Last stop before South America – Panama, we salute you…

Posted 21 Oct 2010
This post had been posted on 2010.10.21, at our previous blog site.
It is being re-posted so that all our blogs are available at a single location.
Boutique Parking -literally. When the owner of the rental cabin also operates a boutique, things get creative when it comes to finding a secure place to store the bikes overnight.

PANAMA, THE DARIEN GAP COUNTRY

Entering Panama. Sitting by the bikes @ the Costa Rica Aduana -means ‘border’ in Spanish-, while Seniz is taking care of the tedious documentation tasks.

A funny smell of wet clothes mixed with our very own sweat and exhaust smoke makes me feel, well, damp. It’s kinda like a seaweed smell, more like a stink than a smell of a natural thing though. Travelling in a 1-piece rain suit -remember the Pirelli man- just aggrevates the stink, by keeping your sweat inside for as long as you ride, which in our case was 4 hours today. Yes, we managed to start the engines @ 10 AM today, our new record for October!

Our Costa Rica days did not go as planned, abiding the one and only rule that has dominated our entire journey so far:
Do not make any plans, as they will fail within a minute anyway.

Having gathered much of the lost documentation back -see previous post for details-, we are trying to catch our ship that will sail us to Columbia.

Remembering from our geography classes, particularly the one that describes how the Central America is connected to South America, here is the story of the infamous Darien Gap:
Yes, the 2 continents are connected.

But…
By a very wet, muddy, foresty, rivery, no-laws-apply territory of 100 miles, that is simply not passable by any motorized vehicle.

This leaves the option of air transfer, for those of us that are fortunate enough to afford it.

For the rest of us -the ‘backpackers’ category-, the final option is by sea.

Technically, that is.

We have heard countless horror stories of bike owners being asked for ‘extra’ fees, waay in the middle of the ocean, some kind of act, that results in the motorbike being dumped into the cool ocean waters, if the ransom is not paid.

This has resulted in a small list of trustworthy ships being used by us, bikers.

You need to book well in advance for these nicer ships, as they may sell out well in advance.

Our ship is called Stahl Ratte -meaning ‘Steel Rat’ in German-. Like us, the ship is originally from Europe. Because of all this background information, we have formed a nice relation with our Steel Rat, even before boarding it.

One thing we do not want is ‘missing the sail date.’

We should be able to catch it, unless we have 5 flat tires per day, the bridges get washed away because of the overwhelmingly heavy rain, or the documents are lost once again.

Wait, there is light at the end of the tunnel:

Our ship will take its time, and will reach Columbia in 8 days, rather than the usual time of 3 days. Those 5 extra days will be spent meeting and sharing the lives of the Kuna People.

These folks are a nation of ~ 200,000 people who have decided to live in the Caribbean Sea and by the Caribbean coast of Panama-Columbia border. They have their own government, religion, economics, etc… Nobody interferes with them, and they get along with their lives pretty well, I’ve heard.

We’re enthusiastically looking forward to that unusual, non-touristy encounter of our trip for 2 months now. One other motorbiker friend of ours described this as the ‘highlight’ of his trip so far. Well, with options like snorkelling on Caribbean Sea, and seeing a local tribe in their homeland, I couldn’t agree more…

Until next time… Don’t forget to check the gallery, where we publish the bulk of our photos…

Hint: A new website is coming along, just keep checking these pages….

Take care,

Emrah & Seniz
www.burinata.com

This was our version of Tarantula, right under our food table, inside our room. Took us 5 minutes to trap him in a plastic plate, and throw him outside, like 50 metres or so away.

It's always a good idea to have a slice of watermelon before kick-off

A regular day at the border. Red car, white truck, rain, white building, bananas, misc. fruits, people, even more people, more cars, stores, and finally customs...

“]”]

A nice piece of work, a true motor-cycle. Kudos...

Yes. This is it. Last stop before South America. Can you believe it?

Intelligent use of the umbrella by a Customs Officer in Panama, the RainCity of Central America -just when you thought Guatemala was the champion in that category-

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