Driving School – Day 2

Slept much better last night and woke up refreshed and ready to go. The Boquerón bus was packed like a sardine can this morning and even after the crowd headed west to Bugaba, La Concepcion and the border got off there were still no empty seats. I wasn’t about to stand up all the way in to David, especially considering that the driver of this bus is one of the well known kamikaze breed you often find here. So I paid my 35 cents and crossed the Interamericana to the bus shelter there. After six or seven buses stopped, all containing standees, this being, after all, commuting time for workers, a Frontera bus stopped with empty seats and I headed on my way. Now, the buses here aren’t silent buses. There is always something blaring over their loud speakers. It’s whatever the driver wants to listen to. Most of the time it’s music but occasionally you get one filled with religious fervor and he had someone preaching:


So I plugged into the iPod and continued the story Dissolution.

I mentioned that I’d filled my head to the saturation point with Spanish during yesterday’s four-hour class. It seems that enough didn’t leak out over night because today, with Aldo teaching the class I was lost. He’s a typical Panamanian who speaks with machine gun rapidity. By the time I’d figure out what he was talking about he’d have finished with that topic and moved on to the next. I pretty much zoned out for most of today’s class though I know we covered the various categories of Panamanian driver licenses, penalties for various driving infractions, causes of accidents, both from substance abuse and physical forces such as gravity, centrifugal forces, etc.

Tomorrow is supposed to be the final day of the classes to be followed Saturday and Sunday by hands-on practice on a motor scooter. I’ll update the progress.

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One response to “Driving School – Day 2

  1. Richard, a couple of questions, please. First, a rather obvious one: if you need your motorcycle for the driving tests, how do you get it there without a license? Second, if you are tested on their machine, will it be so different as to cause trouble for you? For example, as I understand it, shift patterns and shifter locations vary. John

    That’s what I was wondering, too. But the hands-on part of the course is on a scooter which I think will actually be a bit easier than my cycle. The school by the license bureau rents scooters to people who are taking the test so that’s what I intend on doing. First of all, I DON’T want to make the 25 mile trip to the bureau on the InterAmerican highway. Period. The scooters are automatics so there is no shifting.

    It will be a couple of weeks before I get to that point, though. When the course is completed the school sends its information to the ATTT (the Traffic Authority) in Panama City and then it takes them 15 days, I assume working days, to get the diplomas made and sent back to David. You have to show the diploma to the license bureau here. So that gives me a few weeks to study the Q&As I need to know.