I arrived home tired from work on a Friday evening and sat on the couch, then closed my eyes for a second to enjoy a moment of relaxation. This peaceful moment was interrupted by loud banging noises. I assumed it was just construction from the floor below but it really sounded like it was coming from my apartment. Then I glanced through the corner of my eye and saw a section of my tile floors starting to rise.
The hammering sound continued and I started to panic. Either my floor is collapsing, there is an earthquake, or a construction worker is going to pop out of my floor and say “Hola.” I hoped over the moving tile floors, grabbed my dogs, and ran out my apartment for safety.
I immediately called the manager of my apartment and explained the apocalyptic activity going on in my unit. He said not to worry and this is probably just the tile popping out of my floor due to bad insulation. He explained that this is happening in most new buildings in Panama due to incompetent people laying the tiles.
I went back up to my apartment, still not sure what I was going to be walking into. The noise had stopped (this is apparently the sound the insulation makes when it is breaking), and the tiles had stopped moving and were now sticking out of the floor. I was thankful it didn’t turn out to be any of the horrors I imagined and just an everyday problem of faulty construction.
Thankfully I am just renting this apartment so I didn’t have to pay for the tiles to be repaired. But just some advice for anyone buying an apartment in Panama, take a golf ball and bounce it on each tile. Place a mark on any of the tiles that make a hollow sound (this means it was not insulated properly) and have these fixed before you hand over your money so that you don’t have to experience The Rise of the Tile.