Globe photographer Essdras Suarez knows the streets of Panama City, his hometown. I've never been. But starting this week, we'll be exploring together the isthmus country on assignment for the Globe travel section.
Over the past several years, Essdras and I have reported together on five continents. Some journeys - such as those in our 2004 project Crossing Divides, have been at the edge of the modern world. Other projects, such as those in China, Mexico, and most recently Europe, have spanned from teeming capital cities into distant provinces.
This journey will do more of that, but with a twist -- a kind of inside/outside from Essdras and me, a native and a gringo. Panama and the United States have a unique relationship - from the canal to the 1989 invasion by US troops to the flock of American snowbirds now seeking second homes in the Chiriqui highlands. Our journey will explore dynamics of all of that, but capture unexpected scenes, too.
From afar, the country can seem to be only a small place connecting two continents, best to be cut through quickly. But take a closer look.
Search for quetzals in the highland forests? Maybe. Travel by boat to the home of Kuna natives in the San Blas Islands? Perhaps. Cigar-rollers, hat makers, banana growers. National parks and rural villages. Glistening high-rises home to international bankers and stilted bungalows above the sea.
Stay tuned here for daily posts. We land in Panama City soon. Hope you enjoy the journey.