The Kalu Yala Blog

Adventures in Panama Viejo

June 6, 2011

by Celia Daly
Posted In: Adventures in the Tropics

Our second day in Panama City, we were sent on a scavenger hunt to Panama Viejo, the first Spanish fort on the Pacific. After waving down 3 different taxis who all chuckled at our pathetic attempts to speak Spanish and rolled their eyes at our desire to go ALL THE WAY across town, we finally found a taxi that agreed to give us a ride.

panama-viejo

The tower in Panama Viejo surrounded by ruins

fifteen minutes later, we arrived at the ruins and got out to explore. However, we all noted how strange it was that the place was virtually empty. But, it was the middle of the day on a Monday so how could it have possibly been closed?! WRONG. After wandering around for a few minutes, a man appeared waving a huge stick and screaming at us. After some confusion, he informed us that we were indeed trespassing as it was Monday afternoon and, of course, the ruins were closed to the public regardless of the fact that there was no sign and the gates were unlocked and open. After some more admonishing, he sent us on our way, confused and, frankly, a little like a dog with his tail between his legs.

All of this got me feeling that familiar frustration that seemed to never quite go away while in South Africa. But I had no say in that country. Here, we get a chance to tackle issues that frustrate all of us. In my case, that’s the failure of an education system to prepare students to become what they deserve. This is the beauty of a place and a company like Kalu Yala; we are the change. So, bring it on Panama. I’m ready to make some moves.

picture courtesy of google images.

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