An article I wrote for Bala recently – 7 Reasons to Love the Mercado Abastos.

“Prices here are low, with a hearty understanding of free market capitalism going on in the shifting, sliding price list that may be slightly lower (or slightly higher) than when you checked 5 minutes before.” 

It’s a blast to visit the (slightly bonkers) Mercado de Abastos but well worth your time. Check out the full article via the link below!



January 2014 Photos of the Month

By James Bloomfield

January has been a really busy month for me, with a bunch of travel and work dominating my time. I went to Colon a couple of times, travelled to the Portobelo National Park (images to come), and walked around the city a bunch. I’m always keen to get strolling around more and my new work arrangements should allow me to do this a lot more easily – meaning more images here!

I decided to include some of my Costa Rica images in another post and keep the bulk of my January images here.

Check out the pictures below and let me know what you think!

Casco Viejo, Panama

A battered red door in Panama City’s old town, Casco Viejo.

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Visit to the Mercado Publico, San Felipe

By James Bloomfield

Ah, the Mercado.

Hub of working class Panamanian life (especially in the early morning), this is one of my favourite places to spend an hour or so. I pretty much divide my time between shopping for vegetables and necessary household items (coconut oil, I’m looking at you!), chatting to stall owners, and eating at the insanely good value central cafe.

shopping in Panama

A typical interior stall at the Mercado Publico de San Felipe.

Inside, the mercado publico is divided into 4 or 5 main sections, each containing a separate type of food or product. Meat, vegetables, food stuffs like honey and coco rayado (shaved coconut), get their own sections, while a large food court dominates the center of the building. Continue reading

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Meet Alice.

panama blogs

She’s a friend of mine. Coronado-based, this surfer/writer chick has recently set up a website titled “Permanently Panama”, which looks pretty awesome and is encouraging me to get myself a .com for this heap of bones!

Basically, she’s a travel-happy kind of girl and likes to write about the sometimes awesome and occasionally not so awesome things about choosing to live in Panama as a foreigner. Go there and give it a read if you’re interested in the following:

– Beaches
– Surfing
– Panama listicles
– Irreverent humour
– Pictures of scantily clad young lady(ies). No, not like that. You perv!

Go give her some love as she has added me to her list of awesome blogs and one good turn requires another!

porto diao panama 2014 salsipuedes rally


Tomorrow afternoon (Sunday 12th January) I will be participating in the Sal Si Puedes Rally event! Organized by Porto Diao, a cultural organization run by a pretty amazing small team, this is basically a series of mini-challenges spread around the entirety of Panama City. They’re going to be pretty bonkers apparently, with the list of must-have items on the list including body paint, trash bags, an intimate understanding of hashtags, and energy drinks.

This, plus a lock in bar in the evening?

It’s going to be madness. Thanks El Sitio Del Casco for making that happen!

I can’t wait.

porto diao panama 2014 salsipuedes rally
If anyone wants to follow the chaos on Twitter, please follow me at @JamesElwynB and our team handle at @ranasdoradas – we’ll be tweeting pictures, videos, and live commentary of all of our misadventures.

All of this while I struggle with intense, time driven Spanish in a large group? Sounds intense! And fun! And intense!


Street Photos November 2013

By James Bloomfield

urban gardening panama

Garden centre in San Francisco, Panama.

These photos were taken during a busy month for me. Helping to organize an art show, working with children in Colon for a few days, as well as a bunch of more corporate stuff, kept me on my toes. I decided to upload the photos I had taken in this period of time, as it was simpler than ever thanks to a new smartphone. I’m impressed at how well these turned out considering the tiny format. The one major thing I found to be perfect for using a smartphone was its discrete nature – no one is turning around at the monstrous gun barrel that the modern DSLR can represent.

Sign in Coco del Mar, Panama

Plants are from God, take care of them.

panama urban photography

Gas tank and crates at the back of Restaurante Jimmy’s

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