casco viejo…

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hola…time to wrap up Panama with a pretty little bow — from bridge building deep in the mountains to relaxing where the sea meets the sky…to the place I didn’t know I needed to know…Casco Viejo.

I will admit…I was ready to go home and even considered changing to an earlier flight. The rest of my group would be leaving soon, and it would just be me all by myself. I was sick of coughing; I was tired of camping; and I never wanted to see rice again. But then I saw Casco Viejo…and my heart melted at the thought of wandering the walkways while getting lost in history — suddenly the time I had left wasn’t enough…

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Upon arriving back to the mainland, our little group stayed in a high-rise condominium for 1 night in Panama City…this was our view! And Casco Viejo was only a quick taxi ride away.

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We ate and shopped our way through Casco Viejo…savoring our final moments together. On Wednesday, it was just me and Eric, and we biked along the Amador Causeway and did more shopping and eating, and World Cup watching! Then Eric left and I was officially on my own…just me and my camera.

Staying in a hostel, I was transported back in time to when I last stayed in a hostel almost 20 years ago. It was fun then; it was fun now! I love meeting other travelers from all over the world — I even ran into some people we met on the islands. Usually, I’m a light sleeper, but I must have been exhausted by this point…noise and lights going on/off didn’t phase me!

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In the taxi ride over to Casco Viejo, we drove through some deserted, depleted streets that just breathed dire…I knew it would be the first place I would go exploring. It definitely wasn’t part of the touristy zone, as I was the only one wandering around. The streets were screaming in silence.

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And as I roamed the streets, I realized it was going to be impossible to capture the charm, the character, the colors, and the contrasts that surrounded me.

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Now back in the touristy area….I think I read that Casco Viejo is the 2nd most visited place in Panama after the Canal…but it wasn’t crowded.

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I happily stumbled upon a little craft fair…was not disappointed at all!

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Every block and every corner was a different building and a different color…I couldn’t get enough.

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I heard there was a supermarket so I went to go look for it, and couldn’t believe this whole other area to be explored – this was where all of the locals were – it was loud with street vendors, stores galore blasting music, alleyways upon alleyways. It was a complete contrast from the cobblestone streets just a few feet away.

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A little shout out to good old mandi’o…I ate this everyday for 2 years, 3 months in the Peace Corps!

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Bananas!

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When the day came for me to fly back home, I was ready to just sleep on the plane, and reflect quietly on the last 2 weeks. But this little girl and her sister had other plans. They shared the row with me, and wouldn’t leave me alone for the whole flight, even when I pretended to sleep…of course I loved every minute of it!

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And when I got back to work, my super cool co-workers kept Panama alive by building me a souvenir pedestrian suspension bridge!

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I loved every piece of Panama…there was something so familiar, yet so unique that couldn’t be captured on camera and can’t be written in words. It can only live in my heart.

Thanks for being a part of the journey…let’s see what 2015 has in store!

lilly.ai

 

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