I live in a neighborhood called, Residencial El Bosque, which in Spanish means Residences of the Woods. The name is a literary illusion, since there are only a few trees left in this once lush tropical forest during the late sixties.
Originally El Bosque was a large extension of land of an expensive real estate project called Circle Club which had several branches in Central America. The project consisted of expensive mansions surrounded by tall tropical trees and a top-of-the-line golf course. The target customers were upper middle class U.S. retirees who would find a tropical paradise in the Republic of Panama. Something similar to what happened at Boquete forty years later.
Then an unexpected event killed the project. A military Junta toppled the legitimate government of then President Arnulfo Arias Madrid on October 11, 1968. Immediately boatloads of money was vacuumed from Panamanian banks which found refuge in Miami banks. Billions of dollars flowed to the protected golden shores of Florida.
The Circle Club went belly up and the land was appropriated by the Banco Nacional which acts like a Central Bank. The new government, under the leadership of strong man General Omar Torrijos Herrera, decided to divide the real estate into small pieces of land about 312 square meters and constructed middle-income houses. The mortgages were sold by the Caja de Ahorros—another government institution. The average cost of a house at Residencial El Bosque (the new name of the residential area) was about $35,000 in 1980. That is what I paid for my house on July 12, 1980. The monthly mortgage payment was exactly $343.75.
Since I had a very good salary at that time, I paid my house in five years, saving several thousands of greenbacks in interest payments. It was a wise idea that came from my wife. She’s the best Comptroller I’ve ever known. And they say women can’t handle money. It’s not true at all.
While building Residencial El Bosque, most of the magnificent tropical trees were chopped down by the land developers and only a few remained. This is a tendency in Panama, cut trees no matter what. Now we are regretting the uncontrolled devastation of our natural forests which only remain in its natural state in the Provinces of Bocas del Toro and Darien.
At a small park within Residencial El Bosque, a lonely tropical palm tree still stands. It displays the beauty of the tropical vegetation with its broad leaves which look like giant fans. I took several shots of this palm tree roughly about 5:30 p.m. which is a magical hour to take pictures as a good photographer will certainly agree.
Morning light is at its best from just before sunrise to about an hour afterwards, while evening light is best from one hour before to just sunset. It’s often called by photographers, “the golden light”.
Below at the pictures captured during this golden time of the day, in black and white. Later on, during the shooting session, I switched to color to compare the difference in mood that coloration or lack of it, can create on an image. I’m frequently impressed with the effect of black and white pictures. Now let’s take a look at one of the few standing trees of Residencial El Bosque. Here we go.
Even though we are all aware of the negative effects of the destruction of the planet caused by humans, we continue to destroy vast areas of tropical forests every year. The Amazonia is threatened by greedy land developers while government officials remain passive and often taking bribes. How long can we keep on this growing trend of destruction? At this moment I have more questions than answers. Good Day.