We were on a mission to figure out a different route to get to Columbia than paying for a sell boat. Clay headed into town to figure out what was going on with his bike, hoping that all he needed to do was replace his sprockets and chain. I walked along the river and made it from old town to banking area which was a nice morning walking around town. We grabbed lunch and a taxi when Clay got back without luck until tomorrow for his bike. We headed to the Sailboat ports to see if we could talk our way onto a boat for cooking, no luck. But it was a nice day of bouncing around the out skirts of town. On our way out of our hostel the Taxi driver told us not to drive into this ghetto looking area then he made a gun with his hand and went bang bang bang bang. Ugh what? Yeah we already drove through this area, that’s where Clay almost stopped because we were lost and I blasted past not about to stop and we made it out fine. Nick a Canadian rider said he was riding through and got hit in the head with a soccer ball form a balcony, haha.
Getting back to the hostel we shot out a couple of emails to a few captains and hostels that help set up sailboats and bikes for Columbia. We went through our Pros and Cons for how to get to Columbia;
My two options.
First one is the usually chosen one, pay $850 get on a boat on Thursday February the 4th and be there on the 8th, riding through Columbia by the 9th, everything included and paper work.
Pro's: Get there quickly, hassle free, they do all of the paperwork, one boat, pretty straight forward, party hostel on the water, get on my way toward the Southern Tip before it snow without having to rush to much.
Con's: Everyone does it, not that much adrenaline, $$$$$$$$$$$, to straight forward
Second head down the East coast catch a Cargo to the border of Panama/ Columbia catch two more small boats until you land in Turbo Columbia.
Pro's: ADRENALINE, adventure, not many do it this way, the unknown, cheap
Con's: Could take up to three weeks thus making me rush through a country so I can get to the South before it snows, could get stuck somewhere, could be a huge headache with my horrible Spanish, have to get allot of paperwork done, can't get it done till Monday so I won't start looking for boat until earliest on Tuesday.
Had a few beers and great story telling time with Joel from NZ and Nick from BC, trading stories of our adventures so far. We headed to bed. We were tired of stressing over it and knowing that the small boat way could save money it could take easily over 4-5 times as long. So we finally said without knowing what the other was going to do that we were going to catch this Sailboat through the islands of San Blas leaving on the 4th. Clay woke up early and headed back to the Kawasaki shop, I headed to the clinic in town. No doctor in until Monday so I headed into town and Western Unioned 100 bucks each to the captain to save our spot on the boat. We ran all around picking up a few odds and ends that we needed for the trip. One day we jumped on the bikes and headed out to find the Panama Locks, we got lost and turned around a few times but finally made our way. Not going to lie they were a little smaller than I had expected. They were amazing and we lucked out to catch 12 sailboats four groups of three tied together come through get water dropped down and then pass through the lock and out toward the Pacific side from the Atlantic. For the big cargo boats to get through it cost them over 100,000 bucks... crazy!!! We went through the Museum, so amazing that not too much has changed of the mechanics of how it works pretty brilliantly simply. I promised my brother In-law Kyle that I would go to a Pizza Place in the city for him. He lived here when he was a kid and has come back a few times to visit and swears that the pizza was amazing. I would have to agree hands down the best pizza in Central America. The place is called Napoli and if you come to Panama there are two go to the one in the city (the banking area) fancy but so so delicious. We had one huge pizza there specialty and a small chicken one and each paid 7 bucks and were all full!! We walked across to the Casino I lost to bucks and then we haggled with 7 different Taxi’s until we got a good deal back to our hostel.
Clay and I headed back to the Clinic this morning, he was having trouble with his eye and my feet were still messed up. Basically for the past two weeks my shins swelled up then my feet swelled up but it comes and goes and is very itchy at times. But the worst part about it that every time I lay down I get up and it hurts a lot to walk for the first 5 minutes or so like horrible arthritis. We paid 50 cents got checked up and Clay paid an extra 2 bucks for drops and was good to go. She thinks for me it is uric acid levels form eating unhealthy cheap street food, lots of beer, and not a lot of exercise since I sit on a motorcycle most days. I have a blood test tomorrow morning will get the results back Weds morning and make my way to the East coast to get my bike loaded on the boat by Friday. (Wish me luck!!) I had my last dinner at 7 can’t eat or drink anything other than water until the test in the morning.. No beer for me tonight…. Oh well.. I really like the city, safe but at the same time places you never want to go (already went there but we won’t talk about that…haha)