As we approached old Panama, just down the street from one of the best fish markets in the world, the walk to old Panama takes us first through china town. Chinese have an incredible influence in Panama, 90% of every grocery store, every liquor store, and hardware store is owned by Chinese, but in china town things are a bit different. As we wound through streets and back alley’s lined with booth after booth of every random nick-nack, used book, pepper, ginger, and any other item you could fancy, but if your in the neighborhood be sure to pick up some hot sauce. There are no ingredients listed, rarely a label, but these home brews will tickle the spiciest palate and couldn’t imagine we soon found ourselves in need of a beer.
2pm on a Tuesday isn’t exactly happy hour, but don’t tell that to the patrons of the bar we wandered into. Now we here at Addictive Angler have been to quite a few dive bars, so many so you could call it a hobby, but this place put the sketchy in dive bar.
The bright hot Panamanian sun quickly faded as the saloon style doors led us in blackness. As our eyes adjusted I could begin to make out shapes, the place was full and judging by the varied stares, a couple of blonde, white guys wasn’t exactly the ‘norm’ for this place. Undeterred and thirsty we found an ice cold Panama and proceeded to make conversation as much as we could over the blaring noise of the place, between tv, music, and slot machines.
Obviously the place was a bit ‘more’ then a bar, but 2 beers down we decided to leave the mystery for another day, we were on a mission. With a shrug we continued the foot tour and soon found ourself in old Panama — Noreiga’s old stomping grounds.
As we walked upon history we quickly noticed that Old Panama, wasn’t as old as it used be.The entirety of that section of Panama is being renovated and restored — Priceless and gorgeous architecture being restored and it was beautiful. New business’s catering to an international clientele as a large portion of the district is being re-envisioned as a diplomatic
hub for Panama. Cobblestone streets, walking only road ways, and a great vibrations are the new paths to Panama’s future as the there is a veritable energy to the place!
Old Panama is Very much Alive! As alive as ‘New’ Panama with all her modern high rises and tricked out buses fit with LED lights, sun roofs, spray painted graphics, and fuzzy… everything. A multicultural hodgepodge that not only succeeds as the largest city in central america, but thrives.
With the current expansion of the panama canal underway she’ll only get better! Not a place to miss!