I'm not entirely sure what my old second favorite country was. Sadly, it is sports more than anything that informs these opinions (i.e. English Football, Tour de France, Italian Grand Prix at Monza, etc.). So with that in mind, my 13 year old and I were watching the new Travis Pastrana retard show "Nitro Circus" where they do insane things so that we won't turn off the TV and read. For those of you not in the know, Travis Pastrana is the bane of parents everywhere. His God given talents and nearly complete absence of fear have allowed him to achieve Nobel level exploits on a dirt bike including being the first to successfully complete a back flip and double back flip in the near sport of Freestyle Moto-Cross. Not satisfied with that he got into a rally car at the X-Games a couple of years ago, won the event and hasn't looked back. The man has cojones and a creative mind. And an attractive wife and co-star who just happens to be the first woman to back flip a motorbike. Their show, "Nitro Circus" is a more accomplishment driven but also more daring version of Jackass but without the ass piercing.
They travelled to the country of Panama in this latest episode and I thought, "Hey, I know a dude that lives there. Let's see what all the fuss is about." In the opening sequence Travis's posse shows up at a construction site. Not just any construction site, this is the tallest building in Latin America which is going up in Panama City. So the posse asks the boss if it would be alright if a couple of them BASE jumped off the crane on the top of this soon to be building. And the guy says (in Spanish), "Sure, don't land on anybody." That was that. They jumped, everybody had a good time and nobody got hurt. Then they rode their dirt bikes through the swimming pool at the hotel. Immature, extremely dangerous to riders and swimmers alike but wildly cool. Finally, to top it off, they set up a dirtbike jump in Panama City's equivalent of Central Park. Nobody got arrested. I suspect Mayor Bloomberg would have a baby if anyone tried that here. I realize that I am extrapolating a lot from these couple of encounters so I will ask others to confirm but I think Panama and its people have got it just about right. Nannies are for babies. Adults (even immature American ones like Pastrana's Dad who jumps out of a speedboat at 70 knots and breaks his pelvis) should be able to make stupid decisions. Especially when it entertains us couch potatoes. So, in a sense, sports is still informing the opinion but in a slightly more philosophical way. Go Panama!