Etiquette and rules in Panamá
Panamá is unique when comes to etiquette and rules, in every way. And the reason is that since the 15th century, Panamá is, by excellence, the path of the "Américas" and to the world, a tradition that keeps until the present day, in the 21st century.
Many foreigners consider the Panamanian and Latin women very beautiful. But, in all honesty, I can relate that this is because they put a special "touch" in the way they dress, or make every move; very delicate, feminine and with a very special code of dress, always in style.
Panamanian, as well as all Latin American women, take pride in being gentle, and make their best effort to always look nice, especially in the afternoons, when very often they make plans to go out with their husband, friends or relatives. Even if they go only with their children, they also take care of their children's dress code.
Latin American people are very social and love parties. They don´t need any excuse to make one. If there is no reason, they invent one; but the idea is to have fun. No matter where they are-- in the city, country, mountain or beach, they always find a way to get together with neighbors and have good time.
Regarding different customs in Panamá, you may ask, "Compared to what?".
If you go to Europe, people are very culture- oriented and more formal. In Asia, they take extremely good care of their seniors. In Africa, tribes have their very own traditions based in the customs of their ancestry. In Oceania they have their very own way of life.
So, you ask. "What is it like in Panamá"?
Well, Panamá, as I said before, is unique. Their people are warm and caring. They will help you in any way they can, no matter if they know you or not, as long as you are not rude to them, and you make an effort to speak any word of their language. They will giggle and try to understand. This is especially true in the "interior" (or countryside), where more of the people are farmers, but also in all the modern resorts spread out through the country and in the expats communities.
In the city almost everyone speaks English, and the city is very modern and cosmopolitan. In the city you will find anything and everything, like a "mini New York City".
Yes, we do not expect to be a super city... there are some aspects to take in consideration, like sometimes, due to city budgets, garbage is not picked enough; or the streets are not signed the way they should be; or the traffic is heavy because of the numerous cars in the streets. But great things make Panamá great, like the very new "metro" in the city; our singular Panamá Canal (which is one of the Eight Wonders of the World); our beautiful train from Panamá to Colón, and wonderful fishing, water rafting, scuba diving and all kinds of outdoor adventure opportunities. Ahh... and what to say about our great abundance of birds, rainforests and plants, which are unique in the world?
Regarding folklore, Panamá has an enormous tradition of beauty and elegance. We have all kinds of dresses throughout the country, and a singular "pollera" (our national dress), that are handmade, and sometimes take up to three years to make, and for which, complete with jewelry, the price could go up to $20,000 (US dollars). And what about the beautiful congo dances in Colón? All that, because of the "crisol de razas" (crucible of races) that is Panamá. We have beautiful things brought from every corner of the world, just ready to share with our visitors.
(Shey Ling Him, Miss Panama 2007, pictured.)