Saturday, October 11, 2008

¡Felizidades Margarita!

This week in Panama, it´s all been about Margarita Henriquez. She reached the grand final of Latin American Idol, up against Maria-Jose from Costa Rica. Across the whole country everyone´s been wearing Margarita t-shirts, badges and hats emblazoned with the phrase "¡Estamos contigo, Margarita!" (We´re with you). We spent a couple of nights in the sleepy town of Chitre in the Azuero Peninsula, which juts out into the pacific ocean. It´s famous for its fiestas and it turns out that we timed our visit very well as Margarita is from that area! We knew that there wasn´t a lot to do in the day so decided we should spend a bit extra to stay somewhere decent and, because it´s not a touristy area at all, we bagged a room with a great view across the main square. Here´s our view, below, complete with national TV crew and presenter in blue t-shirt. They hung about a lot looking bored until the excitement began in the evening...

In the evenings everyone started gathering in the square and it soon broke out into a big parade with drummers (they get everywhere!!), other musicians and dancers. We had a fantastic view from our balcony and I particulary loved the guys who played huge bass drums whilst managing to juggle them in the air and do a little dance! Along with screenings of the final on big projectors in the square and specially written songs dedicated to her, the whole place was a Margarita fest! We got quite swept along by it, I must admit. Of course, the most important news is that she won the competition and is now the new Latin American Idol!

In amongst all this, we did actually go and do some sightseeing around the peninsula. We visited the historic village of Los Santos where the first declaration of Panamanian independence from Spain was signed in the 19th Century. Of course, we couldn´t escape Margarita completely, as this was actually her home town!

This pretty yellow and white building was where they signed the declaration and now houses a small museum about the village´s history.

I think we were the first visitors in a while as an old man had to wake up from a nap to turn the lights on for us! The museum was a bit dull and dusty, but the building was lovely, so worth the visit.

Rachel x


Bonnie said...

I am glad you were able to enjoy a piece of our culture, the interior, and of course, Chitre.

If you enjoyed the recent celebrations of Margarita,I will encourage you, if your time permits, to attend the coming festivities in Chitre, 19 de Octubre, Chitre's foundation (Chitre was founded on October 19, 1848). Besides a long but very long civil parade, you will also enjoy the typical parade, more culture, folklore, and traditions of our "sabor interiorano" (too bad I cannot be there...I live in the States). But please, if you can make it, do not miss this celebration...have your camera ready! Enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

Sounds fun! The obsession with Margarita reminds us of the Rose of Tralee competition that was in full swing when we went to Ireland years ago - do you remember, Rachel? Lots of love, Pete and Di