Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Panama photografica

These are the REAL Panama hats. Those broad-brimmed, Fedora-like Montecristi hats are favored by Hollywood and, in fact, made in Ecuador. These hats are more popular in the Panamanian interior and seen far more prevalently, often with their brims flopped upward.

Elisio is the owner of a small tienda in Valle Rio, Panama, sort of a country store. See that giant avocado on the counter? You could buy three of them for a dollar. When I told Elisio that in America, ONE such avocado might cost anywhere from $2 to $4, he was shocked. He began to tell everyone who came to his store, and they were shocked, too. Some, though, probably began to have visions of harvesting from their backyard trees and becoming fabulously rich off estupido gringos.

Many of the roads in Panama's interior are what we would call "farm-to-market" roads in the United States. On this one, the farmers returning from village markets late in the day stop at a bridge across a deep ravine and they cull any fruits from their trucks that might not be fresh enough to sell tomorrow. They leave their old bananas, mangoes and other fruits on the bridge railing, and the monkeys from the surrounding jungle come to feast on the farmers' misfortunes. Thus, this is called the "Monkey Bridge."

Carlos -- sometimes "Charlie" -- is a street vendor in Las Tablas. He asked me if I go to church, and told me that he is an evangelical. "Do you want to see my gun?" he asked me. "Sure," I said. Carlos dug around under his cheap goods and pulled out this old Bible.

A professional corn-shucker at a restaurante in Chitre

Sopa manana


Jspiker said...

Ahhhh....the simple things in life.

I was in Equador last year and experienced the same thing.

Thanks for sharing!

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