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Panama Essentials

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Written by Matt   
Sunday, 11 January 2009 11:15
Panama is slowly leaking onto the world's travel and investment scene, cheap with the name starting to evoke more than just images of a canal. Whether you live in Panama or are preparing for a vacation, nurse check out the following Panama essentials as icons and must-sees of the ever-evolving isthmus. Panama Bond ClubRent this movie: James Bond, The Quantum of Solace
One thing James Bond movies always deliver is striking locations in which the man of mystery jumps or kicks something through glass. In Quantum of Solace, old Casco Viejo, Panama doubles as Bolivia and torn Colon serves as Haiti. The spy-like graininess of this film depicts Panama in its most rugged movie star appeal perhaps better than anything else on film.

Six Minutes to FreedomRead this book: Six Minutes to Freedom by Kurt Muse and John Gilstrap
Operation Just Cause was the USA's name for an invasion to oust General Manuel Noriega. While newspapers around the world were plastered with pictures of Noriega's burning palace, the side story no one heard was of a secret Delta Force rescue mission of American Kurt Muse who landed himself as hostage in Panama's grimiest jail purported to be a spy. This book makes regular references to military landmarks in Panama: a must for the history buff living or visiting the Republic.

Amazing Race PanamaWatch this show: Episode 5 of Season 8, The Amazing Race
In this particular episode of the show in which teams race around the world in a scavenger hunt-like craze, teams swing through Panama City for several checkpoints, stopping at the antiquely distressed baseball stadium and passing through the Panama Canal en route to a Smithsonian headquarters. The show accurately portrays Panama City in a dusty, sweaty, third world sheen and gives several reasons why Americans are so often laughed at abroad.

Van Halen Panama Download to this song: Panama by Van Halen
Part of it is Val Halen's iconic 1980's twang, part is the college-like inspiration it evokes to go outside, chug a beer, and break something. The song isn't actually about the country but rather the lead-singer's tribute to an old station wagon: but it is the first thing a lot of people when they hear the word. Panama City, Panama is probably more encompassing of the testosterone-plugged vibe of this single, but I firmly believe there's no better song to listen to while packing your suitcase.

Panama Hate Penonome Buy this hat (not that one): The real Panama hat
The typical Panama hat you envision when you think Capone, Churchill, and Hemmingway is a misnomer, as those woven palm style pieces are actually made in Ecuador. Instead, Panama's interior is full of the real "Panama hat", a straw sombrero-like piece typically flipped up in the front and made mostly in the Cocle Province of Penonome. While significantly less stylish, the true Panama hat is cheap, rustic, and true to its name.

Use the comment section to help us build a list of the best Panama essentials...

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Great List
written by The Great Panama Hoax , January 13, 2009
Couldn't agree more with Six Minutes To Freedom. Really is a "must read" for anyone living or investing in Panama.

Would like to add Shorty and Slim's - Going Down to Panama for a must listen to song. Here is a free listen:

http://ia331315.us.archive.org/2/items/AmyMcClungGoingDowntoPanam/Shorty__Slim.wmv


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A couple of great books.....
written by Yossarian22 , January 13, 2009
Two good reads about different aspects of Panama's past...

The Path Between the Seas by David McCullough, a very well written and comprehensive history of Panama and the canal, way more interesting than I expected.

Getting to know the General by Graham Greene, a fascinating account of the relationship between Greene and Omar Torrijos. Also unintentionally hilarious due to Greene's constant dissapointment with Panamanian food and his delight every time he gets the chance to have a drink.
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Hostage?
written by Panamanian , April 10, 2009
I think something´s wrong here. Even the word hero is used in some descriptions. A foreign citizen openly violating local laws and engaged in spying activities to overthrow a government? What would happen if a Panamanian citizen is caught in Washington DC for example, doing the same things Kurt was doing regardless of what he thinks is "the right thing?" Would he be a hero too? or a jailbird accused of espionage?
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Last Updated on Monday, 12 January 2009 06:30
 
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