Tuesday, January 5, 2021

2021 Travel the World - Week 1

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world, so I continued the series in 2020 and here I am in 2021, the third year of traveling the world. 

This week's country is...


Panama is the southernmost country of Central America. Panama’s neighbors with Costa Rica to the west and Colombia to the southeast. Looking at a map, you can see that this country literally links Central and South America. It’s literally impossible to drive from Panama to Colombia because of safety concerns.  

When Panama is mentioned many people think of the Panama Canal. While the Canal is an important part of the country’s identity. Panama is much more than its most commercially productive venture (the Panama Canal.)

Panama, or the Republica de Panama, is a beautiful country of tropical rainforests, small villages, sandy white beaches and home to the most cosmopolitan international city in Central America.

Panama is the only place in the world where you can see the sun rise on the Pacific and set on the Atlantic.

At Panama's narrowest point, the Atlantic and Pacific are only 30 miles apart.

Panama is the southernmost country in Central America.

There are almost 500 rivers in Panama. Three hundred of them empty into the Pacific Ocean and the rest empty into the Caribbean Ocean.

Panama is about the size of the state of South Carolina.

Spanish is the primary language spoken in Panama.

Panama City is the only capital city that has a rain forest within the city limits.

Half of the country's population lives in the capital city.

The rainy season in Panama lasts about 9 months, from mid-April until November.

Panama is rarely hit by hurricanes due to its southern location.

The Panama Canal is an artificial waterway linking the Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean. Construction of the 48-mile-long canal began in 1881 and was completed in 1914. 

The canal generates fully one-third of Panama’s entire economy.

The lowest Panama Canal toll paid was $0.36 and was paid by Richard Halliburton who crossed the Canal swimming in 1928.

Three locks in the Panama Canal lift ships to 85 feet above sea level in the mountainous areas.

It takes from 6-8 hours to travel through the canal.

The Atlantic Bridge over the Panama Canal is the world's longest concrete four-lane bridge and one of three bridges over the artificial waterway linking the North and the South American continent.

The oldest continually operating railroad in the world is in Panama. 

Panama's Tocumen International Airport is the largest Airport in Central America.

The population of Panama is 85 percent Roman Catholic. The two largest public holidays revolve around church-related events: Christmas and Carnaval. A Christmas parade is held in Panama City on December 25 with floats and a marching band of drummers. Afterwards carols are sung around a huge tree. Carnaval is a ritual celebrated for the five days prior to Ash Wednesday. A queen is chosen and other festivities occur.

There are more than 10,000 different plants species in Panama, including 1,200 varieties of orchids.

Panama exports bananas, pineapples, and watermelons, as well as sugar and shrimp. It also exports gold, iron and steel waste. 

Panama’s natural resources include its mahogany forests, copper, and its shrimp industry. Agricultural products include bananas, coffee, rice, corn, shrimp, sugar cane, livestock, and vegetables.

Tourism is growing in Panama. The Tocumen International Airport in Panama City is Central America’s largest and flights connect Panama to all parts of the world.

The Panama Canal has large observation decks from which to watch the movement of vessels through the canal itself. It also offers exhibition halls, a refreshment stand, a gift shop and a nice restaurant. A historical mural of the tremendous effort it took to build the canal is mounted in the rotunda of the Panama Canal Administration Building and open to the public.

The Panama Canal Museum is part of Panama’s Old Town district and is a public non-profit institution. It contains ten permanent exhibits and several temporary ones each year. Additionally, Panama City offers the Panama History Museum, the Museum of Natural Sciences, and the Museum of Colonial Religious Art as well as others.

The Gamboa Cable Car ride is an aerial car that takes people on a ride through and above the jungle canopy, viewing bird and animals in their natural habitat. Frequently spotted are coatimundis, howler monkeys, capybaras, slothes (slow-moving tropical American mammals that hang upside down from the branches of trees using their long limbs and hooked claws), toucans, parrots, and motmots.

Panama is home to the most diverse wildlife population of all the countries in Central America. Bird watching is thrilling, with almost 1,000 bird species to observe from the tiniest Volcano Hummingbird to the Harpy Eagle, the largest bird on the continent. 

Over a third of Panama is Natural Park land. Dolphin Sails and Whale Watching cruises, and Sea Turtle observations are also available.

Bicycling is popular on the Amador Causeway, a six-kilometer-long path that is bordered by the ocean on both sides. 

Skateboarding is popular with the local people and there are several skate parks in or near Panama City. 

The Rod Carew Stadium is home to the national Panama Metro professional baseball club. There are eight other professional regional teams in Panama. Baseball is Panama’s national sport. More than 140 Panamanian players have played pro ball in the United States.

Panamanian cuisine is a combination of Spanish, Native American and African ingredients and dishes. The dishes typically have milder flavors than those of pungent Caribbean food. Staples of a Panamanian diet are fruit, rice, plantains, wheat flour, beef, chicken, seafood, pork and yucca/cassava.

Popular side dishes include yucca frita and plantains. Yucca fritas are fried yucca root that taste like a tropical version of french fries. Plantains are served three ways. Patacones are fried green plantains cut crosswise and served salty; Maduros are ripen fried plantains that are a bit sweeter; and Tajadas, which are baked plantains cut lengthwise and covered with cinnamon. 

The extended family is the most important social unit for the native population and the city dwellers. There are almost no elderly care facilities in Panama because families care for their own. The extended family is their backbone.

Personal appearance and basic good hygiene are valued by the Panamanian people. Showing good manners, being polite and treating others with respect is expected and important. Don is used as a courtesy title for men and Dona for women.

Shirts and pants (or a dress) should be worn in public. Bathing suits are only for the beach and this law is enforced.

Interestingly, the Panama Hat did not originate in Panama. It actually comes from Ecuador in South America.

Twenty kinds of parrots and parakeets live in Panama.

There are 1500 different types of trees in Panama.

Panama's jungles are home to five species of big cats: pumas, jaguars and jaguarundis, margays and ocelots.

Large tropical fish populations are to be found along Panama’s reefs. They include whale sharks, sperm whales and bottlenose dolphins.

Capybara, the worlds largest rats choose Panama for their home.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Panama... Panama has more than 976 bird species, which is more than the United States and Canada combined.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp/Die Set: Hello Bluebird Garden Friends stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black ink and colored with Copic Markers

Paper: Accent Opaque 120# White, Recollections Brown, and SU Wild Wasabi CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Branch and Leaves, MFT Stitched Mod Rectangle, and Rubbernecker Nested Rectangle Stitch

Embellishments: Cloud 9 Rain Drops


Lynn McAuley said...

Love this sweet little bird on a branch!! What an adorable card!

Judy McMullen said...

Jeanette, I love you cards representing the countries of the world. You are becoming knowledgeable about our world. Very interesting facts about Panama, especially about all the variety of birds. I wonder if there are so many varieties because of the many ships from so many parts of the world may have dropped off “stowaways” of the feathered kind. Also first time I’ve heard of the sun rising in the west..over the Pacific you said. I thought that wasn’t going to happen until the second coming of Christ.

Carol W said...

Love this card. Adorable.

Beth Norman-Roberts said...

Sweet card

kiwimeskreations said...

Fabulous facts about Panama, thank you for researching and presenting us with such wonderful glimpses of the world Jeanette. Love your sweet wee birdie card, too.
Stay safe