Sunday, December 7, 2008

Along the Pacific

Greetings from Panama City. After about 7400 miles and 9 weeks of travel, we have crossed the Panama Canal! Now we’re tucked away snugly in the house of Maria Salazar, a friend Marcela has had since her days as a student at the University of Oregon.
The Sueños Tranquilos Hotel and Delicias De Mi Tierra Restaurant we stayed at deserves another note, not just because of the very gracious manager Raul: a short hike up from there, the road fords a small river with an “adventurous” log bridge for pedestrians. On the other side awaits an interesting bamboo forest, where we saw a “freeway” full of leaf-cutter ants.
We left this place in Uvita, Costa Rica, on Tuesday and drove to the border with Panama at Paso Canoa. Once again, Marcela completed the border crossing process without “help” from the tramitadores; it took 2 hours, but I estimate it would have taken only 20 minutes, had the officials tried caffeinated coffee that morning...
We drove on to David, where we camped at the Hotel Fiesta, from where we posted the last update. It too is a friendly place, where we paid only $5 for the internet access, and where we could use the bathrooms and showers by the pool.
Unfortunately, the Caribbean coast of Panama and Costa Rica still is an inaccessible morass after the recent flooding, so we just cruised on the Panamerican highway to Playa Santa Clara on the Pacific coast; we had read about this place in the Halkyard’s book “99 Days to Panama.” We also visited the XSmemories Hotel and RV Park, but found the beach more appealing for our purposes.
That beach was a great place to rest up before hitting the busy city and starting the next phase of our trip: getting to Colombia. We expect to be here about a week to get this all sorted out, and we’ll report back when we do.

No comments: