It is Saturday morning, the 17th of January and we are heading back out to Coronado to show our friends, Pam and Brian, more of Panama. After some discussion, we decide to head out to a small historic town called San Francisco, which is a couple of hours drive west from Coronado to Santiago where we turn inland.
San Francisco’s claim to fame is a beautiful old Spanish Catholic Church that has an interior that was recently carefully restored, mostly by hand. It took several years to complete the work and today it is a spectacular example of the intricate beauty and detail that was part of this historical building.
Away we went, in search of something interesting to visit and photograph. A few kilometers short of Santiago, we noticed a large busy fairground set up on the south side of the highway. The sign said it was the National Roping Competition. A quick change of destination found us looking for the next returno (where you can make a u turn) and we headed for the fair grounds.
Once parked, we walked through some of the stands selling food and western gear. It was like a small Calgary Stampede. We took some seats in the bleachers and began watching the event. They seemed to have two teams of ten to fifteen riders competing against each other.
A calf was released from a shoot and a rider from one team lassoed it as quickly as he could while the time was recorded. Calves were just roped and stopped. There was no rider dismount and leg binding as we would expect to see at home. Riders from both teams alternated until everyone completed the competition at which time the winning team was determined. It was an interesting competition of skill and a great demonstration of the capabilities of some beautiful horses.
We returned to Coronado after stopping in Penonome for dinner.
On Sunday, we started with a tour of Gorgona, which is directly east of Coronado. It is the next beach community toward Panama City. We stayed there a couple of years ago and enjoyed the quiet and solitude of the area. Today, being a weekend day, the locals were out enjoying the beach and it really was a busy place.
Later, we headed further east, toward Panama City to Punta Chame. This involved a leisurely drive 25 or so kilometers south from the Interamerican highway to the tip of the Chame peninsula. The development at the tip is known as Punta Chame. There are a couple of small resorts here and a Kite Board School called Nitro whose recent claim to fame was hosting a big name small personality entertainer called Justin Beber. We were glad to find he was not there, and enjoyed a pleasant poolside lunch before strolling down to the beach to take in the insanity of Kite Boarding before returning to Coronado to drop our friends.
We will be back to Coronado next weekend again.