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Stairways


The Panama Metro is a hybrid mass transportation system.  Part of the system is above ground and part is underground.  To reach the trains you have to take electric or normal stairways to reach the boarding platform.  Most people use the electric stairways. All stations are equipped with large and comfortable elevators for handicapped people traveling in wheelchairs.

We decided to walk and get some exercise.  That is something I have to do more.  Most of the day, I’m in front of the computer tickling the keyboard.  That is not a healthy lifestyle and I’m aware of it, but I just can’t acquire the habit of walking.  I have included this item on my Bucket List several times, but it always falls between the cracks.  I know I have to walk and promise to work on it before the year is over.

The Metro has twelve stations and three additional ones are under construction.  This is the list of all of them; 15 in total.

I.  Above Ground

  1. San Isidro – Under construction
  2. Los Andes
  3. Pan de Azúcar
  4. San Miguelito
  5. Pueblo Nuevo
  6. El Ingenio – Under construction
  7. 12 de Octubre

II.  Under Ground

  1. Fernández de Córdoba
  2. Vía Argentina
  3. Iglesia del Carmen
  4. Hospital Santo Tomás
  5. Lotería Nacional de Beneficiencia
  6. Plaza 5 de Mayo
  7. Curundú – Under Construction
  8. Albrook

Below are several snapshots depicting the stairways of the Metro.  I was impressed at the sheer size of the structures.  It was like walking inside the pyramids of Egypt.  We looked like midgets inside those gargantuan installations.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

These Metro users opted to do some exercise and burn some calories in the process. It’s a long and steep walk up to the boarding platform. That’s what we did. Walk. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

 

Rails


One of the characteristics of this modern transportation system is that the Metro doesn’t use either railroad ties nor gravel.  I noticed the rails were held fast to the concrete with nuts and bolts.  As far as the eye could see, there was a view or meticulously placed nuts and bolts securing the rails to the long and undulating cement platform.  It seemed like an artistic work of art.  I had never seen a railway without ties nor gravel.

The Metro suspended in the air with solid structures is a marvelous and ingenious accomplishment of man.  I only wished that this creativity be used to avoid violence, hatred and wars.  We have the knowledge to do so many things, yet peace seems to be out of the radar screen of the human mind.  I wonder why?

Snapshot of the railroad system of the Panama Metro adjacent to the Los Andes No. station. Notice how neat and clean the railway looks. Everything is exactly in its place. Perfection was the goal of the builders of this public accomplishment. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

 

Kindly click on the images to expand them. Then you will able to appreciate the true beauty of the railway with its neatly placed nuts and bolts and the absent ties. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

 


When the Panama government launched the modern MetroBus mass transportation system in 2012, they announced that the bus fares would be paid with a prepaid plastic card.   Effective February 15, 2012, all bus passengers had to buy a MetroBus card to board the new buses.  The cost of a MetroBus prepaid card is $2.00 each.  After acquiring the card, you then cotinued to recharge it with any amount ranging from $0.50 to $50.00.  To this day, nothing has changed.  The cost for a bus fare is still $0.25, which is affordable for most, if not all people.

Snapshot of the white and orange MetroBus prepaid card. My wife and I purchased our cards on February 4, 2012 and recharged them on the same date. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

The Panama Metro decided to honor the same MetroBus prepaid card.  However, to commemorate the event, they also issued special Metro prepaid cards.  I decided to buy one to keep it as a collector’s item.  The plastic has a cost of $2.00 and I recharged it with $3.00; so I paid $5.00 to participate in the historic event of the inauguration of the Panama Metro.  Normally I will use my MetroBus prepaid card for both services, even though I prefer to use my car, since it is faster than either the Metro or the MetroBuses considering the geographical area where we live.

Snapshot of the new Metro prepaid card which has a cost of $2.00 and can be recharged at special vending machines in every Metro station. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

The official transportation fare for the Metro has not been announced yet.  However, on several occasions President Ricardo Martinelli has said it will be “less than one dollar”.  In the meantime, the service is free during a trial period ranging from one to three months.  Then the announcement of the fare will be made. That will happen sometime in July 2014.

Snapshot of several clients of the Panama Metro buying their Metro prepaid cards at the San Miguelito station in Panama City, Panama. The man on the left is tweaking one of the vending machines. It was working when I left the area. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Snapshot of three employees of the Panama Metro in charge of setting up the prepaid cards payment system posing for the camera at the San Miguelito station in Panama City, Panama. On their sweaters I could read the words “Punto Pago, tu nueva forma de recarga” (Payment Point, your new way to recharge). Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.


Portrait of a young mother and her baby girl posing for the camera at the San Miguelito Metro station on April 6, 2014, one buzzing Sunday morning. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

This day I tested a brand new glass, specifically the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II prime lens.  The results were far beyond my wildest expectations.  This lens is very effective in low light situations and offers a shallow depth of field focus.  Notice the soft bokeh on the background.

At just 4.6 ounces, it is a particularly lightweight lens ideal for everyday use, such as the inauguration of our new Metro system.

“Pictures are memories saved for a rainy day.  They help us realize what we have accomplished.  A photograph is a graduation dress with the diploma held above the head and a shining smile portrays the pride of accomplishing this feat.”—Individual Photography Poses by Robert Bezman

If you find these pictures pleasing, please return tomorrow for more pictures of my first ride on the Panama Metro.  Good Day.

Posing


My wife, Aura on the left, poses for the camera at the San Miguelito Metro station, together with a proud mother and her young child. Smiles were abundant that historic day, (e.g., Sunday, April 6, 2014). Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

The Metro is fine, but the people are the real center of interest.  Everything is done to serve “We the People”.  Please return tomorrow for more faces of the Metro in Panama.  Good Day.


Color in photography has come a long way since the first permanent color photo was taken in 1861. Color is a very powerful element in photography.  It immediately captures the attention of the eye.  That’s why there are more films in full color than in black and white.  Having said that, I still have a high respect for Black and White photography as well as the classic sepia tones.

The following picture depicts a small boy in the midst of an ocean of color.  The light was just right to capture the temperatures of the polychromatic scene. The kid was absolutely adorable.  Enjoy.

As you can see, he doesn’t look very happy. After clowning with the camera, I was able to convince him the camera wasn’t a bad black monster and also didn’t bite. His demeanor changed. Take a look at the next picture. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

In this picture the little kid has a more pleasant face. The frown was gone and he looked like a million bucks. I love this kid swimming in a bright ocean of color. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

If you are enjoying this gallery of pictures, please return tomorrow for more snapshots of the Panama Metro.  Good Day.

 


The day for you to take a free ride in the Metro is now possible.  It happened on Sunday, April 6, 2014.  I learned that the gates would open at 5:00 a.m. and close at 10:00 p.m.  The information was incorrect.  The correct opening time was 09:00 a.m.—four hours later.

We parked at the Machetazo Supermarket’s parking lot at approximately 7:00 a.m. and the place was desolate.  A woman told us about the opening time, so we went back to the car, sat down, listened to the radio and killed time until it was time to walk over to the gates.

When we got there we saw a large number of jumbled people waiting  in line.  Everybody was talking at the same time about facts or factoids about the alleged features of the new system.  Everyone was an expert on the subject.  Of course they were repeating information like a parrot of what they had heard or read about the novelty.  Anyway, when the gates were opened, the crowd stampeded up the electric stairs. Others decided to walk—not many.  We waited.  Patience is a good word to have inside your pockets.  When the space cleared up, we flowed swiftly into the belly of the beast.

Below are several pictures of the scene before the opening of the gates.  Electricity was in the air.  The long wait of 38 months was finally over.  The Metro was here. The waiting was over. The dream had come true.

Kindly click pictures to enlarge.  Thank you.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Tomorrow I will post pictures depicting scenes inside the facilities of the Metro.  I’m sure you will find them appealing and pleasant to view.  Kindly return to get a feeling of the lifestyle in a small tropical country in Middle America.  Good Day.

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