It really is all about the attitude or lack there of depending on the circumstances, and I’ll prove it to you once again. Last night my friend Jerin and I decided to get out of the house and go have a few drinks. Jerin doesn’t get very many free passes and despite me having to work at 6 am the following morning, we head out for drinks anyway around 10:30 pm. We went to a few different places but end up on Calle Uruguay, which is a street where a lot of different clubs and bars are located about 3 blocks from my apartment. After a few rum drinks we decide to grab a taco from one of the street vendors and call it a night. In order for us to make it back to my apartment utilizing as little effort as possible, we back up onto a main street behind us and then pull a U-turn to get going in the right direction. Needless to say it was right in front of the police, I swear I’m some sort of magnet for these guys (and girls). There are 2 police officers, one male and one female. They immediately ask Jerin for his identification and\or driver’s license. Once he tells the officers that his license is expired, they then ask for his passport, which he doesn’t have. This is where the attitude can take over. Now Jerin has been in Panama for about 4 years and is married to a Panamanian woman. If you get scared or nervous and have no idea what to expect or how to react then you might get into some trouble here, but not us. The officers then look at me and ask me for my passport, with my nonchalant attitude and look on my face, “What for?” I question them back. Well since neither of us have any sort of valid id, they make us follow them to a nearby processing station for the police which is also located in the same neighborhood. That’s right, I said follow them, and furthermore we had to pull another illegal U-turn to do it! When we get there the male officer escorts Jerin inside while I am left to smooth things over with the female officer. We are outside talking and I am explaining to her that I live a few blocks away and I usually keep my driver’s license and copies of my passport in my car but I was not driving my car. I also explain to her that Jerin is married to a Panamanian woman, “Oh really, and what about you?” she asks. Uh oh, Panamanian police woman is getting personal! I explained to her that I havent found the perfect woman yet to which she responds, “That is because a perfect woman does not exist”. So right you are Panamanian police lady, so right you are. We decide to make our way inside the police station but I can’t help but to notice some drunk guy standing out front of this police station mumbling and screaming stuff at me, but since I was a little preoccupied I ignored him. Once we make it inside all I hear is Jerin say, “Yeah he isn’t either” and the entire room was laughing as if I was the butt of a joke already. Panama recently implemented a curfew for minors, so there are 5 or 6 teenagers and of course the usual Colombian hooker or two, in fact there were two of them this night and they were beautiful! If we would have spent any more time in this police station I would have started flirting with them too, no doubt. After Jerin and I explain our situation, make a few jokes and show absolutely no fear over the situation what so ever, they hand Jerin back his expired license and told us we could leave, didn’t even bother to verify any personal information what so ever. It’s a beautiful thing. I can only imagine what the Colombians were thinking, that we can waltz in there and crack a few jokes and be set free without incident, but such is life down here in Panama. So upon leaving we have the pleasure of crossing the drunk disorderly guy out front, well as it turns out he has a pretty good reason for talking all that craziness right in front of the police station, he was handcuffed to the fence! Yup, it’s a beautiful thing.
After Jerin and I returned to my apartment we were upset that the whole incident didn’t last a little longer. It was fun and the highlight of our evening, we wanted to go back! A laid back attitude can catch them off guard and save your butt at the same time.