There were lots of dancing girls, bands, beauty Queens, people in fancy suits, and every where along the road hundreds of people standing on the side of the road watching the passing parade. They had to stop every 20 metres or so because of the congestion, and it was a riot of bright colour, noise, and smiles and laughter. Janet and I slowly walked up from the very back of the parade, slowly making our way forwards, taking photos as we went, and just soaking up the wonderful atmosphere. We also tried to take photos of some of the many campesinos and their families who had evidently come in from the surrounding area to join in the fun and festivity of celebrating their National Day. It really made for a fun occasion, with everyone smiling and “Buenas Dias’ing”, and even the people on the parade would stop and pose for the camera if they saw you trying to take a photo of them.
We eventually made it through the throngs alongside the road to the football stadium where all the people were headed. On the way we found the German couple we had just met yesterday, Simone and Jurik, sitting in the back of their truck beside the road, unable to move. They had been driving around town exploring when the parade started, and had been forced to park where they were for a couple of hours while the parade slowly filed past in the narrow streets ! But they were enjoying the unexpected entertainment as much as everyone else.
After everyone had made it to the stadium for (presumably) speeches etc, we headed home via the supermarket, catching a tuk tuk once we had shopping bags to carry. Tuk Tuks are 5 quetzales for one person to go anywhere in town – About 75 cents. If there are two of you it all becomes a bit expensive – A whopping $1.50 in total ! There are so many of them that it is never a problem to get one, and over the rough narrow cobbled streets, they are actually the ideal solution.
Tuesday 16th Sept. Last day in Pana
In our campsite we now have Aldo from Argentina who is heading home from America by catching local buses, and couch-surfing or camping in his tent, and Jane and Tonyino from Brazil wHo are heading north towards the USA. So we spent much of the day chatting with them, swapping electrical plugs and maps (we have finished with our USA and Mexican items, and they in turn have finished with their S & central American ones !) and generally discussing the problems and issues encountered along the way. A good mix of Portuguese, Spanish, and English !!
This morning we went into town for coffee and breakfast. The coffee we found at a small coffee shop called Café Loco, owned and run by a Korean who now lives in Pana, and I have to say it was excellent coffee – Even if a bit expensive for round here at $1.50 each. We then moved down the road and for about $7 in total had really good local omelettes and filter coffee, which filled us up for the morning. We have obviously been in Pana too long because while sitting in the café beside the road we saw and “hola’d” several people we now know !! We then set off down the road heading for a local museum we had read about which was located inside the beautiful Posada De Don Rodrigo Hotel, down on the water front. The museum was OK, but wouldn’t recommend it to anyone else, but the hotel itself is delightful, and very much upper end of the market. But the view over the Lake to the volcanos and along the waterfront walkway is lovely, and the gardens outside the rooms, each with their own hammock set up for an afternoon siesta os a big change from the smaller less expensive hotels.
Then we wandered up the street doing some souvenir hunting. (Un)fortunately there is not a lot of spare room in Troopie for “accessories” of any kind, but a few items did find their way into our bags for friends and family at home. Half of the street vendors see, to recognise us now, so it was quite fun wandering up the street and nosing around in their stalls, or chatting with the street vendors who carry their wares either on their heads or in bags around their necks. A pleasant morning.
Then it was off back to the camp site to chat to some of the others in the site again, take a few photos of each other, and then slowly try to sort out the van for a departure in the morning. We are only going to Antigua tomorrow so don’t have to leave early, but after some 10 days here, the normally very organised van is in a bit of disarray inside, so will take time to pack up.
Willie our German friend in another camp site dropped in for a cup of tea, and invited us over tonight for a drink with himself, Simone and Jurik who we met yesterday in town, and a newly arrived French couple who are also headed south. Whether we make the steep climb over to their site or not remains to be seen – Especially if he gives us as much wine and Schnapps as he did the other night !!
We ran out of cooking gas / propane this week, so one of our chores over the next day or two in “civilisation” is to see if we can get our bottle filled – The problem is that like with electrical plugs, every country has their own sized gas fitting too, so filling bottles is always going to be an adventure! Luckily we have a small reserve cooker that uses different fuel, but if we are not careful we will run out of that next, and then we will be down to lighting fires to cook our supper !! We also need to stock up with foods as we have decided to go through Honduras and avoid El Salvador, partly due to their reluctance to let RHD vehicles into the country, and partly because Honduras looks more interesting, so the next couple of days through Antigua and Guatemala City are going to be quite busy.
The good news is that I seem to have found a way to get my photos off my camera and onto the computer without losing them, so I attach some recent ones here. I have still lost a lot of good ones from earlier in the week – C’est la vie !!
So as we head into Honduras, not sure what wifi we will find, but at this stage, all is well, and we are now looking at moving fairly quickly down through the rest of Central America down to Panama. We will wait to see what adventures happen along the way !!