My First Police Checkpoint…


I know, all you seasoned expats will roll your eyes at this post but I know my friends will think its funny. Today , I experienced my very first police road block. I know it’s shocking to think that I never experienced one in Los Altos, but it’s true! And to top it off, I was all alone! I was on my way to pick up Scott from School and down at the bottom of the hill, there they were, in all their glory causing a huge cluster !#?*! They were pulling over both sides of the intersections so what a mess and my little heart began to beat so fast! Yikes!! You see, here in Panama the police find it necessary to occasionally and seemingly randomly, set up these temporary road blocks and pull everyone over to check their documents. I’m not sure why this requires about eight officers all decked out with big scary looking guns! I’m also not exactly sure (Im certain someone will set me straight on this) of exactly what they are looking for and what would happen if you failed to provide all the required documents. I assume this is their way of making sure all the drivers on the road have a drivers license and insurance and that registration is current. And us gringos who don’t yet have a Cedula or a residency visa or a Panamanian drivers license , must be sure to have a copy of our passports, and I think a color copy is the requirement . It’s unclear to me if they would ever want to see my drivers license from CA but I have it on me just in case. I’m pretty sure its necessary to also have a copy of your car insurance policy on hand . This Newbie Gringo was prepared for this unavoidable experience, I was just not quite prepared to be alone for my first time. Of course I was prepared with a sparkly new, “color” copy, of my passport (laminated and everything!) conveniently stashed in my glove box ready to present to Senior Policia!! You’ll be relieved, I’m sure, to know that it went very smoothly! As a matter of fact, I think I have a new policia friend! HA!HA! The officer only wanted to see my passport and when he saw that I was from The U.S. he said,”Ahhh America? New York! Yankee Stadium??” I of course said, ” NOOOO, San Francisco!! GIANTS!” LOL! He thought that was funny, and off I went , right on down the road! So, No problema! Who knows if it will go so smoothly next time but, hey , I’m a pro now! The Adventure continues!

About hollycarter184

Life is Good! But it's time for a change, and more adventure! I'd like to share the whole experience of preparing then actually making a reality of expatriating, and moving to a new country. It's an exciting, and slightly scary move full of possibility . I'm looking forward to learning a new language and making new connections with the people who share our spirit of adventure. This blog is my way of continuing my connection with my friends and family in the States. Sooooo here it goes! :)

6 responses »

  1. This seems to happy fairly often. Usually they just wave us through. Occasionally they want to see passports. Only once did they ask for Joel’s license, and never for insurance papers. I’m not sure why they do that either, if they are looking for someone, or just need something to do for the day, or what. No fumar espanol LOLOL Good one. I’ll have to remember that one 😀

  2. I was informed by a local that the police do not always have enough to keep them fully occupied every day and so they regularly set up road checkpoints. It is a simple formality as long as you have your documents. Not good if you don’t. (No fumar español – excellent!) – Mike

  3. On our trip to Pedasi, we were stopped at a checkpoint. They did check Ray’s passport and Dr Lic. Ray had prepared himself over and over again, and it finally happened. The first one to get through is the toughest! Then, it’s all easy breezy haha

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s