Friday, November 8, 2013

Farewell to Panama

Big ass cargo ship passing under the Puente de las Americas
Today is the last day for the Panama leg of Vacation 2013.  Panama was a great place to visit.  I went here with zero expectations.  Spending two days here and seeing the canal I thought would be a great way to break up the really long flight deep into the southern hemisphere to Uruguay.  And it was.  But I'm wishing I had set aside a couple more days to see more.

I definitely will spend a few more days in Panama next time I fly Copa to Latin America.  (Unfortunately, for next year's World Cup Brasil trip, I'll be routing through Atlanta on Delta.)  I'm not sure if I'll do the Country Inn in the old U.S. Canal Zone.  It was a great hotel.  Next time, though, I think I'll stay in downtown where all the action is.  Maybe the Hard Rock Hotel, which is a skyscraper in Panama City, since I'm a hipster happenin' now kind of dude.

But enough about my "next" trip to Panama.  This trip.  It was (get this) overcast morning, lightly drizzling.  I decided to go for a walk anyway.  I should've taken my umbrella, since I packed one.  Or even wore a cap, since I packed one.  But I had faith.  So I walked out of the Country Inn.

The Country Inn & Suites Panama Canal. I shall miss you.
And I decided to stroll down the Amador Causeway and snap some photos of the Frank Gehry building they're building about a mile south of the Country Inn.  There's a park of some sort next to my hotel, with this weird pyramid-gazebo structure thing.

Weird pyramid-gazebo structure thing.
I don't know what it is.  I don't know where it came from.  But it's more interesting than most Frank Gehry designed view-killing ugly monstrosities.  (See, e.g., the Lou Ruvo Brain Building in downtown Las Vegas.)  Lots of construction in my neighborhood.  Most of it seems to be refurbishing/renovating old Canal Zone era buildings, such as this:

Random interesting building
Around this time the rain starts coming down much harder.  It is really pouring by the time I happen upon the Bio Museum, the Frank Gehry "signature" building they're building.

Frank Gehry's Bio Museum
I've heard that Panama is proud that it is getting a Frank Gehry.  They think it'll be a "signature" building.  But Panama City already has a very interesting, very unique "signature" building that really does compliment its skyline:  The Revolution Tower.  Which is awesome to behold.  The Frank Gehry Bio Museum?  Eh.

Panama's own Frank Gehry building
The best one can say about this is that it is not nearly the train wreck that other Frank Gehry buildings are.  As it's set off by itself, on a narrow causeway, it doesn't ruin its surroundings, like putting Tabasco on Lemon Meringue Pie, which is what Frank Gehry stuff normally does to a town.

Anyway, I got my pictures.  The rain continued to pour.

View of the downtown skyline from the Amador Causeway.  This time in the pouring rain.
The Amador Causeway is an interesting part of the Greater Panama City area.  Lots of good restaurants, albeit focused on us turistas.  Lots to see, like this statue in the middle of the causeway.

Statues surrounding a flagpole
It looked interesting.  What is it supposed to represent?  I don't know.  It was pouring hard at this point.  And I had to get back to the hotel, get out of my wet clothes, and get ready for the raison d'etre for this whole trip:  my flight to Montevideo.  Good-bye Panama.  Hasta pronto.

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