Casco Antiguo, San Felipe
Panama City, Panama
Panama Interviews: Casco Viejo Bien Cuidao’s
All over Panama City, the one thing that is rarely missing on the streets where there is parking is a bien cuidao, Casco Viejo is no exception. The phrase, bien cuidado means “good lookout” which gets shorten to bien cuidao. The bien cuidaos are always on our streets doing the odd jobs such as washing cars for residents, carrying groceries or directing tourists to nearby shops and restaurants. They also provide maintenance services for the cars such as polishing, interior cleaning, etc. or painting buildings around their block.
We had the opportunity to catch one of our bien cuidao’s in Casco Viejo cleaning a car that had tar all over the exterior. His name is Julio, he is 35 years old and we call him “El Lobo”. Julio lives in Don Bosco, Terramar and rides one of the Diablo Rojos to work every morning to do whatever he can to earn some honest money.
Julio likes Casco Viejo because it a peaceful and quiet place. In addition to cleaning and taking care of the cars in our neighborhood he also gets some small construction jobs. “This is just a temporary job” he said “the idea is to do something”; he would like to work on a construction project as a contractor.
So, the next time you park on a street guarded by a bien cuidao, for twenty five cents, he’ll help you park and keep an eye on your car. For $2.00, get the exterior washed. You’ll be helping him make a simple living.