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Glad to Get a Job

This image is a close to real life of our box car accomodations .  Image is from

This image is a close to real life of our box car accommodations . Image is from

Once I recovered from my vertigo, I sat in the train station until the next passenger train pulled in. I boarded the train and it pulled out and delivered me to the familiar surroundings of Base Line’s platform. I headed straight for the office and was met at the entrance by one of the clerks who directed his words at the man I would come to appreciate as a person and a boss. “Jefe, this kid has been looking for you all morning.” Continue reading

The Train Ride Up-the-Line

The mighty Changuinola River from the air.  Image thanks to Burica.

The mighty Changuinola River from the air. Image thanks to Burica.

Finally the train pulled out from in front of the Chinese Bar and Restaurant in Almirante headed for the last stop, a town by the name of Baseline. I had been apprehensive all the while since I knew nothing about traveling anywhere in the country of Panama. It was the fist time for me to really leave the urban areas of Panama and Colon to go anywhere in the world. As the train picked up speed and we sped through the lush jungle toward our destination, for some reason I envisioned that the jungle would one day try to reclaim the area of the rails upon which it was running. Continue reading

The Stranger from Colon

One of Chiquita Brand’s promotional posters. I was headed for Baseline, today known as Changuinola, in search of work. Image.

Although I wouldn’t respond, the voice remained insistent until the guy ran up to me and said, “Juni, don’t you remember me?” “No!” I answered. “Where the hell do I know you from?” I said rather annoyed.  He started talking fast noticing that I was irritated by all of his pestering. “Look guy, or whatever your name is, you don’t know me and I don’t know you!” I said. At that he quickly said, “Pug’s cousin! Don’t you remember? ” So, I said “Look Buddy, I am really busy and need to do some business….” Continue reading

The Ferry

image from

image from

The ferry that we took from what the natives called “Bocas Town” and the Spanish-speaking people I would later meet called “Isla Colon” or Colon Island, could be described as very large or similar in size to the one I had become accustomed to in Panama City that we all knew as the “La Boca Ferry.” The only difference between them was that the La Boca Ferry transported automobiles while in Bocas our ferry only carried human passengers and it was much more picturesque. Continue reading

A Night of Sea Travel

Almirante, Bocas del Toro. Image thanks to

It was a dark and starless night that night as we headed for Bocas del Toro. For some reason I found myself standing alone next to a wooden bunk. I was patiently waiting for the girl of my dreams, my would be wife, the one who would make me a father, to return to my side from some errand or the other on board. Continue reading

Bocas del Toro, a Good Idea

Bocas! Image thanks to

Image thanks to

The issue of Pug’s pregnancy became a partner issue that many teenagers share with looking for work which involved the never-ending quest for any job situation which would help us maintain ourselves. Although I was still partially employed and still living the student/bachelor life, hanging out now and then on the corner of 11th Street in front of a bar feeding the jukebox, things obviously had to change. I was still making new friends, which had never been a problem in Colon.  The city had become a wonderland for me. Continue reading