As you may know, we import most of our Christmas figures from our factories in the Philippines and China. The figures and Nativity Sets are shipped in steel shipping containers on large ocean going container vessels, such as the ones shown below All of these large ships arrive at our New York Port via the Panama Canal.
For our Christmas break this year we decided to visit Panama and see the country and how the canal works for product like ours. What a surprising country Panama is! Rather than some Central American backwater, Panama City resembles Miami with high rise offices and condos right on the water. High end hotels and sophisticated restaurants cater to international business people and tourists. A network of roads and expressways tie the city together, anchored by the PanAmaerican Highway and they are building a subway. The country is safe for visitors, the people are friendly and welcoming and the currency is the US Dollar. If my narrative sounds like we enjoyed it and will go back, we already plan to.
Panamanians love parties and fiestas and have more national holidays than most countries. Just before we arrived there had been a big Christmas Fiesta and parade. Several of the parade floats featured giant Nativity figures and, after the parade, these were displayed in a park on the Causeway Highway, connecting downtown Panama to the old city and the Canal. The Nativity figures are made locally and don’t have the artistic detail of our figures, but for parade floats celebrating the true meaning of Christmas they are perfect. More on where and how these figures are made in our next post. Here are some photos showing the figures displayed on the Causeway with the city skyline behind. Looks like Miami doesn’t it?