The Gamboa Bridge spans the point of entry where the Chagres Rivers feeds into the Panama Canal. This beautiful photo of a recently refurbished Gamboa Bridge conjures up many old memories. Among them, seeing the bus driver increase his speed to catch the ‘green light’ signaling the “go-ahead” to cross this single -lane bridge. This maneuver helped to speed up getting home from that long, late night bus ride from Panama City (before stern parents would lock the doors). The more daring teenagers’ braved the adventure of ‘jumping off this bridge’ on either side (into the Canal side or into the Chagres River side). The really brave (or stupid) young men would attempt walking over the bridge…on the railroad tracks…anxiosly hoping the cops would not grab them, resulting in employer related problems for their Panama Canal employed parents. It took a little less bravery to walk across the bridge to pick mangoes and plums from the trees around the outer perimeter of the Gamboa Penitenciary grounds. Nevertheless we were always wary of being ‘chased’ by the ‘authorities’. On New Year’s Night the ‘bridge’ was a destination point for young lovers; a venture tolerated by the ‘cops’ who were willing to allow ‘local raters/Silver residents’ to pass by the ‘police headquarters’ into ‘Gold raters/Whites’ territory’…nearby ‘up the hill’.
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