Day 6 (Jun. 9):
Panama City, Panama
Join the Party:
Boom boom boom boom...Boom boom boom boom. My eyes burst open this morning to a distinct pounding in my head. Boom boom boom boom. Only a handful of Panama's finest beers with some new friends last night and I'm milking a surprisingly killer hangover. Maybe it was the food? Possibly the water? Either way I need to drag myself out of this coffin of a bed and get my things in order because I have a meeting with a professor from the University of Panama in a few hours. As I shake the fog from my head I hear that pouding one more time; this time it is much more recognizable. Ratatat tat. True, I'm a bit groggy from last night, but the pounding that disturbed my beautiful slumber was not the evil side-effects of festivities past. It's Sunday and I'm in Panama City. Those are drums and they're signaling the passing of a parade on Avenida Balboa! Naturally, I hop into a semi-clean outfit and plunge through my doorway in the direction of the sounds of celebration.
Bright colors are strewn throughout the crowded streets. Yellow, orange, blue. Children are playfully dancing with marching bands that provide the rhythms for the day. I wander about the scene simply seeking to take it all in; absorb the life that fuels this celebration. I'm an obvious outsider in this local party, but nobody seems to mind my presence. They all just glance at me, smile, a greet me with a comforting "Buenos días." This city has quickly wrapped its colorful arms around me. 3 nights have turned into 4 and now it's looking like 5 as I continue to stumble upon new attractions that I need to investigate before I venture north. There's a piece of me screaming, "Get moving! Don't settle in! Work, work, work!" But, this is all part of the journey. Some places have good vibes that require an extended stay and I have the time in my schedule to accommodate for these diversions. Coincidentally, other locations will also have bad vibes that will force me to quickly pass by. It always balances out in the end. This is all part of the exploratory experience. I must find those places that contain the variables that I need to properly conduct future research and, right now, Panama is looking pretty damn good. The border produced robust results and I've found its cities to be quite impressive. Wednesday, I can stay until Wednesday. After that, its time to hit the road. I need to finish my business and move on without getting too settled in to an easy life style. The road is always difficult and I need to keep that feeling close.
For now, the exhilaration that's pouring out of the early morning parade has motivated me to really enjoy the rest of the day. I still have a few hours to burn before my meeting. I need to explore more of my area city and see what hidden gems are buried within the side streets, try a food stand that may have intimidated me before or head to the local park to catch a little league baseball game. Isn't that the point of a parade? To reintroduce the people to the simple beauties and joys of the community. The simple beauties and joys that are often overlooked and forgotten during the rigorous work week? To be cliche, who doesn't love a parade?