Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day 1 in Panama


Panama/Costa Rica SIE was off to a GREAT start when we gathered to leave Bryant and our bus was running late...and even later...and eventually never came.  The professors quickly took action to get several taxis and before we knew it we found ourselves at Logan, and soon after in sunny, beautiful Panama!  We were greeted by our comical bus driver Jaime and enthusiastic tour guide Estephan.
With a quick dinner and catch up on sleep, we were ready to kick off our experience today with a wonderful breakfast at the hotel with fresh fruit, coffee, cake, meats, and cheeses!  Our first stop was at Casco Viejo which was the old downtown area of Panama that had a lot of western influences. Some of these western influences included the French as well as the Spaniards. The buildings in Casco Viejo were quite interesting to say the least. The French inspired architecture of these buildings provided them with more ventilation, which was needed because the temperature gets so hot. The spanish influence was shown throughout the design of each balcony as well as the cobblestone streets. This city of Casco Viejo was the 2nd of 3 renditions that Panama City experienced. An important figure to mention is Simone Bolivar, who was an anti-imperialist and anti-colonist.  He was known as the liberator of Panama due to the fact that he stood up and fought against the imperialistic nations like Spain and France, saying that Panama does not want to be ruled of governed by anyone else but themselves and that they can build their own buildings and society without western aid.  Before our next stop, we all stopped at a local restaurant and many of us tried the native sea bass, delicious!  We then went on to visit the ruins just outside today's Panama City.  This was the first society not only for Panama but for the entire continent.  The location was unsecured due to the open beach front and thus the threat of pirates was a problem. Because of this threat, the treasures of Panama were moved to Casco Viejo where a new central city emerged.  After a long first day of learning and exposure to Panama's diverse culture and history, we are ready to settle down and rest until tomorrow's activities.

~Ronnie Blanchard and Brent Lavitt signing off, hasta pronto! Buenas Noches!

P.S. Ronnie and Brent were the lead vocals for the bus rides..

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