This year’s rainy season in Panama hasn’t been setting records like it did last year, but it’s been bad enough. Yesterday it got even worse.
Panama loves baseball. Nearly every town has a baseball field or some kind for Little League games and there are adult teams as well. There’s a professional league here and David has a team and the games are always well attended. American major league baseball is closely followed and the standings and box scores are recorded daily in all the country’s newspapers. Several Panamanians play in the major leagues in the States and without a doubt Mariano Rivera, the relief pitcher playing for the Yankees, is the most famous.
Last month Rivera became baseball’s all-time saves leader at an amazing 602 and counting!
Currently Panama is hosting the World Cup of Baseball. Teams from all over the world have descended on this small country to compete in what is truly the WORLD SERIES of baseball. Everyone knows there are rain delays in baseball, but two days ago in Panama City rain stopped the games before they even started. Heavy rains literally flooded Rod Carew (A “Zonian” born to a Panamanian mother on a train in the town of Gatún and Baseball Hall of Famer) Stadium canceling the scheduled game between the United States and Japan.
But that’s the light side of the rainy season here. Yesterday saw death and disaster here in Chiriqui Province.
As I do every Monday I took the bus down to David to do my grocery shopping. You have to do things like that early because it’s guaranteed to rain in the afternoon. I almost made it home before it started. I had to walk from the bus stop to the house in a light rain but then it started to pour. An inundation for sure. It made rain like this…
…seem like a mere drizzle.
It’s was the kind of rain that turns normally placid streams like this one beside the house in Boquerón…
…into raging torrents like this in a matter of minutes.
This morning I woke to find that the deluge had caused the bridge crossing the Rio Piedras (Stone River) on the Interamerican Highway west of David to collapse.
Taking the bus from Boquerón to David I had to cross over that bridge. The river is quite wide there but normally it’s just a wide expanse of sand and large boulders with a trickle wending it’s way from the mountains in the north to the Pacific Ocean. I never liked that bridge. The rain also caused two smaller bridges in the area to collapse as well. Fortunately no one was on either of the bridges when they fell, but a worker further up the river who worked on the construction of a hydroelectric project was fatally buried in a mudslide and an Indian was swept away in the torrent of another river but their fate is yet unknown.