Sunday, March 13, 2011

Los Carnavales in Cerro Azul

We had been warned by those who claim to know these things that Cerro Azul is not exempt from the riotous celebrations of Carnaval. According to Wikipedia, the Panamá Carnaval celebration is the second largest in the world. Business essentially shuts down throughout the Republic from Friday through Tuesday as people make their preparations and then engage in drinking, eating, dancing and playing music at ear-splitting volumes.

Las Tablas, in the Los Santos province, is traditionally the most popular destination during Carnaval. Panamá City is also host to a major party, with numerous bands performing along the Cinta Costera.

But we were also told that property owners who almost never venture up here stream into Cerro Azul with tents and set up camps on their vacant lots, complete with boom boxes and car stereos. We were admonished to use extreme caution on the roads here - that the celebrants had no respect for the center line and don't know how to drive in any case. So we laid in our supplies, then battened down our hatches starting on Friday March 4th. We had plenty of food, a new package of ear plugs, and a generous supply of beverages so we could have a celebration of our own if the mood struck. We were prepared to stay close to home for the duration. Friday night and Saturday night we slept like babes. There was no music or shouting from any nearby sector. Sunday afternoon we heard a short, subdued volley of fireworks around 5 PM. We thought it might signify the beginning of something rowdier that would last until the wee hours. But we heard nothing else that night other than the Tropical Screech-Owl.

Then on Monday afternoon, the silence was broken. The Club, which is not far from us, had hired a DJ who played music using gazillion-amp speakers for a few hours. Fortunately, while we could clearly hear the beat, it was not bothersome. Our friend Picasso, who owns and runs Ginger House, a wonderful little B&B upslope from the Club, found it deafening; she said it sounded like a band was in her house. Tuesday afternoon was a repeat at the Club. But both afternoons, the music lasted only until about 5:00 PM.

Marco's curiosity sent him over to check out the scene at the Club. He enjoyed a Seco & cola served in a polystyrene cup ($3.00, which is about the cost of a whole bottle of Seco) while observing the families frolicking around and in the pool. He said he was the only gringo present. He tried not to be too obvious while shooting the video below:

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