Permission Granted to Terrorize Panamanian Highways for Another Two Years

All things considered, Panamá gained a great deal from its long, contentious association with the United States. It has, undeniably, the best infrastructure in Central America and probably most of South America as well. Unfortunately for the U.S. the Republiscum recently buried programs to fix the country’s ailing infrastructure so that it’s not inconceivable that Panamá will surge ahead of the States in having a better infrastructure. But you know, repairing all those broken bridges, highways and water systems costs money, smacks of Socialism and doesn’t allow for further tax cuts for the very wealthy.

There’s a lot, though, that the United States could learn from Panamá. For instance, Panamanians have the highest sense of well–being in the entire world. The U.S. only comes in at #23 out of 145 countries. http://www.gallup.com/poll/175694/country-varies-greatly-worldwide.aspx

Here’s another couple of things the U.S. should get clued in on from Panama. Once you hit 70 you have to get a doctor’s okie dokie that says you’re fit physically and mentally to drive a motor vehicle. In the U.S. I recently saw a video of a woman over 100 years old (no lie) who is still on the road, and I bet she hadn’t seen a doctor in order to renew her license, either.

I went down to see my doctor at Hospital Chiriquí on Monday, had a brief physical exam and got my letter. Today is the first of July, the month I need to renew my license and decided to do it early. The license bureau is located at the Chiriquí Mall as is a nice sandwich shop that makes delicious Philly cheese steak subs, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone (writing tip: avoid using clichés at all costs). I got on the bus here in Boquerón a few minutes before 11. Got off at the mall and into the bureau at 11:15. There were two people ahead of me at the counter and they were handled rapidly.

I gave the lovely girl at the counter my papers, she made a copy of my passport and told me to have a seat. Before I could get my e-reader out of my back pack and settle in for a wait since there were well over a dozen people in the waiting area I was called up to a desk where I had my picture taken and give an eye test. That over, I was immediately directed to another room where I took a computer-generated hearing test.

That over I was directed to the caja to pay my fees. The total was $40, but being over 70 years old I received a 50% discount. After receiving my receipt I went to sit down outside the window where one receives their license. I was reaching into my backpack again but before my e-reader even cleared the pack I was called to the window. I signed two pieces of paper, was handed my license to terrorize the population on the highways and byways of  Panamá for another two years and was out the door.

The sandwich shop doesn’t open until noon and now I had to wait outside for another 20 minutes!!! Total time needed to renew my Panamanian driver’s license at the license bureau? About 20 minutes!!! Take THAT U.S.A.!! You guys should come down here and take some lessons and learn something!!

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One response to “Permission Granted to Terrorize Panamanian Highways for Another Two Years

  1. Nice piece. Sounds like yet another apparently ‘undeveloped’ country has the big boys beaten. Speaking from a country more intent on hoodwinking its population than in investing in itself (the UK), the future might be brighter if we stopped slavishly copying every US penny-pinching idea (or foreign policy initiative). As you eloquently point out though, repairing existing infrastructure is an inefficient way to transfer tax dollars to the private purse.