|Gives you and idea of the route|
|A big thank you to my buddy Chris for letting me|
use his pictures for this one.
I FORGOT MY CAMERA!
We drove to Albrook Mall where we picked up our "tarjeta's or "passes" in the nearby bus station. The Metro is free to use during this initial period but we still were required to have a card to get us through the turn styles. According to Wikipedia line one of the Metro has 16 stations of which 8 are underground, 6 are elevated and 1 is at surface level. The whole route is 8.5 miles long and takes 23 minutes to go from one end to the other. A diagram of all stops was clearly displayed on the train along with constant announcements of upcoming stops. Announcements in Spanish encouraged riders to give up their seats to the elderly, pregnant women and those traveling with young children.
|When we rode, it was considerably more crowded|
Panamanians enjoy like having a police presence throughout the country and the Metro is no exception. There were uniformed, armed police standing in every train car watching people come and go, making sure everyone was safe. At one stop one of the cops instructed a boy to step back so that the door could close safely. About half way along the route we exited the train with our friends in the El Cangrejo section of the city to find a place for lunch. Another time got off the train in the Los Andes part of town just long enough to walk through some of the shops.
|A view of one of the overhead stations WOW!|
Many people think of Panama as a third world country yet it's not looking that way anymore. By the way the term "third world" came about during the Cold War. It simply referred to those countries not aligned with either NATO (of the US and Western European nations as First World) or the Communist Block (including the countries of Soviet Union, China and Cuba as Second World). This terminology divided the world into three groups based on social, political and economic divisions. And it's because many of the nations considered to be third-world were poorer that the stereotype stuck and is still around today in the minds of many.
|Isn't it incredible!|
For us Panama seems first-world in many of the things it has to offer, yet third-world in others. It's capital city is lined with high-rise buildings, banks from all over the world, top-notch health care cheap and more shopping than anywhere else. Yet on the other hand the city water is frequently turned off either to conserve or for repairs and small breaks in electricity are rather commonplace too. But we've come to accept the little problems that arise here because the cost of living is so cheap, and our quality of life is so wonderful. The fresh tropical air, the mountain and sea breezes and the mere fact that we're retired early and enjoying life.....along the gringo trail.