Panama City, Panama

The end of our journey through the Canal was marked by our docking in Rodman, Panama: A tiny, almost nameless, pier at the abandoned naval base just a short taxi ride away from Panama City. We maintained sea watches, which basically means that although we were in port the officers would be on duty during our normal underway watch schedules.

Which meant I had less than four hours to spend ashore.

Short end of the stick for me. But considering 24 hours ago I didn’t think that we would be able to grant anyone the liberty to go ashore, I figured I would take what I could get.

Did you know that the national currency of Panama is the US Dollar?

Yeah, I didn’t either until I got here. This is due to the US involvement of the construction of the Panama Canal, and even when full control of the canal was passed to Panama on December 31, 1999, many US influences still remained, such as the currency.

Freed of the need to figure out currency conversions, I hopped in a taxi to the city to make the most of my limited time there. It was mostly spent wandering around the historic “Old Town” taking photos and partaking in a bit of market shopping.

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After all, when the markets are under flowered canopies, how could I resist?

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Alas, I don’t think I could get away with wearing the dragon mask as part of my uniform.

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The Bridge of the Americas off in the distance (the arch on the right side of the photo). We were docked just on the other side of it.

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Downtown looked as if it would be spectacular as well.

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But I only had time to admire it from afar.

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That bird is a statue.

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This bird is not.

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Also, a golden alter which once had to be covered in mud to disguise it from raiders.

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This entire part of the city is under continue restoration. But it all seems to be done at random. Crumbling infrastructure, now more plant than actual brick, stand side by side with shiny new stores and offices. All the new buildings are at least designed in the same manner as their historic counterparts.

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And, as with all of the Latin American countries we’ve visited so far, the street art truly lives up to the “art” in its title.

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And of course, in a city where so many nationalities pass though, wisdom abounds:

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