Panama City, Republic of Panama

July 7, 2010

A Panamax ship making it's way through the Miraflores locks.

Really more of a whirlwind than a visit, I was able to extend my 12-hour layover into a quick 3 days visit. In my eyes, Panama has been the most modern of all Central American cities, but many parts of the city today are almost unrecognizable since last visit 3-1/2 years ago. The new malls rival Miami as a shopping destination. Panama has completely Transformed Avenida Balboa into a beautiful seaside promenade (before and after). Begun a decade ago, they continue the transformation of Casco Viejo (old town) from a slum, avoided by all Panamanians, into the country’s only colonial district.

White Sea Bass; plentiful and inexpensive make it the most popular fish in Panama. I bought this one at "Mi Ranchito" near the causeway.

With more than 1,500 miles of Coastline, tiny Panama is all about the see food. My favorite fish in Caribbean; Pargo Rojo (Red Snapper), was my first dinner.   Also, while I know that the Latin American cholera outbreaks in the 1990’s were blamed on ceviche, shrimp ceviche was still at the top of my culinary list during my brief stay. While each country prepares Ceviche differently, it’s core is seafood which is “chemically cooked” in lemon juice, onions (Panama adds hot pepper sauce). And finally my last day,  I had the most popular fish in Panama (by far); corvina (Sea Bass).

Matthew eating our last lunch before leaving for Guatemala.

Red Snapper made especially for me by my father-in-law in his home in Panama City.

Panaorama of Panama City from the Causeway, near the mouth of the Panama Canal

National Catherdral in Casco Viejo (old town), just across the street from my first (and best) hotel ever in Panama; the now defunct Hotel Central.

Colonial Building in Casco Viejo

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