It’s been two and a half months since we’ve moved into Casco and started Panama Lens. Things are good, no they are great, but I’m not going to bore you with another blog about success, luck, love, etc….
Last week there was a shooting about 3 blocks from our apartment. A restaurant worker and a French tourist were shot by a 16 and 17 year old on Friday evening at 9:30. The kids were part of a gang, one of the many that exist in the Santa Ana and Chorrillo neighborhoods that are close by Casco Viejo.
One thing that is the consensus between the Casco residents is that the gang members were targeting the restaurant worker and the French tourist got in the line of fire while reacting to the gunshots not aimed at him. Justin and I walk by the restaurant most evenings and the worker who we presume was the one that was shot is there usually chatting with the sketchy looking gang members of the neighborhood. This guy is a bit arrogant and pushy when we walk by to get in the restaurant since it’s new. As I am a firm believer in promoting a place and trying to drive in traffic, there’s a line that one shouldn’t cross and standing in the way of people passing by is not a way to pleasantly bring people in. That worker has always rubbed me the wrong way. Other Casco residents agree with me that he probably was targeted by this gang. One thing that Casco residents know is that yes, there are some dangers with living here but for the most part, any violence that occurs is usually between the street gangs and not towards tourists or gringos. Where I am going with this is that after reading Panama-Guide and other newspapers, they changed the story to “2 French Tourists shot in Casco Viejo!” These newspaper articles are twisting the story around to make people believe that two tourists were targeted at a restaurant in the nice part of Casco. Fear is not something that we should bring among the people who are Casco skeptics. What I’ve learned from living in NYC or ANYWHERE is to always be aware of your surroundings, if you feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and feel like something bad is going to happen, get out or exit the situation, and live your life not in fear, but with caution. The important thing is not to dwell because some things are out of your hands. I’m not trying to ramble, I’m just enforcing my belief to live your life not in fear.
Panama is changing day to day for the better. People are amazing here. It’s a wonderful place and we’re so happy to be making our mark in this small country. With that said, there’s everyday annoyances, language and culture barriers, and obstacles to deal with. Life isn’t perfect but it’s very close and I can’t say that I could be any happier doing ANYTHING ELSE ANYWHERE ELSE….Ok, there’s my thoughts for tonight. Hasta Luego!