February 22, 2008 GMT
DAY 24 - BRIDGE OF THE AMERICAS - Over Panama Canal - towards Panama City

"A GUEST NEVER FORGETS THE HOST WHO HAD TREATED HIM KINDLY". Homer


View Larger MapWe departed at 7, I gave the Nikon to shorty who took the photos of me crossing the bridge. The canal is very nice, ships and more ships at the bay, awaiting passage thru.

I have started to ask around about the sailboats that head to Cartagena via the Island of San Blás. I went to hotel voyager who u knew to have info about them. However, something else began to worry me and that was the area i was in, i am sure i was in some dark suburb of the city, which there are plenty of, because i was getting the impresion that they didn't want us around. What was even worse is that i HAD to stop for petrol as the reserve light was on. Guys at the station told me they didn't have any and to skip the next station as i would get robbed. I muscled the courage and went for the next station anyways.
We then concentrated on getting a place to stay. Street blocks don't really exist they are somewhat irregular and with many one way roads it was hard to get to any kind of destination. Finally we arrived at Zully's a backpacker's hotel. Zully is a young and fantastic woman, she told us that the boat to Cartagena had set off yesterday and that there wouldn't be another for a few days to come. Unfortunately, she didn't have any rooms available so she asked a friend to guide us to Hotel Del Carmen.
We struggled thru traffic and after a while arrived bed, internet and breakfast $US13 but once again there were no private rooms and shorty wasn't too keen on that. I would have liked to stay as there was a convention on advertising and many people of central and south america were attending.
I decided that i needed to get Angelina a service and so on our way over to Yamaha we would look for a place to stay. It wasn't easy as most places were either full or they asked for $US100 each + GST. We arrived at Yamaha (on 50th street) and i was told that motorbikes are not serviced there so i was sent to Brasil Avenue opposite supermarket 99. By now we were hot, dizzy and hungry. In the end they didn't even have time to service the bike so i just bought the oil filters ($US40 + an hour waiting as they mucked me around) and i will do it myself when we get to Colombia. In the meantime, Shorty got hold of a hotel for $US66 not far from the airport. I asked someone to point out which way to go and they sent us onto this real modern freeway, of course with toll $US1.40 and then $US1.25 (previously, upon entry to Panama there was a toll for 50 cents).
We got to the hotel and there were more than 300 rooms, lovely but no vacancies and it was really $US110 for a single.
Since we were near the airport we decided to visit Girag: Air Cargo, after asking for directions to the place some ten times we finally arrived. At Girag we were quoted $US550 for each bike but there was some paper work at customs we needed to fill. So back we headed a few kms towards customs where an officer handed us a sheet of paper with all the requirements needed. One of these was to go back into town and declare at the police station (D.I.J) that the bike had not been involved in any accidents.
To tell you the truth you never know what they will hit you with, i had investigated this issue before taking off and the information on the web said Girag would take care of the whole matter. information from Horizons mentioned that all that was needed was to hand in the bike, disconnect the battery and empty it of fuel, but yet it isn't that simple either.
Well in any case we got a hotel recommended to us close by Hotel El Encanto for $US35, but when we got there it was a lovers motel, even though the workers denied it, there was a love heart on the roof and the smell bahhh the smell of disinfectant...to tell the truth we were ready to get the hell out and go to Vera Cruz a beach spot north of Panama but Shorty and I hate riding the bike in city traffic having to look for a hotel.
I spoke to a cabbie and asked him if he could take us around the city the next day, he said it was $10 dollars for the hour, i didn't even think twice and agreed. There was a supermarket nearby we went to grab some food and got onto our emails.

Crossing over the Panama Canal towards Panama City
Sobre el puente.JPG Pasando el puente de las americas.JPG Dejando puente a panama centro.JPG

Puente de las Américas pasando el canal de Panamá y rumbo a Cuidad de Panamá

SAME TEXT HERE IN SPANISH: Dia 24 Jueves 21

Salimos a las 7 despues de tomar cafe, y una ducha fria que se olvidaron de decirnos.
desde que salimos casi todo poblado al costado de la carretera, le di la Nikon a shorty para que me sacara fotos pasando el puente.El Canal muy lindo, barcos y mas barcos en la baia esperando pasaje. empece a preguantar por el hotel voyager que tiene info sobre los veleros para Cartagena via las islas San Blas, cuando empece a preguntar la gente me empezo a dar miedo estaria en una parte fea de panama que tiene muchas, para peor se me ilumino la luz que estaba en reserva. fui a una estacion habia como die< negros mirandome y nadie me atendia, me arme de valor y fui a pedirle servicio y me mandaron a los baños, le dije gasolina me dijeron que no habia que no fuera a la que venia por el mismo camino porque me iban a robar que fuera a otra, no le hice caso y seguimos a las pocas cuadras vi la texaco y llene, cada caras.
seguimos a buscar hotel las cuadras no existen es todo irregular, estabamnos cerca pero no podiamos llegar con calles que one way,un hora despues llegamos a Zully´s place que es un backpacker hostel, Zully es una mujer joven y fantastica , me dijo que el bote grande habia salido ayer y no habria otro por varios dias, me dio el numero del cel y que la llamara de tarde, no tenia piezas privadas solo dormitorios, le agradeci y me fui a buscar la moto y shorty a media cuadra cuando pasamos por su lugar nos hacia seña que pararamos que tenia cama para nosotros que se habian ido dos, nos mostro atras para dejar las motos 6 en el dormitorio 8 dol cada uno, hable con shorty pero no quiso, le dije que o justo cuando un amigo de ella salia en auto lo paro y le dio intrucciones para que nos llevara al hotel del Carmen.
peleamos con el trafico despùes de un rato llegamos y nos despedimos del muchacho, entre al hotel y tuve que esperar a una negra linda y simpatica para que terminara con un cliente en el telefono, tenia solo dormitorios 8 personas mas internet y desayuno por 13 dol, las motos seguras en el frente cerrado de noche, yo me hubiese quedado porque hay una convencion de advertising y han venido de todo CA Y SA, pero shorty no le gusto asi que en el camino a yamaha encontrariamos algo, todos ocupados y a mas de 100 dol la nocjhe por cada uno mas impuestos, llegamos a yamaha en la calle 50 y no hacian servicio a las motos, me mandaron a avenida Brasil y doblar en Tumba Muerto enfretne el super 99, alla llegamos yo mareado del calor y hambre, me tuvieron de aqui y pa ya, al final no tenian tiempo para hacerlo, compre dos filtros de aceite y se lo hare en colombia, me salieron 40 us y una hora, Shorty tenia la dire de un hotel a un km del aeropuerto por 66 us pregunte para adonde, me mandaron ama carretera moderna y rapida pagamos toll antges de llegar a panama 0.50 y en esta 1.40 y mas adelante 1.25, entre al hotel que tenia como mas de 300 piezas, muy bonito y todo ocupado y a mas de 110 single 135 doble.
ya que estabamos cerca del aeropuerto, decidimos ir a cargo Girag que queda unos 8 kms del internacional. pregunte unas diez veces, llegamos , 550 por cada moto, pero hay qaue hacer los papeles, vuelta un par de kms y en una aduana un muchacho me diio una list de lo que necesitamos, una es regresar a la ciudad y hacer un documento con la policia que la moto no estruvo en ningun accidente. La verdad es que cada caso es distinto porque la info que teniamos de la web era todo facil y Girag se encargabada de todo, en horizons era ir a cargo no lo podes perder a la izuierda, le sacas la gasolina le desconectas la bateria y ta, no es asi.
pero preguntamos por hotel y nos mandaron a uno cerquita a 35 dol pero de cita, aunque todos decian que no en el techo un coraqzon con una flecha y el olor el olor a desinfestante. Hotel El Encanto, ya estabamos preparados para rajar jpara el norte otra vez e ir para Vera Cruz que una playa.
los dos odiamos andar en ciudades grandes con ese trafico de mierda buscando hoteles
Hable con un taxista que nos pasara a buscar para recorrer la ciudad de 8 a 2 de la tarde
10 dol la hora me dijo, barbaro son 7 horas me dice 70 dol yo ni pense y dije que si.
hay un super cerca y fuimnos a comer y contestar los mail.

Posted by Hugo Albini at February 22, 2008 10:14 AM GMT
 
 

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