While driving out of our gated community on our way to the gym, I asked my husband to please stop so I could snap a few photos.The clouds were so pretty, promising rain that hardly ever falls at this time of year. They build up, sometimes looking quite darkly ominous, and then disperse or slowly drift away, but those billowing clouds create gorgeous sunsets from the softest pastel pinks to flaming oranges and reds. This particular evening, the sun was still a little too high for glorious color, but I took some shots nevertheless. A silhouette was the result.
The Boquete Flower and Coffee Fair is held every January during the dry season in the little mountain town of Boquete, Panama. It is a time to celebrate the abundance of flowers and excellent coffee that are grown in the area. During the festivities, there is dancing and music and the young girls and boys are given an opportunity to perform. The girls wear lavish traditional costumes called polleras, which are 2-tiered skirts made with yards and yards of fabric in traditional white or vivid colors and blouses adorned with lace and ribbons. Their heads are bedecked with beautiful beaded ornaments known as tembleques which circle the head and are meant to resemble a halo. Their hair is braided and the tembleques are added as a final touch. What a delight it was to watch these beautiful, excited children proudly displaying their gorgeous garb. “Hair” it is!
There is always driftwood on Playa Barqueta in Chiriqui Province, sometimes much more than at other times; sometimes just little twigs and branches that have washed up on the black sands and other times huge trunks and root balls. Over the years, some driftwood has been buried, some has moved hundreds of yards up and down the beach, rolling with the ebb and flow of the tide, and some has been picked up by beach combers. This particular log has rolled and changed position and seems to be on its way to the burial stage. While strolling along the water’s edge one late afternoon, the waves pounding and splashing up and over the driftwood, I captured the action. Splash!
I thought I’d do a slightly different take on the theme of “Family”. In Panama there is a New Year tradition which involves the creation of life-size effigies of well-known people or family members. These effigies, called munecos, are usually prominently placed in front of homes before Christmas and left until midnight on New Year’s eve when they are set alight. The burning of the munecos symbolizes riddance of all negative aspects of life of the previous year. Gone are the troubles, failures, miseries, sorrows, bad luck, and negative energy. The bonfires enable people to begin the New Year with positive energy and a fresh start.
This particular “Family” caught my eye on a drive to the beach. I have never seen such a marvelously creative effort. I was even able to have the creators pose with their effigies. When we left the beach on New Year’s Day, the munecos were no longer there, having been sacrificed at midnight to rid the family of evil energies. Happy New Year!
Happy New Year! And what a lovely sight it was to see dozens of lit paper lanterns set aloft on the beach on New Year’s Eve. The sea breeze lifted them up into the darkness and gently carried them over the sea, their flames flickering until they were tiny glimmers in the vast black sky. Then they were gone. For a brief time we delighted in their ascent and, along with the children, watched with eyes aglow. It was a perfectly pretty and magical treat before the boom-boom-boom of midnight fireworks.