After winding up my articles on the Cinta Costera, today we are starting another series of posts covering charismatic spots in Panama. This time I will be covering the Bridge of the Americas and its surrounding. Next to the Panama Canal, the Casco Viejo, and the Cathedral of Panama Viejo; the Bridge of the Americas is the most photographed structure in Panama by visiting tourists. This complex iron body part also strikes a chord in the Panamanian nationalistic psyche.
On the western side of the Bridge of the Americas, is an attractive observation point which is excellent to view the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal and to appreciate the formidable structure of the Bridge of the Americas. This observation point is dedicated to the Chinese community which has resided in Panama for more than 150 years.
Panama, because of its historical reliance on commerce, is above all a melting pot. This is shown, for instance, by its considerable population of Chinese origin, who number around 150,000, or about 4 percent of the population.
The first Chinese immigrated to Panama from southern China to help build the Panama Railroad in the 19th century. They were followed by several waves of immigrants whose descendants number around 50,000. Starting in the 1970s, a further 80,000 have immigrated from other parts of mainland China as well.
A term for “corner store” in Panama is “la tienda del chino o del chinito”, reflecting the fact that many corner stores are owned and run by Chinese immigrants.
Their contribution to the development of the country has been enormous. They’re well known for their consistent hard work. It’s not a surprise to see many Chinese shops open on Sundays and Holidays. They are also extremely courteous. Many restaurants, dry cleaners, small shops and garment factories are in the hands of the Chinese community.
To honor this hard-working community, the Panama Authorities authorized a Chinese memorial located at the entrance of the Panama Canal, next to the Bridge of the Americas. This will be our theme for the next two days.
Below are two photographs of this exotic site, as an introduction to the new series about Panama. Here we go.
Please return tomorrow to enjoy more descriptions and images of the remembrance of the Chinese culture in Panama. Good Day.