3 Responses

  1. Dia, The Deal Mommy
    Dia, The Deal Mommy at |

    So funny you used the word “disneyfication”. I was in Casco Viejo summer 2010 and pulled out a note I had written (pre-blog days):

    Casco Viejo reminds me of an genteel old lady who had family money and a late husband who squandered it. Slowly she sells off her jewels to Walt Disney. It´s fascinating the watch the process of ´renewal´. Certainly the decrepit buildings needed repair, but I am concerned in a few years it will be ´ye olde panama citie´ complete with ´natives´ hawking authentic Panama Hats (which are actually made in Ecuador).

    A relief to see at least the Estate sale is going slowly. Maybe I can squeeze in another visit before they have to bus in the actual Panamanians, who can’t afford to live in Casco anymore.

  2. ptahcha
    ptahcha at |

    Funny – I visited Casco Viejo on a whim during my stay in Panama City, also back in 2010. And yes, back then there were tons of scaffolding and rebuilding, kind of like any gentrification of any major US city.

    One highlight was Chinatown, where I had one of the best dim sum in this hemisphere. I even order dishes that my host didn’t know existed. Fun fact: Panama is one of the few countries that maintained diplomatic relationship with Taiwan and provided visa-free travel. When I went through immigration with my Taiwanese passport, it caused some confusion, but ultimately it was a non-issue.