First stop was the lavandaria. After dropping off the laundry, Emelio took us to a “hand craft” marketplace. We spent what seemed like hours admiring all the beautiful handmade items. After we were done there, we were ready to go the mercado (the grocery store). Emelio, however, insisted on showing us some the Panamanian treasures. First stop, took us up the long and windy road to see the view. Although not initially very excited about this little trek, thank goodness we relied on Emelio’s advice. From the top of this hill we the most incredible 360 degree view of Panama. We could see the locks, the old part of Panama, and the new part with all the gigantic skyscrapers (somewhat similar to Miami).
Emelio gave us the history of Panama and the canal. Very interesting. From there it was off to lunch. He took us to the fish market where all the fisherman bring their daily catch. We had an amazing lunch of ceviche, shrimp and fish at the restaurant on the second floor of the fish market. It was truly delicious.
OK, now we really need to get to the market. Once again, Emelio insisted that he had more things to show us. He took us through the old part of town that was very reminiscent of New Orleans. The buildings all had balconies with ornate wrought iron. One block it looked like a barrio then immediately turned into beautiful homes, back to barrios then at the end of the road was the Capitol building. The streets were extremely narrow, barely enough room for one car. Heading towards the market (again) he stopped at another hand craft store. We spent a long time looking at all the handmade molas. Molas are 3 to 5 layer fabric panels embellished with reversed appliqué and embroidery. After making our selections we made our purchases. Emelio had found a parking place 3 or 4 blocks away so we walked with him through the town square. Street vendors lined the walks. Most of them were Kuna Indians. They were dressed in traditional handmade attire. Shirts made out of the molas with a sarong wrapped around for a skirt. At first we thought they had on long socks and gloves and then realized their legs and arms were wrapped with strands of beads. Now, finally off to the market.
The market looked like something from home. Very Americanized. Three shopping carts later, we were done and headed back to Quest.
Quest passed all the inspections and will be given our travelling orders tomorrow.
After all the groceries were stowed away, we enjoyed a nice glass of wine in the salon, then walked down the boulevard to a Columbian restaurant.