5/12/2009

Quitate la Mascara...

With apologies to Adalberto Santiago and Ray Barretto...



Tucuman International Airport in Panama is a sleepy little strip of duty-free shops, not much more than a hub for Copa Airlines and a chance to buy Lacoste shirts, overpriced chocolate, and digital cameras. Today, however, the place has a gloomy, post-nuclear feel, for in the wake of the H1N1 pandemic the port authorities have apparently obliged their employees and contractors to wear protection; shopgirls hired for their pretty smiles have been reduced to batting their dark latin eyelashes over light-duty dust masks. It is rather surreal and even unsettling to wander through an airport, now filled like all others with luxury shopping, and find that every last janitor and mascara saleswoman has their nose and mouth concealed behind a white shield.




The paranoia is, of course, vastly more infectious than the flu seems to be, with the result that here in this little tropical airport there are more masked passengers wandering about dressed like interns around an operating table than I saw in all of Heathrow two weeks ago, when the flu looked much more like an imminent danger.

3 comments:

mgrace said...

The border between Bolivia and Peru has settled down--no more masks as of two weeks ago. Although there is a sign saying, "If you have nasal congestion, a cough, etc., you will not be allowed to cross the border" on the Peruvian side. The Bolivians are much more relaxed.

Looks like Mexico is changing its currency in response to the Swine Flu: http://mexfiles.net/2009/05/13/economic-recovery-is-gonna-be-slow/

Renzo said...

Quitate La Mascara is by Ray Barreto... but I think Hector sang it too...

They say it's a cold world said...

Busted. Renzo is 100% correct on this one. The post has been corrected to include this observant and thoughtful suggestion. (The post originally attributed "Quitate la Mascara" to Hector Lavoe.)