Dancing Queens, Men with Hats, and the Monkey

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One goal Mom and I have for 2013 is to see more of Panama.  We’ve been to a number of popular beach and mountain towns in the distant past; since so much is changing here, we decide it’s time to visit them again.

Our first stop: Las Tablas to catch El Desfile de Mil Polleras  — The Parade of 1000 Polleras.  We leave Panama City on Friday morning and arrive 5 hours later in Pedasi, a coastal town about 30 minutes from Las Tablas.  We check into the quaint and inexpensive Casa Margarita and spend the late afternoon visiting nearby beaches and new home construction, which is booming.  For dinner we head to Pedasito Hotel’s cute restaurant for comida tipica; Mom orders white wine and sancocho and I just stick to the white wine  — part of my new diet.

We sleep soundly and wake up early Saturday morning to attend the festival.  Mom’s friend, a Las Tablas native, advises us to arrive there by 9:00 am in order to get a good parade route spot.  This seems like good advice before we park ourselves in the hot, hot sun at 8:30 am and then realize the event will not start until 2:30 pm.   After 6 hours of waiting and perspiring, the fun begins.

President Martineli kicks off the parade, I see my favorite TVN cooking show host in his company’s float and dance along with others to the festive live music.  I also see more polleras than I thought possible.  No, they are not exaggerating when they promise 1000 of them; there really were like 1000 women dressed in this frilly, mostly white yet colorful national costume.  Problem is that about after the 350th, I am good.  I don’t  really need to see 650 more.  I get picture.  But we’re trapped on the parade route with Mom’s scooter and no key (totally my fault for leaving it back at the hotel) and have to wait until the very end of the 3 hour parade to leave.

Once back in Pedasi, we head to Restaurante El Patio for dinner.  We arrive around 6:30 pm and are the only customers there.  The Spanish menu looks tasty until we learn that many of the items we’d like to order are unavailable.  Mom chuckles. Once food arrives to our table, it is delicious.  Mom orders grilled fish and I order a salad with sauteed vegetables.  Both of order and thoroughly enjoy our dessert — homemade flan and pears in wine sauce.

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On the way back to Panama City on Sunday, we stop at a friend’s house to visit her pet monkey.  I’m super excited since I would love to own a monkey myself someday.  Picolino does not disappoint!  He is so cute in his smallness and old-man appearance and becomes even more interesting after a tiny sip of Balboa beer.  A true Panamanian monkey!  I also enjoy meeting Picolino’s brothers and sisters — 4 dogs, 2 parrots and a cat.

All in all, it was a fun weekend.  I look forward to more adventures exploring Panama this year with Mom.  It’s a good life!

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