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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Panama Part 4

    Wednesday, July 19, 2017
    Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama

    The Cafe Coca-Cola in Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama.
    The Cafe Coca-Cola in Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama.

    Central Avenue in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.
    Central Avenue in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.

    Today, I decided to walk up to the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, since it’s only around a mile away from my hostel. The only problem was, the kind of area it was in made the search very difficult: streets laid out in a random non-grid pattern, and a highway with a wall but no sidewalk on the side where the museum was supposed to be, which was harrowing to walk along. To get over there, I had to cross a pedestrian bridge containing human shit, used condoms, etc.

    The rear end of a Red Devil bus in Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama.
    The rear end of a Red Devil bus in Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama.

    A painting of a Pollera dancer on a roll-up door in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.
    A painting of a Pollera dancer on a roll-up door in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.

    Even though I was walking at quite a brisk pace, I got passed several times by two or three locals. I have no idea what’s up with them and why some of them walk so fast. They must be professional walkers. They don’t actually do stuff at destinations, they just walk, walk, walk non-stop at astonishing speeds. And then they walk some more. After walking around in circles for a half hour and asking for directions from three different people, I finally found the museum. The fact that it has no sign anywhere on the building or property probably didn’t help.

    Store fronts on Central Avenue in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.
    Store fronts on Central Avenue in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.

    Street Art in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.
    Street Art in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.

    Stepping inside, at the front counter I encountered the friendliest person I’ve met in a long time. Completely happy and full of life, she thoroughly explained the show, and chatted me up a bit, as well. As for the museum itself, it’s not a huge place–maybe four or five small to medium rooms. The whole facility was taken over by Eugenia Balcells and her exhibition called Anos Luz (Light Years).

    Street Art in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.
    Street Art in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.

    An audio-visual installation called Frequencies by Eugenia Balcells at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.
    An audio-visual installation called Frequencies by Eugenia Balcells at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.

    In the first exhibit of Anos Luz, called Frequencies, bands of light derived from elements in the periodic table shifted about accompanied by deep drones inside an all-white room with a six-inch high “stage” built in. The drones were actually composed of NASA recordings of outer space “noise.” Outside in the main room, Homenaje a los Elementos (Homage to the Elements) put the periodic table on display with graphic rectangles on one wall, along with hanging chimes that visitors could play with wooden sticks.

    An installation called Homenaje a los Elementos by Eugenia Balcells at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.
    An installation called Homenaje a los Elementos by Eugenia Balcells at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.

    An audio-visual installation called Universe by Eugenia Balcells at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.
    An audio-visual installation called Universe by Eugenia Balcells at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.

    Upstairs in a pitch black room lurked another amazing installation called Universe, featuring a set of several white cloth discs about four feet tall that bisected each other, giving the appearance of a sphere. With the help of a small motor, the sphere slowly rotated as a series of overlapped images from deep space–including planets, moons, stars, galaxies, nebulas, etc.–were projected across it. What it all added up to was a fantastic psychedelic window on the cosmos accompanied by more deep space drones. The cranked air con only added to the stark feel of the whole environment–both upstairs and down.

    An audio-visual installation called Aluminum Sounds by Eugenia Balcells at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.
    An audio-visual installation called Aluminum Sounds by Eugenia Balcells at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.

    Two employees at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.
    Two employees at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.

    On my way back to  Casco Viejo, I stopped for a second to take a photo of a wall when a local bully boy started yelling at me from across the street. He said that he didn’t like me taking photos and that he would charge me $10. I just ignored him and kept walking. Luckily, he was probably just showing off for his friends and didn’t get up to pursue me.

    A sign of no times in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.
    A sign of no times in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.

    I almost got rolled for taking this photo in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.
    I almost got rolled for taking this photo in Ancon, Panama City, Panama.

    At the very least, he probably would have taken my camera and my money. It’s true I only carry around enough for one day, but still that would have been crappy. I keep the rest of my money in a small locker in front of the reception desk at Luna’s Castle. When I arrived there, I was going to rent one of their three free bicycles to cruise the strand toward downtown. But, right before I could, three people had grabbed them and were headed out the front door. Curses!

    A plate of buttery spaghetti and an egg sandwich at Cafe Coca-Cola in Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama.
    A plate of buttery spaghetti and an egg sandwich at Cafe Coca-Cola in Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama.

    Typical Spanish colonial architecture in Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama.
    Typical Spanish colonial architecture in Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama.

    Words and photos ©2017 Arcane Candy.

    One response to “Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Panama Part 4”

    1. James Davis says:

      Looks like another fun and interesting trip Garry. A friend I worked with left the company and does maintenance on call from his home in Miami. He was originally from Guatemala I believe. He recommended i go to and/or live in Costa Rica. I don’t know if I will make it there, but I sure do like following your trip!
      Take care, Jim.

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