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Out of the bubble......... One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.-- Henry Miller

Panama City January 31st-February 3rd

PANAMA | Wednesday, 13 February 2013 | Views [835]

Our most wonderful hosts in Panama City, Now the city has a whole new meaning for us!

Our most wonderful hosts in Panama City, Now the city has a whole new meaning for us!

Panama City- here we come!

The connection in Panama City turned out to be an old good friend of mine (just kidding....but it really felt like that!!).
OK, first of all passing over the Panama Canal was a thrill...how can it not be? The brutal head wind still slowed us down, but we stopped in the middle of the American Bridge and took a picture...trucks speeding past us, no shoulder or room for cyclist and the road in bad enough shape to make me wonder if the thing is going to collapse right under us. But, I truly was too excited to worry!
Next stop was the old town of Casco Viejo on the little peninsula - we turned too early and wound up riding through some scary looking streets, slums with some scary looking people starring and yelling at us......At a youth-hostel way down the peninsula and in a "safer part" we connected with the internet and my new couch connection had sent me her full addresses and was ready to have us come over. Sure, it was only mid day and we were out of there and on our way to downtown Panama City.
Nina greeted us warmly with hugs and kisses like a friend, found a place in the garage for our bikes and led us to the 28th floor of the apartment building to her home. We were in awe about the view and everything......This is the way to experience Panama City, from the top! We got to wash ourselves, our laundry, were fed dinner and all kinds of goodies. A resting place for soul and body, mind and spirit. Nina and her husband Michael (who, of all people is the chief engineer of the expansion of the Panama Canal - we couldn't be in a better place to learn and be more curious...) took us in like long lost, old friends and there was still plenty unknown left to get to know each other. ....interesting conversations were just part of it. This couple is getting ready for a cycle tour in England. It is SO FUN to talk about the good parts, but also the hard parts about cycling.  I couldn't get enough of those two....
We informed them that we are looking for a safe, cheap and easy way around the Darien Gap and across the border to Columbia - I was pretty sure at that point that it would take us at least a week to find a plan, but........no such luck: Air Panama was actually booked for a month but they had two seats for this Sunday (and it was Friday - we  had arrived on Thursday the 31st), so they said - oh, and the bikes needed to be disassembled and put in boxes. Wow, that was fast. I didn't want to leave that quickly, but, our plan to fly to Puerto Obaldia (a tiny village right before the border to Columbia on the Caribbean side still in Panama with no roads, only water and air access), taking a boat to Capurgana ( first little village behind the border in Columbia with no roads and only plane and boat access) and from there another boat to Turbo where there seemed to be a road connection to the rest of Columbia, appeared to be an excellent one. There was still a chance they wouldn't take us on this flight, because we had no intension of dissembling our bicycles and find boxes for them
James spent an entire day researching this plan and booking the flights, while I goofed around connecting with my loved ones on skype and email. The next day (Saturday our only day in P.C.) we rode to the Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal and tried our best to get lost in Panama City, finding the best ice cream I had in my entire life (and I had LOTS - don't forget....I am 53 years old!). We got home later than we thought and found our new friends wondering where we had been all day...We spent the rest of this wonderful evening on the balcony with Nina and Michael, good wine, good conversation and fireworks going off in the distance. It was almost romantic, well, it actually was.....come to think of it!

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Wearing an Indigenous helmet at the museum in Jama

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