September 03, 2011

Panamá Gastronómica 2011.

    From September 1 to September 3, 2011, was held at the Atlapa Convention Center, the Congress and Expo-Fair "Panamá Gastronómica 2011." According to the organizers the mission of this activity is to position the country as a gastronomic destination, been a window to the world of Panamanian products and talents.

     Several national chefs and others guest chefs which came from abroad participated in the event, including one of the "Iron Chefs". Several conferences were presented by these chefs over three days, and also held a group competition between chef students with his tutor from different universities.

     I loved visiting “Panama Gastronómica”. There were many companies’ stands that are related with sales cooking products , food and drinks. This year they implemented the Wine Route, where participants paid for a wine glass engraved with the name of the event, and may apply at each stand that promoted wine tasting. 
     There were stands selling cuts of meat and you could prove it. My God, it was delicious!  There were also some universities that made food preparation exhibits as snacks and then a chef distributed them. That was a fight among the attendees who wanted to taste.

     Conclusion, everything was delicious. I leave the address of the event's website Panama Gastronómica 2011 if you want to know what happened there and if you want to participate next year.
     I placed some photos of the event.  Enjoy them.

August 15, 2011

How the Panama Canal works.

     Did you know that the Panama Canal was excavated in one of the narrowest and lowest parts of the mountainous Isthmus of Panama, linking North and South America? The Panama Canal is 80 kilometers long from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean and a ship takes about 8 to 10 hours to cross it.
      The Panama Canal operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It has only closed its doors to world trade twice: first as a result of a landslide in 1915, and the second on December 20, 1989, during the U.S. invasion to Panama.
To explain the operation of the Panama Canal, I will present it from two points of view: one, from inside the canal and the other, following the displacement of a ship through the canal.

The engineering of the Panama Canal

          The water to raise and lower the ships in each set of locks, actually a sort of stairs, whose steps to ascend or descend are filled or emptied of water, it’s obtained by simple gravity from Gatun Lake. The water enters through the main sewer system. From this main sewer, 10 sets are under the lock chambers from the sidewalls, and 10 sets are from the central wall.
      Each sewer has a set of five holes of 4.5 feet of diameter. As you pour the water into the mainsewer, it is distributed through 100 holes in the floor of the chamber into the airlock where the ship. In this way, the ship can be raised to the level of the next chamber or to the level of the Gatun Lake, if it’s the last chamber. If it’s to lower the ship, we make the reverse procedure: the water is drawn through the sewers until the water level is the same to the next chamber or lock, or to the sea level if it’s to leave the Canal. For each ship which transiting by the Canal, it’s used about 52 million gallons of fresh water, which flows by gravity through the locks and then discharged into the ocean.

Displacement of a ship through the Canal

          Each set of locks of the Panama Canal is named by the town where it was built: Gatun (on the Atlantic side), Pedro Miguel and Miraflores (on the Pacific side).
      A ship transiting the Canal from the Atlantic towards the Pacific enters to the Canal from Limon Bay, after passing through the Cristobal breakwater.
This stretch of sea level in the Atlantic is 10 kilometers long and 152 feet wide, through a mangrove swamp which is at sea level.
      The ships descend or ascend about 26 feet through the three chambers of the Gatun Locks. Each camera measures 33.53 meters wide and 304.8 meters long. The length of the Gatun Locks, including the approach wall is more than two kilometers. After the ship has pass through the Gatun Lake up to Pedro Miguel Locks at the southern end of Gaillard Cut. Down there about 9 meters in one step to Miraflores Lake level, which separates the two sets of Pacific locks. The ship the last two steps down to the level of the sea in Miraflores Locks which has more than 1.600 meters long. The gates of Miraflores are the highest in the entire system due to the sharp variations in the Pacific tide.
      Ships transiting the Panama Canal are towed from one camera to another in each set of locks by electric locomotives (mules), specially designed for this purpose.
      The canal employs about 240 practical to transit the ships using the waterway. The captains of the ships that cross this route have to cede control to the staff exclusively responsible for this phase of the transit. This reflects the need to observe the maximum safety standards imposed by the movement of ships through the Panama Canal.
      Ships from around the world transit daily through the Canal. Around 13 to 14 thousand ships use the Panama Canal each year.

June 15, 2011

Panama, Where the World meets: Traditions.

     At last "La Autoridad de Turismo de Panama" (Panama's Tourism Authority) launched the advertising of Panama as a country brand, with the slogan:  “Panamá:  Unimos al Mundo”, or in English, “Panama:  Where the World meets”. 
    I'm impressed with the quality of the four videos filmed in HD. That´s why I selected a big screen.  I posted the first one about traditions and folklore.  Enjoy it!

March 28, 2011


     The music video contains images of "Culecos" or "Mojaderas" which are held every morning of the 4 days of Panamanian Carnival. There are images of various Interior’s places inside the country during these days.
     The song is a "merengue" of Dominican Wilfrido Vargas and sung by him. The lyrics of the song were inspired by the "Culecos" of the Panama's Carnival's, where people gather in the town's central park to be doused with water by tanker trucks parked at the edge of the street. People shout: "Agua", "Agua" (Water!, Water!) while the man which has the hose is dousing water to all the people, while they jump and chant the "tonadas" (songs) of the “Tuna” (group of people and musicians who accompany and support their queen, either Calle Arriba-Up Street or Calle Abajo-Down Street, during their performances). See:  Las Tablas Carnival 2010: “Culecos”.


March 03, 2011

Mola: A Textile Art.

     Molas are the textile art made by the Kuna Indians who live in the northwest of the Isthmus of Panama, known as “Comarca de San Blas”.
     The origin of the mola comes from the painting of the body (tattoos) which was then transferred to fabrics. The Molas represent the cosmogonic thought, a graphical view of a world full of colorful and full of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic meaning of the indigenous culture. The striking and colorful geometric shapes paint mythological scenes, the creation of the world, custom scenes, flora and fauna of the region inhabited by the Kuna Indians.


     Molas are the decorative apparel fabrics, square or rectangular shapes, worked inside out with the embroidery technique called applied embroidery (appliqué / reverse), made with colorful cotton fabrics of different colors. Stack consists of 3 to 5 layers of fabrics of different colors, and cut the shape in the form of ornaments, from the first layer to show the color underneath. The cutting then finally is folded. The color of the lower layer creates the outline of the image. Only the last layer is not cut. The best molas consist between 4 and 6 layers, embroidered with tiny stitches, with regular and balanced colors.
     The confection of a MOLA can take 30 hours to double or triple the time, depending on the degree of design complexity and the number of layers of fabric they have.
     Kuna women are who make the molas and each one is unique and unrepeatable. Traditionally it’s part of the Kuna’s feminine attire (chest and back of the blouse of the woman) and an element of cultural identity that characterizes the people. The mola is drawn up by the woman who will use it, so its characteristics depend on the taste of the author, as well as its texture and size.


     In addition to making the molas for clothes, Kuna Indians make molas to sell to the people that appreciate the beauty of the design and colors. They are usually sold in rectangular or square cloth to put them in a picture frame to hang on the wall or where you most appreciate them. For example, I have seen molas in furniture cushions, framed molas, decorating offices or homes, in blankets for bedding, and on clothing as well as in women and men.
     I made a video of all the molas I found online and had good resolution in order to appreciate the details and colors in video of this wonderful art of the Kunas.