I LOVE Panama, and, in general, I love the Panamanian people. BUT sometimes it’s REALLY hard to do. In fact, sometimes it’s IMPOSSIBLE.

Take this past week, for instance. This was the 249th anniversary of the founding of the little town of Boquerón, and they were making a huge deal out of it.

The festivities started off on Wednesday. Around noon the first of the parade started by my house. Several of my neighbors from the old house came by with stools to sit on my porch and watch. It was the best parade they’ve had here in Boquerón in the five plus years I’ve lived here. This time there were a lot of floats and this time a lot of thought, care and originality was evidenced in them.

The first actual band that came by and even stopped in front of my house was from Colegio Daniel Octavio Crespo in nearby Concepcion. Most of what passes for marching music here in Panama are simply drums and once in a great while there will be a glockenspiel. It seems that Panamanians love pounding on things with sticks. But here we had an actual BAND complete with clarinets, saxophones and one lonely flute.

I used to play flute when I was in high school. Me and my four brothers were REQUIRED to take music lessons. About 6 years ago I bought a flute down here in David (dah VEED) but as my COPD developed I lost interest in trying to use an instrument I had to blow into and it has remained unused for the last three or four years. I put it up for sale at about half the price I paid for it on a local buy/sell Facebook site and got absolutely ZERO responses even after it had been posted and bumped up several times.

Looking at that lone flute in the Crespo band gave me an idea. I went inside and grabbed the flute and then went to the band’s director and gave it to him and told him to make sure some kid who couldn’t afford to buy an instrument for themselves got it. His thanks were profuse and he had his assistant take a photo of us and the flute together. Who knows, I might have changed some kids whole life by giving that flute away.

That night at the covered basketball court about 100 yards from my house the very popular Manuel “Nenito” Vargas and Las Plumas Negros (The Black Feathers) was playing. I went up and watched for about an hour and then returned home, stuck some plugs in my ears and went to sleep.

Thursday was sort of a rest-up day to prepare for the weekend. Now here’s where it gets bad. After a night time parade filled with drum and bugle bands some asshole with a van full of speakers opened the van’s back doors and started playing music with such volume and with such wide open bass that everything in my house shook and vibrated. The ear plugs helped only a tiny bit but there’s nothing you can do about the bass. This FUCKING LASTED UNTIL 3:30 IN THE MORNING!!! And it isn’t even really music. There’s NO MELODY involved. No one can dance to this shit! It is, pure and simple, JUST NOISE and it seems that the majority of Panamanians LOVE IT!

If you want to be a mindless, uncaring, self-centered piece of shit, I say, go park you van in front of YOUR HOUSE and play like that.

Then comes Saturday night. Some idiotic twatwaffle with a car full of speakers parked on the same corner and started the same shit again. But then it got EVEN WORSE. Directly across the street came THREE CARS AND A VAN loaded with speakers and each one seemed to be in competition as to who could be the most obnoxious asshole in the bunch. Literally everything in my house was vibrating.

I couldn’t stand it and so I threw my iPad and my telephone that holds my audio books into my knapsack and locked the house. A cab passed by in less than a minute and took me down to El Cruce where I caught a bus into the city less than five minutes later and went to my harbor of refuge over the years, Bambu Hostel where I was able to get a bed for $11 for the night. This is where I slept.

jungle house

I woke up at 6:30, which is actually about an hour and a half later than I normally get up. Walked the couple of blocks to the bus stop and hopped on the bus that dropped me off, literally, at my doorstep.

A nearby neighbor stopped by on his way to the little tienda and told me the stupid assholes didn’t stop the noise until FIVE FUCKING THIRTY this morning!!! It was worth the 50 cents for the ride to El Cruce, the $11 for the bed, the buck for the frosty bottle of Balboa and the $1.20 round trip bus ride. Plus instead of being blasted by the morons with their car loads of speakers, I spent a couple of hours talking to a couple from France and an American who has lived in Sweden for the last 15 years and who, with his girlfriend has been riding their bicycles from Mexico City and are on their way to Panama as I’m writing this.

Some Panamanians will ask if the loud music like these assholes play and everyone else endures doesn’t happen in the United States. The answer is, NO IT DOESN’T! And there are reasons for it. There are noise laws everywhere in the States and the police will come and shut things down if there are complaints. Nothing like that happens here. All of this went on within ONE BLOCK of the police station.

Another reason it doesn’t happen is because if it’s NOT shut down some pissed of person with a FUCKING GUN will come out and shoot up the speakers and then will shoot the assholes who are responsible. That’s the ONLY TIME I condone gun violence.

Anyway, the festival is over. The food stalls that surrounded the town park are being dismantled and tonight should be back to normal…At least I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will…


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16 responses to “A RANT!!!

  1. The local “Football” and Baseball field is less than a block from our house. There are games there EVERY Sunday. Most, but not all Sundays, some “Idiot” with a trunk full of speakers starts the music. It vibrates in our house also!

    Kinda nice to know that the stupidity isn’t confined to Chiriqui Province…

    Just received the news that there’s a four-day event planned for September here as well. Don’t know the dates yet, but as soon as I find out I’m making my reservations at Bambu Hostel. Will be spending the nights there, that’s for sure, and probably a lot of the days, too, since they have an in-ground swimming pool. Can’t beat that for $11/night in the shared dorm. It’s not air conditioned, but neither is my house.

  2. This is something you’d probably never consider when deciding where to live. The basketball court looks benign until it becomes party central, and then you are really sorry you live close to it. Some of my neighbors get annoyed when people blast their music in the daytime. They would hate that all night stuff, but I wonder if anyone would complain. Complaining doesn’t seem to be something people here tend to do.

    Let me know when you book your next Bambu getaway and I’ll come over and say hi.

    Actually, Kris, I WAS aware of how close I was to Stupidity Central when I moved here. There were times in the past five and a half years when I could hear the music from the basketball court all the way down to the old house by the river. That was never house-vibrating there, but I COULD tell what was going on.

    What I never factored in was the mobility of intelligence-challenged morons with vehicles filled with speakers! Fortunately I’m mobile, too, and spending $13.70 for an evening’s tranquility is priceless. For everything else there’s Mastercard.

  3. Reblogged this on The Panama Adventure and commented:
    A while back I wrote a post about renting vs buying. On the subject of deciding where to live, here is another important consideration. Panamanians like to celebrate a lot! But, how close will you be to these celebrations, and how much loud music do you want to tolerate until all hours of the night? There are advantages to not being in the center of town.

  4. lol … yet your trip to the hostel was very interesting! (lol) … I suspect we will feel your pain someday, as we are in process of buying the lot for our Panama home not far from a public access beach, and, I suspect we will also have our sleepless nights. I hear there can be lots of partying down there, as well.

  5. There are people who get casitas and apartments in downtown Boquete. For the month of November and most of January the nights are loud, LOUD! LOUD!! We could hear it in our old home which was 4 km from the speakers. Luckily in our neighborhood, they are very considerate.

  6. rambalajunglelodge

    Same problem here in Boquete. It is a country wide problem but there are limits by law as to how late they can play and with the holiday season coming up you might want to find out who you have to talk with. Normally it is the alcade for your little town. I feel your pain, house shaking non music is so not okay!!

  7. Sorry you suffered through that but I thank you also because I can add that to the things to watch for when I start looking for a rental there. So it wasn’t all in vain. LOL


    Good luck, but remember…these idiots were in cars and vans. That means they’re mobile and can come into your neighborhood at will. Except for them a lot of the festivities were fun. I had neighbors from near my old house came by for the parade Wednesday, and that was fun. The concert in the park was nice, and I like Panamanian “Tipica” music so that wasn’t a problem. It was just when the mobile assholes arrived with their booming bass that made everything vibrate that sucked.

  8. Marilyn Chadwick

    Thank you, Kris – this article is MOST helpful! I do feel your pain, as I have never been an all-night partier, or even a loud-non-musicker 😉 (not even short term). Very glad you had a wonderful refuge to escape to. This article has SOUNDLY reinforced why I choose not to live in (or close to) a town or city. Thank you for making me realize how extremely important that will be in this case!! 🙂

    • This is Richard’s article. I am fortunate to be in a quiet neighborhood where not much goes on in the way of noise. We are on the edge of town and sometimes hear music or fireworks or these days, drum practice, but it’s not close enough to be a bother.

      • Marilyn Chadwick

        Glad you have a location that works. This article was also an eye opener in another way – I had thought (& hoped) that “rednecks” were a uniquely Tennessee or southern U.S. thing. Not so, apparently! Guess every place has their version!

      • Rednecks? Do you mean farmers? This is an agricultural area so lots of farmers here.

  9. Dan Baber

    Just finished your rant and what memories. And here I thought the only ASS with a million speakers lived a block away from our house in Ajijic MX. It’s something to do with Latinos because it also happened ONCE here in Fort Worth(los estados) and the threat of a gun put a stop to that crap ASAP. Our Latinos are all Mexicanos and Mexicanas are just like the Panamanians and only listen to musica played at 10+.

    We’ve got another 4-day event starting the 29th of this month. I do my weekend shopping tomorrow and the bus passes within a block and a half of the hostel so I’ll stop off and make reservations early. Thought about skipping across the border into Costa Rica. There’s a hostel just across the line that lots of gringos use when they do their “border run” to get their passports stamped but it seems like a bit of a hassle I don’t want to do. Besides, I have permanent resident status and don’t have to make that run. The reason so many gringos do it is because they haven’t gotten their “Pensionado” visas. When you enter Panama you’re allowed to stay for 180 days, BUT if you’re driving you can only do it for 90 days at a time.

  10. What an experience – serves to educate the rest of us, as well as entertain (you write so well) – sorry you have to live through the annoyance, and glad there are bright sides to compensate. That hostel looks so peaceful – I hope you’re enjoying another respite there since the 4 day event that started on the 29th.
    – Cheers, Wendy

    Thanks for the compliment on my writing, Wendy. All of these posts, though, are simply first-drafts quickly checked for spelling errors and that’s it. But a little confession…I used to get paid to write. I was a newspaper reporter and essentially most news items are first drafts. When you’re on a daily deadline there’s no time for a lot of rewriting. I also worked as a magazine editor and was impaled on my own free lance with a few dozen magazine articles. But then I quit all that when I got divorced at age 30, got a job as a deckhand on a boat, became a Coast Guard licensed captain and spent the next 35 years either running or repairing boats for a living. That included a three-year stint on the French Riviera and a sail across the big pond in ’91.

  11. Reblogged this on Yo soy perdido and commented:
    Reblogged this on Yo Soy Perdido (my “looking for a home again / thinking of moving to Panama” blog).

  12. Marilyn Chadwick

    Kris, this is in reply to your question about rednecks (there was no reply link under your comment). No, rednecks & farmers are not necessarily the same thing, although sometimes they can be. That is how the term started, eons ago, from farmers getting sunburn on their necks. But these days, it has evolved (or devolved, in my estimation!) into a term that refers to hillbillies, “country bumpkins” or any people of southern persuasion that are low income, uneducated & sometimes not too bright. These are the ones that drive around in the jacked-up pickup trucks with Confederate flags playing Nashville country music with bass so loud it rattles the windows (most genuine farmers, at least in TN, would never do this). They are also masters of “thrifty innovation”, i.e., check out this “redneck yacht”: http://lumberjocks.com/assets/pictures/projects/19940-438x.jpg, and “duct tape engineering”, LOL. And yes, the more speakers they have, & the louder, the better! Thus, why I consider Richard’s “idiots” to be “Latin rednecks”. 😀

    There are dozens of explanations for the term “redneck.” I recently red one, and I’m not going to go try and dig it up out of the internet ethers, about a huge union vs coal mine corporations that ended in an all out war between the two sides. In the story it said that the miners wore red bandanas to identify themselves from the corporate thugs thus giving rise to the term “redneck.”

    • This is a different culture here. Farmers may not have a lot of material wealth or higher education, and they have to be creative in building and fixing things to survive, but I don’t think it’s the same as a US redneck. Redneck sounds like a derogatory term. Panamanians may like loud music and fireworks with celebrations, but they are hard working, kind, welcoming, and all around lovely people.