Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Transitory Hangovers - Butt a Cultural Tidbit



     It is not solely my butt that hangs over the edge of the seats on Panamanian buses, but nearly everyone's.  I usually try to grab a window seat, but I was late getting to the station for my trip to la Cuidad, and all that was left was an aisle perch.  My seatmate - a gentleman unknown to me - sat like nearly all Panamanian men with his legs splayed wide open, taking up what I considered far more than his share of real estate and leaving me to hang my left cheek over the seat and into the aisle.  Of course, I said nothing and just toughed it out for an hour until he shifted his position a bit.  Then believe me, I shifted too.

     I had noticed as I struggled past seated bodies to my chair, how little space there was in the aisle.  When I actually looked, I realized it was filled with unsupported butt cheeks!

     The bus was one of those large mini-vans.  I believe it may have been made in China, because most everything in Panama seems to be these days.  Besides, none of the passengers over the age of 10 seemed correctly sized.  For the seats, I mean.

     The bus seats in these vans are set two and two, with a half-seat width open between them to provide an aisle.  I expect that four Chinese adults would probably fit nicely in a row.  However, the majority of Panamanian men in my part of the country are built like the bulls they raise.  Said men, judging from what one of my gringa lady friends observed about the plastic ladies displaying clothing for sale in stores, are fond of "bubble-butts" on their sweeties.  So the distaff side of the passengers are frequently hefty also.  This leads to a serious bus-wide shortage of real estate for the behind, and makes traversing the aisle to a rear seat a serious exercise in pushing through obstacles. The aisle is wide enough for slender 10-year-olds to traverse without struggle. 

     And the moral of the story – should you need one – is, if you plan to carry anything you must keep with you (luggage, packages, a backpack) onto one of these buses, wait and take one of the bigger buses later.  . 

    This hot tip brought to you at no charge.  :)