We awoke this morning to the distant beat of jungle drums echoing off the mountain walls as the sounds made their way down the valley to our ears. When I opened my eyes, I realized it wasn’t jungle drums at all but rather the base from some Panamanian dudes stereo off in the distance being played at the only volume setting permitted for music in Panama, that being maximum! The always barking distant dogs were strangely silent this morning as if they knew why the veterinarians that I told you about yesterday were in town. Oh well, there was still the roosters!
Breakfast today was at the Restaurant Artesanias in the Hotel Residential El Valle. It’s right on the main drag and looked inviting. It was also close to the already busy public market where we were headed after breakfast. The menus here, as in most other places have the offerings written in Spanish with the translation to English in brackets following. It works pretty well and we have not had too many surprises yet. Today we ordered fresh fruit smoothies, pancakes and coffee. I can’t believe a day without bacon! The food was fine, nothing special but the smoothies were huge and very flavorful. Breakfast for two $10. This place would be worth another try but we are running out of days to double up on restaurants. Give it a try if you are in town.
Last night, while at dinner, we saw a beautifully restored old car drive up and park in front of the Catholic church. The occupants headed in for Mass. I had left my camera in the car and the lighting was poor so I did not get a picture of it. Today, it was loaded aboard a trailer hooked behind a Toyota Tundra capped pickup and parked by the side of the road. I got a couple of shots of it but still don’t know what make it is. There was no recognizable (to me) insignia on the car to identify it. Maybe someone out there could tell me what it is so I can pass it on to the other readers. I took a pretty close look and the quality of the restoration workmanship was perfect. Even the wide white wall Firestone tires were in perfect condition. I love the color, which I know could never have been authentic. Can anybody help?
The main drag was starting to back up with all the traffic headed to the market and the church. Crowds spilled over into the street. Lots of small vans from resorts in other places arrived filled with tourists looking for bargains. A couple of large tour buses were parked in an empty lot across from the church. When we walked around the market it seemed a bit smaller than we remember from earlier years. The back part of the market behind the plant section is empty and not full of vendors selling plants and flowers. The tent behind, where many of the Kuna artisans display their Molas had fewer tables. Up front, in the craft area was still busy with many good quality Panamanian crafts being offered. The fruit and vegetable part of the market is a bit bigger with fresh product piled high on the tables and lots of locals availing themselves of the expansive choice. I prowled and got a few pictures to give you an idea of what goes on here on Sunday at the market. Tomorrow, the streets will be empty again and El Valle will return to its more normal slower pace of life.
We headed back to the resort for a little quality hammock time. I have to keep my tan up!
For dinner tonight we decided to try Chinese. There is one Chinese food restaurant in town in a new mall called Pekin. It has a convenience store, hotel and a Chinese food restaurant all called Pekin. We went in and ordered. We found the food a bit disappointing compared to the other meals we have experienced around town. They don’t take credit cards as many of the restaurants now do and the servers appeared to speak no English where most other places we have been they can at least speak some. The food was hot and the service adequate but we wouldn’t bother with it again. It was an unremarkable meal. Dinner for two $23.