When we came down to Panama, we made down the decision to NOT buy or bring a car. Therefore, we ride the buses when we go from Gorgona to Panama City. Riding instead of driving is nice for a few reasons and one reason is that we get time to look at the scenery along the way. So, just north of Chame is Bejuco. One of the places a bus sometimes stops is the town square.
IF you look into the town square, you will see concrete benches, that all have tiled murals on them.
Every time we passed by, we have wondered about these benches.
We borrowed a friend’s car and drove to Bejuco and tried to find out the story behind the benches.
We started at the library, thinking they would know something about the history of the benches…
The 3 ladies in the library didn’t speak English and since our Spanish is limited (and I’m being nice to us) one young lady typed into my translator “Dirijase al salon de la cultura” translated to “go to the hall of culture.” She pointed across the square to another building and we went over to the Casa de Cultura (Hall of Culture).
Inside the hall, one room was occupied by teenaged kids playing music on instruments, the sound adding to the peaceful nature of the town square outside. We found a woman who is an English teacher in Bejuco. She took us outside and began translating our questions to a young gentleman who was one of the 3 men who did the tile work on the benches.
According to what we got, the square has been there for many years with the concrete benches. There is also a statue of Dr. Belisario Porras.
He served 3 terms as president of Panama from 1912 to 1924, during which time he tried to consolidate and organize the Republic and conducted a series of infrastructure improvements with which he sought to boost domestic trade and structure the country.
A couple of years ago, it was decided to tile the benches in the square.
Pictures of ideas were submitted and a group of 3 people chose which designs to use.
We were told this project took over a year to complete…
Being from the USA, we all think a lot of things are exclusive TO the US. When we travel abroad, we find that, indeed, the world is really smaller than we think.
D’oh!!! Not sure how the Simpsons wound up in Bejuco Panama.
I’m not as surprised that Slyvester, Tweety, Winnie the Pooh and Tinker Bell are down here.
In total, there are 16 or 18 different benches
Each one different in its own way…
All of them creating a colorful addition to a already pretty town square…
A bit further down the road, off to the east, stands Fred Flintstone…
Once again, that North American “It’s Mine” mentality sets in. So we stopped in to see Fred and found al lot of other items, quite by surprise.
As we walked around the yard, we saw more and more items that caused us to expand our thinking.
We asked the owner if he “made” all of these, and he said yes, but I’m taking his answer with a grain of salt.
All of the items are beautifully painted and very colorful.
And the selection is amazing!
Everything seemed to be reasonably priced.
There were pieces that were highly detailed.
So, from Fred and Barney
And us, we say…
Til next time…