Memorable tidbits from Panama

The Panama Canal Zone and much of Panama City are very Americanized. This has to do with the strong American presence that existed here when the Americans helped build and worked at the canal. But still, there are many culture difference and we have experienced tons of them since we have been here. There have also been some other crazy stories.

Here is a list of some of some of them:

– The drivers here are nuts. They beep constantly and are not shy at all when cutting you off and changing lanes. It’s been scary but fun at times to drive around here. I think I have mastered the horn.

img_0767– Military police checkpoints are common in Panama. It isn’t a rare occasion to several of these police officers dressed in military clothing, bullet proofs vests carrying sawed off shot guns. It’s a scary site especially when they don’t smile.

– Bathrooms: The bathrooms in the canal zone and Panama City have been up to standards, but when you venture out of the city they get a little nasty. One bathroom was just a cement hole in the ground and another didn’t have running water, just a bowl as a sink to wash your hands. I can’t imagine that water was too clean.

– You don’t see breast feeding in public every day while living in the U.S. and you don’t in Panama either. But our group has seen a total of four women breast feeding in public so far. We actually had our first interview subject begin breast feeding during our interview with her. That was definitely a first for me as we stood inside her rundown hut asking her questions, only to be interrupted by a short breast feeding session. She took it back out at least 10 more times. Can you spell awkward?

– The weather has been hot everyday without a drop of rain in Panama City and the canal zone. We did get a tiny bit of showers last week when we traveling outside the city. It even created a beautiful rainbow in the sky above the highway. It was awesome.

– The beaches in Panama have black sand, or at least the ones we went to. You can also horseback ride on the beach. The bathing suit styles weren’t too different, but definitely were not the same as in the U.S.

– Livestock are everywhere in Panama. You can see cows off the side of the road, but it is the wild chickens on the side of the highway that deserves some attention. I didn’t run over any chickens, but a large unknown bird did fly into the back of car. I don’t think he survived. The dogs and cats over here also roam the streets, but its the dogs who look thin and malnourished.

There are definitely more stories to share, but that’s a good start for today. Now it’s time to head to the canal for our all-day Canal tour.

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