Greetings from San Francisco de la Montaña...I'm in Santiago visiting a friend. We took a side trip to the picturesque town of San Francisco, which boasts a beautiful, old church and many quaint, colonial style buildings and homes. The town is holding it's annual Festival del Dulce, and the offerings really tested my resistance to temptation. Have to say I did reasonably well. Bought a sample of raspadura de coco, which was very good, but gave up my usual sweetened coffee and a fruit juice to atone for it.
I enjoyed the event, which not only included pastries, typical Panamanian food, and tamales, but also hosted a cultural event and art exhibition. Instead of Boquete's ear-splitting disco music broadcasting out as far as the suburbs, several Panamanian short-story authors occupied the stage and read their works to a respectful and spellbound crowd. I was impressed with the five selections I stayed to hear. One story, about a dying mother experienced from a child's perspective, was especially memorable for being skillfully told, poignant, and uplifting at the same time.
Juan Carlos Varela, 2014 Presidential Candidate for the Panameñista Party, was also present, interviewing for the national television station. He was shaking hands, and kissing babies and old ladies. Yours truly received a warm hug and buss on the cheek which I won't quickly forget. He's been my favorite from the beginning, even though I can't vote. Can't say that the majority of expats are in his camp, but thankfully those expats who are opposed to him aren't able to vote, either. I definitely like him, but my friend remains undecided at this time.
Below are photos of the other highlighted festival activities.