amador Causeway, it opened in 2014 . . . ]

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[Memorial to Dr. Arnulfo Arias, 3-time president of Panama . . . ]

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[Back to the ship for dinner, the Super shoots the gingerbread house . . . ]

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[I shoot my wish list . . . ]

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[After dinner, to the Torshavn (the cabaret lounge) for music from Viking Duo . . . ]

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[We dined with this couple, so they invited us here.  Nice lounge, the Duo played classic rock and roll, but this was the only night we went here.  Too late for old people?]

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If you think adventure is dangerous try routine, it’s lethal.  ~ Paulo Coelho

Up Next:  Basketball?

About tomobert63

The Journey Begins Thanks for joining me! This is the follow-up to the original, “alexandriacardinals.wordpress.com,” which overwhelmed the system’s ability to handle it any more. Thus, this is “Part 2.” As the original was initially described: 10-26-07-4 “It all began in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, California” . . . wait a minute, that was Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show! Let’s see . . . oh yeah, it all began in 2003 when retirees, i.e., old people, in Alexandria, Minnesota, who had no desire to become snow birds, went looking for mid-winter entertainment here in the frozen tundra of West Central Minnesota. We discovered girls’ high school hockey, fell in love immediately, and it remains our favorite spectator sport to this day. Initially, and for several years, reports on these games were e-mailed to those who were actually snowbirds but wanted to keep abreast of things “back home.” It was ultimately decided a blog would be more efficient, and it evolved into a personal diary of many things that attracts tens of readers on occasion. It remains a source of personal mental therapy and has yet to elicit any lawsuits. ~ The Editor, May 9, 2014 p.s. The photo border around the blog is the Cardinal girls’ hockey team after just beating Breck for the state championship in 2008. It’s of the all-tournament team. The visible Breck player on the left is Milica McMillen, then an 8th-grader – she is now an All-American for the Gophers. The Roseau player in the stocking cap I believe is Mary Loken, who went on to play for UND; and the Cardinal player on the right, No. 3, is Abby Williams, the player we blame most for making us girls’ hockey fans who went on to play for Bemidji State. *********************************************************************************** Photos contained herein are available for personal use. All you have to do is double click on any of the photos and they will become full screen size. You can then save them into your personal “My Pictures” file. They make lovely parting or hostess gifts, or holiday gifts for such as Uncle Ernie who wants to see how his grand niece is doing on the hockey team. If any are sold for personal profit, however, to, for example, the Audubon Society, National Geographic, Sven’s Home Workshop Monthly, Curling By The Numbers, or the World Wrestling Federation, I only request that you make a donation to the charitable organization of your choice. You have two hours and fifteen minutes. Pencils ready? Begin! **********************************************************************************
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