Tag Archives: Panama

Keep calm and conform

In case you missed my last blog post (BAD READER! VERY BAD READER!!), I recently returned from a nine-day excursion in Panama (the country, not the booze and boob mecca in Florida).

Which means I came back with a plethora of new material to write about, in addition to peeling skin and some rather unladylike gastrointestinal fallout (Heh, see what I did there? I’m such a naughty, little imp).

Anyhoo, if you just can’t get enough of stories of stupid Americans giving ourselves even worst reputations abroad, then check out my latest post for Boston’s Weekly Dig right here.

And if you have gotten enough of those kinds of stories, check back here in a week or so, when I should have finally exhausted my supply of amusing travel anecdotes (although, FAIR WARNING, you will be missing out on some great literature addressing society’s most pressing issues, like is it OK to pee in the ocean if it is not your country’s ocean and how much sand is too much sand to have in your swimsuit bottoms if you’re out in public?).

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Bienvenidos, mujer estupida!

Hola, mis amigos. Me llamo Abrill. Yo just returned-o de vacaciones en Panama. Y ahora yo hablo espanol muy bien!

Si! In just one week, this Americano has mastered some of the finer points of this magnifico language. In fact, I became so bien at espanol, mis amigos nuevos from Panama even gave me a nickname! “Mujer Estupida.” Muy bonita, no?

Por ejemplo, I learned mucho useful phrases, such as:

Mas cervesas, por favor!

Mas rum y Coca-Cola Light, por favor!

Mas of that pink drink with the umbrella-thingy, por favor!

I even learned to roll my R’s when purchasing a pack of Marrrrrlborrrrrro Lights, so as to not sound like just another ignorant tourist.

Impressive-o, no?

I also learned mucho cultural things such as:

You must specifically ask if the dish you just ordered still has its eyeballs attached to it. Because apparently it is frowned upon to cry “No ojos! NO OJOS!” while running to the far corner of the restaurante.

If you go up to a vendor at any street market with a $20 bill in your hand and ask how much something is, it will magically cost $20. Every time. Even if the little price sticker on it is clearly marked with $3.

Cheeseburgers are not a universal food.

Si, these past nine days have been wonderfully informative, even in light of the fact I…hmm…como se dice “turned a horrifying shade of deep purple thanks to my pasty white girl skin” en espanol?

Ah, it doesn’t matter. Let’s just say the equator sun is not something an SPF 30 is equipped to take on.

But all in all, it was a muy experiencia maravilloso. In fact, it has made me muy excited to do even mas international travel. Especially since I so obviously am such a bien representative of my country.

See, Americans abroad tend to have a bad reputation for being culturally insensitive and ignorant and stupid, but I like to think I did my part this past week to help repair that reputation, at least a little bit. And I think we can all try to do a bit more to learn about the world outside our borders.

Which is why I fully intend to take the advice of the waiter I met, who told me “La proxima vez, Mujer Estupida (he even knew my nickname!), ir a Mexico y que su problema,” which thanks to my new awesome Spanish skills, I know means “Next time, go to Mexico because they will love your amazing international savvy.”

Bikini Overkill

It’s almost summer, people. And I think we all know what that means.

Sneaking out the back window every time you leave the house in order to avoid your neighbors, who are none-too-happy with the knee-high grass that you’re too lazy to mow.

But summer also means family vacation time. And just like millions of other Americans, yours truly is planning on braving overzealous TSA feeler-uppers, overcrowded airplanes where they ration our Diet Coke like you’ve landed in the middle of the desert and it’s the last drop of water in the canteen, and lost luggage you’ll get back sometime in 2014 for a week of “relaxation.”

Yes, I am heading to the gorgeous country of Panama with my family this June.

Now, for about half of the population, going on a tropical vacation brings up feelings of excitement and anticipation and elaborate fantasies of drinking beer at any and all hours of the day with absolutely no judgment.

The other half is women.

See, for women, summer vacation means hot weather and water. Hot weather and water means swimsuits and various other skimpy outfits will be required. And swimsuits and skimpy outfits means people will actually see the neglected, pale and jiggly body you’ve been pretending didn’t exist since October.

And this realization causes us women no shortage of panic attacks and lucid dreams where children run screaming from the beach at the mere sight of our gelatinous form rising out of the ocean.

Luckily, however, I have come up with a great solution to this never-ending yearly cycle of body shame. Since summer sneaks up on us every year and we as a population are world-class procrastinators, I propose that there needs to be an extra month inbetween May and June that women can use to drop those extra five (and/or 30) pounds before summer officially starts.

Sure, it sounds crazy. But just think about it. There is never enough time to lose weight before summer. We may start to think about it in March, but hey, we’re busy and all that leftover Valentine’s Day candy isn’t going to eat itself. By April, we know we really should start exercising and eating healthier, but hey, all that leftover Easter candy isn’t going to eat itself. And by May, well, the first half of the month we can’t even remember thanks to Cinco de Mayo and suddenly BOOM.

It’s summer.

So, this new month will be called Desperatember and these new 31 days will be dedicated solely to getting us back in shape. There will be no holidays during this new month, since holidays almost always lead to eating your own weight in ham. Work will be kept to a minimum, since stress leads to inhaling a Snickers bar through your tears while hiding in a bathroom stall. And all fitness centers will be free for anyone who doesn’t look like they belong in a fitness center commercial.

Now, you may be thinking “But Aprill, if we have an extra month, won’t that just mess up the calendar? And wouldn’t Desperatember still just essentially be June?”

To that, I say “Well, aren’t you just a Mr. Clever Pants” in an extremely snarky voice. Followed by “Shut up. I hate you.”

Because if we can make Pluto a planet and then cruelly rip that distinction back away from it, if we can claim a tomato is a fruit when it so obviously belongs in the “tastes icky by itself” vegetable category, and if we collectively have resisted the urge to assassinate Kim Kardashian thus far, then we as a society can create a new month.

So let’s make this happen, people. Because with the help of Desperatember, women will no longer have to hang out on the beach clinging to their towel, oversized 80’s T-shirt or old Halloween ghost costume like it’s the last lifeboat on the Titanic.

And maybe even…GASP…start to enjoy ourselves on vacation.