Carnaval Panama 2016 is fast approaching. If you are new in town, this is a great way to meet new people and experience one of the most anticipated events of the year while indulging in some of the local culture. Every expat has to experience Carnaval Panama at least once, and whether this will be your first, fourth, or fourteenth, here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind whilst enjoying the Carnaval Panama festivities…
Carnaval Panama Do’s and Don’ts
DO: Take lots of pictures (probably best to do it when the water trucks and super-soakers are nowhere to be seen).
DON’T: Forget to take some precautions when it comes to your belongings and personal safety. Take only as much money as you think you’ll need. Bring a copy of your passport and not the real thing. And there’s absolutely no need for bling.
DO: Hydrate. Have some water every once in a while among all those cheap beers and tasty Seco con cranberry.
DON’T: Pee yourself. Contrary to popular belief, you’re not cool if you pee your pants.
DO: Get soaked by the water truck (if it’s there), especially if you didn’t heed my advice above about peeing yourself. It’ll be hot and you’ll be sweaty (and possibly smelling of urine), so go ahead and get wet.
DON’T: Worry about where said water came from, especially if you peed yourself. Probably don’t want to open your mouth when they spray you though. Just in case.
DO: Eat something. Spiral chorizo sausage on a stick. Meat on a stick. Ceviche. Fried Chicken. Pre-cooked Melo burger that’s been sitting for who knows how long. Whatever you want. Just make sure you eat. You’ll be happy the next morning that you did. You may even thank me for the advice!
DON’T: Get annoyed that prices went up at your local watering hole or favorite eatery over Carnaval weekend. It’s still a buck a beer on the street. And a buck for a stick-o-meat. In North America, those prices just can’t be beat. Rhymes are neat.
DO: Get up early (or stay up really, really, really late) to watch and hear the Carnaval Queens (and their posse) throw insults at one another.
DON’T: Worry or become annoyed if one of the queens decides not to show up because she doesn’t want to get too embarrassed by her past and/or family history. In 2015, the Arriba queen didn’t show up in Pedasi…or was it Abajo. I dunno. Too much seco.
DO: Not worry about fireworks going off at all hours. Just another day in the neighborhood.
DON’T: Assume you’re going to sleep through them. Can’t beat em, join em dudes.
DO: Bring a water gun to soak others who look like they:
- Peed themselves
- Are really hot (as in warm…or the other hot, whatever)
DON’T: Forget to put your mobile cellular smart phone in a Ziploc bag or one of these handy holders (which you can buy for like, $2).
DO: Have fun. It’s an experience you may never…experience…again. It’ll be crowded. It’ll be hot. It’ll be wet. But it’ll be fun if you want it to be fun!
DON’T: Hide in your home. It’s party time. Get out and enjoy the culture. Enjoy the sun, the music, the fireworks, the fun! Make some new friends. Buy meat on a stick. Pee on a side street between parked cars. Litter beer cans. Take a break from all your worries (…sure would help a lot)!
If this is your first Carnaval Panama, remember to play safe but more important…have an awesome time carnavaling!