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Old 12-08-2013, 04:59 PM   #1471
lightcycle OP
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Originally Posted by Shomani View Post
How far are you going before X-mas and what's the plan for the holidays?
As always, no plans. Just somewhere where we can Skype with the family and friends for Christmas Day.

As for where we're going to be for the holidays, it's a safe bet that we're probably going to be somewhere in Colombia.
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Old 12-08-2013, 06:19 PM   #1472
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Gene, that photo is great but I believe if you read back a few posts you will see a clarification post that requested the calendar pictures to be of Neda, not Gene. Sorry buddy for having to point that out !
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:28 PM   #1473
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I'm sure the guard had a good chuckle over the asian guy trying to speak Tico with a bad gringo accent.
I lost it! Too funny... Keep up the great work guys. Thanks for sharing
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Old 12-09-2013, 03:18 PM   #1474
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hey

When do you plan to be in Ushuaia? We will be there about Jan 25 ish. Just about in Santiago! Sara
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Old 12-09-2013, 07:43 PM   #1475
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/121.html



You'd think that having crossed all these borders before that we'd know what to expect the second time through. However, at the Costa Rica/Panama border, we're presented with a new wrinkle. We need to show the border official that we are carrying $500. Cash. For each of us. What the faahh...?

Apparently a new rule has just come into effect requiring all travelers to show that they have "economic solvency", ie. that they can afford to be a tourist in Panama, and not panhandle on the streets of this country. Non-citizens also require proof that they'll return back to their country, like a plane or bus ticket. Since we're on our vehicles, that second requirement is waived, but it takes us some running around trying to find an ATM that will dispense $1,000 so we can wave it in front of the border official's face.

These new rules are ridiculous. Now any mugger is guaranteed $500 for every person he robs at the border. A car full of 5 people? That's $2,500 right there. Stupid!


Still rainy season in Panama City

It took us a couple of days of riding on the monotonous Pan American Highway to get to Panama City. As we got closer, Neda started developing a fever and by the time we checked into our hotel, she had a full blown flu and was bed-ridden for a few days. Kinda reminded me of the last time we were traveling this way, except that it was me that was traveling sick.


Modern city peeks through the old buildings of Casco Viejo

Panama City is pretty developed, there is the newer downtown district, a lot of run-down areas, and a historic part called Casco Viejo that is recently undergoing some renovations to attract tourists. After Neda recovered from her flu, we rode through some seedy sections of town to get to Casco Viejo.


Outside our restaurant - paid expensive tourist prices for lunch :(


The Old and the New


San Francisco de Asis church

Panama City was founded in 1519 and it stood for 152 years before being burnt to the ground by its own governor, in a scorched earth tactic to prevent it from being attacked and looted by the pirate Henry Morgan. A year later in 1672, a new city was built which would later become Casco Viejo, where we are walking around now.


Childish glee running amok in the streets!


Casco Viejo is built on a peninsula on the southwest section of Panama City Lots of fishing and swimming off the small malecon


We can see the new Panama City rising above the harbour across from the peninsula


Most of Casco Viejo is currently being renovated, these are the newer sections


Plaza Francia is a newer section and was originally the main square and is right on the waterfront

The plaza was built as a dedication to all the French workers who started on the Panama Canal in the 1880s. When France ran out of money, the United States took over the Canal, completing it in 1914. The obelisk is topped with French coque crowns and plaques detail the effort in building the Panama Canal.


Kuna Indians, who we first met on our sailing voyage on the Stahlratte through the San Blas islands, have set up stalls at the Plaza Francia


Kuna masks for sale


Colourful Kuna dresses





Busker playing at Plaza de Francia


The spires in the background are from the Cathedral in the Plaza de Independencia


Would never have guessed that she was bedridden just a couple of days ago!


No idea what this colourful building was in the distance


Neda hanging out at the Plaza de Francia, fish market in the background


Hanging out in doorways is a popular pastime in Casco Viejo
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Old 12-09-2013, 09:00 PM   #1476
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Nice update! Glad Neda's feeling better! That modern skyline of Panama City is really something. I had no idea. What the heck is driving that? That one building that looks like a giant glass twist drill is really wild!
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:50 PM   #1477
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Continuing to look forward to your updates......I just came back from a friend's place where we viewed 3 months worth of pics (edited down to 900) and vids of 6 Kamloops guys riding from Arizona to Ushuaia last year....and I head down to Baja for 6 weeks tomorrow...

The traveling juices are flowing....thanks for the injection
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Old 12-10-2013, 03:08 AM   #1478
Trane Francks
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Thanks for the update. Glad that Neda is feeling better!
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Old 12-10-2013, 03:48 AM   #1479
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Great report !! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:20 AM   #1480
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Thanks, Gene! I know you guys are getting tired, so I appreciate your good posts even more!!
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Old 12-10-2013, 07:39 AM   #1481
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Bravo!

Good to hear the sick bug is away.

Carry on.
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Old 12-10-2013, 04:38 PM   #1482
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Originally Posted by Blader54 View Post
That modern skyline of Panama City is really something. I had no idea. What the heck is driving that? That one building that looks like a giant glass twist drill is really wild!
That corkscrew building is the F&F Tower, one crazy-looking piece of architecture. We didn't venture into the downtown core, but here's a picture I dug up on the Internet.



Worth thumbing through Google images as well if you're an architecture buff:

https://www.google.com.co/search?q=f...dpr=1#imgdii=_

It was interesting, but not surprising, that most Latin American countries, even the poorest ones, have at least one large city which is a centre of business and commerce. The buildings and skyscrapers in Mexico City, Guatemala City, San Salvador and San Jose are indistinguishable from the skyline of any large North American city at first sight.

Unfortunately, the large cities are also where most of the crime is concentrated, not unlike North America.

Quote:
Originally Posted by motoged View Post
I just came back from a friend's place where we viewed 3 months worth of pics (edited down to 900) and vids of 6 Kamloops guys riding from Arizona to Ushuaia last year....and I head down to Baja for 6 weeks tomorrow...
Awesome! Have a safe ride!

When I get behind on the writeups, I dread opening up the folder with all the backlog of images I've taken.

No blog entries in a while? This is probably what's happening:


"Thumb through hundreds of pictures tonight, or watch another season of Bones...? Hmmmm"

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramdu View Post
I know you guys are getting tired, so I appreciate your good posts even more!!
Yup, and thanks!
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:46 AM   #1483
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Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/122.html



One morning, we rode out to visit the world-famous Panama Canal - or at least the Miraflores Lock, one of the three locks that comprise the Panama Canal system. It's the southern-most lock, about 15 minutes away from Panama city and is the first lock that ships go through when they approach from the Pacific Ocean. There are two other locks in the 80-km long Panama Canal: the Pedro Miguel lock, within visual distance of the Miraflores, and the Gatun Lock, which is closer to the Atlantic Ocean.

I heard an interesting comment the other day about how geopolitically, South America starts at the border between Panama and Colombia. However, geographically, the continents are physically separated by the waters of the Panama Canal, so anything south (uhm... east) of the canal could be considered South America. And that includes Panama City! So really, we've been in South America for quite a while now!


Neda waves to passengers aboard a cruise ship passing through the Miraflores Locks

You can watch ships traverse through the double locks of the Miraflores from a multi-storey visitor's centre. An announcer on the loudspeaker tells us interesting facts about the canal while we wait for each ship to line up, get pulled into position by tug boats and then small locomotives on either side of the canal. There are two lanes so two ships can cross at the same time.

Some interesting stats:

- Canal passage costs are dependent on the size, weight and cargo of the ship. Private yachts typically pay $1000-$2000, whereas the largest shipping commercial ships and tankers will pay up to $150,000!
- Even though the tolls are high, ships save two weeks of sailing time by not having to travel around the tip of South America, at a savings of $1,000,0000!
- The lowest toll ever paid was by Richard Hallibuton in 1928. He swam across the Panama Canal and was charged according to his body-weight: 38 cents!


180 degree view of the Miraflores from the Visitor Centre

- The maximum size ship that can pass through the Panama Canal is 106 ft wide, 950 ft long.
- Ships that approach this limit but do not exceed it are called Panamax ships. Newer ships that exceed this size are called Post-Panamax ships.
- In 2006, the Panama Canal announced new plans to build a third lane with larger dimensions to accommodate post-Panamax dimensions. The new standard, dubbed New Panamax, will be 180 x 1,400 ft! A football field only measures 160 x 360 ft. You'll be able to fit 3.5 football fields end-to-end comfortably in each New Panamax lock with lots of room to spare. That's insane!


Closeup of one of the gates in the lock


View from the visitor centre of a southbound ship passing through one of the double locks

We spent the entire morning just watching ships go in and out of the Miraflores Lock. It's an astounding engineering feat accomplished on such a grand level. You never get tired of watching it. I just found out that the Panama Canal is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern (Industrial) World. No surprise!


It takes a ship between 8-10 hours to cross all three locks of the Panama Canal, but you can cross the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel in two minutes!

In the video above, the ship is traveling north from the Pacific through the double-locks of the Miraflores first, and then through the single lock of Pedro Miguel. Although it takes 8-10 hours to make the complete crossing from ocean-to-ocean, you can't just show up as spots are booked up for at least a week out. Some vessels book one year in advance
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:49 AM   #1484
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lightcycle View Post
\

"Thumb through hundreds of pictures tonight, or watch another season of Bones...? Hmmmm"


I'm thinking that looks a lot like Techo Azules in Taganga. Could be wrong though. Hope to see you down the road amigos.

Your ADVpal,
Juan Medellin

PS. I'd take Bones on netflix over ride reporting any day. But that's just me. Okay, I may have Aspergers, and love the protagonist.
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:51 AM   #1485
trespalacios
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Hey Gene and Neda,

I have been enjoying your great report in lurking mode. Your pictures are awesome. My favorute ones so far are from Utah.

Are you guys already in Colombia?
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