The Texas Of Panama

Texas has always had an inflated opinion of itself. Growing up, of course, it prided itself as the “biggest” state in the Union and I was delighted when Alaska became a state and relegated Texas to second fiddle status. In the last year there has been talk about them seceding and becoming several additional states instead of just the one.

Here in Panama Chiriqui Province, where I’m living, the people have a similar opinion of themselves. Chiricanos have a distinct “pride of place.” They almost see themselves as a country in and of themselves, and would probably secede themselves if it was possible. The highest point in the country, Volcan Barú is located here. It is often considered the “bread basket of Panama.” In the highlands around Volcan and Cerro Punta you’ll find huge fincas growing a wide variety of vegetables. There are large cattle ranches in Chiriqui as well as some of the finest coffee plantations found anywhere in the world. On the dashboards of the majority of cars here you’ll see not only the Panamanian flag but that of Chiriqui Province as well. Men wear baseball caps embroidered with the name “Chiriqui” on them. The pueblo of Boquete here in Chiriqui is touted by such publications as Forbes and Money magazines as one of the top 10 places to retire abroad.

Whether this pride is deserved or not isn’t for me to say. I simply note it as a fact.

As I wrote in a previous post I am enjoying listening to “Tipica” music and when I go to bed at night I hit radio station WCHT which specializes in the music. Last night, though, I forgot to set the sleep timer and about two in the morning the following song woke me up…

But let’s not think Chiriqui is the only province with pride of self.  Herrera province, which is actually the only other place in Panama I thought of settling down in has its own anthem sung by Karen Peralta who sang the song above.

This form of tipica music is known as “Tamborito.” Wikipedia says, “Tamborito, literally translated to “the Little Drum”, is a genre of Panamanian folkloric music and dance dating back as early as the 17th century. The Tamborito is the national song and dance of Panama. The dance is a romantic, couple’s dance, often involving a small percussion ensemble, and in all versions; a female chorus. The Tamborito is performed in formal costumes in front of large, interactive crowds that form a large circle around the performers. The members of such crowds often participate in the percussion of the song as well as the actual dance itself[1]. The Tamborito is most commonly performed during Panamanian festivals, and in particular, the Panama Carnival.” For the whole post go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamborito

And the Tamborito dancing starts at an early age as I saw in the Mother’s Day celebration in Boqueron last November.

Panama opens itself to me anew every day.

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4 Comments

Filed under Boqueron Panama, Living Abroad, panama, Retirement Abroad

4 responses to “The Texas Of Panama

  1. Hello Richard:

    Amen!

    Regards,

    Omar.-

  2. Scott

    To the people knocking Texas. Have you ever been to Alaska? I have and Texas will be the biggest state again as soon as some of that ice melts!
    Yes I am a native Texan 4th generation.

    I’m not so sure of that…with all the hot air coming from the Queen of the I-Quit-Arod,in the past couple of years not much of it’s melted yet.

  3. No, no, no, no, no…. What you meant to say is “Texas has always promoted her good qualities and ignored the bad”. 🙂

    But enough of that. I will say that when I first arrived here I couldn’t get my mind around the distances. When I would drive back up to my mom’s place in Missouri, it was a 14 hour trip. Five and a half hours in, I still was in Texas. Good grief.

    I remember your Mother’s Day post – neat to get some background on the music. It’s really wonderful, and beautiful to watch, as well. As a matter of fact, it was just the lift I needed today – I was swacked with a good, old-fashioned “you think you’re going to die but you’re not” flu two days ago, and I’m just now crawling back into life. I can’t think of a better soundtrack!

    I’ll stick with my original statement.

    Florida’s another state that’s hard to get out of. It’s skinny but it’s REAL long. When you live in south Florida, as I did for so many years, you live IN south Florida.The drive from Fort Lauderdale to the Georgia border is a good six hours on I-95 at 75 mph. And if you’re driving to New Orleans you can tack on another 4.

    We aren’t having a problem with rain. We’re into the “rainy season” now. It rains every day. I played “rain roulette” today. That’s where you decide to go do some shopping down in David and leave your umbrella at home hoping to make it back to the house before the rain starts. I made it today, but I’d say that at least a third of the people on the bus this morning had an umbrella with them. It’s just part of the ensemble when you leave. It’s like getting dressed and you “don’t leave home without it.”

    Glad you’re feeling better.

  4. “I’ll stick with my original statement. “

    Of course you will! I wouldn’t have expected anything less – it’s part of your charm 😉