In the News from Panama

Writer Discovers ‘Completely Different’ Panama City

It is always interesting to watch people arrive in Panama City and quickly lose their misconceptions and preconceived notions of the city. Some know little more about the city than the stereotypes and old stories and within a few hours they are transformed.

We see it all the time; it’s a common phenomenon. Many of those early skeptics end up as regular visitors to Panama City… and many of them end up buying homes here.

This phenomenon is captured in vivid detail by The Globe and Mail travel writer Diane Selkirk, in her recent article, “The evolution of Panama City.” She writes in the Toronto paper that she was shocked when “the first building to catch my eye was the vibrant Frank Gehry-designed Biomuseo.”

“The look was in direct contrast to the Panama of my memories,” she wrote.

The writer was dealing with many of the archaic perceptions still held by some people around the world, who haven’t followed the country’s development. “Until recently, Panama City brought to mind the global shipping industry and the imprisoned cocaine-trafficking dictator Manuel Noriega,” she wrote.

But that quickly changed, as “the city on the horizon appeared to be something completely different” than she remembered. She quickly started to embrace the modern Panama City with its “gleaming new skyline; Casco Viejo, the colonial-era quarter where centuries-old ruins are being transformed into hip hotels, art galleries, cafés and microbreweries; as well as a slew of refurbished parks and museums.”

It is a pleasure—and familiar—to read the way Panama City won over Selkirk. She discovered the city through new eyes, exploring the old city and, in some cases, moving beyond the typical tourist areas.

There are thousands of articles by writers who have fallen in love with Panama City. But it’s always nice when a writer like Selkirk acknowledges the old misconceptions and casts them aside.

In Selkirk’s case, she also found the friendliness and charm of Panama City, beyond the tourist attractions.

“When it was time to see more, every Panamanian we spoke to was eager to share their insider secrets,” she wrote. “It seems locals are thrilled with how their city has evolved – and rightly so. We should all live in a place that not only becomes more beautiful but also safer, cleaner and more welcoming.”

That’s very true.

Read the full article here.