I spent my last day in Panama in and around an area called Casco Viejo. Casco Viejo was built in 1673, and it shows. It was built after the governor of Panama set fire to Panama City in order to prevent the dread pirate Henry Morgan from attacking and looting the city (interesting tactic). Casco Viejo was designed and constructed just two years later (maybe this is what shows).
According to websites like travelandleisure.com Casco Viejo is 'up and coming'. I have to say that I would be pretty disappointed to buy in this neighborhood unknowingly, considering the condition that most of the buildings are in, and the living conditions of the people who live and have lived in the surrounding dilapidated buildings. They are trying to remodel the entire neighborhood, one building at a time; what they are often left with is the shell of the building, with walls that often have plants and even trees growing out of them. The juxtaposition of a remodeled building surrounded by slum is nothing but interesting.
NOT that I am complaining about experiencing this neighborhood. I have never seen anything like it. It is very raw.
After exploring the very small area that makes up Casco Viejo I walked over to the seafood market. The view of Panama City proper was worth the walk over (in this kind of heat and humidity the easiest tasks become arduous, and the arduous tasks seemingly impossible).
Every picture I took inside the market was done blindly. I had my camera planted firmly against me and did not look once through the lens, often innocently looking in another direction as I snapped the shot. I didn't want to draw attention to myself. I didn't buy anything, just browsed, blending right in as you can see.
Outside the mercado de mariscos are a bunch of stalls where you can buy prepared seafood, ceviche being the most common item. I stopped by Ceviche Bendicion (Ceviche Blessing) for a Mediterranean version of the dish. I figured I may as well try something totally different.
My time in Colombia and Panama was totally unforgettable. The contrast between Bogota and Cartagena, experiencing how the Kuna live on the tiny beautiful islands of San Blas, going through the Panama canal, quetzal hunting... it was all so unforgettable. I could have easily spent an entire month in either of these countries, but I have no regrets regarding my plans. I can always return.