Today we reached the end of the road in Central America! As you cannot continue to drive from Panana to Colombia, we need to get the car in a container on a boat. The infamous ‘Darien Gap‘ is a large swamp area that you cannot drive through even if you tried. Additionally it is very dangerous there as the FARC rebels tend to hide out there every now and then. The gap in the road is only 160km, but it will take us close to 2 weeks to complete the shipping process.
We woke up this morning on the beach after a broken sleep – apparently the neighbours had planned a late night party still (a sincere thank you from all those who where already sleeping.. not). We left the campsite around 7:00am to complete the drive to Panama City. The road today did not offer a lot of variation – mostly it was a nicely paved highway. We stopped to make some copies of our car documents and e-mailed back and forth with our shipping partners Nate and Sarah, who we look forward to meet tomorrow morning! Prepare yourself for plenty of blog posts about documentations, stamps, delays and frustration over the next days! 🙂
Patrick had been looking forward to seeing the Panama canal for months but unfortunately a few kilometers before we arrived there the rain came pouring down so we didn’t manage to see much (note from the driver: “I did not get to see anything – I only saw the suicide prevention fences across the bridge.”). We’ll go back in a few days to check it out in better weather, once the shipping process has started. The canal is an engineering wonder and has even inspired a beautiful palindrome: “a man, a plan, a canal, Panama!” *We crossed the canal over the ‘Bridge of the Americas‘ which spans 344m across the canal. After the bridge we navigated our way through the flooded streets to our place for the next 5 nights – no more sleeping in the car until the shipping process is over.
Tonight we are staying at the ‘Panama by Luis‘ hostel within Panama City. It took us a while to locate it as the coordinates on booking.com where a little off, but luckily the internet at the local McDonald’s and GoogleMaps helped us find the correct location. Once our room was cleaned (the rain had caused some mess inside), we worked up on our laundry and went to the local supermarket to fill up on some food supplies. Let’s see how the hostel oven can manage our lasagna – we have been looking forward to that as well!
So come out tonight
I’ll take you for a ride
This steamy ol’ Wagon
The radio is getting wild
* I once read that the longer version is “A man, a plan, an American attempt to control shipping routes in the Western Hemisphere, Panama!”, but that’s hardly a palindrome