A little more on Panama

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October 11th 2006
Published: October 12th 2006
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Colorful Bus 1Colorful Bus 1Colorful Bus 1

Pic of bus owner's son. "Sabio eh aquele que aprende com seus proprios erros"
"Hola" again.

The most interesting sight in Panama is without a doubt the public buses. We suspect they were all American school buses on their "young" days, but now on the streets of Panama they star as renovated moving art.
Dressed in incredibly colorful attires, they are all unique, displaying names and splashing drawings of loved ones, particularly kids, religious figures, sayings, etc, etc, etc.
I wish the joy displayed vibrantly on the outside of the old buses also reflected the mood of the passengers inside them, but that is to wish way too much. How could anyone be cheerful inside such humid, hot and invariably fully packed vehicles, which move living behind great trail of dense smog?

On a more serious/political note, let me share with you that our hotel was just a half a block away from the beautiful church where ex-president/dictator Manuel Noriega run for sanctuary when the American army invaded Panama in 1989. Yeap! It was under the other George Bush!!!!! The Texan cowboys have a thing for invasions, don't they?

Noriega stayed in the church for 5 days, until him, or probably the priests, no longer could stand listening to the blasting rock-n-roll played by the American soldiers, continously, night and day, right in front of the catholic institution. Noriega finally surrendered to the psychological pressure of the US. The casualties resulting from the invation were: 23 Americans and ~3,500 Panamanians.
We also got to see the sight where the Panamanian army used to be before it was bombarded by the American troops. It is now a very poorly maintained low income housing area.

An update on Noriega: He is still in an American prison paying his 40yr sentence for drug trafficking (which, by the way, still goes on in Panama) but due to good behavior he will be released on October 2007. It's for certain that he won't return to Panama because he would be sentenced here too. Who knows if he won't decide to "retire" on a Florida beach after being released!!!!!

Just a little more on Panama: It uses American dollar as it currency (it's cheaper) but it makes some of it's coins, called Balboa.
There are 2 vice-presidents, not one; the food is very similar to the Cuban and Colombian; there is much less poverty on the streets than in Brazil; there are fewer smokers than in China and Europe; the coffee is great and thank God Starbuck's (still) haven't landed here.

Have a great day.

Additional photos below
Photos: 6, Displayed: 6


Meeting friendsMeeting friends
Meeting friends

What are the chances of meeting friends who live in Brazil and whom you haven't seen in years, staying in the room next to yours in Panama?

12th October 2006

What a beautiful home to otherwise discarded machines. I donated our old 1970 Ford station wagon; Charles was told it would probably be resold in Mexico. I would love to have seen it transformed into something like this.
12th October 2006

With as many friends as you have, I think chances are good to find someone you know on your travels. Still a happy event.
13th October 2006

Meeting friends around the world
Grete: The "spooky" thing is that I also met these same friends at the World Cup in Palo Alto 8 years ago and in the streets of Miami 5 years ago, also by chance. On top of it, I talked about them the night before, in Panama, and they said they also talked about me the same night!!!! Is this intriging or what??? Great to be in touch with you my friend and pls send my love to Roger too.
13th October 2006

Colorful old vehicles
Twanda. I think it's worth it to dream that your old car has also been transformed in a colorful moving machine, hopefully minus the pollution of the Panamanian buses. I was certainly fascinated by the variety of drawings and phrases on the streets. Anything that can make one smile is to be celebrated, right? With a big hug for you my friend. Patricia
24th October 2006

Muito legal a partilha de suas viagens.Adorei! Vou acompanhar, agora. Bjs. Neno

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