An American Abroad

Laundry and Flags in Casco Viejo

It rained for five days straight after I arrived in Panama City. But finally there came a day where the skies, while not exactly bright and sunny, were at least not pouring down rain. I used the opportunity to go to Casco Viejo, the oldest part of Panama City. The neighborhood, which dates back to 1519, sits on a stubby peninsula that juts out into Panama Bay, surrounded on three sides by water. I was here:

Though it’s undeniably an historic district, Casco Viejo is also a living, breathing community. Well-to-do people, the middle class, and poorer folks all live there in close proximity to each other. And even though they live in a UNESCO World Heritage site, they still have to do laundry like everyone else. The Sunday I went was apparently laundry day. Coincidentally, it was also just a few days before the start of Panama’s month-long celebration of nationhood, El Mes de Patria. Panamanian flags and red, white, and blue bunting hung everywhere, sometimes commingling with the laundry.

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