40° Good Afternoon
40° Good Afternoon

Thoughts and traffic patterns from Panama

Former Yankees pitcher and Panamanian Mariano Rivera waves

Former Yankees pitcher and Panamanian Mariano Rivera waves during a photo session with the team at the Panama Canal's Miraflores Locks in Panama City on March 14, 2014. Credit: Getty Images / Rodrigo Arangua

PANAMA CITY -- The people here are terrific, as are the sights, scenery and seafood. The Panama Canal is worth the visit alone, as is a trip to old Panama City.

Yankees team president Randy Levine captured it as well as anyone.

“I have to tell you, I’ve never been here and I am completely blown away how magnificent this city is and this country and how wonderful the people are,” Levine said Saturday. “This is really a very, very special place.”

All true.

Just stay off the roads.

The traffic?

Envision the Cross Bronx Expressway with a lane closed due to an accident. At rush hour. During heavy snow.

Rod Carew Stadium is about 5.6 miles from the hotel most media members are staying in. A trip via taxi Friday afternoon from there to the stadium took 40 minutes. The return trip took an hour-twenty.

There were no accidents and certainly no snow.

For tonight's game, a Saturday, the estimated time for those leaving after 3 p.m. was 60-90 minutes.

The taxi drivers themselves are cautiously aggressive, mostly the latter, which you learn is a necessity in the constant road clog. Passivity doesn’t pay as stop signs are optional as, it seems, are many traffic lights. The rare moment a half-car-length gap opens, if your car doesn’t go for it, one or two others will.

This is for certain: I won’t be complaining about New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or Houston traffic ever again.

Or, at least in the near future.


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