Archive for October, 2014

Ten Years Wedding Anniversary And Five Behind Bars: How Prison Experience Has Helped Strengthen My Marriage Bond!Β 

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on October 13, 2014 by doingtimeabroad

Thriving under pressure is all about locking into an incredible, intense focus. You have to be in control all the time, even when everything around you is chaotic.

On the 9th of October, I will be married for ten good, but experience-filled years. And out of those ten years, five has been behind the high concrete walls of Panama’s notorious prison; La Joya.

Ten years and five away from my family, has been heartbreaking, but also gave me enough time to think, reflect and sort out my life and also helped healed and restored great hopes on marriage institution. These years, despite being the lowest moments in my life so far, has made me stronger and also bring out the strength of my wife as she stood and still standing tall and strong through the face of all life’s difficulties.

In the beginning, it was all confusion, but with time, we learned to thrive under the pressure of separation and the fact that I will be away for a long time.

It’s a journey with a destination, which is always unknown at the beginning, but with time, and determination one will decide which destination his journey will lead him to.

For some, it’s a vicious circle which can’t be broken, for others the journey takes them out and for good, they remain out!

For me; a journey, bumpy one, one hell of a rollercoaster and one with lessons learned every day and one that I’ve taken over the sails to determine my destination.

Fri, 3 Oct 2014

Another weekend, time to up our alert level as this is the only option at the moment and also time for cops to make surprise visits to inmates. They did that to the lads in Colon prison, and the head of Panama’s police promised cleaning up all Panama’s prison; wished he will start the cleansing from his own office as the root of corruption is not down the ladder of hierarchy but up and high on the apex of power and authority.

Slept late or early this morning, struggled to sleep as I was in pains from my right shoulder; eventually the pain succumbed to nature’s great call. But had to wake up two hours later to use the loo, surprised, the lad cleaning today has woken up and did his cleaning. Back to bed, struggled again to sleep, gradually the rest of the cell are waking up to whatever the day has for them as I doubt if they have anything for the day πŸ˜‰

Kept changing position to suit the pain on my aching shoulder. Finally got some few minutes of nap before my training mate started dropping in one after the other. Initially, had thought of taking the day off and have a longer weekend, but after three of my training mates called by, decided to ditch my bunk and sleep for some dose of endorphins in the gym πŸ˜‰

Quickly set to cook a pot of oatmeal, the slender lad whose missus has eloped with another or as our gayly mate put it “one whom another is tapping her ass” bought a tetrapak of milk, added cinnamon for a spike, for mine added peanut butter for some extra protein and good fat boost. Had few spoons and took some sips from my cup of green tea and fresh ginger. That was it, dressed up and out for another round of cruelly, excruciatingly body-pounding workouts with my mates.

Through the week, we have done all body parts, and added legs and abs. Thus, decided to hit chest but starting with inclined and declined, went heavy and my ached shoulders seems to know that I need my workout, gave way!

Since I rarely do squats because of my lower back pain, I added lunges, goblet squats, dumbbells squats and body-weight squats to my legs routine. We went for high reps, but also did some good weights. Well worth our coming out. Rounded with more abdominal and stretching.

Thank goodness, the catholic priest didn’t show up as it would jeopardise my routines and training. We finished as others were still coming in to get started.

Inside, the lads were busy with their lives, enough water for me; but first had the rest of my oatmeal and down some more gatorade. Hit the shower and did washing; everything used in the gym except my trainers or sneakers πŸ˜‰

No special food, but rice was cooked, anyone can take his and eat with whatever he chooses or he has or can afford.

Picked the lentils on the lunch cart with some salad, had to wash the salad again as I have eaten one with maggots crawling over the chopped vegetables. The oatmeal was enough fill, kept me for a while, then downed the lentils keeping the salad for evening.

Took a long nap after trying to do some reading, couldn’t fight nature, had to give in.

For dinner came cooked tasteless pieces of chicken. We fried them, some had theirs with rice or fried green plantain. Had mine with the salad from afternoon, not enough fill but enough nutrients for the day and especially after a hard day in the gym.

While the rest of the cell were busy with whatever keeps them busy, I decided to stay back and finish #LeeChildΒ #JackReacher novel #TheHardWay! Couldn’t drop it as I was near the end. Full of suspense and intriguing piece of writing. Seems to be picking his books before others πŸ˜‰

Finally out as others slipped into their bunks and hammocks, except our gayly mate who was timing us, so he can enter the loo and do some dope-snorting. Lad is living life large and complete! Carpe diem! Allowed him do his things, can’t be his watch or police him, he’s a free being like everyone of us and whatever he choose to do with his bit of freewill or freedom is his business. And whatever comes from that is also his own business, but if wraps of dopes are found during search, he should raise his hand.

Stayed outside with our shemale and his nocturnal buddies, she asked for her picx, guess I have become her choiced photographer; whenever she is dressed to kill, she comes to me and ask for pictures to be taken. Once asked her, how she will pay me, she answered me with the blowjob motion (tongue in the corner of mouth and hands moving back and forth), well, I’m not ready for that payment, but I know many who will be damn too eager to get that πŸ˜‰ things that happens under the cover of darkness. My cats do see loads! She has gotten a new phone, well, an old banger after her blackberry 8520 died off, now gone to android; got me wondering which generous client paid for her communal service with a phone.

Finally retired around 2am for much needed sleep!

Sat, 4 Oct 2014

Early despite sleeping late, partly because it’s our general cleaning day and we have enough water.

Up around 7am, checked on my downloads, seems to be doing well, but damn slow! Such moments makes one understand the ordeals of being locked up.

Waited for the lads to round up with their morning rituals. Finally get on mine, set a pot of water on the stove for my early morning tea.

A cup of my green brew and cinnamon is all need to get me fired up, maybe a cup of joe much later.

Cleared my stuffs from under the bunk, armed with my tea and phone, climbed upstairs to top of our cell, where I sat through the cleaning session. Waited for the barber to round up so he can give me a clean shave. I’m not really into cutting hair every week as most lads do, no visits or dating anyone on the inside to look pleasing or appealing to. But personal hygiene is my top priority as I do all I can to stay clean and healthy, despite the deplorable conditions in the prison. Β Doubt if anyone uses hand wash soap, but I do get my consul to buy me a tube and also alcoholic hand cleanser; both are helpful against whatever we share the pavilion with and also against dirty inmates. Had to constantly remind some of my cellmates to always wash their hands after each visit to the toilet, as it was not a norm in where they come from. It beggars belief that washing of hands after taking a stinky shit is something they find very hard to do, I see some of my mates out from the shit hole deep their hands into the breakfast bowl; another reason I don’t touch the bread after they had touched them. Either I’m first to take mine or leave it for that day.

Had a clean hair cut today, something I rarely do.

Clean hair cut, look younger than I was some minutes ago. Seems I will do some photo sessions for schat and the kids. Been a very long while I did some, most lads are always clicking and flashing; some days in the gym are turned into photo sessions instead of workout sessions, guess it’s sheer idleness and lack of zeal or purpose for what they came to do in the gym at the first place.

Wouldn’t mind getting some pictures taken, and the only place I take pictures is in the gym.

Stayed up and went to bed around midnight and woke up around 2am as some lads were drinking and singing, and they also got our gay mate to entertain them.

Sitting outside and listening to my gay-cellmate as he entertain the lads in a cell down the passage; apparently my compatriot should be the oldest in the cell, but the lad has no voice as the Colombians has taken over the cell, won’t allow that to happen in my cell, I’m the only non-colombian but my feet are always planted on the ground. Five years ain’t no kindergarten five years, it’s a hard-knock life’s experience. Period πŸ˜‰

Back to my gay-cellmate, he drifts from merriment, to lamentations, and to a very remorseful mood, he shares his life’s experiences with the lads. And, another moment, he’s busy dancing as they sing some local folklore which I believe is sang by women doing some seductive dance steps to woo their men; but now, they are singing it to my mate, who’s actually dancing according to the rhythm and lyrics of the songs.

He came out briefly to spit whatever been lodging in his teethless mouth ;-), had his T-shirt tie to a knot on one corner, seeing that, I know he’s ready for whatever game or offer will come up after getting pissed!

Did some recording as they sing, dance and celebrate being locked up.

Finally call it off by 05:56 and hit my bunk, but then, my gay-cellmate came in to take a leak, didn’t want him to talk to me; but can’t stop a man full of alcohol from saying what the alcohol wants him to say. And he did say something; cried about his misery, missing his twin, and how they had sent money for him to return home after 27 years in Panama. But, he used the money to smoke crack, which he still does here; snorting and hiding his empty wraps in every crack and nook of the cell, and they kept falling out πŸ˜‰

He actually did his last line in the toilet, and left the wrap on the floor, which was found by the lad he gave a blow job after both were drunk on last year new year’s eve πŸ˜‰

Around 7am; Finally closed my curtain and pray for sleep to take me away from the chaos of life behind bars, at least on this moment, as I’m Β way too knackered.

Sun, 5 Oct 2014

Been up all night till 05:56:57, listening and watching as life goes by and as my gay cellmate entertained his country men; dancing, sharing jokes and reminiscing over his life, which always brings tears as he cries over things he couldn’t change and beyond his control. But his compatriots were busy enjoying every moment of his folly, singing local folklore to him as he flow through different emotions; from joy to sorrow and into abject sadness.

Finally went to bed by 7am when others were taking their first coffee of the day. It’s at such moment that it always down on me that I’m banged up, have to stay late and all night to be able to get online, when everyone is asleep and network grid is free.

Glad it’s sunday, as I will be sleeping most of the day, if cops don’t pounce on us like my lazy cats when they decide to hunt rats after feasting from leftovers in the bins.

Managed to get bouts of sleep through the day, my diet is not at its best as I’m stint, have to improvised to meet up to my body demands; as I’m training regularly, I really need good nutrition, but not in a place like this. Glad I fair better than some, well those some will rather use their money for dope than on food πŸ˜‰

Spent few hours, but had to sleep as I will be doing our daily cleaning in the morning.

Mon, 6 Oct 2014

Early from bed, even before my grocer-cellmate, who wakes before everyone and take his morning shower and set his business ready for the day.

I’m cleaning today and will also do tomorrow. Set water on the stove for my early morning brew of green tea and cinnamon, as I carried on with my cleaning. Finally done and dressed up for the day’s workout. Rushed through a breakfast of mixed cold cereal; oats + cornflakes, spiked with cinnamon and peanuts. Had a few spoonful and off for gym.

Being Monday, the lads are looking forward for a chest routine, so also the rest of those who will brace the odds to be there in the gym.

We opt for chest, but started with inclined and declined and finished with the bench; barbell press, dumbbells, flyes and pullover. Β Did a proper fat-burning routine, leaving the lads panting when we were done. The boxers now train in a corner in the gym as they can’t get permit to train outside every morning as they used to; pathetic! If they had asked the cops to be allowed out, so they could go to another pavilion and kill another inmate, I’m sure they would have been clearance for that.

Back in, our water is dwindling, but the occasional rainfall has been very helpful, though not many like taking shower with it. As for me, it doesn’t make any difference, especially when I’m just in from workout, my body’s temperature is very high and bathing with the rain water is very refreshing and cooling.

Had the rest of my breakfast; cornflakes and oats, added another spoonful of peanut butter and a teaspoonful of honey. That’s should good enough for a postworkout meal.

Lunch and dinner were all improvised, pick and mix whatever came on the cart and bit of rice my mates cooked. From the part of Colombia they hail from; their food usually revolves around green plantain, yuca (cassava), yams (tubers) and fish (most live close to water). Rice, they eat but not as the aforementioned food intems. But being locked up and deprived of those foods they grew up with, they now do everything around rice; without eating rice, they can’t go on. Thus, we always set a pot of rice every day, which can be eaten with canned sardines and slice onions, with fried eggs or with soup made with eggs.

Spent few hours online, planning to change my router’s name from #FlyingDutchMan to something else and also the password; some of the lads on my network aren’t paying. Better alone or start brawls over unpaid charges.

Tue, 7 Oct 2014

Another early day as I have to clean, finished, cooked oatmeal for breakfast, and also cooked our lunch of chicken stew and white rice. Left the rice for the lads to check, but they let it got burnt when I got back from the gym, glad I took the stew off the stove before leaving, as it would have also gotten burnt. Everyone was busy with their phones and they forgot about the rice.

We don’t usually cook that early, but since I bought the chicken parts yesterday and lightly cooked it last night, had to make the stew early today. How lucky I was, as electricity went out from 10am and was restored around 8pm, even then, the current was so low, we are not allowed to cook. So many will be going to bed today without eating Β proper cooked food. I know many will defile the law and cook.

Workout was intensive, the lads are good to work with, but they seems not to be picking up or retaining anything upstairs, I’m always repeating myself and showing them how to do certain exercise, despite doing it all the time, friggin difficult teaching them. Well, probably the weed they smoke is messing with their retentive memories, doesn’t hold up, can’t retain anything; but they friggin can’t forget how to roll their joints πŸ˜‰

We had a good full arms workout, back and forth on biceps and triceps and finished with more abdominals, and body-weight stretches; lunges and squats.

Back in, still enough water, bouts of rainfall and the prison tap been running, but the most joyous thing is having cooked food ready as many are waiting for the prison food to come in. There will be a problem as the food won’t be enough for all, many are waiting…..

Had my postworkout meal/lunch and showered, washed my gym clothing. Popped some tablets of multivitamin, Gingko Biloba and vitamin C; all I have now that is close to supplements. But try to eat good and also use the different fruits, herbs, spice and roots; carrots, ginger, lemon, cilantro, fresh parsley and spring onions, to supplement on what we eat.

Hope to get some proper supplement soon, but first, gotta raise some dough; seriously πŸ˜‰

Lately, one of the mobile signals has been working so well, that my cellmates could make phone calls from the comfort of our cell, whatever is going on with the signal jammers, nobody knows. But we enjoying while it last #CarpeDiem!

But the wifi signal is hard to come by as all the routers are working at the same time and everyone is busy trying to get online. One good thing, majority of the lads here are not nocturnal like the few of us; I always wait till they are all gone to their sleep, then I’m out and surfing. That’s what I have been doing lately to get all my online businesses done; tweets are saved as draft and later sent when signal is good to go, so also my downloads, set them on to run while I sleep. Depriving myself of proper sleep is not nice at all, but always try to meet up with bouts of naps during the day. Not feeling bad though!

Being locked up comes with so many problems, surviving is one thing, but then comes other issues that shouldn’t have been any of a prisoner’s ninety nine problems; water, food, medical, sleep space, overcrowding and now electricity.

Our electricity is becoming an issue; as it rains, it also sends the pavilion into total blackout, sometimes it affects the entire prison complex, but most times, it’s only our pavilion. Annoying how the system doesn’t have contingency plan in place for such moment. Inmates and total darkness doesn’t mix; I believe those ones amongst us at war with other inmates stick to their cells and their bunks during our blackouts. They won’t venture outside their comfort zones as they don’t know what will befall them. We are lucky, it’s not like the locals; some of our mates who lived there after being thrown out from our pavilion talk bad of living with the locals; they could be of same gangs and housed together, but they still don’t trust each other, they live in fear of one another. Another lad who was thrown out of our pavilion to pavilion 8 and later thrown out of eight after he fought and now lives in pavilion 1 with the locals, tells of the ordeals he’s going through each day with the lads. Pray he survive there as he has a long way to go; the other thing with him, being high and hot tempered, I believe he will calm down as he’s living in a volcanic zone and within seconds to erupt πŸ˜‰

Took a quick nap in the early hours of the evening, woke up when others were calling it their nights. Spent hours sitting outside and enjoyed the signal as many has retired to their sleep spaces and leaving the grid for me and the nocturnal animals; the feww who dares the night and our queen of the night who doesn’t chat, she blows πŸ˜‰

Finally called it a night around 2am… Wednesday morning!

Wed, 8 Oct 2014

The lad cleaning is known for his love of noise, 6:30am, our old grocer was taking his early morning shower as he does that every day before the rest of us are awoken for the day. And this dullard knew about that, but today, he shouted ‘who’s in the shower as I want to do my cleaning’ and that woke me up. Annoying, he knew the man was in the shower before he woke up, he would have waited for the man to finish like the rest of us does, well, the lad is just sheer stupid and ignorant. His voice got me up and couldn’t get back to sleep, to add salt into injury; we were thrown into another early morning blackout. Got up and got ready for today’s workout; had planned sleeping till around 9ish, but wouldn’t happen anymore.

Boiled eggs came for breakfast with sugar-cinnamon tea. Had. Three eggs with two slices of whole wheat bread (bloody expensive), with a cup of the tea; would make a good preworkout meal. And hit the gym an hour later with a gallon of ice-cold gatorade.

Same as yesterday, all weights were taken and none of my training partners got anything; they were all friggin waiting for me to do the fighting for the weights, which I did, not after telling them, they should always hustle for weights as they always know ahead what we will be doing the next day.

We went on to have a good #HIIT #Hardcore #Back, hitting it from all angles. Finished with some #Yoga stretches and cable crunches and hanging leg raise to burn my abs. One of my training mates went awol! Lad couldn’t handle the excruciating routines any longer! He will be back tomorrow for another of shoulder routines πŸ˜‰

Done and in, no cooked food, but had the last of what I cooked yesterday; Yam, chicken stew, good for a postworkout meal. Lunch came in, took a bit of the lentils soup with shredded chicken, wasn’t bad as I added a bit of diced red chilli in; #Caliente!

Showered and took a quick nap as we all wait for today’s weekly headcount. New director, new cops and changes made to effect their newly acquired power; flexing muscles, but for how long, before they realise that, on the inside, prisoners control and rule????????

Glad they didn’t come at 2pm as they said, but around 4pm! Heard our electrical problem will finally be solved on saturday, when the electric company will be around to change the burnt transformer and also fix the breakers in the pavilion. Till then, we are told not to cook, we should be eating from the prison food; wonder how many will hang on till saturday and survive on the prison food!

The headcount went fine, none missing and all accounted for! Saw the cats, doing pretty well, some of the lads sleeping in the gym hall have adopted some of them, even named them; my compatriot who was in the food business and now out of business due to unpaid debts even named one after our compatriot that went berserk here! And the cat respond to its name….. _ _ ron?

We were thrown into another round of blackout as the dinner cart rolled by, for the first time, almost everyone seems to be going for their ration of the prison food and it’s not enough for everyone. Now we know that, even the food send to us is never enough, if everyone was to eat from them.

Though we managed to cook a pound of rice, which would have been cooked in less than thirty minutes, but we did it under four hours, what a feat ;-), pasta with some green leaves scattered in, and a sauce made with shredded meat-like things and normal half-cooked rice were what came on the dinner cart. Took the sauce!

Have heard many inmates talk of dieting; prison food should be enough to get one lose all their love handles, but not here as our food are fattening; we are fed with carbs and fats, doesn’t help with one’s health in general. Even the healthy options like beans and lentils are loaded with pork tails or pork skins and sometimes with fat-laden mincemeat and they all come salty. And there’s only two options around our food here; either you take it the way it comes or cook yours!

All along, we have been cooking as many can’t stomach the foods that comes on the prison menu πŸ˜‰

Since the electrical problem, I have been living on cold or uncooked food; cornflakes, oats, bread and peanut butter. And occasionally taking anything healthy on our food cart, well, that’s if anything healthy comes in.

Since our electrical problem started, signal has become very erratic, which is making me spend tonight outside the cell for a session of an all-night browsing.

Moreover, back in Europe, it’s the 9th of October, which is also my tenth wedding anniversary, thus, Schat and I will be chatting all night.

And the lads next door are also drinking, since some batches of proper liquor from the street came in through the loopholes in the system and after the head of cops in panama vowed to clean up the system, the lads are getting in good stuffs. My next door neighbours are doing a bender tonight. With them is an ex Ecuadorian senator who is fighting extradition to his country. If he goes back, he will be banged up for good, heard his misus is doing friggin hard time for murder; 25 hard years!

Sat up all night, chatting with Schat, upgrading most of my apps, tweeting and downloading articles for offline reading.

As the lads next door were partying, upstream along the passage, another group were busy snorting lines and lighting makeshift pipes of cracks, somebody gotta do something to help with their time behind bars and these ones chose this way.

Finally called it quit by 7am when the rest of the pavilion were getting up. And the lads next door also turn off their music as they also call it a night or a morning.

No gym for me today and I doubt if one of the lads next door will be in the gym for the next three days.

Can’t make my regular cup of tea as the electric current is way too low. Took me a pill of cardio aspirin and hit my bed, pray no impromptu call by cops for one of their surprise searches.

10th Wedding Anniversary!

Thurs, 9 Oct 2014

Went to be around 7am, thus, no workout today and knowing that my mates will come calling, hope my cellmates tell them I’m off for the day.

It’s my 10th wedding anniversary today, having been married for ten years, and spent five from those ten years behind bars doesn’t sound nice.

But then, what can a man do with fate, when shit hits the fan? Guess, live through what fate has thrown at him. And, that’s exactly what I’m doing, living, surving through this one long episode of my life. As they say “what doesn’t kill you, make you stronger”, I hope and pray that this bitter experience will bring out the best in me and make me resilent, stronger than when I first walked in here.

This one episode has strengthen my relationship with schat, that ordinary love we had for each other, has become an unconditional love keeping us together despite the circumstances and distance between us. This odd, hard five years has brought out the best in her, grown into an adorable mother and a superwoman, one, many thought will fail; but she survived the odds, going on to achieve Masters Of Science and becoming an entrepreneur, and also kept up with all the vocational activities I started for the kids before my incarceration. The toll on her could be overwhelming, but she always pull and wade through each day with everything she has and always put a smiling face at the end of the day, no matter how the day began.

She and my kids gives me strength to live through each grueling day, which has gotten many here to ask me; ‘what’s really keeping me going after five years’….. #Grace and strong willpower to survive and come out a better man.

Haven’t spent all night chatting with schat, had to sleep during the day as I’m not working out today. The lads came calling, but were sent away by my mates. I later met two of them and explained why I didn’t train today. They should understand, sometimes, rest is very important for the recovery after bouts of intensive workouts. And since we aren’t juicing, our recovery might take longer than that of those juicing. And we seems to be training harder then the juicers πŸ˜‰

Spent all day in bed, between sleep and up to use the loo as I took diuretic; not nice when you want to sleep well and undisturbed πŸ˜‰

Signal is becoming very poor during the day, but gets better late at night when everyone gone to sleep, and that’s why I’m becoming nocturnal like like my cats πŸ˜‰

A spaniard who spend more than two years sleeping on the floor of the gym/multi-purpose hall finally left on repatriation today to Spain, as I heard from others who left before him, they will do less than a year in spanish prison for rehabilitation before being released.

The Spaniards seems to be very swift with their banged up citizens, whereas #DenHaag is still playing #Lockup #Games with us. Well, hope our new process will work this time around. If not, we just have to forget about them and face our time and finish it. Each man on his own! Period!

Couldn’t get online all day as signal was terribly bad, had to retired to the comfort of my bed around 1am, but finally slept around 2am.

Fri, 10 Oct 2014

Electricity has been very low, we are not allow to cook, but many are cooking. Planned to wake up around 4am and cook ripe plantain; that was what we planned yesterday.

But exactly 4am, we were thrown into blackout again, the heat got me up and couldn’t sleep till around 6am. No cooked food either, thus, we have to wait for whatever will come for breakfast.

Boiled eggs, bread and dirty coffee (smells like coffee and shit mixed together) came, got all three and devoured them quickly and got ready for today’s workout. Should be hitting chest, and I would love to hit a bit of my shoulder as I missed that yesterday.

Finally out around 10ish, only to meet my training partners idling around, none went for weights and not even the bench. I was pissed off, told them off and went about my exercise alone. Can’t be doing everything for them. I was really angry today! And it seems I might go back to be working out alone. Much better and peace of mind; it’s always reminding them what to do and how to do them, despite training with me for a very long time now. I also take the pain to buy and scouts for fitness magazines both in English and spanish, also downloaded videos, articles and pictures and make sure they are circulated around them, yet they just can’t keep anything upstairs. Now, they are giving me more reason to go solo!

Had one of my best workout alone; inclined, declined, and straight bench press and did some good rounds of shoulders. Enough to call it a week of good shit!

Nobody is cooking, but cooked and fried food are coming in from other pavilions as they have electricity and full currents, thus, they can cook and fry things. And some of our lads are cooking with woods outside the pavilion. Earlier on, they sent in smoke into the gym hall from their cooking. Coupled with the humid and hot air, we were literally suffocating inside the gym.

Rounded up right before 1pm, and inside, had a postworkout meal of cold cereals (cornflakes, oats, peanut butter, honey and milk), lunch was the prison food and for dinner fried eggs despite the restrictions, and had it with bread. That was enough to get me sleeping.

Had an early evening nap, and woke up to an all-night of browsing and surfing as signal has been very bad in the last three days. I only get signal after midnight when nearly everyone has retired to their sleep leaving the night for the nocturnal ones. And thus, leaving their routers from working, mine and those of the few diehards work the nightshift;-)

Sat, 11 Oct 2014

Instead of waking up, I’m now going to bed around 7am, been up all night, doing what I can’t do during the day because of poor signal. Even the routers are failing as the airwaves or grid is congested with routers searching for signal that aren’t coming.

Early around 3am, my boxer-cellmate cooked rice and I later brew me a cup of real hot tea; first in three days. We were not alone in defiling our law of not cooking, many were also cooking around that time, especially those selling cooked food.

Drank my tea and watched the rice as it cooked, well cooked and ready to be eaten with whatever comes during the day, might eat mine with either peanut butter or fried eggs.

Showered and hit my bunk and slept till 11ish, woke up starving.

No cleaning today as we aren’t sure of water, without electricity, the pumps won’t run and thus, no water to do the big cleaning.

Our door was thrown open for hours outside. Saturdays and Sundays usually my free days, but couldn’t resist today’s as the weather was superb. Dressed up and went out, did some good stretching and body-weight routines and jogged couple of lapses around the lads playing football. Added inverted rows and dips to round up my impromptu saturday workout before the whistle went off and ends our time under the sun and beautiful weather.

Back in, the lads were busy with what food they can find around, one used the sausages from breakfast and made sauce with it, which they ate with the rice. I didn’t get to eat the rice, as beans and pig tails #rabito came on the lunch cart. Got me some beans, which I ate with the ripe plantains we had cooked along with the rice.

The electricity company came and fixed the transformer, electricity is back in full, so also our lives, more noise and whatever keeps us functioning. The few days without electricity to cook proper food, it’s been quite calm around here. Guess, not anymore now!

Had another round of power nap, since I’m going back to my nocturnal activity, I have to get plenty of short naps during the day to catch up with what I missed at night.

My mates are drinking proper liquor from the street down the passage; aguardiente and rum. Β Invited, but I will rather stay by my cell and close to my router. Took a short and back to my spot, also got me loads of ice and a can of ginger ale, as I can’t drink it pure, added a few of my brew (spiced prison distilled liquor with cinnamon, juniper berry, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cilantro seeds and zest of lemon), wasn’t bad after a very long while. Shared with a mate, but kept to me all night.

Had my music on and to myself, one of my training mates came as his router is right in from of my cell, lad stayed up till around 3am and left, while I stayed up chatting with schat and my little boy and finally retired to my bunk by 04:49 on sunday morning after a cold shower…. freezing!

Sun, 12 Oct 2014

Awoken by noises of tanks and stuffs being moved and pushed around in the cell. Was really enjoying my sleep but just gotta move, dressed up and picked up my stuffs from the ground; my reserve tanks and gym box (actually a used crate of milk). Went upstairs while the lad went about with his cleaning and washing.

Within an hour he was done and everything back inside, prepared oatmeal or Crema as they call it here for the everyone, showered as there was enough water and ate mine, then back to sleep.

Took bouts of naps all day, cooked rice, but nothing to eat with it, got some eggs but too lazy to fry, had to pick lentils from the lunch cart and ate with bits of our cooked rice.

For dinner, macroni and tuna with fresh onions came in along with rice. Got enough of the macroni tuna mixture and had it as my dinner, and then back to sleep.

Santa Claus, our only Sikh in the village gave me some mint leaves which he’s growing here, made me a brew of hot mint/green tea and sipped through the evening as I wait for signal. Pathetic!

Bit quiet in the pavilion as many are getting ready for tomorrow’s visit. My two mates had fresh haircut and had their visit clothes ready for tomorrow and also all bowls that need to be sent out are washed and packed in airtight backs to keep the million cockroaches off. Whatever they bring in tomorrow, we will be eating street-cooked food for few days.

00:35:59 Mon, 13 Oct 2014

Having slept earlier in the evening, I’m ready to get on another round of my nocturnal activity. But tonight’s will be getting my Google account worked on as it’s been deactivated due to the 5 million users leaks that Russians hackers did. Well, nothing to nick from my account, after reading of the leakage in a webuser magazine I downloaded, I know I have to start reseting all my online identities πŸ˜‰

That will be my work tonight, though schat is awake, signal still sluggish, gotta wait a while, many are still up and roaming.

Our queen of the pack just rolled by, guess call of duty or tour of duty; helping the helpless and willingly, but with cash πŸ˜‰

She look good and smelled good, somebody gonna get spanked for being too naughty tonight. Well, not me πŸ˜‰

The brawl that was supposed to take place yesterday seemed to have been averted, but an invisible line has been drawn and any crossing will be devastating, my now injured training partner is on the other side of the line and my big-boy neighbour on this side. A compatriot of the latter just told me, how the lad is trying to live large and gotten himself into debts; he and few others has got butlers and valets ;-), and he doesn’t have shit, owes debts running into three grand from services rendered; food, booze, fags, dopes and whatever else he gets from the many services in the pavilion.

Good for them, but leading a sedentary life here won’t be something I’m looking up to, we rarely get to move around, so, can’t see why I’m not doing most of my chores on my own to get the body moving and burn some extra calories which I didn’t in the gym πŸ˜‰ but not these guys, their waistlines are expanding with every puff they do, with every burger they dips in and every fried food they indulged or on every line they snort or every shorts they downed πŸ˜‰ and they don’t give a fuck!

Soon, we will blame the prison system if anyone of them drops. Pathetic!

Their fight is theirs, and soon they will be a showdown as I have heard enough; the big boy is accused of nicking an old man’s phone while the latter was sleeping in a hammock up above the cells. It shows that, this is prison, trust none and believe nothing that comes from these lads. Always tempted to go back to what brought them here and none has the willpower to resist!

The pressure is on them and on everyone of us to belong, but it takes something on the inside to overcome that urge and inkling; #SelfDiscipline and #WillPower!

The following is culled from an article I read from one of my numerous sites:

[How to stay calm under pressure:

Keeping my cool when under pressure, being at my best no matter how intense the circumstance may get.

I have learned that no matter what kind of distraction come up. I have to refocus immediately on what I am doing.

Thriving under pressure is all about locking into an incredible, intense focus. You have to be in control all the time, even when everything around you is chaotic.

When things take a turn for the worse, it can be hard to fight off the wave of frustration that washes over you.

The best way to pull through such moment is hyperfocused and concentrate what is coming on next on my agenda.

No matter how bad the day before was, learn to accept failures, mistakes and learn from them and move on.

It’s all about what happens today than what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow!]

Truces are temporary, but Alliances permanent; smart people chooses the latter.Β #PrisonGangsΒ #PrisonViolence

#PrisonExperience #PrisonCurious #Panama #Gevangenis #Lockup #BehindBars #Moonshine Anniversary

PanamΓ‘: New Generation Of Street Gangs, Groomed By Prison Gangs, The Liquidation Of A Family Of Four And Prisoners Shaking A Nation!Β 

Posted in Behind Bars in Panama on October 3, 2014 by doingtimeabroad

“People learn something every day, and a lot of times it’s that what they learned the day before was wrong.” – Bill Vaughan

WAT IS TIJD? (What is #TIME?)

“Wat is tijd? Meestal merken we iets van de tijd, als er iets verandert of veranderd is. Daarom is tijd vaak zo moeilijk bij te houden als je vastzit en elke dag hetzelfde is als gisteren en vermoedelijk hetzelfde als morgen. “Doing Time” heet vast zitten op zijn Amerikaans. “Tijd (Ver-) doen” Weining verandering meemaken” – Redactioneel van Gezant uit Nederland.

Wed, 17 Sep 2014

Lately, I have been writing less and tweeting more, but that doesn’t stop me from keeping and taking stock of my life and those of my fellow time-doers as we travel through time and vacuum, keeping tab of our timelines behind bars.

Like social media timelines, our lives are in phases and these phases represents our timelines; mistakes done or actions taken could be corrected with time, and some can’t be corrected, just gotta let it go. But the memories of those mistakes and actions can’t be erased from one’s memory, either from those of witnesses to those events. Thus, there aren’t much difference between our real life and the ones we fake online, our avatars or cyber-life; our faux lifestyle. Sometimes, just like the social media timelines, which runs at the speed of sound, that certain things are missed and need to be retrieved so is life, but with life retrieving those moments could be disastrous as some of those moments are unwanted circumstances; painful memories. Thus, certain part or aspect of our timelines are best kept to where they belong in the archives of our memories. Asi es la vida!

Some of us do get permanently deleted from this timelines, when these unfortunate ones meet their demise while doing time, there end their timelines. Even the released are not permanently deleted from out timelines, but simply archived until something spectacular happen with their lives. Thus, even when one has done his time and becomes a free man, his life and activities is still on our timelines; what becomes of him in #PostPrisonLife. Though some choose to go under the radar, that doesn’t stop the most curious amongst us to search through the grid for their timelines πŸ˜‰

22:35:18 on Wed, 17 Sep 2014!

The prison was thrown into total blackout for hours. Electricity is restored, would’ve been hell tonight, there haven’t been water for days, my cell is dry like the Sahara, and so are many cells. The locals are smiling to their piggy bank with what they are making from selling water to the foreign inmates. Still baffles me that we are in the same prison, but they are more favoured than the rest of us. And not just with water, also with time-reduction, they work, school just like the rest of us, but they get theirs processed faster and are sent home, while foreign inmates are left to be paying those fat ladies in the admin money after money to get their papers processed.

I’m happy, I still workout, washed my gym clothing and also shower; thanks to my reserves that I have called into service. And they are serving me when I really need them most ; #NOW!

Still not on speaking terms with two of my cellmates, taken enough of their idiocies, it’s better we remain this way for now. Better for me as its streamlined the numbers of people I’m talking to, the less, the better and it helps with my sanity.

The day has been a hectic one, but thank goodness, it’s almost over.

Had woken up early to use the loo, but went back to sleep and finally woke up around 9ish after a training partner came calling. These lads don’t know, I sleep late as I spent most night reading or writing and surfing the net. For most of them, the only time they sleep late or stay up late is either their women are ready to stay up with them and give them all their demands xxx picx πŸ˜‰ or they are either drinking and gambling. Other than those three things, most are in bed or whatsoever they find to lay their heads by 10pm at most. The other all-nighters are the smokers and those whose lives begins when others are getting to switch off their lights for a long night rest. To these ones, the night is their day and the day their night. The walk and work all night and sleep all day. Sometimes one rarely see them during the day; our shemale and his vampire errand boy are only seen in the evening when they have had enough sleep. What a life and one on the nightshift πŸ˜‰

Back to #MyWednesday; had a brutal complete arm workout; #Biceps #Triceps and added sets of power clean lifts, was freakin excruciating. Worked on my abs with isometric moves; planks and hangings. Felt my whole body burned, I definitely need some good supplements. Rounded up by 1pm when the handballers came in, and lunch came in also; chicken-skin soup with half-cooked rice.

Got some of the soup and some rice as there was nothing in the cell. That was my postworkout meal, was feeling but something better would’ve been much better. Nobody knows when egg will be allowed in, there hasn’t been eggs for almost a month now and eggs was my best source of protein, but they do bring in boiled eggs for breakfast. I don’t really know why they won’t allow eggs in, but guns, knives and drugs are flowing through the gates.

Climbed upstairs to get some of my gallons, but found out they are empty; my mate living upstairs had used up all my reserves and didn’t have them refilled, freaking annoying! To avoid incidents, once I have them refill when water comes, I will be keeping them under our bunk bed.

Used a tank or bucket and half, showered and washed my gym clothes, saved the waste water to be used in the toilet. The water crisis is going on now for more than a week, occasionally rainfall has always been our saviour. But for some days now, there hasn’t been any rain or sign of it.

At war or rather cold war with two of my cellmates; the youngest and the ex wannabe boxer; have always told them, don’t do something because someone else is doing it. Rather, do iit because it comes from your guts to do it; the lad got into boxing because his mates were doing it, and now he barely pick up the gloves I gave him. Well, he has a new sport that needs the uses of both his hand; playing #ClashOfClans, wakes up at 3am to indulge in his new discovery, first, it was #CandyCrushSaga, now he’s switched to this Clans thing. Wish him good luck!

Our cold war will be on for a while until they both learn how to talk and live with people. When problems from the streets spiralled in, everyone should learn to handle and bear his cross alone. Whenever the lads got some uncomfortable news from outside, or their cases not going as their thieving lawyers promised them, they tend to take the anger on somebody else. They should freakin learn how to redirect or channelled such angst into something positive; #Time behind bars has thought me how to unload whatever negativity comes my way, and also how to reload some positive energy into those vacuums in me, thus, no room for negativity.

Went to bed early but got up around 1am when all had gotten in except the young lad sleeping above the toilet; he was outside playing #ClashOfClans, say inside the cell by door and start what will become an all-night for me. Chat with schat and did loads of browsing and tweeting, downloaded loads of articles and saved some pages for further reading. Got enough articles to keep me busy for a while. Finally folded up around 5am on Thursday morning and hit my concrete bed; barely closed me eyes when our PA system came to live, announcing our early morning weekly headcount. Had made up my mind up, there won’t be workout today.

Thurs, 18 Sep 2014

Had barely closed my eyes when the call for our weekly headcount came up on our PA system. Had to rushed and stashed all I needed to. And the lads did same, don’t want the young lad stashing his stuff in my bunk, but what can I do as we all use the stash together.

Rushed through my morning rituals like others did and walked out sluggishly with heavy eyes longing for more sleep. Took a book to read few pages while I wait for the headcount to be over. Outside, few were running, the lazy ones were either sitting and talking like always and others walked in groups of two as they carried on with their chatting; probably talking about the weather forecast, financial markets or politics ;-), if it was sports, I will know, as sports are always talked about or discussed when a game is on or after the game is over ;-), and I doubt if there’s anybody here who will use his precious prison time discussing financial markets, weather or politics or current affairs, maybe Dr. Porter, but then, with whom will he discuss sure intellectual matters with? Does, whatever he knows, he keeps it to himself. I do sometimes pinged him important and breaking news from Canada; especially those of my pal #RobFord the #CrackHeadMayor ;-), lately about the discovery that he has a very rare cancer. Wish him speedy-Gonzalez recovery πŸ˜‰ , or better put it; Fast and Furious Recovery πŸ˜‰

Since today’s headcount was an early one, the lads sleeping in the gym hall refused moving their cartons and whatever they have on the floor. Thus, there won’t be any gym and training today. Well, I wasn’t prepared for today’s workout, thus, a plus for me; but I did missed the early morning training I usually do while the cops are busy with the headcounts outside, using the moneky bars behind our building for dips and inverted rows.

Back into my cell and straight to my concrete bed, hope it does make me stronger like the slab of concrete that I sleep on.

Like always, my lazy lousy cellmates will always find something to talk or someone to ridiculed, and the one whose missus has gone with the wind and in the arms of another (like our gayly mate puts it; Another is touching your wife’s ass), and our gayly lad started another round of verbal war; this time around it was on their cases, well, I’d like to listen but my eyes and body wouldn’t as I needed my sleep badly and more than whatever they were arguing about.

How they ended their argument, freakin didn’t know as I was deep asleep, but not deep enough as I hear on the tv of an ongoing search in pavilion 14 of La Joyita prison (our sister prison), the news got me up and had my ears wide open to what was going on there.

Panama’s Police chief stormed the prison complex around 3am and woke the lads from their lousy gangs sleep. He didn’t come alone, he came with all the military might of panama; comprising of Senafront (military guards combing through their porous land and water borders with Colombia), National police (Corrupt lads), Special police (nothing special about them as they are also bought over). He came with enough police to ransacked the pavilion, and that’s what they did; walls, floors, toilets and bathroom were broken to dig out whatever was buried there.

All television stations stopped whatever they were doing to broadcast live, some from air of the ongoing search that brought hundreds of armed forces to the pavilion. And fully dressed for war.

They surely found what they came looking for; knives of different assortments, guns, ammunition, weed, coke, makeshift and crude weapons of prison gangs warfare. I don’t know what the population of that pavilion is, but they did find enough arms to armed inmate in that pavilion. Tells you how cheap a life is once you hauled into one of these pavilions; everyone is armed and waiting for the day he would be able to make good or bad use of his weapon. #MenAtWar

What surprised me most were the types of knives the lads were using. It seems they were all weapon-shopping from one hardware store as most of the knives were of the same design and make. If the cops are wise as they project themselves to be, they could find the source (s) of the knives and who purchased them by tracing them to the hardware store. But such won’t happen in Panama as they are very good with tampering and destroying of evidences. Sometimes, suspect are taken before judges without any evidence but ended being prosecuted and sentenced with the verbal testimony or accounts of the cops. What a judiciary system, guess they are mirroring that of The US.

Seeing the search has caused us to raise our alert level to critical, as we know, the cops won’t stop what they just began, they will make sure they comb through all the pavilions in the centre and those of the foreign inmates will be their target as they believe the foreigners are the pay masters; thus, better things to treasure-hunt πŸ˜‰

From Intel coming in, so much Intel behind these concrete walls; inmates out of boredom prefer talking irrespective of what they talk. It could be absolutely rubbish and lousy talk, but they just wanna talk. But today’s police action has prompted questions to be asked and finally answers that moves along the right direction are coming in.

Last week, a family was liquidated, just like in the meaning of the word! An innocent (?) family met their end facing the end of a nozzle. How the cops got their info or Intel is best known to them (torture is one way), but they did linked the family saga to another raid in the city where guns and lots of other weapons and ammunition were found. From there, pavilion 14 of La Joyita was pin point as the origin of the massacre.

Another part of the Intel from online sources; the prison gang housed in pavilion 14 nicknamed ‘Baghdad’ after the Iraqi capital, freakin don’t understand picking such an awkward name, they are not Muslims or affiliated to any terror group. They are just bunch of weed and crispy smokers; that I know they can sit all day smoking and finding a way to launch assault or attack an opposing gang from the other pavilions.

From what I read; the Baghdad gang are working the younger street gangs to do their dirty works; steal, kill and do whatsoever criminal gangs do that befits their names. The criminal gang business is like every other business in the sense that, one becomes older and becomes a mentor to younger generation and then groom the younger ones to do gang business. And such is the way of life for these kids; many have the first taste of prison as young as 14 years of age and then, it’s prison after prison, spending many birthdays behind bars with new family that promises stronger bonds and to watch their fragile back.

Like in all businesses, dividends and loyalties must be paid, thus, the Capos and his henchmen do get proceeds for their mentoring from the young lads on the streets; whatever they make from gangs business, portions are sent to their mentors who are living larger-than-life lifestyles behind bars; proper booze, state of the art smartphones and game consoles, flat screen televisions, and paid ladies for conjugal. These lads literally run the prison, what the cops did today is done and is over once they are gone, but the prison will fall back to its normal administration, meaning, being run by the different factions of prison gangs and their foot soldiers. And the coward cops won’t do a shit about it. How many times has inmates been killed right in front of their faces and they do nothing about it? Quite a lot, one was done right in the front of the diretor’s door. Meaning, the director himself is not safe from harm.

Of all the gangs are doing on the streets from the inside, the one that really got the country into rethinking about #GangsCulture is the liquidation and wiping out and into extinction of a family. Orders came from the Baghdad band of bandits to liquidate the family, and that’s what was done. Father, mother, two kids of five and nine years old of age were all slaughtered in their home that is supposed to be a safe haven. Guess our houses are no longer shelter to protect us from the elements, which includes gangs assassins.

The brutal killings of this family is causing a sort of dominoe effect all over the country as the head of police in panama has vowed to root out gangs on the streets and in prisons; well, I’m here and waiting to see how it will happen. Many before him had tried and fail. So, I’m wondering what magical powers does he have that will work now, the harder these lads are hit, the harder and more violent they become. And the softer you wanna get or be with them, then you are taken as a fool and too weak for comfort πŸ˜‰

Whatever the outcome will be for the charged inmates, it will never act as a deterrent to stop gangs killings; most uses minors as they know, the law in panama treats with a tap on the wrist; for a homicide, a minor can do two to three years in juvenile detention. While the adults are comfortable with prison time as life BehindBars in Panama is more or less an extension or continuation of life from the streets, many are more comfortable and more at home behind bars than on the streets; behind bars, they are housed together with gang members and not mixed with other gangs, thus, safety is guaranteed when in the unit or group. While on the streets, they are exposed and vulnerable to the elements, knowing fully well that even a walk through the park is as dangerous as walking on hot-burning coals.

Armed with all these informations after several raids on the streets, the cops reinforced and paid the lads an impromptu visit around 3am. Striped them to the bare and stormed their pavilion while the inmates were sent outside to get tanned under the grilling sun. The cops worked the pavilion, breaking floors, toilet and bathroom floors to find guns and whatever were buried beneath those cemented floors. On the videos, I can see bags of cements and sand which are kept at hand to resealed the floors after each breaking and usages of their firearms. These lads are damn too crafty, even the cops were surprised at their ingenuity and how they had turned the pavilion into a good stash. Walls and floors had to be broken with sledgehammer to find what they had buried and hidden.

Since the murders of the family was traced to the prison, it’s been very edgy here; every little movement is suspicious. Thus, we are on full alert for any surprise visit from the cops, which will come sooner than we expect.

May the saint of prisoners help us; panama actually celebrate the day of Prisoners Β Saint. I’m yet to understand the logic behind that!

Fri, 19 Sept 2014

Woke up to another beautiful day; typically, no day is beautiful in prison, maybe for those with families and friends around to visit them and the few with conjugal visits πŸ˜‰

But for many of us, we try to beautify the day. One wakes up every day to the same monotonous routines and try to outlived time; which on its own can be tricky.

#TGIF and #Weekend, the gym was closed yesterday and I didn’t train, thus, wouldn’t like to miss today’s training. But hitting the gym a bit late, had wanted to make oatmeal when one my training partners came for my gym box, had to munched two bananas, which I know will fuel me through the workout. Had had a cup of green tea and cinnamon earlier, that will fire my system to handle today’s workout.

Thank the heavens no brawl today, just the slim lad still picking on my gayly mate. But not serious like other days, but the lad always got something in return for him; word for words πŸ˜‰

Hit the gym, packed and being Friday, the catholic priest might be coming today. Thus, rushed into my routines after few minutes of stretching and warm-ups! Did a combo of Chest and Shoulders; we went #HIIT Β #Hardcore and added abs routines in-between each sets, also push-ups and planks to fill in the rest period, freakin exhausting, but we love it and we did it. Rounded up before 1pm as the priest didn’t show up, hope the search incident is not the reason for his not showing up today. So many changes will be in place to curb the violence within the complex. Hope the portals for our smuggled stuffs won’t be shut down; if they do it, it will be disastrous as those food items we can’t get here won’t be coming in anymore. Things like proper meat, chicken, vegetables, oatmeal and other boxed cereals, my spices and other stuffs. Well, and for those arming themselves for the ongoing gang wars, they will be hitting the gym to learn how to fight bare knuckles like real men; mano-a-mano πŸ˜‰

Done with workout and exhausted, back in, no water, occasional rainfall have been very helpful as we now depend on it for our daily survival. Β Made myself a chilled cup of gatorade, had another banana. The lunch cart came in right on time; chicken skin soup and white rice, took some as I was starving. Then, showered, was able to washed my gym clothing and kept both the laundry water and what I showered with to be used in the toilet; think, they call that recycling, but we call it improvisation πŸ˜‰ . That will be till Monday when I’m back to training.

Cooked OX or cow’s feet soup which we had with white rice, everyone had enough and saved some for saturday, that will be my bloody brunch.

Spent the night on the passage in front of my cell, even at night, the pavilion is busy and alive with activities of nocturnal nature πŸ˜‰ things that are better done at night, hidden from those who aren’t part and parcel of the nocturnal movement.

Sat, 20 Sep 2014

No general cleaning as there isn’t much water, we are living on the edge, thus, everything is under strict management. Took me almost two weeks to get mine done, and it was on a Monday instead of the usual saturday.

Got up and use the loo, and had a breakfast or almost brunch of the OX feet soup and rice; leftover from yesterday’s, hate wasting food, most of my cellmates don’t think that way. Hung around for a while with a cuppa green tea/ cinnamon tea, nothing interesting, back to bed for another round of power nap.

Finally up around 1pm, enough sleep and feel rejuvenated for the day. I guess the rest of the pavilion are up and about the day’s affairs.

Ice doesn’t come in on Saturday, it’s a rest day for the lads who runs our errands; #CellDelivery, order things directly from them if you don’t want to buy from the grocers in the pavilion as it’s a bit cheaper with them than the grocers. Business in the centre is like ones on the streets; the higher you get in the chain or sources of products or services, the cheaper you get your goods and services.

The main shop under the admin block sells to the errand lads who sent from each pavilion to do their purchase daily. The errands lads charge certain percentage on every item, they get to fix their own prices, which is higher than the main store’s, then the grocers also order from them and fix their prices, but inmates can order from the errand lads, thus, bypassing the grocers. And the lucky ones who are fortunate to go up the admin block and with cash, can buy their stuffs directly at the original cost, thus, bypassing both the errand lads and the grocers in the pavilion and saving a lot of money. And could be a lot of savings as I have done it many times, each time I go upstairs, I always go with money; my seasonings are sold here between $10 and $12 but upstairs, I get them directly between $6 and $8, that’s how these lads are ripping us. When the errand lads sees me around there, they aren’t happy.

It’s saturday and it’s las fiestas in the pavilion, a walk around the passages, one will see many watering holes, where groups of newbies are initiated into the cult of life BehindBars and oldies sharing their survival stories.

On television and in Panama, the heat is on, and damn hot on the massive search that was carried on in pavilion 14 in La Joyita for the mastermind behind the liquidation of a family of four. Two inmates have charged and sequestered from the rest of the Baghdad gang, they are kept in maximum security as investigation continues. These boys are used to being locked up, thus, they know they are bgging years upon years, but they will be out some day if the family of the deceased don’t come after them.

Another stabbing, but this time in our own part of the prison; a new local was hauled in, and on his first day, well, maybe not his first time in jail. But on his first day this time, he was plunged with zigzag blade which pulls out all his entrails, and later pronounced dead on the way to hospital.

As soon as we heard of the stabbing, we braced up for a total lock down and maybe a search, but nothing happened and I hope nothing will happen.

Life is nothing to these lads, the lad survived the harsh transitional jail and made it in, but got killed upon arrival, yet to be charged or tried. He received jungle justice and instant judgement probably from old scores or being on the wrong side of town ; #GangWars!

Many foreigners try rubbing minds with the locals, as they are the sources of all businesses in the system, once in a while we get direct contact with cops or wardens, but for proper illegal trade, one has to hook up with a local. Whom, many have come to find out they are not trustworthy fellows for business as they always make away with their money. But still, it doesn’t deterred many from seeking contacts with and doing business with them.

I have one who has been nicking lemongrass from another inmate’s vegetable garden and sell to us, same lad and his mates also nicks vegetables and grains from the kitchen and sell amongst us; the foreigners. It’s all business, can’t beat them, friggin join them, but be very cautious of them.

No workout for me today as it’s my rest day, so also sunday. Spent the day in the cell and most time in the comfort of my bed, either reading, browsing and occasionally naps in-between πŸ˜‰

The fiestas are taking a full spring, my gayly mate has disappeared from our radars, he’s somewhere sipping and lamenting over his little life.

As of midnight, lad still wasn’t in the cell, so long he’s having his good time, good for him!

Sun, 21 Sep 2014

A drizzle through the night gave us some water, we are living on the frontline or on the edge; we’ve been able to survive the brutal period of our water scarcity, I know we will pull through this one again. Managed to refilled all my reserves, those will stay in their hidden places till they are needed in service again πŸ˜‰

Start my day with my usual cup of green tea after my rituals. Sat on the edge of my bed facing the toilet as that’s the best position on my bed as the rest went about their day’s activities and their morning chattering.

Like always, the talk is centred on our gayly mate whose hammock stinks of human foul odour, the sheets he uses to cover himself is unwashed and stinks. Friggin still got me wondering, what sort of dirt lay is he? Who will want to lay him or prop his mojo in his mouth as the lad is damn too dirty for my liking. He stacks food upon food for days without eating them, and then someone opens them, the cell is blown off with stench of rotten food. I have talked to him several times, always take enough for the moment or what you can eat. There’s no refrigerator to store food, the heat of the pavilion destroys it as soon as they are kept overnight. Just a bad habit that he has and I guess he will be a lousy dirty lay πŸ˜‰

It’s amazing and also disturbing how some of these lads could go on drinking sprees for days on, knowing fully well where we are. My gayly mate’s pal who started yesterday are still on the bender; music very loud and occasional screams of enjoyment. Whatever they seem to enjoy here is another disturbing issue, soon I will be five years in the joint, fucking don’t see anything worth enjoying here. What keeps my happy and strong is the strength of my family back home; they are ok, I’m good to go, but once schat is down, I’m friggin down as well.

The lads helped our gayly mate set out his vegetable business as he’s still having hangover, but surprisingly, he will be out again to continue from where he stopped last night; that I know for sure!

When he finally woke up from his hangover, he’s in and out of the cell, hanging around several watering holes and those who enjoys his wits and his lamentation.

Being a sunday, my day like most days will be in and around my cell, the most venturing I make is to get ice, can’t do without it; bloody hot.

There hasn’t been eggs in the pavilion for over a month now, nobody knows what is happening. Though, some are making special orders, which I know will be at cutthroat prices. I know it will come soon, as somebody upstairs gotta make profit from it.

The day went on a snail pace, but got myself busy with my music, books and internet.

As evening sets in, the parties took a different turn. Quite a few newbies around, hope they are loving it in here. Some of them may not be new to life behind bars, but being in a different country is a different ball game altogether. But, having someone who knows someone and received them, they are in cloud nine, and straight to the bottle, what else can a man in this condition ask for when you know you aren’t going nowhere in a very long while?

Stayed up late as I had many articles to read and tweet them. My gayly mate came in around midnight with a very dirty face; when the lad is pissed, doesn’t look nice; with scar on his face and mouth missing couple of teeth, doesn’t look nice. But, then someone wouldn’t mind getting a blow job from him. And that’s what the little lad in our cell did the night they all got pissed after days on the bender. Both got into his bed, which is under mine and the pharmacist-cellmate saw them getting cozy, then came the brawl when the gayly lad told the young lad to do him as well, the young lad got mad and pushed him out of his bed. Lad don’t like returning favours πŸ˜‰

My gayly cellmate came lamenting of his woes and all that had befallen him, how his sister back in Colombia had sent tickets for him to visit home on three occasions and he turned them down. He’s been away from home for more than thirty years. Had always thought him to be younger than me, until he mentioned his age once during their morning brawls; nobody should talk to him like a kid, that he’s forty five years of age. I was bloody surprise, as he’s not acting like his age, but, more like a teenager experimenting on a new concoction of drugs πŸ˜‰ and he also has a bullet lodge in his foot which is giving him one hell of pain. And the system won’t do a thing to take it out, hope it doesn’t destroy his leg as it’s swollen now and he finds it hard to walk properly.

Under the influence of alcohol, he talked to me, telling me his life and with tears in his eyes. He just can’t help himself, someone gotta help him out. The pastors were here preaching to him, until he picked up verbal brawl with them over conflicting ideas; told them, they are all liars, carrying bible to get time reduction, once on release, they are all going back to their former self, how I love that blunt message to them and it came from one of their own, who knows them too well πŸ˜‰

Sent him to his hammock, but he didn’t go as he went out to get final dose of his liquor and also snort a line as I later heard from some lads.

As soon as he left, I closed my curtains and slide into my little world and wait for nature to come take me, but then, had my eyes and ears wide open for any suspicious movement or sound.

Mon, 22 Sep 2014

Up and about, through my morning rituals and ready to hit the weights, will be a bit late as I woke up late. Had oatmeal for breakfast and downed it with a cup of green tea.

The cell is set for our gayly mate who is out and about, in the pavilion, there’s no difference between week days and weekends for those drinking. To these ones, it’s strictly a forced holiday on them and they are making use of the best of whatever available to stay high while doing time. And my gayly mate is enjoying himself, he’s a nice lad when he wants to be, but just his dirty habit that I don’t really like, sort of disgusting. The cell is so small, and eleven people in place of six can be really tight; I’m forced to sit on my bed which is the upper bunk most of the time when others are in the cell. Two are living upstairs, one has a shack build and the other is building something, but smaller as there’s no space up on top of the cell.

Since my gayly mate took over the vegetable business, he’s been dropping bit of his produce for us to use; mostly those about getting spoiled due to the heat in the pavilion ‘every little helps’ and every bit of the vegetables does help and save me a lot of money as I’m the only who uses them, the others are not vegetable eaters, the most they do is onion.

Soon, the drinking sessions will end and all will get back to #PlanetPrison, where everything is real and true.

Made it to the gym, being Monday, most are hitting chest and some are doing same routines of what they do every day and not willing to learn or change. Sometimes it’s better to leave someone to whatever he wants to do.

One of my training mates took the gym thing too far, the lad has got proper herniated disc, one can see the bulge on his back. I have a lower back problem for years and it could be with the disc as it affects my sciatica nerve, sending blinding pains to my two legs and sometimes I feel numbness on my feet. But I have learn to live and do all I have to with it. I have stopped certain exercises and find alternatives to work those muscle groups. Thus, avoiding much strain on my lower back, can’t take any blody risk as I know the medical situation in the prison.

The lad is totally written off, can’t do anything in the gym, he would be taken to the unstaffed clinic,hopefully there will be someone who will likely refer him to the main hospital in the city and hope the cops will take him as he really need urgent attention.

Hit the weights but went for back and biceps, had some lads joined me and we had a good ass workout, went for #HIIT #Hardcore with little rest in-between sets, use the pause for abs. Felt good accomplishing today’s task. Done just about when lunch came in; not my stuff, pig feet and beans, went for the shredded carrots them came in a different bowl and ate the beans I had from sunday’s evening; had warmed it in the morning.

Showered and washed my gym clothing, enough water for the day’s use, rain and the early morning tap water gave us enough for today.

Tried napping, guess, less than an hour as the lads left their gaming spot upstairs to take their lunch or whatever meal they were having. #ClashOfClans has gotten many hooked up like what coke does to addicts. They spent hours upon hours launching attacks ;-), my boxer-cellmate has dumped his boxing gloves to use his fingers for gaming, lad wakes by 3am to engage in online battles with his mates. That’s another thing that boredom does to men, others engages in whatever will take their minds off the mmental suffering that comes with lockup.

Nothing to do, but loads to keep me busy and while away time; browsing, reading both online and real books. eBooks can’t replaced the fill of real books, but in place like this where one is short of space, anything digital is very handy and useful. Thus, my massive digital library, which I do my best to backup and safeguard. If I lose it, will be real devastated, hope it survives as I also fight for my survival.

Tue, 23 Sep 2014

Twitter: @Doingtimeabroad

Wed, 24 Sep 2014

Twitter: @Doingtimeabroad

Thurs, 25 Sep 2014

Twitter: @Doingtimeabroad

Not much of a difference from other days, but each day comes with its own surprises and troubles. Always wake up with enthusiasm and a positive attitude for each day; irrespective of what happens in the cell in the morning, once I walk out to the gym and get some dose of Dopamine and Endorphins, I’m good to go πŸ˜‰

Fri, 26 Sep 2014

#TGIF and #Weekend; up and through my morning rituals, not forgetting my cup of green tea and cinnamon, enough to wake up my system and get it prepare for the day.

Lately, water hasn’t been our number one worries as the rain has been pouring on and off, and the nicked water from pavilion 8 been working on and off also. If there’s none all day, we hope for the next day, but, doesn’t stop me from keeping my reserves all filled and ready to be call into action when needed or when it becomes dire πŸ˜‰

Hit the gym, guess, some are beginning their weekend bit too early or continuing with the rest after yesterday’s headcount. The gym was scanty, just a handful of the regulars. Have noticed that some lads has stopped training after their training partners left; they were in the gym out of peer pressure, and because the freed lads were coming, now that they are freed, nothing to motivate or push them out of their cubicles.

I always tell my training mates, ‘before embarking on anything, have a goal and set that goal before you, and let it be your motivator’, and many are sticking to my routines, days they don’t see me, they come calling and their enthusiasm also help me. There are days, I don’t have it, but their calling me loud from the passage spurs me into action. Glad I picked them into my group; many had come and left, but the few that stayed back are seeing results despite our poor nutrition.

Went for #Chest; but giving it a full metal jacket badass #HIIT #Hardcore workout. We started with dumbbells on inclined and declined, also did pull-over and flyes. And went on to the bench for proper benchpress (bar and dumbbells), flyes and close! During each pauses we added rope-jump, hanging leg raise or planks and even push-ups. We literally took ourselves to the limit. Had my shaker cup fill with chilled gatorade and refilled when needed for the lads, we also had banana each. We rounded up with more abs. Excruciating but we all knew those hours aren’t wasted. Advised them to take a rest till Monday (though some will be having visits).

In the cell, the lads cooked their usual fried or oil-soaked rice, quickly took from the top as the oil is settled on the bottom of the pot and before they mix up everything. Ate the rice with peanut butter; they consider my eating habit very weird, never seen anybody eating rice with peanut butter. Sometimes, I make peanut butter sauce, Yummy;-)

We had visitors, as government and church officials came to inspect the pavilion; one of their gimmicks to fool inmates that they are up to something good. Glad they came in and saw the misery and desolation they call prison. Still, some are jealous, a warden once told me that I’m doing well as my embassy brings me stuffs, would have punch him and ask him to trade place, and I will be sending him things, friggin prick πŸ˜‰

Tried napping, then came the breaking news; another #PrisonGangs war in one the notorious prison in Colon, Panama; #NeuvaEsperanza meaning #NewHope. Panama has got a crazy way of naming prisons; there’s #ElRenacer (Rebirth), #LaJoya (The Jewel), #LaJoyita (little Jewel), but from all I have seen, heard and read about all these prisons, there’s nothing about them that bring anything close to their names, instead it’s the opposite. Once hauled and slammed in, there’s barely any hope of you making it out alive; if you don’t get killed by gangs war, cross fires, or personal brawls or someone else’s brawl, then sickness will! Its takes a strong willpower and an adaptive Β mindset to survive life on the inside..

Nueva Esperanza in colon is newly built prison, but from videos and stills we have seen, it’s no difference from ours #LaJoya, inmates has destroyed and set fire to most parts of the building. Β  Gangs run both inside and outside the prison, inmates sleep with guns, machete and all sorts of crude weapons; nothing different from the locals here and some inmates in my pavilion. Many can only sleep with their weapons under their pillows or handy. Remembered a lad who sometimes carries his around.

I believe all of Panama was frozen when the video was air on #Telemetro of inmates on rooftop in the colon prison, armed with pistols and rifles shooting at their rivals or warring gangs, it was like a scene from a movie. Later heard, there was fatalities, but the government will do it can to shut the media from reporting about it as it will portray a bad image for Panama’s tourism #MoneyMaker.

Police in riot gears were drafted in, but as always nothing will be found and nobody will be prosecuted; the lads are friggin incarcerated, what more can be done to them. The guns and other weapons will return to their stashes, which no cop will be able to find.

There was accusations, the cops are accusing wardens for smuggling in guns and other banned items to inmates, it’s the case of ‘pot calling kettle black’. Wardens are searched on entry into the prison complex, even within the complex, they are search when they are sent to pick and return an inmates to their pavilions during lawyers, consul or other visits. But cops on the other hand are never search, they are the law! Now, who’s bringing in the banned items to inmates? #FoodForThought!

The government is confused as they don’t know what to do, the president was on television, unprepared when a journalist asked him about the incident; the newly elected president said, all the heads of prison gangs will be taken out and relocated; then more bloodshed as battle rages for the next leader, that position won’t be vacant, somebody with more blood in his hands and a heart of stone have to step into the empty shoes or flipflop as shoes are rare here; maybe trainers πŸ˜‰

Knifing, shooting, poisoning, and killing of all sort and styles won’t end so long as the system is corrupt; think of a virus in a computer system, if it’s not wiped out, nothing works, the virus still remain active, wrecking havoc. That’s how the prison system work! Panama

After the televised shootings, everyone that matters in the government and country now have something to say and the cops who wouldn’t accept any blame of smuggling in weapons to inmates were very quick to blame the wardens; forgetting that, they search every warden before they are allowed in, but nobody searches the cops.

The president was not left out; he promised iron fist, but before hammering that iron, he should look back how iron fist backfired in Honduras, Brasil, Mexico, and Venezuela, when inmates stood against corrupt systems. History will tell us,n those incidents didn’t end well for both sides.

With this latest incident and what happened in pavilion 14, our alert level is raised to its highest; Blood or Fire Red, we are waiting and anticipating being stormed any moment from now.

Sat, 27 Sep 2014

As we woke up to a new day, and in my cell to the lads cleaning and washing the cell, I did mine last week. Nobody woke us up, but the inmates at colonn prison that acted a new wild wild west flick yesterday were woken from their lazy sleep by a military force of more than 1500 Cops, comprising of Panama’s elite forces; drawn from all their arms of military. The lads were bundled out, tied while the cops went in, breaking and searching every nook and cranny of the massive structure which is barely 7 years old and look like it’s been there for century. Walls, floors and everything cement and of stone were broken as cops came out with loads of prohibited items.

When the search was done, 25 guns were found (but the rifle that we saw on television was not found as it was not on display), an Uzi, Glock, revolvers, bullets and even dumdum bullets (to cause maximum and sever damage on its target), phones (mostly blackberry, few samsung and iphone), more cheap phones for making calls. They also found the common weapon of choice; knives of different designs and severity, some will make Rambo scream out from the jungle. In another corner of the display were machetes and crude weapons made from widely available metals and woods made into clubs, baseball bats were another choice of weapons that were found in large number; doubts if they were used for the game that they were made for, a better use would have been battering a rival’s head as we have seen here and in other pavilion. My mate has one laying beside his bed, just right by his head; he has his reason for keeping it handy, evil that men do crept up behind them gradually and will eventually catch up on them.

The president kept his words, as the cops were busy, heads of the gangs in the prison were hauled into buses enroute #MegaJoya; the new prison built by the former president Martinelli, but failed to complete it, even after he inaugurated and open it. Those that were taken there, were later brought here as nothing was working there. But whatever the condition is now over there, the capos of those gangs will live with whatever they find. I bet the first thing they will do, will be to make stashes and find weapons; these lads can’t live without being armed, as they can’t fight fist to fist fight, friggin wankers πŸ˜‰

The lads has given the television stations something better to show, it will be #NuevaEsperanza (New Hope) all day; got me wondering what hope they had for those lads and for the rest of us.

Over here, we are waiting and ready, well, after our last mutiny against the cops who used tear gas on us, I think we have become a good game for them. Thus, our day is coming and it will surely come.

For now, we enjoy our movies; watching as cops storms the locals πŸ˜‰

My gayly cellmate is still on the bender; drinking, and crying. He came lamenting to me about his misery, forgetting that, we are all in the same sinking boat. Who will I share my heavy heart with? His comes after downing our potent and lethal liquor and snorting lines of el blanco, he’s selling vegetables, but from what I hear from the others, he uses his profit to fuel his habits; for drinks, he gets that free, but not coke, a wrap is sold for $5 and he does it every other day or daily. Wish him well and hope he redeems himself!

Mon, 29 Sept 2014

Lately we sleep with our ears wide open; knowing what’s going on. We normally wake on our own accord, but since the latest clampdown on prisoners in panama, we know sooner or later some groups of mean looking fellas will come and wake us up from our cherished sleep πŸ˜‰

After the verbal brawl last Thursday with one of the early gym rats, I’ve decided to let them finish with their workouts before I hit the gym.

The new American lad who spent a year with the locals trying to be moved here, seems to be enjoying my group; he’s an old dog in the gym, thus, he loves my mode of training. The other lad, seems to take everything as competition, a compatriot of his who trained with me before did it and ended up with serious herniated disc, which the doctors told him, he will be operated and after operation, he will sent back to the pavilion on the same day. Why not just kill him direct!

Same sh!t happened to El Gringo, spent weeks in hospital for tuberculosis, and sent back to the population, but from what we are seeing, it’s like the lad is still sick; doesn’t sleep at night as he cough and wheezes. Hope and pray the others in his cell are not at risk of being infected.

The gym was busy, despite being our fortnightly visit day, thus, I decided we hit Back and biceps. Now, five in my group, more pause time, but to fill in the breaks, I set up other bodyweight exercises to fill up the waiting gaps; which was friggin superb. Rounded up with abs and stretches.

In the cell, the lads were back from visit, two of my mates went out and back with enough food to take us through couple of days; just meats, and all fried dried. Fried dried meats are the only things they bring in that are of great value; the rest are things we occasionally get here, though at a higher price. One had fried fishes, which he cooked and we had it with white rice. The meats should take us through three or four days, then we are back to buying whatever comes around.

Ate and showered; enough water both from the system and from rainfall.

Tried napping but the new old lad woke me up with the stench of his sh!t, not just me, he sent everyone in the cell outside; #WTF did this old lad eat? Stinks like he ate a rotten rat, something is definitely wrong with his system, maybe I should introduce him to green tea and tea as whole. He feast on the bread that comes on breakfast and rice from the lunch and dinner cart. Who knows, maybe he has an underlying sickness, which we don’t know. Wrong place as there’s no hope here, it’s all and solo self-medication.

Tue, 30th Sept 2014

Another early day, rushed me a cuppa of green tea before the others woke up. Sat on my bed sipping my tea as the day unfolds its mystery to us.

The lads went through their morning rituals and the one cleaning did his job, finally got down, had a peanut butter sandwich with the last of my tea.

Made it to the gym with the lads, and we started on shoulders and triceps, as we couldn’t find anything for chest. The lads decided to get into talking, I set up what we are doing for the day, and went about mine. Glad I did reasonable amount of different exercises before the list came that my consul is wwaiting for us.

Had to stop and get in for a quick shower, when I was done and out, my compatriots were all gone. Had to tipped a warden with a can of coke to take me upstairs. Joined the others to hear the #NoNews message from #DenHaag; our government back in Nederland is yet to sign the new pact regarding our repatriation with panama, meaning, we are back to nowhere! Back to waiting!

Brings all moods down, but there’s always reason to smile; the inner peace of mind that comes from being alive and kicking, giving and getting love in return.

Got my stuffs and left as I was starving, needed to eat something. Cheered myself as I know there’s hope.

The pavilion were on alert , waiting to buy whatever we have brought in for sale, can’t sell none of my toiletries and end up buying expensive ones here. Well, some of my compatriots do sell theirs; penny wise, pounds foolish!

Ate and took a quick nap, as I know, I will be up later tonight to get online.

Spent the rest of the day in my cell, which is what I do every blessed day!

During the night, stepped outside to the front of the cell, and it seems our queen of the night has found a new friend in the cell next to mine as she is always sitting outside with some of the lads each night. Hope they are not helping themselves to her kind nightly servive πŸ˜‰

War on prison gangs continue, as the government vows to crackdown all gangs and make sure the prison is clean and safe; not the first time we heard that. We will be waiting to see how they will achieve and reach that end, not when corruption like cancer has eaten deep into the system.

Many factors makes the dream of cleansing and changing the system look like a child’s place and a Β unrealistic goal.

Cops and wardens must be well paid and taken care of by the government or else inmates will help take care of them but for a price; one hand washes the other for the good of the system πŸ˜‰

Thus, the old has become new and life goes on!

“We cannot reach any higher, if we cannot deal with ordinary love.” – #U2 #OrdinaryLove

“Maturity has to do with the experiences you’ve had, not how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.”