The sailing trip was made fun with friends on the Fritz the Cat. What annoying me were the promises made by the captain. When I first shake his it was rough. I knew that he was a working person, not the soft type that uses pen or the computer a lot. I paid US$300 for Hope Too. Captain said it include everything. When I ask ‘what about this, what about that?’ he replied ‘I said everything and I mean everything, trust me’.
So the issue was he did not give me a proper import permit. He went to the immigration office and got a stamp on my owner’s registration paper and he try to convince me that it was everything that I need to have. I was not satisfied so I proceed the journey, left the boat, to Panama City. That was a Friday.
I couldn’t do much paperwork with the government officials on Friday late afternoon, Saturday and Sunday. meanwhile the captain ask me to keep in contact with Erica, which she promised us that she will meet us on Monday to bring us to the custom office in Panama city to get a proper paper.
We call her on Saturday and whole Sunday morning she didn’t pick up the mobile. Until they really pissed me off in the Sunday afternoon conversation. Erica told Sam many excuses for not to meet us, things like:
The US$300 was only documents on Columbia side.
the bike was initially charged US$375 but we charged you US$300.
We are busy on Monday.
then I talked to the captain, he ‘explained’ to me:
look, we have things to do on Monday. if you insist us to go to the custom with u then we have to charge you for the job we had to be done on Monday.
trust me, I had ridden central America with a bike, like you before. that piece of paper that I gave you is enough. (that was 11 years ago).
we will help you over the phone. Erica will sent u an email on where the custom is. If you have any problem, call us and we will talk to you.
we didn’t have a good sleep for the past 3 nights while waiting for Monday to come. luckily, on Monday morning, we reached the custom office, did the paperwork in 15 minutes, get back to the hostel, pack up and leave this busy city.
But we had wonderful time in the busy Panama city, not the usual experience. We went to a laundry shop across the street. it cost us US$1 for a whole bucket of sweaty and salty laundry. It was a Chinese owner. Out of the 3.2 million populations in Panama, 10% were Chinese. The lady owner had 4 kids here, which all 4 held Panama citizenship but not her. We get to know about her life being away from China and coming to Panama to survive. Nice chat with the locals here.
While waiting for the laundry, 2 Panamanians young chap started the conversation. They spoke understanding English and just friendly chat to know more friends, not about trying to know foreigners. Later we got to know from the Chinese lady owner that these 2 young guys were from the country side of Panama.
Forget about telling you about the old city of Panama and the museums but something that got me interested was the relationship of Panama and USA. The USA administration was not out of Panama until 1999. There were also some contract between 2 countries about the Panama Canal.
We escaped the busy city, getting away from backpackers and Israelis, did a camping by a beach of Pacific coast at Las Lajas before reaching Boquete. The property owner in Las Lajas welcomed us. One of the co-owner often walked pass us to have a short and warm conversation. The conversation was not about where had we been, where we come from and how big was Hope Too. It was a human conversation that we would like to reply with our heart.
Again, we were welcomed in Boquete with the rain. the only affordable lodging we could stay in with proper bike parking was taken up by the English speaking bag packers. Then we have to go around in the heavy rain to look for another affortable and safe place to stay. Boquete became very popular when an American magazine for the retired rated Boquete as four top places in the world to retire. Not to be surprise as the property here rose and American product rained everywhere here. From my point of view, Cameron Highlands of Malaysia could be rated as the first in the magazine.
While searching for a place to stay in Boquete, the black cloud is chasing us.
what you think about Panama? Jungles? Panama Canal? Panama City could be as modern as Singapore. Condominium rose and properties bloomed. It seems to be Dubai of Central America. We saw sign board that was selling the property, having a swimming pool being the second largest swimming pool in the world.
We will get to Costa Rica soon after I celebrate Sam’s birthday here. We need to go to San Jose, capital of Costa Rica to apply for Nicuaragua, El Savador and Mexico visas.