March 25, 2010

OAT Panama: Panama City

First stop was to peer through the fence at the now decrepit former home of Manuel Noriega. 

Next it was to the ruins of Panama La Vieja (Old Panama) founded by Pedro Arias de Avila (aka Pedrarias) in 1519.  Much of the Peruvian gold passed through here on its way to Spain.  Privateer Henry Morgan seized the city in 1671, capturing 600 prisoners and enough treasure to require 175 mules to carry it. 

In 1673, the survivors decided to rebuild in what is now called San Felipe or Casco Antiguo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  We crossed a beautiful promenade with a view of the modern city.  San Felipe is a pretty colonial city with several churches, plazas and beautifully renovated hotels. 

I was very impressed with the willingness of Jack and Jacquie to try the shaved ice with a sugary syrup and condensed milk.  I was happy to stick with the gourmet ice cream at Gran Clement.

I had quite an experience at the Museo del Canal Interoceanico.  As we were enjoying this informative museum, a TV crew decided to interview our guide.  Jose then volunteered "Carrie knows Spanish."  They proceeded to ask me questions in Spanish about how I liked Panama, what was my favorite exhibit, etc.  I babbled on incoherently in Spanish and was sure this segment would be cut.  I've given much better interviews in English that didn't get aired, so I didn't bother to turn on the TV at 7 pm to Channel 11 when the segment was to be shown.  But our guide and some in our group watched and much to my surprise, claimed the segment opened with me and that I had the longest air time. 

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