The 45-minutes walk took us past several shopping plazas and enabled Anthony to take some photos of the vibrantly painted buses. One thing we have loved throughout Central America is the bright, lively buses with amusing scenes and images. Here we have seen the backs of buses painted with varying images, like Harry Potter, Looney Tunes, The Rock, and religious symbols.Every bus is unique.
The bookstore was great. Yesterday happened to be the most humid of all our days so far so the air conditioning and smell of new books was a welcome respite from the heat and exhaust of the city streets. We found some great books, but with limited carrying space, we will only be trading in books as we finish them (one thing we’ve also enjoyed while traveling is the books trade and discovering new books).
We hopped on a bus to return to Mamallena for lunch and soon thereafter, it had also begun to downpour so we opted for staying indoors. Since we still had a few hours before dinner, we got on a bus to the Albrook Mall – the huge one we saw by the bus terminal.
This mall is bigger than any we have been in, we think. It had two food courts, filled with all kinds of American and other fast food brands (how come the malls in America don’t have every type of fast food in one place? What if someone didn’t want only McDonald’s as an option? Just a curious thing). There were also numerous shoe, electronics, accessory, watch, and clothing shops interspersed with department stores and kiosks. It was good for walking around indoors and gave the opportunity to search fruitlessly for a memory card for the Nikon. Unfortunately, the type ours uses is not the common type anymore, so it is not easy to find. Ours work fine, we just thought one additional back-up couldn’t hurt.
We enjoyed a nice relaxing dinner of bean, corn, and Spanish rice tortillas.
Following our morning in the park, we traveled to Mi Pueblitos, an area at the foot of Cerro Ancon that has different types of villages found throughout the country. Since we have a short time in Panama it seemed a good idea to take a look.
Next we visited the Afro-Antilleno village which differed with its brightly colored wood buildings.Since more rain began to fall, we sat in the church and waited again for some clearer skies.
We followed the road to the Aldeas Indigenas, but the section was closed. We actually were looking most forward to seeing a model Kuna Yala village, but were not able. However, we did meet an extremely friendly Kuna woman who invited us into her shop in order to “conocerlos” (get to know us). She told us all about Kuna traditions and how she learned to make molas simply by watching her mother and picking up scissors and fabric and using her imagination. She makes beautiful pieces and also talked to us about the traditional “uniform” she wears and that she feels the younger Kuna girls are now losing because they don’t want to dress that way. She explained she makes the beaded leg wraps in different colors for each month. She even thought ginnie could learn it easily, but ginnie explained in her broken Spanish that she did not quite pick up artist talent!(there is a picture of a Kuna Woman in her native dress in our previous post).
A brief respite from rain came again, so we made our way back out, only to be stuck again in the Afro-Anilleno village when the rains fell harder. Finally, with only drizzle we went to the main road to catch a taxi back to the hostal.
With these visits, our week in Panamá City comes to a conclusion and we travel on to our next stop on Sunday morning.
Where to next?*
We will travel west to a higher altitude and cooler, drier climate. Our next locale is home to “the world’s best coffee” as claimed by some, and brings us close to Panamá’s only Volcano as well as its highest point. Also, we will be there during the annual Festival de Flores y Café. Where will we be?
*Dear Friends and Family: to play along, either email us directly to the joint account or post a comment here (which goes to the same email anyway) with your response. The first person to answer correctly will be entered into a raffle. The raffle will take place at the end of our trip when we will pick a name from ginnie’s hat. The lucky winner will receive a special prize representing our travels! J