January 2011 Archives

Panama - Lichen-Painted Bark

On the grounds of the little zoo El Nispero in El Valle de Anton - a patch of tree trunk handsomely decorated by lichens.

20101226El Valle105.jpg

Panama - Tropical Leaves

There's something irresistibly sensuous about clusters of full, wet, rich green leaves.

20101226El Valle109.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101226El Valle070.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Panama - Trees in the Cloud Forest

20101226El Valle097.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101226El Valle059.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Panama - Golden Frogs

El Nispero, the little zoo in El Valle de Anton, houses some of the famous Panamanian golden frogs in realistically landscaped glass display cases. These frogs are found in the forests on the outskirts of El Valle and elsewhere in Panama, but they - like amphibians around the world - are threatened by the deadly fungus Chytridiomycosis. The display is carefully sanitized, and constitutes one of the few chances to prevent extinction of these frogs.

20101226El Valle096.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101226El Valle092.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101226El Valle095.jpg

(click to enlarge)

El Valle de Anton - Zoo

The little mountain town of El Valle de Anton has a pleasant, small zoo called "El Nispero". It houses some colorful birds and an ocelot.

20101226El Valle077.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101226El Valle080.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101226El Valle112.jpg

(click to enlarge)

It also has a collection of endangered frogs and much luxuriant vegetation, things that we'll see in following posts.

Panama - Painted Buses

Older buses in Panama are often gaily painted, the work of craftsmen who specialize in such decoration. We're told that this is likely to disappear as the old buses are replaced with newer, more efficient ones.

20101226El Valle055.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101226El Valle056.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Panama - El Valle Market

A couple more images of characteristic Panama products in the market at El Valle de Anton.

20101226El Valle022.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101226El Valle014.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Panama - El Valle de Anton

El Valle de Anton is a town of about 9,000 people about 1.5 hours drive from Panama City. The town is located in the flat wide crater 6 km wide of a volcano that has been dormant for around five million years. Because of its elevation (600m), it is cooler than the Panamanian lowlands. (Wikipedia).

The town has a well-known crafts market, including some tourist-oriented kitsch. Here are a couple of examples.

20101226El Valle005.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101226El Valle010.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Casco Viejo - Church Decoration

Casco Viejo-17.jpg

(click to enlarge) The Iglesia de San Jose near Casco Viejo has a deservedly famous, spectacular gold altar.

Casco Viejo-19.jpg

(click to enlarge) I'm not sure which church this and the next picture are from. (I'm not a good record-keeper.) Might be the Iglesia de la Merced a block or so away from the Iglesia de San Jose and the Cathedral. In any case, the light and colors are nice.

Casco Viejo-20.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Casco Viejo - Balconies

Casco Viejo-14.jpg

(click to enlarge) Casco Viejo, like New Orleans, has some nice balconies. These fellows got into the spirit when I motioned whether I could take their picture.

Casco Viejo-13.jpg

(click to enlarge) These guys, not so much.

Casco Viejo - Ladies

Casco Viejo-5.jpg

(click to enlarge) A corrugated metal wall in Casco Viejo was painted with beguiling ladies.

Casco Viejo-6.jpg

(click to enlarge) And then an exemplar of the type walked by, and kindly agreed to pose.

Casco Viejo - Weeds and Walls

To my eye, at least, weeds against a weathered wall in a vacant lot make an attractive picture.

Casco Viejo-16.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Casco Viejo-15.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Casco Viejo - Derelict Buildings

Casco Viejo, the old part of Panama City, has many derelict buildings. Some are (very slowly) being restored, some are not. Most are picturesque.

Casco Viejo-18.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Casco Viejo-12.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101229Panama City037.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Casco Viejo - Xmas Bike

Casco Viejo-9.jpg

(click to enlarge) Two boys walking across a bridge with what I assume is a Christmas present bicycle. They look at it so solicitously!

Casco Viejo - Crafts

Indigenous Panamanian people make fine crafts: molas from the Kuna of the San Blas Islands, baskets from the Wounaan Embera, and masks perhaps also from the Embera.

Casco Viejo-8.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Casco Viejo-10.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Casco Viejo-11.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Panama City - Casco Viejo

The most picturesque part of Panama City is Casco Viejo (also called Casco Antiguo), which means "Old Part". The cathedral is located in the center, and when we got there on Christmas Day we found families with children opening presents and just finishing cake and ice cream.

Casco Viejo-1.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Casco Viejo-4.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Casco Viejo-2.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Casco Viejo-3.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Panama City - Puzzles and Pizzazz

20101227Panama City054.jpg

(click to enlarge) Corner store with glass and mirrors.

20101229Panama City033.jpg

(click to enlarge) National Theater of Panama. More information here.

Panama City - Biodiversity Museum

Panama has perhaps the greatest biodiversity (number of plant and animal species) in the world. Appropriately, therefore, a museum devoted to biodiversity, designed by Frank Gehry (the architect of our own Weisman Museum at the University of Minnesota), is under construction in Panama City.

The building features Gehry's characteristic jumble of shapes, but will be faced with big slabs in primary colors. See models and sketches here. Design began in 1999, and construction in 2003, with completion scheduled for 2007. But this is the state as of January 2011:

20101229Panama City021.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101229Panama City013.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101229Panama City023.jpg

(click to enlarge) On a tree outside the fence surrounding the construction site, biodiversity in action.

Panama City - Street Scenes

20101227Panama City033.jpg

(click to enlarge) On a pleasant side street, Via Argentina, with nice shops and restaurants, an attractive interplay of tiled roofs ...

20101227Panama City038.jpg

(click to enlarge) ... and then this: Rocking Gorilla!

Panama City - Downtown

A couple of photos in Panama City's downtown:

20101227Panama City018.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101227Panama City045.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Panama City - Urban Color

Some scenes from the center of Panama City, full of the color and amusing juxtapositions that make street photography so much fun.

20101227Panama City026.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101227Panama City029.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101227Panama City025.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Panama City - Barbed Wire

Every city has areas marked off-limits with barbed wire, and Panama City is no exception. The challenge is to make visually interesting photos of rather ugly scenes. Here are three attempts.

20101227Panama City009.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101227Panama City036.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101227Panama City037.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Panama City - Revolution Tower

20101227Panama City062.jpg

(click to enlarge) I was intrigued by this partly-finished, helical building in the distance. Our guide said it's called Revolution Tower. A Google search yielded its web site with a picture of the model.


(click to enlarge) When finished, it will be a mixed-use office and condominium building. It was started in 2007, scheduled to be completed in 2009, but is still incomplete. Many optimistic building projects in Panama City have been stalled by the economic downturn.

Panama City Skyscrapers

Panama City has a remarkable number of skyscrapers, newly built or under construction. It's fun to photograph them from different viewpoints, making new combinations of structures.

20101225Panama City039.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101225Panama City053.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101225Panama City052.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101225Panama City057.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101225Panama City060.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Panama City Cartoon Characters

Along Avenida Balboa, which runs beside the Pacific in downtown Panama City, there was a large collection of more-than-lifesize circus and Disney characters, which looked as if they had been mounted on floats for a holiday parade. Incongruous, especially with skyscrapers as backdrop, but fun.

20101225Panama City067.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101225Panama City068.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101225Panama City075.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101225Panama City080.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101225Panama City092.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101225Panama City094.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Panama City Wires

Shiny new skyscrapers are usually found in the big cities of first-world countries, while unruly tangles of electrical wire are typical of cities in third-world or developing countries. What, then, is one to make of these scenes from Panama City?

20101225Panama City023.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101227Panama City031.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101227Panama City053.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101227Panama City060.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101227Panama City061.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Panama City Nativity Displays

In my first posting from Panama City, a few days ago, I mentioned how impressed we were by the abundance of large and elaborate nativity displays. Here are some more examples.

20101225Panama City015.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101225Panama City016.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101225Panama City103.jpg

(click to enlarge)

20101225Panama City109.jpg

(click to enlarge)

Panama - Wildlife in the Canal

On our last day in Panama, we took a boat ride in the Panama Canal, specifically in the huge artificial Lake Gatun, looking for wildlife. It's a healthy ecosystem, and we saw lots of animals.

20110102Panama Canal067.jpg

(click to enlarge) Capuchin Monkey

20110102Panama Canal046.jpg

(click to enlarge) Crocodile

20110102Panama Canal091.jpg

(click to enlarge) Iguana

20110102Panama Canal062.jpg

(click to enlarge) Hawk

20110102Panama Canal088.jpg

(click to enlarge) Heron

Now we're back home in cold, dry, snowy Minnesota --- quite a contrast from warm, humid, rainy Panama. It was a great trip. Many more photos to come.

Panama City Skyscrapers

20101225Panama City007.jpg

(Click to enlarge) Panama City has many impressive skyscrapers ...

20101225Panama City009.jpg

(Click to enlarge) ... but the view is often spoiled by uncontrolled tangles of electrical wire.

Panama - Coffee Plantation

We're back in Panama City after a fine few days in the western countryside. Flying back home tomorrow, early morning. There will be many pictures from Panama, a most photogenic country, but here are a couple more from the Finca Lerida coffee plantation, showing some of the production steps.

20101230Finca Lerida131.jpg

20101230Finca Lerida133.jpg

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2010 is the previous archive.

February 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.