I met Victoria back in 2004 while doing a development project with the Ministry of Labor in Guatemala. She was the Development Officer responsible for the labor sector for USAID in Central America and was my main counterpart. We hit it off immediately, as she was very enthusiastic of the work we had been doing. Beginning in 2002, we modernized and transformed the institution by integrating technology across many of the key functions, including the Ministry's first connection to the Internet - mind you this was in 2002. This first project that began in Guatemala would, under her tutelage, be replicated across the region in another five other countries as part of a development program that was part of the CAFTA free trade agreements. What started then as a collegial relationship grew into a great friendship that has lasted until today.
Throughout the years Victoria had always invited me and my wife to stay at her house in San Carlos, but we really never had the opportunity and as a sure as day, when she read I was going on this crazy trip, she sent me a note and let me know that her house was at my disposal. No need to mention it twice. This was just what I needed after a few long days of riding in the rain.
I would get a chance to dry out, do a full laundry run in real actual washing machines and give my riding gear a much needed wash.
I spent two days in San Carlos just relaxing, recharging and getting ready for the next leg. This is the perfect place for this.
I also used the time to catch up a bit on my writing and I actually attended our Monday morning staff meeting - Skype is AWESOME!
The region has in recent years undergone some serious development as it is about an hour and half from Panama City and many people use this as a weekend getaway region. Many of the main hotel chains have opened up resorts nearby, but the little town of San Carlos seems untouched by time.
Ok, time to play tourist and onto Panama City