Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I promised some fun facts about Panama. Now I've forgotten a lot of them. One thing that is great is the money. Their currency, the balboa, has nifty 1 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, 25 cent, 50 cent and dollar coins. The paper money, though is familiar.

There are USA coins and paper, and then also Panamanian coins. But the "balboa" is the ol' greenback. How strange it must be to use money with some other nation's name, historical figures and symbolism on it.

More Panama trivia includes the magic of the words "Darien Gap". The Darien - where CAVU made a film - is the lush southern province of Panama, and the Darien Gap is where the Pan-American highway ends. There is just no more road. You can walk to Colombia, but it is not recommended. Isn't there just mystery and chills and perfection in "the famous Darien Gap"? (Darien = pronounced dare-ee-en.)

Also, Panamanian airport security is for real. However, while my bag was thoroughly searched and while every single piece of clothing was unfolded and removed - including underwear - my toiletry bag was tossed aside with a brief squeeze. Isn't that where liquids, gels, powders and more would be?

The Panama Canal dictates the size of ships built around the world. Some ships have less than a meter on all sides when they pass through the locks. How amazing is that? The world agrees on something at least, and works on it together.

I have seen a few Kuna people... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuna_(people) The beadwork is a sight to see, the molas, and I've read and heard that Kuna revere albinos. This does not mean the whiter your skin... they have a high incidence of albinism, and those people are treated specially.

Next up - for real this time - is the trip, from yesterday, to Casco Viejo. In the meantime, picture the Central America of your dreams. The architecture, the weather, the smells and the mood. I'll be back with some photos of it.

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