Lynn did a good bit of shopping, mostly for molas, from the Kuna Indian women who sell along the Plaza Francia walkway. I don’t buy much any more, but I’m intrigued every year that more and more buildings are being fixed up and literally transformed. This is now a very hot area, with high end lodging, restaurants, bars, galleries, gift shops. We used to stay in Casca Viejo in the Peace Corps era because it was cheap — and often dangerous.
The area is no longer cheap, and I imagine it’s less dangerous. The government has laid down the law with the Pope here and all the peregrinos walking the streets. Anyone who so much as touches a hair on the head of one of the kids here to see the Pope goes to jail for 18 years.
There are also far more armed police on the streets right now. We were near the Presidential Palace, where the work of government is done, when a motorcade came roaring by — several big black cars with men inside and heavily armed guards from the Presidential detail in the front and back. We thought it might have been Presidente Varella himself.