What better way to celebrate one full month in Panama than a party hosted by the Canadian Embassy in Panama! On the evening on June 28th, 2012, my two coworkers and I attended a Canada Day celebration at the Hotel Meridian’s VIP outdoor poolside lounge. It rained, but the better part of the lounge is covered, and Panama doesn’t let rain get in the way of anything.
The party was being held from 7-9pm that evening, and in true Panamanian fashion (as I’m coming to learn), we arrived late, while the party was in full swing. We had enough time to grab some snacks from the buffet (sushi and deep fried seafood along with some ceviche, of course) and get a drink from the (open) bar, before speeches began.
Unfortunately the sound system left much to be desired and I missed out on the speeches. But I didn’t miss out on the playing of the national anthem. As a Canadian, I stood proud, singing along (and I even remembered the words to the French version, which made me much prouder). I’ve never been so far away from home for so long, and I experienced a moment of realization at how truly lucky and proud I was to be given the opportunity to see such a wonderful and different part of this world, but also how lucky I was to be born and raised in Canada.
One thing that made me just as proud was the fact that in 30 degree weather, for an outdoor party, only Canadians would bring an ice sculpture of the Maple Leaf. A true icon of Canadian culture!!! After two hours in the heat and humidity, its leafy edges were looking a little duller and more rounded. Even then, however, it was truly a sight to behold, and made me proud.
As a postscript, one thing that should be noted here and commended is Panamanian generosity with their alcohol. The party had an open bar, and I ordered a rum and coke…I watched the bartender grab a glass, fill it with ice, and pour it three quarters full of rum, then add a splash of coke to the mix. The colour of the drink barely changed, and after a taste test, if I hadn’t have seen her pour the drink, I wouldn’t have believed that there was any’ Cuba’ to that ‘Libre’ at all! I haven’t hit up the ‘night scene’ in Panama yet due to my workload, however this is, as I understand it, a normal thing in Panama. Cudos to you Panama, you know how to throw a party, and Canada thanks you on her birthday!