I almost drowned in a drainage ditch similar to this one. Image.
Most of my companions at work had heard about how I’d been challenged to a street fight, and I figured so had the Corregidor. So, here I was in the middle of a predicament, being hated by most of my Westindian neighbors without meriting it. In fact, it made me sad, the fact that I had done nothing to merit such treatment.
I hadn’t been getting the true story from my wife either, who kept very busy running up debts for me ordering clothing from those same neighbors without letting me know about what she was doing. The trouble my next door neighbor was planning did not materialize so I had time to devote entirely to my wife. Continue reading
On the train ride to Almirante I was eager to tell my story to Pug and her Aunt of my good fortune at getting a job with Chiriqui Land Company and, what was even better, that I would start work on the following Monday morning. It had been a long day for me and the train rides had helped me recover. I felt very good, however, about my experiences so far and, frankly, I liked the country people I met. Continue reading
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
image from worldheadquarters.com
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
Almirante, Bocas del Toro. Image thanks to travelpod.com
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
An early photo of West Indian workers chatting.
In that year of early 1956 when I met Bea, I wasn’t much more than a teenager, an older adolescent. Bea was as an older woman whose age I calculated as being in her early sixties. But she still had that glow of a young woman as her beautiful brown skin did not reveal the wrinkles of old age. Nevertheless she might have been cruising in her early eighties. But it was my first encounter with a woman who had seen the beginnings of the web of railroad tracks laid to be the only transport available in the area and all of it was run by the Chiriqui Land Company. Continue reading