|"Alluring" view from our apartment-to-be|
We had realized fairly quickly that Casco Viejo, despite its considerable charm (photos here), was not in our destiny, at least not in the foreseeable future. We enjoyed staying there, in a comfortable apartment with two bedrooms and very nice laundry facilities, and we certainly patronized as many of the area's outstanding restaurants as we could. But the absence of certain amenities - specifically a grocery store - was a hurdle we just could not get around given our vow to remain carless.
And the prices for renovated/reconstructed apartments seemed a bit high, especially since most of the places we looked at lacked some basic elements of architectural/engineering/interior design QA/QC.
- Example 1: Why is the washer/dryer unit in the middle of the kitchen and why is it white when the other appliances are stainless steel?
- Example 2: Why are there 2 bathrooms on the ground floor but nowhere else in a 3-story apartment?
- Example 3: Why are the doors and shutters in this apartment dark wood in the colonial style and the built-in closets and kitchen and bathroom cabinets blonde pine in the Scandinavian style?
We also reviewed a couple of listings in the "Zone," the former U.S. managed territory, and while the views in some cases were great, accessibility to basic services was again an issue. Finally, we decided to look at some of the new high-rises which have changed the face of the city. On a nice, cooler overcast day we made a long walk from the Casco up the new Cinta Costera that runs along the Bay of Panamá, all the way to Punta Paitilla, through that neighborhood and then back towards the center of town and Bella Vista.
|Zooming in on the causeway and beyond|
Plus we get to share the amenities of the common areas: pool, gym, game room, raquetball court, social area, event hall, etc. And best of all, just 1 block away, an excellent grocery store complete with a nice wine cellar stocked with some fine Chilean and Argentine wines at prices well below those charged in Argentina (go figure). We're supposed to move in early 2012. Stay tuned.