Panama, Panama - South Again?

So apparently Panama runs East to West, not North to South, who knew.  We have gone further south than where we were in Columbia now but thankfully on the other side of that awful Gap.

We rode out onto Panama soil about 100km Northeast of Panama City with our new friends from the cat and went on the search for the Aduana so our bikes would be there legally.  90km down the road, we arrived at the Airport where we were informed the Aduana was.  They turned us down and sent us down the road.  We arrived despite the awful directions and asked around for the office.  Found the office and got the people working away and it seemed as though things were looking up.  2 hours later, we were having our doubts.  I suppose when the workers keep making phone calls asking how to fill the papers, it is never a good sign.

After finally getting the papers, we headed into town.  Rossy went to an overlanders hangout (way better than our hostel).  Then we settled into our hostel.

The crew

Road from Port to Main Highway

Waiting for the Papers

Arriving in Panama City

We decided to spend the next day around the city.  The first thing we did was see the Canal.  This was convieniently right beside the hostel, so we didnt get too lost.  Looked through the museum and watched the movie of the history.  The canal is currently being expanded which you can see in the background of the picture.  The boat pictured has a mere 24 inches of clearance on either side and is aided with the tug boats (behind my head) and the rail cars at each corner.  Quite the sight to see the boats go through, although very slow...

At the Panama Canal.

After the museums for the day were done we set out on the town in search of a battery and some smaller parts.  Along the way we were pulled over by the cops, and asked for documentation.  This is no big deal usually, but I had unloaded my bike and along with it, all of my documetation.  The officer was not impressed and said he was going to impound the bike, fine me 200 US and then get Derrick to go get my license all while I sat in the station.  He called for a police escort for us and then it all seemed to sink in.  Trying to kill time and relax the tension, we were asking about directions to the battery shop and talking about the trip.  Then escort arrived and we thought our efforts had no effect.  The officer then with a smile across his face with mine still in shock, gives me the stern warning.  Then he instructs the escort to bring us to the battery shop and wishes us good luck in our travels.  An interesting situation indeed.

Cruising the streets of Panama

After getting the battery we headed out for the docks in the point where all the fancy boats come in.

Out to the ritzy part

From the point looking onto Panama

On the way back from the point we were taking a right turn and I braked for the red light in front of me (no right turns on reds down here).   At this point I saw an SUV coming at me in the rear view then the tires squeling against the pavement.  Bam, the SUV hits my tail, I jump off and the car comes to a hault just before running over my bike.  The people got out too see if I was alright (fine, not a scratch).  Then I asked if they could just back up so I could get my bike up to see the damage.  A bent license plate, bent shifter lever and hand guard.   No big deal in the scheme of things.  Shake his hand and drive back to the hostel.  I repaired everything before night fell.  Then it was off to diner at the mall (Air con) and then a movie (Fast 5).  Awful but entertaining movie.  Would recommend to the car nuts out there.  

Ready to tackle Pamana, lets see what excitment is waiting for us now.