Gary’s Blog: Getting the truck plates, Chinese merchants and more…

Official DIJ Office where we got the truck inspected

Official DIJ Office (local version of FBI) where we got the truck inspected

David and his mom in family owned Francisco's Market in Rio Sereno

David and his mom in family-owned Francisco’s Market in Rio Sereno

March 7, 2015

From: Gary


Got home last night before dark. Had left the morning before in stage two of getting Panama plates on the truck, We drove to Bugaba and found the Municipality, and were told we needed a vehicle inspection by a mechanic’s shop and an inspection by DIJ which is like the local version of the FBI…   So I asked for a certified inspection shop and was given the name and directions to one in Bugaba called Coosetrab, which is directly behind the Super 99 market.   There the guy told us that the DIJ would keep the truck for two weeks…   Tami and I both thought the guy was lying..  He called a friend to help us, who took us to an insurance agent, who quoted us an insane price. We objected.. He took us back to the truck, and said he would get a cheaper policy, and try to “rig” things to avoid the two week vehicle impoundment. He came back with the policy, which was affordable, then got a call on his phone, from a bigger client, said he would return shortly, and left. We waited hours, and he didn’t show up, and we ended up spending the night sleeping with the dogs in the back of the truck.  In the morning, we drove to David and connected with the lawyer, to ask if the DIJ did a two week impoundment or if it was a bullshit story for a scam attempt..  It was bullshit.  So we drove the truck to DIJ and after a couple hours got the inspection, and were off…  It will take a week for the DIJ papers to be finished, and then we can go back on the bus, and do the loop of bureaucracy, three more visits to offices to get our plates, not counting probably a final pick up visit if they don’t have the right farm truck plates etc.  The guy that had been called to “help” us and had driven us all over to get insurance for the truck and was surely expecting a nice payment for “helping” us avoid the impounding of the truck, didn’t get a dime, since we took off for David before he arrived at the shop the next morning.  I feel good about that.  We had seen another Gringo and his wife pull up in a vehicle.  I think they looked like richer Gringo’s than us and may have been the reason that the guy left us waiting the rest of the afternoon.

Anyway, what takes one trip to DMV in Oregon, looks to be at least seven visits to various offices, and you get sent into a scam attempt in the process…The mechanical inspection consisted of taking two photos of the truck and filling out a form on computer.  The guy never checked out anything mechanical.. 

So, another couple days of our lives wasted, so some bureaucracy can pig off the fat of the land, i.e. the working class..  I watched truckers going thru the same fleece job, wasting their time and money for toilet paper form work etc. and I watched the scam attempt thinking how in most of the world bureaucracy just sets up the pins for corruption.

Bullshit wants a shortcut.

And I contemplated the over-burden of such stuff on the planet, bloated administrations, sitting at a near infinite number of keyboards, typing out beyond infinite numbers of regulations and forms, all of which just adds burden to the common man who keeps the whole system running and pays thru the nose for the benefits of worthless drones, who can’t feed themselves or fix anything, or build so much as an outhouse.

It should be interesting to see what happens as things worsen.  I and others, think it will crash to the point that those who are self sufficient will survive, and those who depend on money will die…

It’s an old pattern, peasants and nobility, and eventually the peasants get smart, and quit producing excess food.  And they hide their sons and daughters in tunnels, with their food, so that the Army can’t take them.  Sons for cannon fodder, daughters for prostitutes, and the food to fatten the nobility and feed the army that enforces the status quo.

This is why they knew to dig tunnels in Vietnam.  They had been playing the resistance game for thousands of years..

The more things change, the more they stay the same..

Just the names change. Nobility becomes bureaucracy, Cannon Fodder becomes “our Troops”, and prostitutes become “office workers, trying to catch a rich drone.”

Food?  Food stays food, but now its mostly chemical, corporate, and the slaves line up with carts to get it, in a system they empower themselves…  Pretty humorous really, we have the slaves enslaving the slaves,  and the stupid idiots think its all something special. They have been fed a line of bull from birth, and wouldn’t know freedom from a flying saucer…

Gotta get those kids into the right schools, so they can become the head rainbow cotton pickers…  

Well, I tend to disagree, and think that kids ought to be taught how to be self sufficient, and how to produce their own food, make and repair whatever they need, and to know true freedom from empty words, like “freedom and democracy”.

Who has ever analyzed democracy for results?  Basically it’s a way, by a series of steps, where by the slaves have the elite control them and their lives and even their children’s programming…  Democracy is not freedom. It’s just a stealth form of dictatorship fueled by money interests. Freedom by definition, could be stated as the lack of government, but we call that “Anarchy” instead, and make it a bad word..

So, wave your flag, brandish your rifle, and charge at the other poor fools too stupid to figure it all out, on the other side of the field..

Great sport for the nobility, peasants slaughtering each other for false concepts, and in defense of systems that use them up one way or another..

Enlightenment is realizing what fools we all are…

Freedom is what you do about it…

Anyway, found out the lawyer speaks five European languages, had just got back from Spain, with his wife. Married for thirty some years, high school sweethearts…  We found him through her, and we were astounded at her efficiency and speed.  Doing a ream of useless but required documentation for us for the customs process.. It’s not the people who are bad, it is a system that is made up of accretions stuck onto something older and unworkable..  We humans need to start over fresh, throw out the bathwater, keep what is good, replace what is not, with creative use of personal responsibility..

So, learned my way around the Latin system a bit more, and the city of Bugaba, and the city of David, Panama.  We did meet some good people, a guy that does a generalist industrial repair shop in Bugaba, and next door a young woman working in an automotive lube shop with her dad.  She had grease up to her elbows, but you could see by the way she moved that she was competent in her work on cars and trucks, Very nice lady, (who loved the dogs), and we also got to meet a Sergeant at DIJ who was a really good guy,  And we got another visit with our lawyer friend, checking facts, to prevent from being scammed.

Whistler ran good, but I had changed the oil, and the multi viscosity stuff seemed a bit thin and the oil pressure ran lower.  I see on the M-35’s that you want to run thicker oil in the tropics rather than thinner. Makes logic, I don’t think the multi viscosity stuff will hurt the motor, but I may look for something to thicken it up some.

Anyway, another adventure, on the streets in a foreign land. Speaking a language not my own originally..  But even the 5 language lawyer complemented my Spanish, Part of my 20 year Central American studies degree…

We stopped at a couple nursery outlets near and in Volcan on the way home, Tami got a dozen plants, mostly herbs, some stuff I had never seen here…. for her herb garden kick start.  We also bought about 300 feet of half inch plastic pipe, for waterline from the spring.  Which we will work on after we finish the garden, and get water up to as close to the Tin Shack as gravity will allow us.  I am going to set up the laser level on the porch, and see where the line comes to on the far hillside, at dusk or dawn, which should give a rough idea, as I know about where the year round water is on the far side at the spring..

If need be we can pump it some with solar power, and fill our own barrel. We checked on water tank prices, and they were about a dollar a gallon, so I decided to get by on our 55 gallon plastic drum..

We also drove into Rio Sereno, and got half inch steel rod for electric fence posts for the dogs. We got 25 each, 20 ft sections, so will end up with a hundred 5 foot posts..  Should be a shock to the dogs when they get turned loose inside of it..  it’s been over a year on the chain for them.. 

We talked to our friend David at the store.  He is Chinese but born in Panama, and also lived in Canada for four years, speaks good English, as does his brother Francisco. They are young guys,  but have also lived in China. So they speak three languages, and the boys work up to 16 hours a day with their folks in the store. Good kids, no time for online surfing, or playing games.  No decadent kids these guys, just very competent young business guys, learning the ropes of retail from their parents.

Anyway, several people took photos of Whistler on our town trip, and we had two older guys want to talk to us about it in Volcan. They had both driven M-35’s during the Noriega years. They were happy to see her, like an old friend..  and I was happy to drive the mountain roads home. Some world class M-35 driving, shifting gears and hauling on the steering wheel, and applying brakes, on roads that would be a lot of fun on a touring motorcycle.

Came around one corner, to come upon a low boy with a cat. We squeezed by each other and beep-beep and grins, and both went on our way..   It’s what I like about Central America; you never know what’s around the next corner.  You live by your wits and skills, and you have to do most everything yourself in a less than cushy ambient. Personally I like the challenges, driving a Deuce and a half thru a third world city. Stopping to ask directions in Spanish that surprises local guys, or driving Whistler on mountain roads that would cause most truckers to fill their pants…  But it is a beautiful spot, and life does have meaning here…

The good part, about living with difficulty, is you do have to develop the wits and skills.

I can haul on Whistler’s steering wheel now without getting too tired or sore. I can work around a scam attempt with my brain, and I can make friends on the streets with people I like.  They used to joke when I worked at Lane County, that if you had no initiative and no imagination, you were a perfect public employee…   Well, I had both. So I didn’t fit in.  Did fine with the guys, but management felt threatened.  An old pattern in my life; inadvertent threat reactions from insecure people.  It’s what happens if you have been around a lot, or developed a generalist’s learning habits. In a world so compartmentalized that its citizens are virtual know-nothings out side of their educated fields. They are like people looking at the world through a knot hole…  Best one climb through the knot hole, into the big world. 

It gets fun after awhile. You can bite the world back instead of just letting it bite you.

Anyway, we were out in the garden this morning carving terrace number four. Two mornings left on that one!  Tami is getting the terracing down, pretty effective with her hoes, and I was thinking that a couple years from now she will be teaching her friends how to build mountain gardens.  I got kind of a vision looking at our terraces this morning, realized the garden was going to end up looking like some of the photos by Jane English in the 70’s coffee table classic translation of the Tao by Gia-Fu Feng.

Something timeless is being done here by us.  Something the world can have when we can only be remembered. Strange thoughts. That my own version of Tolkien’s “Leaf by Niggle” is happening here.  That we are pulling all the pieces together to create something much more important than we are.  Eventually a new way to grow food in Central America. Something that will become culture, with its origins lost in time. A synthesis of agricultural techniques, that create beauty as well as healthy food and minds.

A generalist borrows from everywhere and creates a mosaic that’s new with it. In nature, specialization always leads to extinction, and generalization is the way forward. Specialists are not good adapters to change and change is the universal constant.  I wonder if the Lemmings have worn ruts to the cliffs?  Would be fun to check on that.

If they are anything like humans, I would bet the ruts are there, worn deep by little rat race feet, scurrying toward destiny.