The elusive Panama hat

I love a hat. I’ve made a couple over the years and gently nudged Deepika to have a hat contest on PatternReview.com next Spring during the Easter / horse racing season. So, imagine my excitement when I found out that ‘original’ Panama hats were made in neighboring Penonome.

And, imagine my slight disappointment when I found out that the Panama hats we know, are actually made in Ecuadar. According to Wikipedia, they have been made there since the 1830s, but because they were shipped from Panama to the rest of the world, the name ‘Panama Hat’ stuck.

Machts nichts, I figured we could make the best of it. Above, Edwin is modeling a traditional hat from Panama. And I found a vintage style hat I like that mom is going to take back to Penonome and see if they can make it.

At the artists market in Penonome (mercardo artisinales… i think) there were two stands with hats. You can see from the photos above that the traditional colors are white and black. But, with some different designs. The prices ranged from $20 to $75. I hear in Panama City they can be upwards of $300. The less expensive ones had a less tight weave and fewer color transitions.

Also at the market you could get wonderful fruits and veggies. The mangos (as big as my hand) were 3 for $1. Perfectly ripe and delish. We took Melissa’s suggestion to make the tortillas with brie cheese and Marji’s salsa. Delish.

Beans were less than $1 a pound and you could buy pineapples right on the street.

I also picked up some honey. I like to make multigrain bread in the fall. The large bottle to the right is $4.

If you want meat and fish, you can go inside this buther’s area. Don’t do it if you have a weak stomach. It made me remember I like my meat prepackaged and unrecognizable as a living creature. They also don’t have anything here on ice. I’m not saying that’s all bad, just as FYI.

I also picked up two hand carved wooden platters. The smaller oval one was about $10 and a large round one with handles, the size of a trash can lid and too big for my suitcase was $12. I’m thinking they will be great for serving breads and cheese for parties.

My mom is taking a Spanish class with a large group of Americans. I have to give them a lot of credit. I know how hard language classes were when I was 18, nevermind retirement age.
And finally, I fly home tomorrow. Please pray for no flight delays! American Airlines got me here five hours later than I was scheduled!
Thank you for taking this trip with me and your positive feedback and comments. It’s been fun telling you about Panama. You may get sick of it, because I’ll be back in six months or so. Now, if only I could make a living as a travel writer!
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