Early in the morning, we eat tasty breakfast empanadas and arepas at Queso de Nilo’s in Chitré for the last time. Our final days in-country will be spent Panama City, and we can hardly wait. A week of public health activities has left us exhausted and in need of rest from 7am wake-up calls and 8hr workdays- most of which we spent on our feet. In an air-conditioned bus headed for the city, we play word games and learn the lyrics to a newly released song by Luis Fonsi [Despacito] to get through the 4-hour drive.
During the day it’s scorching outside, but inside isn’t any more comfortable. The hostel’s cooling system is faulty, so I sit on the balcony and hope for even a mild breeze – this doesn’t come. The air is still and heavy with humidity.
Despite scorching weather, my travel companions and I are keen to walk through Casco Viejo [English: old town].Pastel-colored buildings with narrow balconies and white carved archways sit on paved streets. There are stone ruins and peeling walls with layers of graffiti drawn in vivid greens, pinks, and yellows on cement. I try to make out what some of them say: “casa!” “stay happy”.We walk through the city at a leisurely pace, stopping to take photos. At a window-less store, we haggle for souvenirs – a Panama hat [though it originated in Ecuador], a leather purse, fridge magnets, and shot glasses covered with colorful maps of Panama.From Plaza Independencia, [Independence square] shiny skyscrapers that represent the opposite of Casco Viejo fill my view.
Good to Know
Where We Stayed: Luna’s Castle Hostel [free breakfast, wifi, and a lovely outdoor bar]. $19 per night for dorm rooms.
Where We Ate: Tan Conteno [Mexican Cuisine]; Il Gelato [Ice cream and Gelato]. I don’t remember other spots, but stroll down most streets in Old Town; there are several restaurants. We were spoiled for choice.
thank you for reading
all photos shot on iPhone 6S+
Same Footprints, Different Sands