Moving is a lot easier when you don’t have much stuff, as I recently learned when I moved from Amble’s furnished rental apartment to a larger house in Panama City’s Ancon neighborhood. It will serve as my full-time residence now, and for other Amble employees on a part-time basis. I will miss being in Casco Viejo but will enjoy the lush jungle of Ancon.
A little history of the neighborhood: Ancon is one of the many towns located within the Canal Zone, the area controlled by the US which housed military and civilian personnel associated with canal operations. Ancon served as the administration and health center of the Canal Zone. The canal was turned over to the Panamanian Government in 1999 through the Torrijos-Carter Treaties signed in 1977 (one of those treaties allows the US to defend the canal if its service is threatened).
Our house is near Hospital Gorgas, named after William Crawford Gorgas, an Army Surgeon General who has been credited with the abatement of malaria and yellow fever, a key component in the successful completion of the canal. The hospital is on the original site of the French hospital (remember, the US bought the rights to build the canal after French attempts failed). The hospital location was chosen because its hillside location captures healthy breezes and avoids the slums and sewers of the city. Originally constructed of wood, it was later rebuilt in concrete in 1915 and retains much of its original form today. The hospital now houses an Oncology Institute and Judicial Courts.
We live in an area of Ancon known as Herrick Heights. According to www.czbrats.com, the homes in our area were built for doctors in the early 1940s. We are fortunate enough to have a lush green setting, views out to the ocean and famous neighbors (Torrijos from the treaties above). Next time you’re in Panama, stop by for a Ron Abuelo!