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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The crazy stuff you see on Panama buses

I wasn't planning to write a blog post today, but I pulled out into traffic this morning on Calle 50, one of the major throughways in Panama City, and looked up to see this gigantic bumper sticker on the back of one of the public transportation buses. Now, I don't want anyone to think I'm vulgar or dodge my blog because they don't like to see any racy content, so hopefully I won't offend anyone by posting the photo of the back of this bus. I just think it's crazy and mildly entertaining.

I posted this picture on facebook and a couple of people looked at it and said, "I don't get it." I don't know what CHUFUKU means, but look closely at the small logo on the left hand side. It's basically a page of the kamasutra being acted out on the back of this bus. What if my kids had been sitting next to me in the car and asked, "Daddy, what's that?"

Right away this reminded me of the post I wrote about the butt naked piƱatas. If you haven't read that post, you can check it out here:

You have to be careful with your kids in this country. Not a whole lot is regulated here. For example, one night I was working late, probably on my book, and my wife had fallen asleep and left the TV on next to me. I wasn't really paying attention. I was working. Then lively music distracted me so I looked over to see the show "Wild on E." I'd seen the show before back in the States and they always show parties and stuff like that, but it's censored to some extent. Not here. The ladies on TV, and remember this "E" we're talking about, not HBO or Skinemax, were in g-string bottoms and completely naked from the waste up. They were jumping and dancing to reggaeton music or whatever kind of music was playing in the club. It was like Girls Gone Wild, but on regular cable TV. Granted, it was late at night, maybe 11 p.m. or midnight, but made me realize I have to really pay attention to what my kids may stumble upon on TV.

I was at my wife's aunt's house one night. My wife's grandparents were staying with her aunt for the weekend, so we stopped by to visit. My wife's grandfather was sitting in the living room watching TV so I joined him. The kids eventually meandered into the room and so there we sat, me and my four kids, watching TV with Grandpa while my wife was hanging out with the ladies in the family. I didn't understand much of what was said on TV, as it was all in Spanish, but Grandpa was watching La Cascara. I imagine Panamanians are already smacking their foreheads and laughing, knowing what I'm about to say. La Cascara, as it turns out, is a hip, crazy, sometimes controversial sketch comedy kind of show.

I don't watch much TV. I'm a movie fanatic, but I rarely watch live TV. So I didn't really know what was going to pop up on the screen. First it started out as some sort of runway show, but each woman came out onto the runway dressed skimpier than the previous one. I hope this doesn't label me as a horrible father, but I kind of wanted to see my sons' reactions to what they were seeing. I looked over and my twin four-year-olds were watching TV like they'd just found the holy grail. Their eyes were open wide and their mouthes were agape. A bikini contest isn't too bad. It's not much worse than what they'd see on any day trip to the beach.

Then the show turned to something outrageous. Some sort of carnaval-like town called Pleasureland or something like that was being featured. And one area of this adult Disneyworld found in some Latin American country was the designated kissing spot. So the show was highlighting people making out. It happened too fast for me to even react. My daughters watched on as two women started making out. Grandpa was loving it.

"Close your eyes!" I yelled.

"What?" my daughters asked, both trying to buy enough time to see what it was they weren't supposed to see.

"Close your!" I yelled again.

Too late.

"Daddy? Why are those girls kissing? And those girls?"

Grandpa still had his eyes glued to the screen as I shot my wife a glance like, "Hello? Do you see what's on TV?"

"They're just crazy!" my wife informed my daughters.

As I turned my kids away from the TV, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the show focus on some dude who'd had way too much to drink and had walked over to the grass alongside the main walkway and proceeded to pulls his pants down and take a crap right there, on screen, white butt mooning the camera. He then pulled his pants up and went for another beer.

This was like a Saturday evening, not late at night, maybe around 9 p.m. at the latest.

If you keep your eyes open to this kind of thing, what you'll find will surprise you. Many of the Diablo Rojos, the souped up, wildly painted school buses used for public transportation often have topless Conan the Barbarian like women on the sides of them.

Mannequins in the department stores here don't look like the mannequins from back home. You know what I'm talking about. The ones that are usually missing arms, have no real physical features, and are sometimes even bald? It's not like that here. The mannequins here have huge breasts, are dressed like hookers, and if they were ever bald they now are wearing a's amazing. I feel wrong even looking in the direction of one of these things, like my wife is gonna catch me checking out another woman.

Look at this trashy mannequin

I'll keep you posted as I remember other racy topics of interest. Stay tuned for an upcoming visit to one of Panama's discreet one-night-stand rendezvous spots, the "push button" where couples go to be intimate for a couple of hours (rather than pay full price for a night at a hotel) and lovers go to cheat on their spouses. If I can talk my wife into going, I'll be posting photos (of the establishment of course) soon.

Thanks for reading,