The Astounding Travel Adventures of a Miraculous Fellow


The Return of Yeff
June 19, 2008, 2:34 pm
Filed under: Do You Feel Panamá?

Que pasa?  Things are good here in Panamá.  My return has seen the subsequent return of one of my many Salvadoran nicknames – Yeff.  Spanish speakers just can’t quite get that J sound down.  

Panamá is just like you’d expect it.  When I got to the airport, I had to sing “Panama!” by Van Halen, word-for-word to be allowed in the country.  I didn’t know anything else other than the lyrics “Pa-na-muh-huh-huh-huh-HUH-huh, Panama!” So I just bribed the customs guy. 

It’s really hot and humid here, and I just sit around and sweat all day long.  I once heard that humans are made of 70% water.  It’s weird to see what you look like once you’ve sweated all of that out.  Have you ever seen Gremlins?  Kinda like that.

Work pretty much blows so far, but soon I’m heading out to the countryside and beach to do some interviews, and set up a pension program for the plantation workers for my company here.  It should be pretty interesting, especially when I can’t understand anything the locals say, and they can’t understand anything I say.  Panamanians have strange accents. 

Basically the interview process will involve:

1. Me asking them a question.

2. Them answering.

3. Me not understanding.

4. Me making up answers for what they said.

It should be terribly interesting for management when they see the (falsified) answers of one worker who states: “all the money in the company should be given to Jeff Wheeland, since he’s such a swell dude with a great ‘tude.”  They probably won’t notice that all the responses were given in English.

Nonetheless, Panama’s a cool country, the downtown is really nice and some people I know have compared it to Miami.  I’ve never been to Miami so when they say that I just reply “cool” or “No it’s not, you’re a liar.  My Dad is the mayor of Miami.  He thinks you’re a liar too.”

My roommate is Colombian, is most likely an alcoholic, and has a favorite sport which involves taking me to parties and getting me hammered.  He’s a super cool guy.  I live about a stone’s throw from the Panama Canal (well, at least a stone’s throw for me, and we’ve all doubtlessly been regaled by the stories of my amazing stone throwing abilities), which works out well because I truly enjoying throwing stones at passing boats.  This city is really international; I’ve met people from all over the world, including quite possibly the two dumbest Americans on Earth.  They love George Bush, and if I had a nickel for every time they blamed “liberals like me” for all the problems in the US, I’d have enough money to have them both killed.

Speaking of America, how was the fourth of July?  Mine was rather eventful.  The neighbors are American/Panamanian and their kids put on a frightful display of firepower with their fireworks.  I’ll start by saying Latin America doesn’t have a lot of the “fluff” laws that the US has.  In this regard, anyone can have, and launch, enormous fireworks from the comfort of their homes.  The neighbors took full advantage of this lack of regulations.  The kids were anywhere from 8 to 14 years old, and their Dad supplied them with fireworks then sat back and drank beer.  For over an hour, they fired off one after another huge airborne firework, until finally they must have gotten bored, and decided to just light them all at once…on the ground.  Imagine a decent-sized fireworks show you have seen in the past.  Now imagine it in your backyard; not in the sky above your backyard, but rather in the backyard.  I was 100% sure their house was going to burn down, so I did what any innocent bystander would do and ran to get some marshmallows.  Alas, it didn’t burn down, and that was that.  Happy Fourth of July, Latino style!

Other than that, not much is happening.  Lots of kicking it, no schoolwork (thank the sweet Lord), and remembering how lame office work is.  Panamá, all in all, is great; nice people, very international, and the fireworks are cheap and abundant.  Oh, and the beer costs 40 cents a bottle, so that helps…to…put out…the neighbor’s fires in their houses…yeah.

That’s it for now!  Hope all is well in the USofA!

Saludos, Yeff

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