Friday, March 18, 2011

celebrations and other news

We have barely got over Carnaval and now it is La Feria Internacional de David..a 10 day fiesta of animals, plants, crafts and other things including rides for children, etc, etc. There is even a queen of La Feria. So we have been treated to firework displays which Panamaneans love....they have fireworks for birthday parties that are as big as those at La Ronde (digne de la competition international des feux d,artifices). They love a celebration. The presuident of Panama himself, Martinelli came to inaugurate the Feria.
Because we are in Bocas de Toro for the weekend, we are missing the most anticipated event of the Feria which is the Calbogata......a happening that invovles thousands of horses with their riders, galloping through town for this exciting event. Given the everpresent danger of getting crushed by a car in David where there are few stop signs and only one traffic light in the city, I am not sure that I am sorry to miss the spectacle of that number of riders on horseback taking over the streets. Panamanians love horses and they can be found everywhere. There are 2 in my back yard. For the last week, the owners of these horses have been practicing for the annual lasso contest at the Feria. They have a little wooden horse that they practice on as well.You could say it is a little like the Far West.
We drove up to Bocas over the mountains for 4 hours. The roads are better then in Costa Rica in most parts, thanks to the United Fruit Company and the need to move bananas out of this area. Then we took a boat ride for about 20 minutes to finally arrive here in what is a bit of a frontier town. The people here are a mix of native Ngobe, Caribbean workers who came to work on the plantations and Spanish descendents. It reminds me of Belize. A different culture than the rest of Panama. We are staying at the Bahia hotel which was the headquarters of the United Fruit Company in about 1904. It is a big wood structure that could be right out of a plantation. The people here speak a dialect of Guari-Guari that mized English, Spanish and Ngobe. Fun!!
Tomorrow we will be hiking across the island to a beach that is supposed to be beautiful.

Hasta Luego

Jennifer en Panama

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