Saturday, March 16, 2013

Panama Day 5-Lunch in VeraCrz

We had one more stop before our tour with David ended. He drove us out to VeraCruz to have lunch on the beach. VeraCruz is one of the beaches we used to go when I was a kid. Dad and I would draw letters in the sand with sticks because the tides are so crazy there. You can get up to an 18 foot tide change so you end up with a lot of real estate to play on at the right time of day. Just don't get caught when the tide comes in or you may have to swim. No swimming that day. Just fresh fish, fresh shrimp and cold Balboas!

Me and Mom back in Da Day!

 Dad and I drawing my name in the sand. 

This is what it looks like now. Pretty much the same. 

Papa Gar enjoying one last whole Corvina! He's Happier!

The infamous (to us) Hibiscus photo. I was just smelling it for a photo and mom said "take your hand away," so I took a big sniff and voila! Hibiscus Nose!

We attempted reenactment but it just didn't work out that well. 

Getting ready for my closeup!

What a wonderful day!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Panama Day 5-Howard

This was the most surreal hour and a half of the whole trip. We made our way out to Howard Air Force Base (which is no longer an AFB) and found our old house. Just looking at the photos I get emotional all over again. Not that I broke down crying or anything but it was really weird standing in a place that holds so many memories. 

Here is me freaking out that we found it!!!

Our old Street! Coffey Avenue!

Exploring the old digs! 

This stairwell led up to the door in the kitchen. It was a little creepy so I just filmed from where I was. 
:-/ I don't do creepy.

Here we are in front of 60A Coffey Ave! 

  That "hill" behind my mom seemed so much bigger when we lived there. I remember my dog running down it and tripping, which led to a head over heels tumble that still makes me laugh when I think of it.
And that fence used to be a favorite spot for three toed sloths to hang out. 

While I don't remember this myself, I have heard the story enough times to giggle when I saw this. Seems my dad got up early one morning to take our dog Teddy Bear out for his walk and was tired so he sat down on that raised green manhole cover and the dog proceeded to pee on his foot. Goooood Morning! Heheheh

These stairs. Oh these stairs! These lead up to the front door of the house (don't thinkI didn't try that handle and would have TOTALLY gone in had it not been locked). I have such fond memories of sitting on these stairs with my friends eating tomatoes with salt, Fun Dip  lick'm sticks and probably mangos!  I also have one not so fond memory of accidentally flipping over that top railing and falling onto my back on the ground below, which again at 6 felt like about 12 stories. 

This was my bus stop. I waited here every morning for my bus to pick me up for school and every afternoon for my mom to come get me. I remember not being allowed to walk to our house and having to wait for her and as I stood here all these years later I realized how ridiculous that was. Our house was LITERALLY one house away!! It felt SO FAR when I was 6! I got quite a chuckle out of that! 

I love that they have redone the pool, as I saw a video of another family who had gone back and at that time it was all deserted and green and mossy.  This could literally have been the swim lessons I took here! I thought it was so cool that there were kids kicking away in the water when I asked to shoot a couple pics. Mom tells me stories of having to tread water forever while I swam cause I couldn't touch the bottom. And that diving board! The first time I jumped off of it I thought my heart would explode out of my chest with anxiety!


 Just amazing to see everything and be flooded with so many memories. I cannot wait til my next trip to Florida, to pull out the old photo albums. Some might think it sad to see the house crumbling and the huge hibiscus bush gone from the front yard and the movie theater that I spent so many Saturday mornings in, torn down. But the more things change the more they stay the same. In my mind it could have been worse. It could have been torn down or covered in graffiti. But it wasn't. In many ways it was exactly the same and I felt like I was 6 all over again. There's a treasure in that.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Panama Day 5-Cerro Ancon


Our last day was really busy. We reverted back to our trip standard of seeing thee things a day and blew right past it to finish off our visit! Next stop was Ancon Hill or Cerro Ancon. You take a narrow, windy road up 654 feet to the top of the hill and are rewarded with sweeping 360 degree views of the city. And believe me, mom needed a reward after that little car ride. I asked her if she was having flashbacks of the trip home from Panama where we drove through Central America and all I heard was a weak little grunt in response. Mama does not like windy, little mountain roads. But wow it was 

The view up the Canal

Views of Santa Ana and Casco Viejo

Me, doing what I do! 

The Bridge of the Americas

The Panamanian Flag atop Cerro Ancon

The views of Panama City

A lot of the residences are being bought up and restored but of course the one I wanted to stop and shoot was the crumbling one. While the new homes are beautiful and it's great to see them keep the bones of the older structures, I have always been a sucker for peeling paint and old world charm. 

Look! I really was there! Thanks for taking my pic, Mama!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Panama Day 5-Mercado

The next stop on our last day was the produce market. Mom didn't remember coming here but David thought it would be a fun place to see.  I was in serious search of a mango since it seems we were too early for mango season, so the odds of me picking one off a tree like I did as a kid were slim to, oh wait not even slim. They were zero. But this was like winning the lottery. It was astonishing! I mean, I know a good farmers market, but I have to say this place puts Union Square's market to shame. Even in the summer. Now I get that a lot of it has to do with the customer being markets and not necessarily consumers but come on. Do you see the volume? I was blown away.

I mean seriously, how darling is this guy! Loved the Panamanian People, and I did get two mangos from him.

This guy called us over and asked (in Spanish of course) if we wanted to try his pineapple. Uh, Of course! So he proceeded to expertly carve away the bottom and down the sides and then with a fancy move through the outside, he plucked the perfect round out of the pineapple with his knife. It was like a magic trick. I wanted to clap but I was quickly in the throws of palate overload with the sweet flesh of the fruit. (This is starting to sound a little risque) It was so delicious! Nothing like anything in the States and I would dare to say even Hawaii has nothing on these. Blasphemous, I know. But they were that good. And here is the kicker, whole pineapple $1 each. We thanked him profusely and walked away with 2. Thank Goodness mom had wet wipes in her bag cause there was pineapple juice running down my arm. 

Enjoying fruits of labor.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Panama Day 5-Mercado Pescado

Best day of the whole trip. It started with our host David picking us up for a full day of revisiting places we used to go when we lived in Panama. Both of my parents have been telling me stories of the Mercado Pescado in Panama City. Dad used to go down to this Market on the weekends and pick up fresh fish. He told me stories of how he would take visitors with him but would take them through the meat market (think 1975 third world with no refrigeration and lots of carcasses) on the way to the fish market. Mom is a little sensitive to smell so it sounds like she would babysit and let dad do the shopping. While the fish does smell like the sea it's not the fishy smell you sometimes get when it's not just out of the water. Its briny and fresh and this stuff literally was swimming the night before and it was beautiful. 

  We walked around shooting and watching the fishermen taking the scales off the fish with speed and expertise. It was mesmerizing. 

We had already had a sampling of the ceviche and I was hooked. I think I ate it every day and I cannot wait to make it this spring. I mean seriously with all these choices?!