by Amber Platschorre- Dutch intern
Being for the first time in Latin America I had no idea what to expect of Carnival. I heard before that it is an amazing celebration and people look forward to this the whole year. I have been in Panama now for 3 months and people cannot stop talking about the Carnival. You will hear it on the radio, the taxi drivers will tell you about it and you hear the music everywhere. Since there is a lot of commotion about this celebration I started to wonder how it would be and I have as much looking forward to it as the Panamanians do.
Finally, there was the weekend of Carnival. I could notice it everywhere. Panama-city is very empty and many people go out of the city to celebrate Carnival in other places (interior towns) that are known for the Carnivals. I heard a lot about the places Chitre and Las Tablas because there, the celebrations must be really big. I preferred to go to one of these places to see it myself.
I left Panama City by car around 5 in the morning to make sure we would be ahead of the traffic jams, but lots of people thought of this idea and the roads were crowded early. Once Arrived in Chitre around 10 in the morning the party had been started in the city already. I could hear the people scream: AGUA, AGUA, AGUA. I saw people everywhere, soaking wet and having lots of fun. Panamanians celebrate carnival with lots of water, music, drinks and floats they have been working on the whole year. The city was totally packed and a mess, although this did not influence the atmosphere…
During carnivals the Panamanians party all day long. The party starts at different places in the city during the day. At the end of the day around 5 the music stops and people go for something to eat. Everyone takes a rest and when they are fit enough again they will party during the night. This can be in the streets or in clubs. People are partying everywhere and having an amazing time. I was surprised that the next day people had still lots of energy left to start the party again like they did the day before. I think this party was even better!
For a tourist like me this has been a great experience since Carnivals is very important for the Panamanians. These few days when celebrating carnivals I felt part of their culture. I was partying side by side with the Panamanians and created some amazing memories during these few days.