Diablo Rosso in Panamá City, Panamá

Diablo Rosso, located in the historic Casco Viejo neighborhood of Panamá City, seems like it would be more at home in the hipster-lands of L.A. or New York City.  This funky little gallery/store/café is doing it’s part “to fill the void that existed for emerging art spaces in the region,” according to the gallery’s website.  Since its opening in 2006, Diablo Rosso has become a hub for young artists, challenging political and social commentary, bold fashion and artwork, engaging events, and great dining.

When you walk into the inconspicuous storefront, you are immediately confronted with a barrage of colorful clothing, neon lights, and a huge wall made of bright red Coca Cola crates, the whole interior popping like one big Andy Warhol piece.  The gallery space showcases modern art exhibits which change monthly, while the shop and restaurant feature huge paintings which are for sale, as well as a variety of antique/eclectic furnishings, all of which function as art pieces themselves.  Diablo Rosso also hosts periodic events, including weekly “Dinner and a Movie” nights every Tuesday.

Gallery

The fashion in the shop seems like a mix of cleverly thrifted items and crazily designed masterpieces, such as a dress made entirely of fuzzy pompoms.

Crazy clothing on sale

As if the shopping and the gallery were not stimulation enough, the food is also fantastic.  A menu of international cuisine features delicious appetizers, creative salads, and tasty sandwiches, most of which have clever names referencing pop culture (such as the Kevin Bacon sandwich).  On our visit, we started with the Salmon Dice (“Salmon Says”) appetizer, a great combination of toasted foccacia, goat cheese, smoked salmon, tomato, and pesto.

Salmon Dice appetizer

We followed this with two excellent sandwiches: I had the Catalina Grill and Zach had the Tuna de Lobos.  The highlight of the Catalina Grill was the amazing homemade chewy bread, although the portobello/pepper/goat cheese filling was also to die for.  Zach’s sandwich contained fresh grilled tuna, cucumbers, and an awesome wasabi mayonnaise, served in an overstuffed pita.  The wasabi mayonnaise provided the perfect amount of kick!  Both sandwiches were huge and came with a serving of zesty, mustard-ey potato salad with green onions.  Delectable!

Catalina Grill sandwich
Tuna de Lobos sandwich

By the end of the meal, we were stuffed and only wished we had more time in Panamá City to try more of the awesome-sounding creations on the menu!  Other highlights of Diablo Rosso include the indie-music soundtrack and the professional, English-speaking staff (our server was the BEST server we have had on our whole trip!).  This eclectic, progressive gallery/cafe is definitely not to be missed by anyone craving some good culture and good food in Panamá City!

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-8:30pm, Closed Sunday, Monday

Address:Avenue A and Calle 7, Casco Antiguo, Panamá City

Phone: 228-4833 / 37

Website:www.diablorosso.com

E-mail: info@diablorosso.com

This post was sponsored by Diablo Rosso.

My Travel Quirks

1.  I always wear the same outfit on bus days, like it’s a uniform or something.  It’s because I seem to always get dirty and sweaty from carrying my pack or bus griminess in general, so I wear my work clothes that I don’t care about.  Since I hate doing laundry, my philosophy is that it’s better to have one never-going-to-look-clean outfit then to have many kind-of-dirty ones.

2.  We hate carrying a guidebook around so we hand-copy maps, addresses, and info into a little pocket-sized notebook we carry before going out on adventures.

3.  I seem to lose things more while living out of a backpack than I do while living at home.  I’ve now lost six consecutive crochet hooks needed to maintain my dreadlocks.  Thank God they’re cheap.

4.  I think I can feel myself getting “old” on this trip.  No!  I used to never be able to sleep on buses; now I nod off without even trying to.  I recently fell asleep on top of my backpack on top of a concrete sidewalk.  Way to be an old lady/bum.

5. My two biggest travel pet peeves are BUS CURTAINS and TOILETS WITHOUT SEATS.  Honestly, bus curtains just flap in your face endlessly when the windows are open and block the view. I´ll sleep when it´s dark; I want to see out the window when it´s light!  And if you´re going to build a western toilet, spend the extra $5 and put a seat on it!  If you´re not going to do that, just build a hole in the ground.  Squatting is easier than hovering!

I´m sure there are more of these but that´s all I can think of for now.  Anyone else do or think weird things like this?

Backpacker Fashion : There Are No Rules

Perú is a country packed full of foreigners with huge packs, long hair, and scruffy beards.  When you throw your life into a backpack and run away to far-off parts of the world, what do you bring along to wear?  There is no real consensus on this subject, but rather a lot of different ideas about what a “backpacker” should look like.  Here we will highlight a few groups of backpackers and how they dress:  Backpacker fashion 101.

Backpacking Fashion 101:

1- The People Who Brought Too Much Stuff

These people have different, fashionable outfits for every day of the week, make-up, hats, accessories, and multiple pairs of shoes.  They usually look very well put together, but when they get into town they are usually physically unable to carry their backpack farther than from the taxi to their hostel.

2- The People Who  Always Wear The Awesome Local Stuff

These people show up with a proper-sized backpack, but once something gets a little dirty they ditch it and buy something handcrafted and awesome from the local markets.  Sure you can find cheap goods, but the extra cost adds up.  When the vendors see these people coming, they all run into the street and hound them for cash.  We pretend to dislike these people, but really they just make us jealous because we wish we could afford that much stuff.

3- The People With One Pair of Clothes

These people are generally a little bit grungy, with patches in their jeans and scratches on their sunglasses.  They grow a beard or long hair to add to the feel of it.   Usually these people aren’t hassled as much by the pushy merchants.

4- The Ones Who Aren’t Really Backpackers 

These people sneak into your hostel with several large suitcases, hide them in their private room and call themselves a “backpacker.”  Watch out for these fakers.  Signs include brand-name, impeccably clean clothing and an unwillingness to eat local food!

We definitely fit into backpacker fashion category 3.  We only brought a few outfits each and we’re trying to make them last.  As much as we want to buy EVERYTHING we see in the clothing and jewelry markets, we’d rather save our money to travel farther!  However, we did recently purchase one item which is just the bee’s knees.  I present to you, the AMAZING TECHNICOLORED DREAM PANTS!!!!!!!!!!!

Backpacker FashionThese pants, which come in every color pattern known to man, would clearly be considered pajamas in the U.S., but in South America they are perfectly acceptable and highly-fashionable for backpackers.  Locals don’t wear them in public once they are over they age of five, but who cares?  We’re traveling; we’re allowed to be outrageous and comfortable!  Why NOT wear pajamas down the street, out to dinner, to the club, etc.?  Carrie and I have wanted some since Colombia, but we held out until recently, when the price was right.  We bought this one pair to share, and they are amazing and ridiculous.  You know you love them.  Dig our backpacker fashion?

Of course, some people are very good at what they do and have small packs and look like real people.  Also, people backpacking in their own country or continent generally fit in a lot better than the rest of us.  After awhile you can start to tell where people are from before they even open their mouths.  Almost every backpacker from the States has a pair of trusty Chacos (nearly indestructible sandals).  They make us stick out like a sore thumb to other Americans and are always a good conversation starter.  Aussies and Kiwis, without trying, show up looking like the cast of Wayne’s World (apparently this is a trend down under?) and always carry a tube of Vegamite (gross yeast extract that they put on everything).  The Irish and British spend maybe a little too much time in the local pub, and the French and Germans smoke far too many cigarettes.  The Chinese have the biggest cameras, and, in general, hang out in crowds.  Of course we know these are stereotypes and don’t apply to everyone, but let’s have a laugh at the expense of others once in awhile!  All in all, when you don’t have to show up to work every day, you can dress however you want.  One thing I have never seen a backpacker wear is a suit and tie.  I think we all set them on fire before we left home.

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