Sunday, December 29, 2013

December 28, 2013, Panama

We crossed into Panama this morning, it took about a half hour to stamp out of Costa Rica and another hour to enter Panama. Once again the border crossings are an excellent opportunity to meet people and Diana is kept busy with people curious about our travels from Canada. She has all the fun at the borders while I run around trying to get all the documentation done correctly. We stamped out of Costa Rica on our own but use a helper to enter Panama as there are so many steps involved which takes you to about 8 different offices before you can finally cross the border.
Panamanian back road.
When I return to the bike Diana is talking with Edgar who is a director with McDonalds and also rides a BMW. We swap business cards and Edgar gives us advice on where to ride, where to watch for police and some information about cities we will be passing through.

We arrive at Santiago, fuel up and decide that we need an air conditioned break at McDonalds. I have to do a u turn which happens to be directly in front of the police station but the only cop is on the other side of a fence, no problema (as they say here). After our break I need to do another u turn and as soon as I start turning I see the sign for the Policia station, I've never seen two police stations within a block of each other in my life. This time I'm not so fortunate as a cop is motioning me to pull over, we come to a mutual understanding, neither of us understands the other. After providing license, registration and passport he points at the no u turn sign and gets the message across that I was not to turn where I did. Diana shook her finger at me and yelled no returno, no returno which he was satisfied with and let us go on our way. Yup, Edgar did tell me to watch for police in Santiago.

Another gentleman Diana met was Oscar who has a motorcycle repair shop just north of San Jose that works on all the big brands of motorcycles.
 Panama countryside.

We see a sign for Hotel Canadian in Chame, Panama and learn that Ralph who owns it is from Watson Lake, Yukon and knew my sister Roxanne from her days at NAPA in Yellowknife. While trading stories over a few cervezas we meet Cal who is here for 4 months (from Edmonton) and Doug who is from Tagish, Yukon. They tell us the bar is open 28-1/2 hours a day and to keep track of your bar tab you stack your empties in a certain area on the bar and pay at the end of your stay. At a $1.25 a beer it's the same price as bottled water or Coke.

This evening we found out the ferry to Columbia is not allowed to dock until permits are issued and the first sailing would be January 17th not January 7th as was posted last week. We have decided to spend the extra money and book the Stahlratte for January 3rd and get to Columbia where the real adventure begins. Here's the link if you want to know more about the 100 year old sailboat:

1 comment:

  1. Let the adventure begin. Just read the directions on how to get to the boat. "a rest of way has to be done by a canoa to get you down a river through there san blas djungle" Hope you don't hear any banjo's along the way ;)