Panama Adventure Day 3, The Other Kind of Old Town (Aug 1, 2018):
Balboa Township is just down the road from the hostel where I'm currently resting my head at night and for siestas and myself, during the other parts of the day, which was the main order of business, today.
I had planned a walk up Ancón Hill, but the morning turned to rain, which we get enough of in Shanghai, so I gave it a pass, and didn't get back to it after siesta time, feeling more like reading and relaxing. I suppose it might be spectacular at night, seeing the lights of the city, with its many clusters of high-rises, so recalling for me the look of Hong Kong; but apparently the park and historic site is closed at night.
Regardless, aside from overlooking the city and the canal, the hill has a view of Ancón Township. Having missed the hill, I opted for an evening walk into the historic town, especially as the cantina I'd planned to get dinner at on a previous day, had been open but turned out only to serve lunch, so I hadn't enjoyed a local supper yet at all, but only breakfast, lunch, and some pork and beans from a can, and Nico's had been suggested as very good.
Alas, tho it was only 8:30 and the place was supposedly open till 10:00, it was closed. As I meandered a little further thru the town, and took in the Army and Navy Young Men's Club, shuttered and surrounded by hurricane fencing; the businesses with papered over windows; and the lack of a single other pedestrian, I surmised this might have something to do with Albrook (Mega) Mall, which I'd visited before.
It struck me that you might feel a great sense of sadness for this, as town has some interesting history in connection with the Canal, and as the mall has no charm and little to offer to enliven the spirit; but then I've seen it many times in Canada and the USA on motorcycle trips.
Who knows, a revival may come, if tourists can be coaxed off the hill and into the town, but otherwise, you just move on, and so I did, with a smile, back to the hostel.
Unnoted from Day 1, but worth mentioning: They don't walk much here, unlike in Vanuatu. Maybe because the local workers can afford the bus? And have good bus service? Which isn't universally the case there. Or maybe it's cultural, like walking is a sign of poverty. Or maybe it's just not that walkable, like Los Angeles.
As often. So often. Someone, the day lady desk clerk? Took exception to my putting my sneakers in the dryer. Hahaha. Ah well. I found the dryer opened with one sneaker pulled out and put on the floor of the laundry in front of the machine and the load still damp.
No option for me tho. It was wash them or throw them out. I took off my shoes on the flight to Beijing. Wasn't long before a flight attendant asked me to put them back on. Hahaha. It was so hot and sticky in Shanghai these past few weeks. After showering today, I noticed it didn't matter if I had them on or not. Oops!
The night guy and I share something in common. I said I was pleased Panama still used a 50cent piece, long since discontinued in Canada and the USA except as a Royal Mint collector piece and whatever the American equivalent is, not for regular circulation. His response: to show me 50cent pieces from a half dozen countries, and then give them to me. I've given my collection to my son. He'll have these, too. Cool!