The Zonas Rojas (Red Zones) of Panama City

About 3-4 times I’ve started to follow my I-am-a-camera instincts into the lesser-travelled streets and each time I’ve been warned of the danger. The red zones are where there are no police, and many many robberies. Panama City has a even more sinister edge than San José, Costa Rica, it’s like the back side of its charm. The cops are like SWAT team guys, there are cops on mountain bikes that are chingon.

Panamanians are wonderful. Speaking what Spanish I can opens doors, and leads to conversations. The young backpackers are great ambassadors, they make their own way on the cheap, and blend in. Each time I step out of the hotel, I have this feeling of joy and adventure, it’s that kind of a city. I said to a streetside tailor, who sewed two buttons on my shirt for $1 this morning, that P.C. was, like San Francisco, a city with soul. Con alma…

I booked this room (with good wi-fi!) for 2 nights, this morning I extended it another two days. Total hotel bill for 4 days: $60.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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