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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Butt Naked Piñatas

My twin sons will celebrate their 4th birthday tomorrow, and they’re into The Avengers right now. Matteo loves Iron Man and Nicolas “Nico” is into Captain America. So I went out last night with my wife in search of piñatas and party supplies. The best place to find birthday stuff in Panama, is the cheap, outdoor shopping mall called Los Pueblos, across the street from Metro Mall if you’re traveling down Via Tocumen, or across from McDonald’s if you’re on Juan Diaz. 

Next to the large Felix Juguetes Outlet (Felix Toys), which is the closest thing to a Toys R Us here in the city, running along the same wall of the shopping center, you find several stores, all side by side, that are Chinese run party supply stores. Panamanians often just refer to these as Chino stores or Chinos. 

In one store we found an Iron Man piñata, which cost only $6.50. We also picked up an Avengers tablecloth for $1.95 and a few dollar prizes for party games. Next door, we found the Captain America piñata, also $6.50 and a bunch of cheap treats for the goodie bags. 

In the third, and final store, I found much more than I expected to find. We were only looking for more Avengers stuff to add to the goodie bags. I was looking up at the piñatas, when I found, next to some of the children’s piñatas, the photo you see below. Notice the beautiful children's Disney princess castle in the middle.

I’ve been carrying my camera around a lot more often now that I’m writing this blog, always hoping to find something worth writing about, and this fit the bill. I just burst out laughing. My first thought was, “What the hell is that?” My second thought was, “Thank God I decided not to bring my 10 and 7 year old daughters along with me (they’d begged me to tag along, but I knew that would mean also being begged to buy them something at each store we entered). I don’t think, anywhere in the U.S., you’d find naked bachelor and bachelorette party piñatas hanging anywhere near the kids’ piñatas. 

In fact, this had happened to me once before when my daughter went with me to pick out party supplies for her own birthday, but it was a different store. She’d looked up at the piñatas, and lodged in between Kung Fu Panada and Elmo was a well endowed naked male piñata. She’d looked up, right at the piñata, but fortunately for me, she’d just seen Kung Fu Panda 2, so it was the cuddly bear that caught her attention and not the gigantic penis dangling from the ceiling. I noticed though, and whisked her away immediately. 

So last night, I’m with my wife, and after chuckling at the wild piñatas, we get to the counter, and right at a child’s eye level, in the glass counter at the cash register, there was an onslaught of penis and boob memorabilia (Souvenirs? Treats? Paraphernalia?). They had penis straws, light-up shot glasses with a little penis at the center of the cup, those little martian-style headbands for women to wear (but with little penises dangling at the ends of the springs, and lollipops, and necklaces with boobs hanging down, and a bunch of other women’s breasts (not sure what half the stuff was). Here’s a photo, but it’s not so clear. There was a reflection off the glass, plus I was trying to discreetly take a picture without looking like a total hornball. I think those are penis and boob bracelets. 

Ha, I don't think I've ever used the word "penis" so much in my life. You could probably play a drinking game with this blog post. Everyone take shot each time Chris says "penis."

So the moral of the story is, be careful where you take your kids here in Panama. In a place like a party supply store, where you think you’d be safe to take your kid along to pick out candy and piñatas and toys, you might find your kid staring face to face with a penis shaped sippy cup. Be careful.

Thanks for reading,