May 31, 2011

Something that I’ve noticed in the last week as I was riding around more in some of the neighborhoods in Panama City is the preponderance of fences and gates. Nearly every house has a fence around its lawn/patio, and many of them have full fences with gates. My first assumption would be that this was for security purposes, but it seems to be more of a phenomenon than that. Everyone has them. Perhaps because they houses are all so close together (essentially town houses, all connected to one another) they needed some definitive way of distinguishing between patio areas. I’ve also noticed a lot of fences up in the slightly more urban areas of the city, surrounding churches, restaurants and so forth. Here again, the purpose seems kind of ambiguous, whether because the neighborhoods are dangerous, just to separate property or purely for architectural fashion reasons. I can’t imagine that everywhere is so dangerous that people have to have gates around their houses. I’ve also noticed the windows in many houses around town, but especially those in more rural areas. Often there are not panes, just shutters, grates or carved concrete. Many stores (again particularly those outside the city) keep bars and grates over the windows also. They appear to be permanent too, not just security grates that they put up after business hours.