Here in the US, we have Mischief Night, which falls on Halloween Eve. In Boquete, Panama, there may be something called Mischief Day, which is celebrated just about anytime.
As you’ll see in Random Travel Moment #3, a few kids plus a cat (any color–not just black) can equal… midday mischief. Or (and I’m wondering what you think) something slightly beyond.
I think the cat’s (and the kids’) eyes tell the story…
Where/When: The Pianista Trail, Boquete, Panama
I’d just finished hiking the trail and was heading back to catch a taxi. I’d seen only two people along the way and figured that was it—until I came upon these kids living near the river. I just had to stop and chat. First of all, they were so cute. Second of all, they were obviously making mischief and I wanted to see what they were up to.
Who: Ngöbe-Buglé Children and Their Pet
As soon as I saw them, I knew there were Ngöbe-Buglé, also known as Guaymíes—the local indigenous. They bore a strong resemblance to the children I’d met the day before while volunteering at a local school.
What: Making Mischief or Tormenting a Cat?
The kids were having seemingly innocent fun with their cat. The girl loved to pick it up and squeeze it (and sometime a little bit too hard) while her siblings and cousins laughed. I began to wonder if it was suffering just a tiny bit.
At one point, I inquired (in Spanish) about what the victim–I mean, cat– might be feeling. I think I gave the kids my “teacher look,” too. Of course, it meant nothing. They simply giggled more and continued to play with (manhandle?) the cat.
The day before, when I volunteered locally, I learned that many Ngöbe kids walk for a hour to school and arrive hungry. Many only get a partial education. Their lives are not easy. I didn’t like watching the cat be manhandled, but I was happy to see the kids having some fun.
Do you think these kids took things a little too far with the cat? Did they know they might have been hurting it? Or was it all innocent?
While traveling, do stop and chat with the children you meet? Do you find that they’re more ‘in the moment’ than adults? What kind of mischief have you noticed kids making? Where were you traveling and what were they doing?
PS: Don’t you just love the look on this boy’s face? I do!
Can’t get enough?
If you enjoyed this, then check out the other Random Travel Moments; vicarious thrills guaranteed no matter where the C Bus stops!
You might also enjoy Trippy Travel Photos–a game I created a while back where readers guess the identity and location of the photo–what the heck it was and where I took it.