An American Abroad

Motorcycles & Street Art in Panama City

My two weeks in Panama were not a vacation for me. On weekdays, I stayed close to my hotel or cafes where internet service was available so I could continue working. I took a lot of photos in that immediate vicinity, namely, the El Congrejo neighborhood of Panama City. I took them on my way to and from the cafe where I spent most of my work time. And a lot of them were of motorcycles and street art. In the four years I’ve maintained this blog, I’ve put up many posts about those two interests of mine. I’m combining the two here.

I didn’t get the sense that Panama City has a booming motorcycle culture. Most of the bikes I saw were either fast food delivery vehicles or police cycles. Both tended to be Suzuki 150s.

I also didn’t see a whole lot of street art in this neighborhood, but I loved this piece that was just down the street from my hotel. The branches look something like a crown of laurels.

My favorite neighborhood eatery was the New York Bagel Cafe. One day I saw this beautiful new Vespa parked in front. There’s also a Vespa dealer on one of the more commercial streets in El Cangrejo. I was tempted to buy one and ride it all the way back to the USA.

The streets near the NYBC are lined with apartment towers. It’s a middle- to upper-middle class area, so there wasn’t a lot of tagging to be seen. So I was surprised to come across this.

Perhaps coincidentally, it was near there that I saw one of the only Harleys I laid eyes on here.

One of the most interesting works of unauthorized public art I saw was in an unlikely spot. The park that runs by the waterfront on Avenida Almador near the Bio Museum generally has an upscale feel to it. But right next door there are some modest apartment complexes where I spied this. In Spanish it reads

Somos seres humanos experimentando una forma de pensamiento que caduco hace mucho tiempo y seguimos sufriendo de ello porque tenemos medo a aventurarnos a los recónditos de perdernos cuando en realidad va estamos perdidos.

The best English translation I could come up with (which is admittedly rough) is

We are human beings experiencing a way of thinking that expired a long time ago and we continue to suffer from it because we have the courage to venture into the recesses of losing ourselves when in reality we are lost.

There were also some upscale bikes in Casco Viejo, the Spanish colonial part of town. The photo immediately below of the Yamaha is one of the finest motorcycle pix I’ve ever taken.

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