From the polar bear decorations in the median strips to the Santa caps worn by the grocery store workers in the tropical heat, Panama does enjoy the (New England/Northern European-themed) Christmas spirit. One fine December day we found ourselves at The Biggest Mall of the Americas for a bit of bowling and it was almost, but not quite, filled to the brim with shoppers and enormous ornaments.
You may have noticed in the image above that there was a bit of room in between some of the shoppers. Enough room, in fact, for a ginormous marching band.
We also made it to a classic ice- skating -rink- in- a-mall!
As she did in Ho Chi Minh City, Sarah joined a choir to fulfill her dream of sweating while singing Christmas carols in interesting buildings around the world. This year's concert was held in the Frank Gehry-designed Biomuseo, which is far more colorful than the picture below implies. The grand finale was "The 12 Days of Christmas in Panama," in which the narrator was gifted aguacates, chicharrones, pastelitos, hamachas, patacones, and a toucan in a palm tree.
After school let out we took a quick trip up to the mountains of El Valle de Anton (the subject of a forthcoming blog post), but made it home for the Big Day.
We awoke to a beautifully executed Lego tree.
For future consideration: the Cinta Costera (the walkway along the Pacific coast) is where everyone wants to be on Christmas afternoon…
…while just about anywhere else is where we wanted to be whilst our neighbors continually shot off fireworks from 7pm until 2am.
We're currently in the middle of a trip enjoying the sights and smells of el lugar de las Aztecas. Feliz belated Navidad everyone!
We're in the depths of post-visitor doldrums. The kids' SoCal abuelos were here for a mellow five days together, and while a we did have to work a couple of those days, we managed to show off our city a bit. Since they had visited Panama a few years ago, they'd already seen all of the obvious tourist sights, so we had to dig a little deeper to find something new!
First, Casco Antigua for lunch at Lo Que Hay, ice cream at Granclement, souvenir shopping, and a view from the top of a church tower.
Then a visit to Gamboa including a motorboat ride to spy some wide life on Lake Gatún. (Thanks for the video Dadio!)
After experiencing the emotional roller coaster that is Les Mis, the Californians hugged their grandkids goodbye and hopped on a flight home.
Thanks for all the cookies, Trader Joe’s products, silly Christmas tchotchkes, easy-going-ness, and love! See you in a few weeks for our next adventure!