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Taken from The Gorgon, June, 2003

Panama Hat Tease

After traveling through the Panama Canal, we tied upon the Pacific side and liberty was granted in sections. A number of us Radio-types, fresh from Brooklyn, and fully sophisticated about the pitfalls of port cities, made a liberty together. A short cab ride took in all the sights of interest we knew about and we then went for a stroll "downtown". Mealtime approached and we looked for a place to get lunch. One spot in particular caught our eye, advertising "arroz con pollo" and obviously very popular- if the in and out traffic was an indication.

We entered, sat down at a table and ordered our lunch. The chicken and rice was tasty, but we were puzzled by the flow of traffic through the swinging doors, front and back! Slowly our lights went on- so we paid our bill and exited, notwithstanding the earnest pleas of several ladies who indicated that our exit was bad form.

On leaving, we were accosted by an unusually aggressive woman who made a few stunning suggestions to us. Remembering the health lectures aboard ship, we declined. Angered, she appropriated my hat and told me how I could get it back. Since "hat recovery" was not covered in the lectures. we made haste to other venues. We found that there was more to Panama than what we had seen- apparently many people lived normal lives there - we didn't see them.

When we returned to the ship, there was some minor criticism about my being out of uniform- but an explanation eased the tension. For several days thereafter we wondered whether you could "catch anything" from the knives and forks! (Or the hat) However, Korenkowicz (sp?) the HA2C, was quite reassuring.

For reasons known only to Freud, my memory of passage through the Panama Canal is not nearly so sharp as that of our lunch. I am certain however, that the Canal was at least as impressive as our lunch adventure .

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