31 August, 2012

Day 57, 267km: Into Panama

In the morning the electricity was back so I did a bit of planning since I was near the border with Panama. I ended up leaving the hotel around 11am. There wasn't much of a breakfast there and I had exhausted my food supply the night before so I left hungry. I didn't want to stop until after I passed the border with Panama, thinking there would probably be a lot of people there. (That's the only land border Panama has if I'm not mistaken).

Raced to the border
 So I drove at a pretty unreasonable pace, thinking that every truck and jeep I passed would be one less at the border queue.
 And god that border was a pain in the a**. There weren't any helpers or any kind of hassle. Simply a lot of people and a very slow process. It took me 3 hours to clear myself and the bike into Panama.

Costa Rica - Panama border crossing
So these three hours were spent mostly in the area you see above, on the Panamian side of the border. Long queues at each booth and a lot of writing stuff down a form, typing it on a computer, printing and signing it, passing it to another office, typing it on a computer, printing and signing it ... you get the idea. This border really tested the limits of my patience. What didn't help is that the officials here are as you'd expect them in France or in the USA, rude and offering absolutely zero help to travelers.
I was very happy once the paperwork was all done. Right when it started to rain really bad.

Waited for 30 minutes at this bus stop
I was headed to the next "big city" where I would likely find a hotel. The city of David, 80km away from the border. Well the rain got really bad and I thought I'd wait for it to calm down. It didn't. After 30 minutes at the bus stop pictured above and daylight soon coming to an end I decided to go.

Better be driving under the rain than under the rain at night, I thought. My stuff was still wet from the day before anyway.

Made it to a small hotel in David when I again unpacked my completely soaked stuff. Now this time I realized that rain somehow got into my tank bag. Which is really bad since that's where I keep my camera, phone, passport and the bike's document. It wasn't completely filled with rain but enough to damage some of the bike's papers. I have to see if I can get new ones from Canada or I'll probably get in trouble next time I encounter a zealous border official.

That wasn't really a good day!

Cheers anyway ;)
Guillaume

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