Jogging in Paradise
By Mateo Landau
I am not a runner. Nor am I particularly devout to my creed. However, jogging along the Amador Causeway on this bright summer morning was a religious experience.
The Amador Causeway is a road built by the US military which joins Panama City and three small outlying islands -- much like a life-size game of connect the dots. Although it was originally intended as an army strategic base, it is now reinventing itself as a destination for tourism, leisure, and entertainment.
I started walking to warm up, then a little quicker until I picked up a steady trot. I was surprised because my new sneakers were pretty fast. Off to my right was the massive Bridge of the Americas bending over the mouth of the Panama Canal: with anxious cargo ship captains eagering off in the distance with $50,000 cash admission fees in hand. Beside the thread of boats were baby handfuls of romaine-green islands that looked to have been sprinkled down for aesthetics. To the left was the unmistakable Panama City skyline in all its glory -- the sun rays pinging off the ocean, then back off the buildings right into my eyes.
As I ran, I wondered. Where was everybody? It was a picture-perfect Saturday morning and my only company was a few amateur rollerbladers and some hand-line fishermen. No one knows about it here. Giant loopy palm trees lined the narrow causeway with Pacific blue waters on both sides -- about half-way out, I stopped. Breathtaken. 360 degrees of aqua sea and vacant of wooden benches just waiting. Where is everyone? The end of the 6-mile running path ended up at several strips of optimistic cafes and patient art galleries -- the kinds of places that know tourism here will explode. It's just a matter of time.
This place looks familiar to me. This beautiful sun, this bright blue water, the postcard views. I've been here before. If you squint your eyes snug enough, until things almost go blurry, you can just about see it. Laguna Beach. You can almost make out the pairs of bugeye-sunglass, the push-cart ice cream vendors, the expensive cars, the tanned power walkers with their white foam visors and perspiring water bottles. The high-end cafes and mountain-tiered art galleries that know they're in the right spot.
Here at the causeway, you can almost feel the history and you can almost sense the future. For now though, it's only a matter of time.
I am not a writer. Nor a wordsmith. I am an international man of mystery. The rest of my panama travels are waiting....
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.