Causeway Stories -- #3
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Ron Ferland


Although, I'm not a Zonian, I sometimes almost feel like one.  Here's my Causeway story.  It's Thursday morning, March 9, 1989 -- a day when there is a 2.5 foot minus tide!!  I'm taking pictures of Perico Island with my Nikkormat for some research I'm doing on a pirate ship battle that happened there a couple hundred years ago.  I'm on the Naos Island side where lots of Panamanians gather on Sundays to drink and talk till all hours.  A grubbly plainclothes cop pulls up and asks me what I'm up to (I have no idea Noriega just might be ensconced in his torture chamber up there atop Flamenco Island, a quarter mile away).  I'm in no mood to cooperate since I've broken no laws!!   I ask for his ID which looks like it was made by a drunk somewhere west of Rio Hato.  I tell him it doesn't mean jacks*** to me!  Oops!  He trots off to his car and comes right back with what appears to be a thick broom handle.  I can tell this guy has used it before because he immediately knows which of my ribs to poke and how hard.  I didn't say uncle but we eventually end up together in the Ft. Amador Police Station where the Major in charge asks me for my film.  I accidently expose the whole roll and after a couple hours I'm sent over to a grubbly little office to stand before the Corregidor.  I'm fined for disrespectful behavior and sent home with no lunch.  Well, I'm teed off that these Noriega goons seem to be all over, shaking people down and being more than public nuisances.  I shoot off a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy (VT) who graduated a couple years ahead of me at Saint Michael's College.   He's on the Foreign Relations Committee and writes back saying that he's looking into it because of other complaints and he's reporting to President Bush.  A few months later we are invaded and the rest is a history!!

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Update: October 4, 1998
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