January 10, 2011
It’s a holiday in Panama today. The guy at BMW told me the bike would be ready today. He had the look of a seasoned dope smoker. Go figure he would have forgot. Dummy.
I haven’t done much in the city yet except walk around. This city is extremely modern. It is the most advanced I have seen since leaving the US. The sky scrapers remind me of Hong Kong or Kuala Lumpur. Everywhere there is new construction. This country is really on he move. But there are still a great many people that lack basic education. Typically public schools run from about 9am to 12:30pm. In Santa Catalina I never saw the school open once. Well maybe once. This is very very typical for the campasino crowd. The rich get richer and the poor remain the same. I took a lot of pictures of buildings.
There are a lot of banks in panama. I asked someone how may banks were in Panama and was told about 120. Their GDP in 2008 was 11.2%, 2009 9.2% and in 2010 2.4%. WOW. Even 2.4% is not bad. This is a country on the move.
Yesterday I went to the Miraflores locks. I was really surprised how narrow the locks are. They are only 33.5m wide.
Ships pay to pass through according to their weight. The average fee is $USD30,000. The highest amount paid was in 2001 by a French cruise ship - $USD200,000. The lowest amount paid was in 1928 by some dude who swam through - $USD0.36. 14,000 ships pass through each year.
They are building a 3rd set of locks to accommodate post-Panamax ships. The cost is $USD5.25bb and it will be finished in 2012. Currently the canal can only handle ships carrying up to 4000 containers. The new locks will be able to take ships carrying 10,000 containers.
I have emailed a hostel that lists boats, shipping dates and availability. I have emailed them and am waiting an answer. I may leave as early as the 15th. We’ll see.
January 14, 2010
Another day in Panama City. It’s starting to grow on me - like moss. This rock has to roll. I walked down to BMW today and got blisters on my feet. Electra will be ready by Monday but she needs part that have to be ordered from Germany. She is still drivable so I will place the order with BMW Bogotá and when I get there they will be waiting. While at BMW I saw a large gathering of police behind the shop and up the street a ways. I asked the shop guys what it was all about and they said someone had been kidnapped. Yikes. My worst fear when traveling. I hope it’s not a premonition. Kidnappings are very rare in Panama but common in Colombia.
I booked a boat to take me and the bike from Panama to Colombia. She’s called the SY MODUS VIVEND. She sails on the 24th. What to do until then? Maybe I’ll take a drive to the Caribbean side to see what’s shaken. That’s where the boat leaves from so I might as well get comfortable with the area. There is not many places I can drive to. Just a lot of jungle and a lot of sweat. I could go to the Gatun locks. Maybe that’s what I’ll do.
I am trying to think about what to write and nothing is coming to mind.
/mixes another drink.
I am really getting sick of the old city. I went downtown on my way to BMW. It was different. Kind of like walking downtown Vancouver. Sorta.
The weather was good today. Only a little rain. It rains here almost everyday – only a little though. I have had only one day of serious rain.