Sounds of Panama . . .


There were some very distinct sounds in the Zone -- some are heard elsewhere, some are not.


The whistle on the SS Ancon ... the special clackety-clack of our train -- specially back with the wicker covered seats and double specially of 299 when you'd get cinders in your eyes ... how about going over Miraflores bridge ... the fire signal in Panama City ... flocks of parakeets ... fireworks off Sosa Hill ... noon siren on top of the police station ... BHS band at the games ... cicadas ... the "Blasting" warning at the quarry on Sosa Hill... everyone in our neighborhood had a special whistle to call the kids home for dinner or whatever ... kids yelling "olly olly oxen free" ... the cannon at Ft Amador saluting the flag ... the cannons of Quarry Hts. with their salutes ... the big brass bell in the police station when the cells were opened --- hmm, I can still hear that over at my Bro-in-laws, so can you if you stop by ... the MP at the gate at Curundu Hgts entry gate, brusquely saying "HALT" ...  Kids whistling for each other to come out ... the distinct yells, whistles, horns, from parents ... the driver of the newspaper delivery truck yelling Panama American ... the sounds of the bundles of newspapers pounding on the cement ... sound of playing cards ruining the spokes of our bikes ... the lousy metal skates scatching the sidewalk as we "whizzed" along....the Army laundry when it started up in the morning ... the silence on week-ends ... Mrs. Lagassie yelling at Olga and I as we left the house to go swimming, "Cuidado los tiborones!" ... the Howlers on Coronado while fishing ... the floor creaking at the Tivoli as we danced to Lucho ... the grasscutters early in the morning ... the scissors grinder, oh to hear that again ... the blue-headed parrots flying two by two, squawking to each other at dusk each evening in Margarita ... the unholy clamor that the parakeets made up by the Clubhouse ... the chacalacas in the forest across from our house at the end of Coco Bolo St. protesting when they knew a storm was coming... the cicadas in the forest, like a buzzsaw that wouldn't quit... the toots from the tugs in Cristobal or Pier 16 and the answering low big toot from a ship, heard thru open windows in the '50's on 3rd St. in Margarita ... the cuckoo, which can drive one cuckoo, in dry season... the yellow-backed (or yellow-tailed?) oriole warbling a wobbly version of "Dooowwwntowwwn"  ... the Great Kiskadee screaming kisda-dee, KISKA-DEE ... the rush of an approaching downpour, and then the tin roof of the patio drumming like a giant's tympanum ... the hum of the air-conditioners, which nicely drowned out all the other noises ... frogs croaking all night long ..gecko chirps ...In the 50's --  the sound of the Civil Defense Warning Signals ... sloth moans ... bells at the Margarita Union Church on Saturday evenings ... the band playing as the Cristobal or Ancon left port ... the DDT wagon going down the street ... Salvase quien puede! Johnny B on Radio HOG at 11:59 ... Sunday morning lottery ... Mangos, coconuts and avocados  hitting the ground ... planes landing at Albrook field ... the train going across the bridge at Gamboa ... the whistle of the Guardia at 5PM by 16th St in Colon ... the 82nd Airborne flying over BHS ..."Plunk" as the fishhook and lead hit the water in the Chagres ... "Tsss"  as the steam rises off the road after a heavy noonday rain ... Dammit!  as you realize the distributor cap got wet after driving through the flooded streets ... Clack-clack-clack-clack as the drill team marched up and down the football field at half-time ... the roar of the crowd as we marched off the field ... "Aaaa-wa-cate  wa-cate  wa-cate" of the vegetable man pushing his cart down the street ... the bell at Balboa Elementary School ... "Fix sewing machine!!  Fix sewing machine!!" as the repair man pedaled through the neighborhood ... Sounds of the Bombero drum and bugle band drifting over from Panama City towards Balboa as they played ... the gong on the Panama Line ships calling us to dinner--beautiful sound!  ... the planes flying ever so slightly above BHS as they landed at Albrook ... When the electricity went out -- especially during the night -- you could hear the sound of silence when all the A/C units quit buzzing ... the Coke man or the Pepsi man coming through the neighborhood yelling, "Coke!" or "Pepsi!" ... all the kids  running after the coke man, yelling, "I want a Fanta yo-yo, I want a Fanta yo-yo!" ... the patriotic singing of all the different countries at Spanish Mass on Sunday --  You could here it outside the church, "...reigne (sp) Jesus por siempre, reigne su corozon, en nuestro patria, en nuestro suelo (sp) la la la (sorry forgot the words) Maria la Nacion'..." ,,,  the waves gently lapping up against the side of the dock on a sunny day ... the sound of the jacks swimming on their predatory path around Gatun Lake at exactly 5:00 p.m. sharp (I never could figure out how they knew what time it was!) ... the sound of the Panamanian school kids in Colon, marching to school every morning -- with their shuffle step and a single snare drum keeping the rhythm going ... the gun to start swimming or track races ,,,  the train whistle blowing at street crossings ... the sounds of PingDing music coming from a cantina on Saturday nights ... Sunday morning church bells, the sound of army deuce and a half's coming down the road at night ... ham operators' call signals coming over your radio in the 50's ... the crunch of chewing crushed ice on a hot day at the swimming pool in Gatun ... children laughing as they played outside ... the sounds of ground level coming up to greet you as you drifted down under a parachute ... the National anthem playing before football and baseball games ... the sounds of the band from collegio Abel Bravo drifting across the bay from Colon to Coco Solo ... taps being played over the loud speakers on Ft. Davis ... the boom of the cannon sounding Retreat at 5:00pm on all posts ... the solid whack of a golf club hitting a ball and the curse that followed when it went in one of the cement ditches at Ft. Davis Golf Club or into the jungle ... the buzz of model airplanes on Saturday afternoons ... the sound of speedboat races at Cristobal Yacht Club or Pedro Miguel Boat Club ... BRRINGGG Popcorn!   Peanuts! -- Ivan the popcorn man ... the sound of the Pacific Ocean slapping against the sea wall, late at night while laying in bed -- and the smell of it ... "tro me quata, missy" from the harbour of Port a Prince ...   the whistle at the pool accompanied by "no running!!!!" ...  "Dale, stop teasing Barbara"  (from numerous sources) ... "One Two Three, Ring a Livio" ... the sound of a U-2 approaching Balboa High at least 3 minutes before it appeared above the trees and the sound of 3200 students sighing in relief as it just barely missed the school roof or the unison 3200 "Oh S***'s" as a roof tile was knocked off by the landing gear ... the wooshing sound the flame throwers made at the flame thrower practice range on the road near Ft. Clayton Stables ... Psssssssst ... Yacht Club waitress and her "smashed potatoes" ... Stateside radio stations we could sometimes pick up ... "Big Foot" yelling "Noriega" ... Don gimme none o dat rass --- mind I cuff you! ... the rustling of the dry palm fronds at the beginning of dry season ... early on Christmas morning, of all the Panamanian kids skating on their new roller skates (metal wheels) on the big concrete area of the bus station just outside the Zone ... those weird "oropendulas" birds up in their swinging nests in certain trees that they loved (like at the Marine PX at Rodman) making that gurgling sound ... the sound of machine gun fire ... gun shots ... molotov cocktails finding a mark ... sirens, being warned on the radio and tv of the above ... the whoop whoop whoop of helicopters ... sound of rocks being banged together at night out in the jungle during one of those famous Snipe Hunts we used to take the girls on ... the minibikes in the Valley ...  the pan-flute when the guy came by to sharpen you knifes or scissors ... bicycles pulling christmas trees down the road ... the crackling of a christmas tree bonfire ... birds in the tree at Balboa shoe-store ... fire alarm at BHS ... sound of all the school buses starting their engines at 2:30 pm ... Mr. Wilde (attendance counselor) saying, "Come in and have a seat young man. Who wrotevthis note? (yikes! ) ... music and sound of roller skates at the rink ... band playing at the spinning club, or the pub ... sound of the last car coming down that lonely road at 3:00 am while hitch-hiking (and praying it will stop) ... the fire engines coming to put out the fire that "somebody" started! ... the surf crashing on the shore at the beach at 4:00 am while trying to sleep in a hammock! ... the bats dropping their seeds on the tin roof at night ... the tin roofs contracting at night ...  the "Pepsi Cola" trucks coming through the neighborhood ... The sound of iguanas running through dry season grass ... Lucho and his Conjunto playing at the Sky Room in Cristobal and entertaining everone in the area ... the super-large bolts of lighhtening followed by an almost instantaneous thunder clap which would almost deafen you ... the yelps and screams of the barefoot kids who found the sticker plants ... the wonderful "pop" and gush of tart juice as you bite into the first ginnup of the season ... the Victory Bell of CHS ... the swishing sound going down the slide in a rainstorm ... and the splash and slide on to the playground ... the sound only cardboard can make flying down a dry-grass hill ... the harbors on either side with the pilots and their whistles and the boats and ships with their whistles and horns...the "bonking" of the toucans in the tree outside your window...the "chattering" as a flock of green parakeets fly by...
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Contributed by:  Jim EP, Anne Kaska, Wayne Worthington, Lesley, Linnea, Beth, Eric, Lena, Mannin, Kathy E., Bob Askew, Kathy Villarreal Huebner, Vicki Villarreal Lenio, Skeeter, Panamania, Liz, Barbara Hanna, Tom Sailor, Kerry, Emily, Don Boland, Marge B, Joe DuVall, Bob Karrer, Dino, Deanna Malo, Rob Carey, Jackie (Gregory) Abels, mnpanama, Tom Strider ,,,  


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Presented by CZBrats
March 30, 2005

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