“Desidia” and the Silver Roll Cemeteries of Panama

The headline reads "Cementerio Corozal en la Desidia." Image thanks to TVN - on line.

The headline reads “Cementerio Corozal en la Desidia.” Image thanks to TVN – on line.

Desidia is a term often bantered about in Panama’s daily newspapers concerning the pitiful state of its noble national and historic monuments and parks- part of its physical cultural legacy or what the UNESCO refers to as its tangible cultural heritage. It has ugly connotations when referring to the Silver Roll Cemeteries of Panama. Its meaning runs the gamut of apathy, indolence, laziness, carelessness, slovenliness, every nuance that is opposed to the attitude of its original American founders and the West Indian caretakers put in service to tend the cemeteries. It describes the present state of the once magnificent symbols of our West Indian cultural heritage here in Panama.  Continue reading

Real Carnaval

A scene from Colon Carnaval in 1972. Image thanks to our friends at Colón de Ayer.

A scene from Colon Carnaval in 1972. Image thanks to our friends at Colón de Ayer.

Here I am making my small contribution to the Carnaval in Panama City. Dressed in my Diablito costume that I made at home, I tried to liven things up on Via Venetto. 2006

Here I am making my small contribution to the Carnaval in Panama City. Dressed in my Diablito costume that I made at home, I tried to liven things up on Via Venetto. 2006

Another jewel from the desk of our friend Tito Johnson recalls the golden days of Carnaval, especially the celebration in the City of Colon, which I recall with nostalgia and haven´t seen replicated even in Panama City, although the Carnavals in our capitol city were Real Carnaval until the mid 1950´s.  By the late 1950´s I would say that Panama´s Carnaval started going downhill by cultural standards.  I hope you enjoy this memory as much as I did.  Continue reading

Reminiscences of a Colon Bway (con´t)

chritmas treeWe hope you enjoy Tito Johnson´s memories of Colon as much as we have.  Here is Part II.

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Reminiscings of a Colon Bway

Shelter Bar, now Tommy, and Bohio Cabaret, now mercado, across street.

Shelter Bar, now Tommy, and Bohio Cabaret, now Mercado, across street.

Our bench today from the corner of the Shelter Bar.

Our bench today from the corner of the Shelter Bar.

It is good to be back from our extended hiatus and we are happy to usher in the holiday season with a memory of a Colon of a day gone by.  Our friend and occasional contributor to our blog shared with us his   “Reminiscings of a Colon Bway” which we decided to share with you our readers.  It triggered some buried memories of my second home, Colon, with its unique West Indian character- of those times anyway.  Thank you Tito, my friend. Continue reading

The New Locks of the Panama Canal- Nothing Like What Our Grandfathers Achieved

This is an image of a portion of the Pacific side locks.  They look like a siv

This is an image of a portion of the new Pacific side locks. Honestly it looks like a sieve.

This is my grandfather, Joshua Austin Reid.  From his Pan Canal work recod "badge" photo, 1919.

This is my grandfather, Joshua Austin Reid. From his Pan Canal work recod “badge” photo, 1919.  He was one of the Jamaican Bosses.

By now most of us, both here in Panama and abroad, have been witness to the shameful images of the shoddy workmanship done on the “completed” new locks of the widened Panama Canal by the GUPC (Grupos Unidos por el Canal), a project valued at 4, 357 million dollars (almost 4 and a half billion dollars). I cannot help but reflect on the incomparable work of our ancestors, the black West Indian workmen, who worked tirelessly under the strict supervision of their American employers to complete the particularly demanding work on the Canal locks just about 101 years ago. Continue reading