In the morning I head to the famous Panama canal. I first heard of this as a child in grade three when my teacher taught us about Palindromes. A man a plan a canal panama. It was interesting to finally see first hand the inspiration for this play on words. Learning about the incredible engineering was awesome and watching the huge ships pass through the narrow locks was amazing but the heat was stifling.
In the evening pulling up to a hostel recommended to me by a man on the road, I meet up with Alison
. Another solo female rider who I had occasionally conversed with on the Internet. We talked bikes and boys as she is also riding with her boyfriend at home.
Walking through Panama city is amazing. For the last of central America for me it feels like I have actually been transported into the USA. Crazy skyscrapers and over passes. Beautiful in its own way but a world away from where I have been.
I have bought a ticket to fly from Bogotá to the states for Christmas to see Marcin, and the pressure of having a deadline to catch the boat has been building up over days as I pushed too the timeline. We head off in the morning, not wanting to get up crazily early we compromise on time. Then Alison’s bike doesn’t want to start! After some failed attempts to push start it on the flat streets of Panama city rush hour, I pull apart my bike and give her a jump start.
I stole this image from Alison’s website
– so go there to check out her ride! Thanks Alison!
I am feeling rushed. So much of my time directed to making this boat. I don't want to miss it. I ride like Mario taught me blazing the way through the traffic. Then we get caught in long line ups for toll ways and protests. Alison cant stop as her bike will overheat so we push our way past all the cars, we get to the end of a road block and they let us through. Finally we are on a clear road heading through the forest toward the dock. But we are at least an hour and a half late. I am stressed. Then we round the corner to 5 other bikes, ahhh. I physically breathe a sigh of relief. They wont go without us all….
But we arrive, bikes gathering and wait in the hot sun for another few hours. Latin American time. I feel stupid for getting so stressed about missing the boat.
We load the bikes by crane and head off to an island to stay for dinner and the evening.
I am not going to write too much about the crossing as I am so far behind, my camera decided to pack it in, and it has been written up so well by many of the other riders on the same crossing.
But in a quick overview it was lovely at times, nauseous at times with rolling seas and at one point a broken engine half way to Columbia, and very strange to be with so many english speakers again after so long- I think Phil's report might mirror to a slight degree a little of my feelings. We talked a little about the hermit sitting on your shoulder during solo travel. I think I build up an amour of being solo to cope with the isolation, become more reflective and quiet. And so to be part of a group for so long, while with amazing people, who I still keep in contact with, it is a huge change.
So, instead of repeating others I will leave you with links to their great blogs and reports
Paul Stewart http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=809883
Alex and Andrea - http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...810189&page=17
- they also have a lovely video about being on the boat so check that out!