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Much like Black Friday, Panama hosts Black Weekend. I believe it is put on by the national tourism bureau, and it is promoted in nearby countries. The malls have been preparing for weeks. Even the local tire store is offering 15 percent off this weekend.

We hit the AltaPlaza Mall today. We have plans for MultiPlaza tomorrow. We have learned to go early — early being subjective (10:30 a.m.) — and no one is at the mall yet.

And like in the U.S., some deals are good, some are not. Christmas decorations are on sale in many stores (50 percent off this weekend). Some stores are still pricing their Black Weekend items. So maybe it wasn’t on sale right now, but an hour from now it could have a 50 percent off sticker.

We loaded up on hammocks, bug nets and tarps for the Boys Scout campers in our family. (I have a feeling I don’t have the internal fortitude to camp down here.)

We had lunch:

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That’s beef, chicken, Iberian sausage and veggies. You don’t see it but there’s also Tortilla Española on the table.  Like the mall, if you hit lunch early there are plenty of seats.

The crowd was picking up by afternoon. We saw buses dropping people off, and shoppers wearing numbers and carrying maps as they moved around the mall.

I did manage to find a few things for myself (momma always needs shoes) … I have plenty of time to work on Christmas gifts, right?

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