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Attention, The Floor Slides

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Written by Matt   
Tuesday, 27 April 2010 15:08
The pool this morning was full of dead beetles, nurse so many that you couldn’t do a lap without feeling their papery bodies coat the inside of your arms. It sounds almost horror movie-like but in reality was more unusual than it was harmful, medicine and when I asked the woman at the counter who was in charge of cleaning the pool, she pointed to the locker rooms and said, “Esteban.”

“OK. Do you think Esteban can come to clean the pool? Is very dirty of many insects.”

And to that, the lady looked at me and said, in no uncertain terms, “he is decorating.”

Not, “he’s decorating because the gay alliance has a swim meet this weekend,” or “he’s decorating the cast of his recently broken arm.” Just, “he’s decorating.” In the states I would prod further or at least chastise their poor communication skills, but here in Panama, ambiguous answers like these act, quite simply, as my cue to leave.

In the afternoon, I had to make a trip to Arraijan which is a lower-income neighborhood just outside of Panama City. On my way back I stopped at a little parking lot with bathrooms and various hiking trails. The area was well kempt and had a sign that read, in English, “Not to walk through the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots dirty.” 

It reminded me of a sign I saw once in Veraguas at a restaurant called, back then, Texas Café. In the bathroom on the wall was the image of a stick figure about to fall over and the words, “Attention, the floor slides.” The sign was in handwritten English, but I don’t know why. If you’re catering to gringos, the first thing you need are the gringos. Other than my friend Keenan and me, I hadn’t seen a single one. Not in the streets and certainly not at the Texas Café.

Just before I entered my apartment tonight, two different people on the street asked me for money. When I said I didn’t have any, they said, “no problem you are still a mango of quality.”  This, I suppose -- as opposed to a mango of poor quality -- is a compliment in the highest degree.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 April 2010 15:13