Saskatoon, SK Canada (12) – Views from my Window

My current home is a 17th floor apartment beside the South Saskatchewan River.  Over the last 14 years (except 2016, when we lived elsewhere), we have witnessed spectacular natural sights.  The sun, clouds, rain and snow, each participate separately and together to bring me beauties that I can never imagine.  Each photo tells a story.  Harsh winters that bring out the steam from the river, different cloud formations that can bring beauty or danger, rainy weather that creates an artistic vision, and sunsets that can be haunting and profound.  The colours of these photos have not been altered, what you see is what I saw.  I have also put them in a chronological order starting in 2006 to present 2020.

The last photo depicts the stark reality of COVID-19.  All the years living here, I have never witnessed such emptiness on the streets.










Panama City, Panama (10) – Westin Playa Bonita

The last two days of our Panama vacation was spent at the Westin Playa Bonita.  This resort is located approximately 15 kms southwest of city centre.  It was great place to relax away from the hustle and bustle of city.   With the food and service so absolutely fantastic, we enjoyed ourselves immensely.  With reported sightings of Stingrays, we were not allowed in the water.

Another aspect of the resort is an interesting natural environment that was great to explore.  We could have spent hours collecting  the vast variety of seashells on the beach and exploring the forests.  The small communities of  Panama Pacifico and Veracruz are located within a few kilometres.  With the heat and limited time, we didn’t get to visit these places.

From the beach, we see the resort (foreground) and condos (background).  A thick forested area was great for exploring interesting foliage and wildlife



Main hotel on the left and an “Adults Only” area on the right



From the balcony of our hotel room, the off-season reveals a quiet swimming area.  Looking north into the distance, you can see ships waiting their turn to pass through the Canal (located to the left).






Looking south, we see the next resort, “Dreams”.  Pass “Dreams”, a walkable 3k through the forest would take you to Veracruz.



Watching the setting sun and distant ships



Pool area closed down for the night






Night view of the hotel



Crashing a wedding party at the “Dreams” resort



We came across a large group of hermit crabs on our night walk  on the beach



In the forested area, we find rough lava strewn terrain



Looking back to the hotel



We come across a couple of birds taking refuge in the shallow water









It was difficult navigating our footing on the above ground roots



The beach had many large deposits of seashells



A closer look at the variety







Panama City, Panama (9) – Bits and Pieces

Bits and pieces of Panama City that didn’t fit under any of my previous post headings

Parking is a premium in Panama.  Not much for on street parking, people rely on strip malls.  This photo depicts a common occurance…double parking.  During our visit to Starbucks, we witnessed a couple of people waiting for the owner of the vehicle that blocked them in.  Interesting factor was that the people didn’t appear to be upset.  It just seems to be a way of life.


Estacion Iglesia del Carmen Metro Station.  We took many trips from this station as it was located a couple of blocks from our hotel.   At .35 cents per trip, our $5.00 pass card lasted the whole week and we still had money left over on the card.


Salida Station



Overhead metro tracks are common outside the city centre



Dismantling a scaffolding set that was used for a previous day event in the park.  Many outside work related jobs are done in the late afternoon to evening to keep the crew cool.



Busy intersections like this use overhead walkways (where this photo was taken from) instead of on-the-street pedestrian lights.  We were heading to the Multiplaza Panama that is located just to the left after the curve.  We needed to cross the curved street and found it was manned by a crossing guard.  With temperatures in the high 30C, this young guy was dressed in a black uniform stopping vehicles so pedestrians can cross the street.  I don’t know how long his shift was, but I couldn’t do it.


Contrast between highrise condos and single-family dwellings



Large carousel inside the Albrook Mall



Terminal de Albrook, main bus station that is next to the Albrook Mall.  We pass through the terminal to catch the bus that took us to the Miraflores Locks.



Regional buses waiting for their passengers



These buses are being replaced with new air-conditioned buses.  On some city routes, you can use one of the newer buses at .35 cents or one of these for .25.  Many locals still enjoy using these.


Vendor Lane in Casco Viejo



Water’s edge of Casco Viejo.  I think this is the only beach in the city.



Panama City, Panama (8) – Skyscrapers

Panama City is a deception when you see these towering structures within the central core of the city.   All sparkly and clean when you look upwards, but unfortunately not when you look down.  Most street infrastructure consisted of uneven or broken sidewalks littered with garbage.   I had not taken any photos street level to show the contrast.

Click on a photo and arrow through for larger views.


From our hotel rooftop, Hyatt Place Panama City


Evening views from our hotel rooftop


Along the Alvenida Balboa




Panama City, Panama (7) – Cinta Costera III

Cinta Costera III is the extension of Cinta Costera that includes vehicular travel.   It is a 5.2 km loop that wraps around the neighborhood of Casco Viejo with one end at Calidonia (north) and the other end at El Chorillo (south).  It provides vehicle travellers a quick and easy access from one neighbourhood to the other without having to maneuver through heavy traffic.

At sunset, we ventured out starting on the Calidonia end and walk about one-third into the loop and return back.

Muelle Fiscal, Avenida Eloy Alfaro, San Felipe Ciudad De Panama

The loop entrance is to the right and the Port Authority is to the left


From the path entrance looking to the left, a view of the city skyline (north)



Looking to the right (south), we see Casco Viejo



There were many sitting benches available on this long stretch.  Bikers use the left path and pedestrians use the right path



To the far left is the vehicular road.  On the right you can see the distant lights of the loop that extends out into the Bay



Looking back to where we started our walk



From a lookout (about 1/3 into the loop), we see Casco Viejo.  El Chorrillo would be to the left and Calidonia would be to the right



A couple of nights before, this view is taken from the point in Casco Viejo (see  previous photo).  The middle row of lights is the loop.  The bottom row is a water reflection of the middle row.  The top distant lights are from the Amador Causeway that takes you deeper into the bay.


Panama City, Panama (6) – Cinta Costera, Along the Water’s Edge

Along the Panama Bay, there is a great 13km pedestrian/bike pathway, called Cinta Costera.  It stretches from the south edge of the city in the district of El Chorrillo to the north end of the city at Santa Elena.   Time constraints and heat prevented us from walking the whole 13km distance.  However, we did get to spend a number of times on portions of this route that was close to our hotel.  There were plenty of sights and activities in the short distant travelled.

People were very respectful with the rules of the road, separating themselves from bikers and walkers/runners



There were plenty of vendors with cold drinks to help ease the heat



Feral cats get snacks from a kind animal lover



Small soccer game



Nighttime vendors use the popular pathway to sell souvenirs and snacks



Skateboarding challenges



Open to the public, this exercise area is well used.



Large outside eatery located at the fish market



Panama City, Panama (5) – Casco Viejo

Designated as a World Heritage Site in 1997, “Old Quarter” is the historic district located on the southwest part of the city, along Panama Bay.   We start our journey in the late afternoon and continue into the evening as you will be able to see by the sequence of the photos.

A mixed blend of forgotten structures and upgraded buildings, they stand side by side each other.

One building is boarded up and the next one is festooned with lights and flowers



A neglected building



Neighbours visiting as the day cools



The remaining section of a 17th-century fortification.  This structure was part of the land-based defensive wall known as Tiger’s Hand.



Plaza Herrera



Plaza Herrera



American Trade Hotel









Ruina del convento de Santo Domingo









Cathedral Basilica Metropolitana Santa Maria La Antigua



Central Hotel








Panama City, Panama (4) – Parque Natural Metropolitano – Residents

Parque Natural Metropolitano is a protected area with the only wildlife refuge in the Panama City.  We crossed paths with some creatures on our hike through the park.  There weren’t as many as I had hoped to have seen but enough to keep it interesting.

Turtle Pond



We were fortunate to have a passerby point out the Coati in the trees, otherwise, we would have missed him.  Animals were hard to find.



Good thing I had my telephoto lens.  This little Inicio scooted into the thickness when we came too close.



Never stray from the designated path as you may step on these…Fire Ants.



All along this wooden border were ants working to their home destination.  The little green dots you see here were Cutterleaf ants carrying their load.


With a closer look, you can see various items being carried along this path border



Various samples of butterfly cocoons as displayed in the butterfly house






These were my favourite



Owl Butterflies love their pineapple






There were a variety of butterflies.  It was hard to capture a photo because they were constantly moving.


Panama City, Panama (3) – Parque Natural Metropolitano

We wanted to experience a natural setting of Central America without having to get involved in a tour group that would take us out of the city.  Parque Natural Metropolitano was a great solution.  Located on the northwest edge of the city, it is just over a kilometre from our hotel.  We would normally walk to this destination but with temperatures hovering in the high 30s, we opted to take the bus.  It was a good decision, the cool bus ride prepared us for the many hiking trails we walked.  The longest trail took us to the summit where we captured nice views of the city.

The following pictures depicts the thick greenery that exists and gave us shade.










A suspended leaf






Narrow, natural pathways



Part of the trail consisted of a wide roadway



Tree Farm



Tree Farm


At The Summit

Looking towards the eastern edge of the city



Moving clock-wise, just north of city central



City central, behind all those tall buildings is the Pacific Ocean (and our hotel)



Continuing clock-wise, looking south

Behind the white building in the center is Casco Viejo and to the right is the entrance to the Panama Canal.  You can see all the ships that had passed through or waiting to go through


A comparison of the thick jungle and a modernized city




Panama City, Panama (2) – Miraflores Visitor Center

Miraflores Visitor Center is filled with detailed information on the creation and development of the Panama Canal and Miraflores Locks.  Unfortunately, due to the lighting and glass covered displays, most of the photos would have contained too many unwanted reflections.  Therefore, I refrained from taking any in these areas.

However, the top floor of the center had a wonderful exhibit on insects that can be found in Central America.  With low lighting, I was able to capture close up views of this vast living kingdom.







Cicada Mania



The Rhinoceros Beetle are the among the largest in the world and can reach 15 cm (6 in) in length.









Green Katydid Bush Cricket









Topside of the Owl Butterfly



Underside of the Owl Butterfly