Friday, 2 March 2012

Carnival Panamania!

Carnival Panamania! We were a little sad to leave Costa Rica as we'd loved the country and the friendly people but we were very excited about our next adventure in Panama. We made it across the border into Panama surprisingly easily and after 12 hours of travelling we decided to split our journey and stay in a small town called santiago. We stayed in a really quirky local hostal and met some lovely people but pushed on to Las Tablas for what was to be our home for 4 nights of carnival madness. And it was crazy. The panamanians really know how to party - having a day and night party session. In the day it was all about dancing, eating food on sticks, drinking and water water water. There were massive fire trucks and tankers lined along several of the streets and they would let rip by hosing down the partygoers. It was pretty entertaining and often very welcome as it was so hot. At times though it was a bit like running the gauntlet if you just wanted to make it to the next street. Let's just say we got drenched pretty often. And it wasn't only the giant hoses you had to watch out for but locals and kids who were armed with water guns and were keen to shoot the gringos especially as we were a very rare sight as there were probably only about 20 gringos amongst the tens of thousands of party goers. The people were incredibly friendly and there were so many families out making the atmosphere just fab. And there was a massive police and military presence so there was no trouble which was surprising considering there were so many people partying. At 4pm the police would clear the streets and give the town a chance to recover before the evening party began. Las Tablas was the biggest and most popular carnival in panama and we could see why. The floats were incredible-so elaborate, colourful with giant animal creations and feathers adorning the queens. The panama carnival is all about the battle between the two carnival queens from different areas of the city. And each queen would have a brass band following and supporting them, along with other supporters following the floats on foot. The brass bands were just so cool-playing so energetically -really fun and lively tunes. You really felt part of it as you could literally touch the floats as they passed by and often had to run to get out of the way. There were also endless firework displays framing the floats and the most obscene amount of firecrackers at times just chucked in the street. The noise was deafening but added to the excitement-although one lot went on for half an hour-crazy. Off the main square where the parades were there were so many cool little bars, clubs and bands playing in the street and this is where jonty and i learnt or attempted to learn the merengue - the local dance - by watching the locals We had the most special time in las tablas and we were fortunate as we were staying on the coast so we could get away from the madness for a bit if we needed to - although i did get stung by a jellyfish again. We had a very entertaining german host too who'd cook the most ridiculously huge breakfasts so we were stocked up until dinner. The other people staying at the hotel were lovely and such good fun too so we would head into town with them and enjoy carnival. We were sad to go but in need of a rest when we eventually left for Panama city. Katie and Jonty

No comments:

Post a Comment