(The music and beat you hear is
very similar to Panamanian "typico" music)
Flag of Republica de Panama
Map of Panama - Click for larger image
I was a "military brat" in a career U. S. Navy family so I lived in different places and visited many exotic countries. After I was born, we had three tours of duty in the Panama Canal Zone, at different stages in my life, with my father retiring there and going to work for the Panama Canal Company. On our first tour of duty, I was a toddler at Lacona, Rodman, and the mascot of the fire station.  During our second tour, I attended Ft. Kobbe Elementary since we (my little sister and I posing here in our tumba hombres*....a plainer version of a pollera) were again stationed at Rodman Naval Base (15th Naval District). I'll never forget our young native housekeeper, Melita, who smoked her cigarettes with the lit end INSIDE her mouth! I've since found out that this was not uncommon among some native tribes although I do not know if she was a member of one. The third time (after a two-year tour in Yuzibasilar, Turkey-located in the epicenter of the devastating August 17, 1999 earthquake) we were transferred in 1960 to Coco Solo on the Atlantic side of the Canal Zone where my father was stationed with the Navy Security Group Activity at Galeta Island (this is a photo of the later site--my father was stationed at the original site a few miles further down the road to what was referred to as "The Point").

All of my high school years (9th - 12th) at Cristobal High School were spent living in Coco Solo (facing Colon, which was across the bay)--making it the first time I went to one school for more than two years.  After graduation, I attended Canal Zone college for one semester then enlisted for a tour of duty in the U. S. Navy where I was stationed in VA. After my discharge, I returned to Panama and to college for another semester. Colon, on the Atlantic side, and Panama City, on the Pacific side, are the two cities where I spent a good deal of my free time. I have so many wonderful memories that will be with me forever.  In my heart, Panama will always be my first home.  For more information on a beautiful country with wonderful people and customs, its politics, and good food, please check out this online English - Panamanian newspaper--it's very informative:  The Panama News.

*NOTE - The pollera costume is differentiated from it's plainer cousin, the "tumba hombre" which, instead of tembleques, is worn with a straw hat that includes a small colorful pom-pom in front.

Click on all images to view enlargements.


(Ruins of Old Panama--destroyed by Henry Morgan, the infamous buccaneer--in background)

Folklorico Dancers
Panama's folklore is fully expressed in its traditional dances, its colorful "Pollera", the national costume, and "tembleques" (hair ornaments) worn by women; the embroidered, long- sleeved shirts, calf-high trousers, and a straw "Montuno" hat, the national costume worn by men. It may also be admired in a town's Patron Saint festival in February and March, during the famous Carnival, which is a four-day joyful celebration before Lent. There are popular dances, fancy dresses, dancing groups, confetti, floats and a lot of music in the streets, ballrooms, and clubs.  (Courtesy of Panamanian Folklore Dancers of Killeen, TX)

For more photos of polleras and tembleques,
use the button on the right. Allow time for downloading as there are many photos.

The 4 Panamanian images below are from Jayne and Ruby Yocum's website, published with their permission.  The
paintings and many others were done by Jane and the prints of these paintings are for sale.  Please contact them at
their website, PANAMA PRINTS, if you are interested in purchasing them.  All of their images on my web pages are
copyrighted and are NOT to be copied, downloaded or used without permission of the artist.



Goethals Monument, Balboa
The Prado, Balboa
Bridge of the Americas
Another view of the bridge

4th of July 2004 celebration in Panama at the Pedro Miguel Boat Club - many Americans attended - © NMB

The Raspado Man

Different Boat Sizes

Food Line

Chinese Container Ship

Bruce Bateman, Woody DeJernette, Gordy Will & Billy Coffey
The Flat Arch ("Arco Chato")
This part of an old 325+years old masonry church which was built around 1673, destroyed by fire in 1771, and neglected until 1983 when it was partially rebuilt, is part of the ruins of the Santo Domingo Convent of Panama Viejo ("old Panama") in the Casco Viejo suburb of Panama City.  Because this arch was considered to be an architectural feat, and because of it's durability, it helped to convince American engineers that making a canal was a doable project. After hundreds of years of storms, fires, and earthquakes, the engineers believe that the Panama land mass was stable enough to hold a canal.  Unfortunately, on November 7, 2003, the arch collapsed, due to a number of reasons, besides old age.

An interesting anecdote to this story is that the season finale of "Survivor: Las Perlas (Pearl Islands)" was scheduled to be held at the Flat Arch, but when it collapsed, the show was moved to Los Angles, CA, to the disappointment of the Survivor members and the film crew.


Before collapse

Squatters in 1912

Newspaper Article

The Prado, Balboa
November 2003

Mola Vendor on
Avenida Balboa

The Golden Altar, Panama City Main altar in the Iglesias de San José (San José Church).  This altar which is of carved mahogany, is decorated all over with a golden filigree and is stunning to see in person. During the rape of Panama by Henry Morgan, it was covered in mud to hide it.  It was a successful tactic and wasn't discovered by any of the marauding pirates.
To view and order other Al Sprague artworks of Panama, please go to 

(courtesy of  Sprague Editions)

Lucho Azcarraga music for sale!
*Music For Sale*
Marissa Azcarraga McLamb
(click on picture)
*Panamanian Art For Sale*
(click on picture)

Back to Wonder Woman page!
Panama and Panama Canal history
Read about Oklahoma
Favorite recipes
Links to more Panama and Canal Zone websites

This page created wih Netscape Composer

Site Meter


Website content and photos copyright © 1999 - 2006
All rights reserved.