Our neighbor Noreiga (Drive day 111 minus 14 years)

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A few miles from XS Memories the Pan-American Highway dissects an old military base. Rio Hato was the pride of General Manuel Noriega in the 80s, conveniently he built a beach house practically on the end of the runway.

1019a Panama 11Which didn’t work out so well for him in 1989 when the US bombed it. Nothing much has been repaired in the decades since and the empty base is a haunting, weeded-over testament to greed and corruption.

1019b pnm airtowerThere’s even a drug twist to the story. The 50 kilograms of cocaine that US soldiers claimed they found on site turned out to be tamale flour.

1019c pnm gaurd tower

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.

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