I took a crazy fast trip to Panama this past weekend. The trip was work related, but I got a day to go check out the Panama Canal’s Miraflores Locks, as well as the old town of Panama City. Saturday night, I went out to a wonderful little restaurant in Panama City, with friends, and had a 10 course meal of Panamanian food home cooked for us. In this case, Panamanian food included mango wontons, fried plaintain cups filled with marinated beef, tamales, sea bass, and other fine treats. The 80 degree sun and beach was terrific, when I wasn’t in a meeting. The travel though was a bit overwhelming, at 17 hours door to door.
Panama is an exciting place right now. Twelve years ago or so, the country took control of the Panama Canal, and they are not looking back, while experiencing break neck economic growth. Since there’s only one Panama Canal, it seems like things will keep going that way as long as there’s shipping. There's a real tension between old Panama City and new Panama City--a sharp contrast in wealth and poverty can be observed, from one block to another. The wealth seems to be winning, with redevelopment projects everywhere.
Unfortunately, I didn't have time to really get into the rainforest, or any long runs. Still, walks on the beach and near the neighboring woods produced sightings of diving pelicans, white egrets, swarms of snails on rocks, some large iguanas, at least one green parrot bird, a dead blow fish, and other stuff completely out of my northwest world. Another trip to Central America is just going to have to happen--you can't help but trip over all the biodiversity down there.