Academic Travel in Panama: The Isthmus that Changed the world

Recently the Hanover College students participated on a Cross-Cultural Communication tour in Panama City, where they learn about Panamanian history and its culturally diverse society.   EcoCircuitos Panama organize the program under our motto:  Adventure, Conservation and Education.

In the video the EcoCircuitos Tour guide and staff leading the tour on an amazing week where history, interpretation, new discoveries, new friends and fun where part of the daily activities.

 

Video courtesy of Hannover Students.

 

Contact us if you are interested in Academic and Educational Travel adventures and want your students to gain a deeper understanding of Panama’s history, ecological and environmental culture.   For details:  annie@ecocircuitos.com

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Unesco recognizes the real Panama Hat

LA PINTADA, Panama (AP) — Cultural authorities at UNESCO have recognized the artisans of Panama for their distinctive woven hats. No, not those hats; the famed “Panama hat” comes from Ecuador.

Panama’s real contribution to the world’s hat heritage is the pintao, or painted hat, handmade from five different plants and a dose of swamp mud.

Production of the circular-brimmed hats is still a family affair carried out on a household scale. The industry’s center is La Pintada, a district about 170 kilometers (105 miles) west of Panama City.

“They don’t have anything (artificial), no machinery; no factory as such exists here in La Pintada,” said Reinaldo Quiros, a well-known artisan, and designer who sells hats out of his home. “Each artisan in his own home makes the hats maintaining the techniques taught by his ancestors.”

The widely known “Panama hat” is a brimmed hat traditionally made in Ecuador from the straw of the South American toquilla palm plant. The hats are thought to have earned their misleading name because many were sold in nearby Panama to prospectors traveling through that country to California during the Gold Rush.

Artisans of the truly Panamanian pintao hat start with the fibers of several plants that are cured and then woven into braids that are wrapped around a wooden form and sewn together from the crown of the hat down.

Pasion Gutierrez, 81, grows some of the plants around his house in El Jaguito outside La Pintada, while others are found high in the mountains. Gutierrez, his wife Anazaria and several of their children and grandchildren make pintaos.  His eyesight doesn’t allow him to do the fine needlework anymore, but he harvests, prepares and braids the fibers.

On a recent day, Gutierrez said he’d gone out the night before to cut agave leaves because they believe the quality of the fibers is best when harvested under a full moon.

“It’s no good with a new moon,” he said.

Several bands of fiber are dyed black with the leaves from a different plant and then stuck in mud for three days. The fibers are woven into fine geometric designs and integrated into the hat giving it its name.

“The pintao hat has become an integral part of regional outfits throughout the country worn during traditional dances and community festivities,” the United Nations’ heritage arm’s statement said.

Depending on the quality of the work some pintao hats can cost hundreds of dollars. Authorities estimate that 4,000 of La Pintada’s 25,000 residents work creating or selling the hats.

Pedro Mendoza, a 50-year-old hat maker, hopes that the UNESCO recognition takes the pintao hat beyond the country’s borders.

“It’s really good what’s happened,” he said. “The hat for us is a way of life.”

Original article:  https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/unesco-recognizes-panamas-hat/4180101.html 

Blokarting: Sailing on Land

By Briana Reece

When people think of sailing, they mostly think they need water and a boat, but what if you could sail on land?

Blokarting, is an extreme sport created by combining hand gliding and land sailing, but what’s the difference between land sailing and blokarting?

Two words… hand steering. It all comes down to the fact that you can control the movement by steering your pod with the help of the wind.

The creation of this yatch dates back to 1999, when the New Zealander Paul Beckett, saw a fun, fast and compact toy, which would offer adventure to people of all ages, gender and even those with disability.

Now imagine you are placed into a small compact unit and it has two wheels in the back and one in the front. When you enter this small “cart or pod”, a seatbelt is placed around you and instructions are given. It sounds simple, you pull a rope to go faster, if you let it go your speed will decrease, and most importantly if you feel you’re going to tip over place your hands on the steering. Then you just sit back, grab the rope, place your hands on the steering and get ready to be blown away. Just make sure you’re not going against the wind.

The experience

It was scary at first, especially when you know you could tip over because of the wind. You feel like you´re in control, but at the same time you´re not because you´re depending of the wind to help you move. Having to pull or let go of the rope while trying to hand steer required coordination. It was like driving a manual car, the rope is your shift stick and clutch; and the hand steering is your steering wheel

There were times when one of my tires lifted, and my first thought was move towards the lifted tire and let go of the rope to maintain balance. It´s not easy at first, but once you get the hang of it, you´re able to enjoy the ride and feel the adventure, especially in every turn you take.

Having begun in New Zealand, Blokarting has managed to make its way to South Africa, Australia and will soon be available in the hidden and forgotten Island of Naos at Causeway, Amador.

Don’t miss this opportunity, check out Panama Landsailng Adventures for more information or contact us for reservations.

Sources:

http://www.blokart.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blokart

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_sailing

http://blokarts.co.uk/blokart-blog/4590803590

 

 

Art Galleries in Panama

The art scene in Panama is growing and fascinating.  As a bridge between two continents, Panama is one of the most diverse cities in Central America with a strong influence on the Afro-Caribbean, European and indigenous cultures.  There is a new generation of proud Panamanian artists creating unique pieces.    Kantule, Sebastian Icaza, Isabel De Obaldia, Donna Conlon, Jonathan Harker, Pilar Moreno  are some names that are building the Panama art scene.
There are some interesting art galleries that are a testimony to Panama’s art and cultural legacy.    We suggest to explore the city or book an art tour with us that will take you to the most interesting art galleries in the City.

An Art Tour in Panama City

DGriss Art Gallery
Location: Torres de las Americas, Punta Pacifica. Telephone: 201-5550 – 
Owned by Daniela and Pablo Griss, this art gallery displays art by Pablo Griss himself, and other artists all over the world. It´s main focus is contemporary art.

DiabloRosso
Location: Avenida A con Calle 6, Casco Antiguo. Telephone: 262-1957 –
A gallery that has a showroom, a restaurant-café, and a concept store. It has several art exhibitions during the year. They focus on promoting and supporting young local talent, future artists.

Weil Art Gallery
Location: Calle 48, Bella Vista.    Telephone: 264-9697 –
This art gallery owned by Carlos Weil, is the only art auction house in Panama. It has art from international crafts, as well as Panamanian 21st art such as handcrafted art, paintings and even sculptures.

Galeria Arteconsult
Location: Calle 72, No.34, San Francisco.    Telephone: 302-2646 – 
Offering Panamanian and Latin American art, we have this permanent high caliber showroom, which displays a diversity of art. From paintings to photographs.

Mateo Sariel Garcias
Location: Coco del Mar, Calle 79, Casa No.14.   Telephone: 270-2403 – 
Based on promoting contemporary Latin American art and introducing new artists such as Sebastian Icaza and his beautiful glass art.

Museo de Arte Contemporaneo
Location: Avenida de los Martires, Calle San Blas, Ancon. Telephone: 262-8012 – 
Concerned on collecting and conserving Panamanian art, as well as Latin American art, is this privately owned art gallery. Not only serves as an art gallery, but also as a library which hopes to promote the history and art of Latin America and Panama.

Marion Gallery
Location: Calle 70, San Francisco. Telephone: 226-7190 – 
Promotes new contemporary art by renowned International artists. It´s most distinguish or permanent exhibition is dedicated to Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez, because of his unique optical kinetic art.

Allegro Galeria
Location: Calle 73, Bella Vista. Telephone: 226-6967 – 
Beginning with the art work of Olga Sinclair, and other renowned Panamanian artists, this gallery has developed a reputation over the years by continuing to support and promote work of local and international artists.

Galeria Habitante
Location: Marbella. Telephone: 264-6470/223-8869 – 
One of the oldest galleries in Panama, maintains their status by renewing, and extending their art gallery by collecting from young and old artists.

Galeria 18
Location: Ave. Samuel Lewis, P.H Plaza Diamond a lado de Porta Romana. Telephone: 203-5589 – 
Contemporary Fine Art Gallery

Huellas Casa Cultural
Location: Calle 63, Casa 66, San Francisco – 
It´s not an art gallery, but they have different activities during the year, which promotes team building as well as creativity in a fun environment.

Two amazing historical visits in Casco Antiguo

If you are in Panama you can’t miss a walk in the Old Quarters (Casco Antiguo) and learn about the amazing history of the Isthmus.  The beautiful architectonic styles, narrow streets and cafes will fascinate any traveler looking for a bit of authenticity in this cosmopolitan Panama City.  In colorful Casco, the Spanish and French colonial houses mixes with the art deco and neoclassical style.  If you go for the first time, don´t miss the Church of the Golden Altar and the Flat Arch.

The Golden Altar: The massive golden altar (altar de oro) is a prime tourist attraction at Iglesia de San José (Avenida A between Calle 8 and Calle 9, 7 a.m.– noon and 2–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 5 a.m.–noon and 5–8 p.m. Sun.). Legend has it that the altar was saved from the Welsh pirate Henry Morgan during the sacking of the original Panama City when a priest ordered it painted black, hiding its true value.

The Flat Arch: The original Iglesia de Santo Domingo (Avenida A and Calle 3 Oeste) was built in the 17th century, but it burned twice and was not rebuilt after the fire of 1756. It remains famous for one thing that survived, seemingly miraculously: the nearly flat arch (Arco Chato). Since it was built without a keystone and had almost no curve to it, it should have been a very precarious structure, yet it remained intact even as everything around it fell into ruins. One of the reasons a transoceanic canal was built in Panama was that engineers concluded from the intact arch that Panama was not subject to the kinds of devastating earthquakes that afflict its Central American neighbors.

Source:  Moon guides.