My reflections of riding Chivas in Panama
by Louis J. Barbier (BHS 57’)

"Parada......Yo dije Parada!!!!!"

I guess everybody must be out shopping til they drop! The Clubhouse has been really quiet. 

Here is a little story about riding buses or chivas in Panama City. In 1987 I was again in Panama working. My little '78 Dodge was in the shop awaiting parts from the states. I was living in Cerro Viento and using mass transit. Taking a bus was like taking your life in your hands. My favorite bus was PI Magnum. I would get it at the limite. As soon as I got on it was like being a Rodeo Bronco Rider! Yes, I could hear the crowd, "Coming out of chute 9 aboard White Lightening is the Cocoli Kid". What a ride home! Lots of people boarded and as soon as their second foot touched-down inside, the bus would peel rubber leaving the bus stop in a haze of blue smoke. If you were not careful you would end up in a heap on the floor or worst you might go flying out the rear door.....not good. Most people sat or tried to sit or stood at the front of the bus. The radio was always screaming salsa music that one could not hear yourself think or yell Parada! So to stop the bus it may go like this: "Parada!!!! Que pasa yo dije Parada....Hoy no manana. Que pasa Yo dije Parada. Aqui ...ahora! Dale freno...mas fuerte idiota. Tio hermano parada ahora, no el dia del huevo!"  The bus would finally stop. And in the crush of bodies a person would try to get off the bus. One got very friendly with everyone in your path to the exit door. Sometimes the bus driver took off before you got off......then everybody would start yelling, "Parada, yo dije Parada!!!!" Of course by then you were past your bus stop and probably on your way down Salsipuedes. Finally if you were lucky you got off the bus a mile away from your Parada. That is why many people took a taxi around the city or the Canal area. An example of the exchange could be like this, "Cuanto para llevarme al YMCA? $2.50.Okay andale."  Then you would start practicing your English, "What is your name? My name is Panama? No your real name. My name is Juanita Maria de Calle Abajo y Calle Arriba de Los Santos .....etc. Basta. Ya lo entiendo. Your name is Panama. Your Bus Stop is coming up Parada!"  And so it went everyday an adventure in riding the bus en la cuidad de Panama.....Y como se dice Parada, Parada, yo dije Parada! This is my stop. See-ya.....