Saturday, December 29, 2012

Live Blogging from Panama

My family and I are spending the Christmas break in Panama.  This is the farthest south I have ever been, and probably the most exotic and interesting trip I have ever taken.  Of course, while enjoying howler monkeys, parrots, pelicans and even crocodiles, I have tried to take some time to examine the doll scene.  Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to check out a mainstream store (something like Target or Toys R Us), but I did find a Barbie imitator at dinner one night:

Panamanian doll.
We enjoyed some traditional Panamanian dancing after dinner at a restaurant in Panama City.  The ladies were all wearing gorgeous hand-embroidered pollera dresses:

These beautiful dresses take from several months to a year to make and can cost thousands of dollars.  In addition to polleras, the women wear elaborate hand-made beaded headdresses and layers of gold necklaces.   

On the way out of the restaurant, I spotted this little display:

The doll in the middle looks like Barbie, and she's surrounded by smaller girls that weren't as familiar to me:

The smaller dolls were also decorating a large Christmas tree in the entryway.  Next year, I'd love to have a Christmas tree decorated with small dolls.  How great would that be?   I'm guessing that there'd be some resistance from my boys, though.  Just a hunch.

The larger Barbie impersonator cost $20 (my mother bought her for me--thanks Mom!):

Her clothes are glued to her body, but she has many of the important elements of the traditional dress, including a pollera, a long plastic gold colored necklace and a fancy headdress:

Each real pollera has a pom-pom decoration in front and in back, and the color of this ornament should match the ribbons at the waist of the dress, and also the shoes.  

This doll isn't wearing shoes, but her pom-poms kind-of match her ribbons.

Underneath the full skirt, the doll has a white cardboard brace that encircles her legs from mid calf down to her toes.  The cardboard is glued into a small heart-shaped plastic stand, and the whole thing is covered up by a long piece of white paper-like cloth.  It's disappointing that she doesn't have any shoes and can't move her legs.  The real polleras are worn with beautiful underskirts...maybe this paper wrap is supposed to be an underskirt?  It's a little strange.  Anyway, she has articulation in her neck, shoulders and hips and is made out of a very thin, hollow plastic.   She's clearly intended for display, not play:

It'd be hard to dance with an underskirt like that.
Her headdress is made out of paper flowers, not Swarovski crystals and pearls.

Instead of hair, this doll has a felt cap clued to her head. I think maybe it is supposed to be hair, styled in a bun or something.  It has some gold plastic decorations and gold paper combs glued to the sides.

She has little bits of glue all over the place and is clearly made very inexpensively, but I think she's a charming souvenir and will be a fun doll to display with my Barbies.  

The question is, which Barbie face mold does she resemble the most?  I think maybe Generation Girl, like Kate from the William and Catherine set. What do you guys think?  You know more about Barbie than I do.

The only other doll I have seen so far was another Barbie style 12 inch fashion doll, decapitated and hanging upside down on this young man's belt:

A group of local children performed a few Congo dances for us last night in Portobelo, and apparently it is typical for men to pick up anything they find and decorate themselves with it.  This doll looks like it has pretty good articulation--including a torso joint.  Unfortunately, if I had taken the doll from this boy for closer inspection, I would have had to be his slave, so I decided to let him keep it.

All yours, kiddo.

So, that's the doll scene in Panama so far.  

I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday celebration and are looking forward to the new year.  Thank you to those who have given me some fantastic suggestions for reviews, and another big thank you to everyone who has stopped by to read the blog in 2012.  I absolutely love hearing all of your thoughts and observations and can't imagine a nicer group of people!  

I have many fun dolls waiting to be reviewed, including J-dolls, Juku Couture, Lollipop Girls, Pullips, Integrity dolls, a new Tonner line and many more.  I am very excited to start 2013!

Feliz año nuevo!
My buddy Lorenzo


  1. How exciting, Panama! :D
    So exotic, a whole new culture to explore.. I hope some day, I can go on vacation and find out what great cultures the world has to offer!
    I think the colors on the doll look lovely, I'm sorry about the glue problem but it's a nice souvenir anyway :D
    I can't wait for all of those amazing reviews in 2013!
    Happy Christmas break in Panama! :D
    And tell Lorenzo he's a cutie :3

  2. Hello from Spain: I envy! I was not ever in Panama. I like the heat of Panama. Nice photo. Happy Year!. Keep in touch

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  4. Oh sweet, you said "J-Doll!" Can't wait for that one!

  5. Oh, what a wonderfully unique find!! She's just lovely :) I hope you're having a wonderful holiday break and that your Christmas was equally lovely! I look forward to your future reviews & I am so happy I found your blog. It always brightens my day when I see a new post from you :)

  6. What a fun doll to find on your travels. I look forward to seeing more of your vacation and any other dolls you find in Panama. Happy New Year!

  7. What a lovely doll and how nice of your Mum to buy her for you. It's alway interesting to find out what dolls are available in different countries.

  8. I love your blog, every time I can read it, you envy your collection should be impressive, as many dolls do you have?

  9. I just thought I would let you know, since you have been taking dolls you reviewed in the past and giving a different release a try, that the Novi Stars have a new line out called Orbit Beach. They are cheaper than the original dolls and seem like they might have improved.

  10. Do you review any 18 to 20" dolls? I recently came across the "Maru and Friends" doll line, but have only seen 1 review on the Maru doll. The one I am interested in is Tanya. Know anywhere I can get more information? These are 20" dolls however :X