Casco Viejo, Panama
November is one of those “love `em or hate `em” months in Panama, mainly because we managed (don´t know how, really) to fit all of our patriot holidays in the same month, and as a result nobody really works, nothing moves. So, if you are planning to come to Panama for business either 2, 3, 4, 5, 10 or 28th of November, just don´t bother. Also, please check if any of those fall close to the weekend, for if it does, don´t bother either. We call that “bridging”. I mean, what`s the point of showing up for work on a Friday if Thursday is a holiday and Monday too, right?
But, if you are coming to experience holidays in Panama, this is a great month. You`ll see the city all dressed up, flags everywhere. Panama City pretty much empties for the first week and a half, everyone goes to the beach and mountains. If you stay one day at Panama City you`ll see those classic parades where schools march forever, kids with proud faces playing at their best. Being part of a music band here at school is a big thing, they practice all year round for those marches. But pretty much any town you`ll go they`ll have their own version. Small towns are wonderful, their “main plazas” are usually at the heart of the parade. You`ll see everyone in town, if you want to mingle with locals, this is when you do it. Take an umbrella, it might rain!
When in town (or before coming to Panama), and even if you are already a seasoned “Panama ” visitor, don´t miss the opportunity of reading “The Path Between the Seas”. It is a fascinating book, one of the best history books we`ve read about this country (and frankly, ever). David McCullough is an amazing story teller, weaving facts with such natural disposition, you won´t be able to put the book aside. How a small country ended up in the middle of the World`s politics of its time, how it became independent without dropping one single drop of blood. Remarkable.
You`ll enjoy the country from a different perspective, and if you stay in our 300 year old colonial city called Casco Viejo, you`ll be literally walking the same streets that witnessed so many events.
Happy Patriot Holidays!