Monday, April 18, 2011

Sunday in Casco Viejo

We had a great afternoon in Casco Viejo on Sunday.  We started with pizza at Caffe Per Due, a cute little, place with good pizza.
We wandered over to to Granclement for some ice cream.
and then we made our way over to plaza de la catedral, for the flea market.
We walked through the stalls and were delighted by a teenage folklore group doing some dancing in the middle of the plaza.  They really looked like they were having a good time, and the foreign tourists around us were totally blown away by them.  The girls were beautiful and the boys sang and yelled and waved their hats with joy and without irony or self-consciousness.  The folk dancing from the interior of Panama is full of good humor about hard work and country life (in one dance, the boys fan their hats just behind the girls because they are just too hot to handle and in another they wave their machetes as if they are going to cut the back of the girls skirt off)).  It was fun and totally unexpected.
There was also a group of kids from Colon doing the folk dancing from that province.  This particular folklore tradition is fascinating because it is a wild mix of Catholic and African that goes back to the Spanish Colonial period, and the communities of escaped slaves on the Atlantic coast of Panama.  The music is all drums and singing.  The songs are laments, it struck me yesterday how sad the words to the songs are.  The dances are very theatrical with a narrative about the devil trying to steal one of the children.  We went to the Festival of Diablos and Congos in Portobelo a couple of years ago and I can't recommend it enough.  The festival is a little rough around the edges, but the singing will give you goosebumps, and the devil masks are spectacular.  The kids yesterday did a nice job, and even got some the crowd in dancing with them.
My kids are convinced that the raspados in Casco Viejo are bigger and better than the ones we can get in our neighbourhood, and no visit to Casco is complete without one.

No comments:

Post a Comment