Day 193 – Channeling in Panama

2009/03/21 § Leave a comment

One of the few things worth doing in Panama city- after visiting the old town of course- is to go to the Panama canal. A milestone of engineering, a political cornerstone, and one of Panama’s economical stepping stones.

Old town Panama City

Old town Panama City

Panama has not stepped very far with it though, since the division between rich and poor is notoriously problematic also in this nation. The old town, despite ongoing efforts of renovation and recreation, is still separated into the area that is good to go to and the no-go-zone. This morning I had a police man on a bike follow me.

I was thinking he might have some issue with me walking into a certain part of the town. And sure enough he eventually stopped me and explained that I should walk back since I was about to just get myself into trouble. His job was obviously to channel the tourist through the old town, away from the troublesome parts.

It is touching and at the same time worrying that you have to have police watching every tourists every step. At night the streets are cut off by police check points and they are heavily armed too. And at the same time I today visited a fantastic mall, the best I have seen in any Latin American country, Argentina and Chile included! There are very different worlds in the same town in Panama…


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