Editor's Note: According to WordPress statistics few people are reading this blog and even fewer are clicking on the photos - some of which have informative captions. Given the depressing numbers this blog will go on hiatus with this post and return as a pure photo blog. Stay tuned.
The map is not entirely accurate. We traveled from El Valle (“Anton Valley” on the map) to a place about 40 km NW of Penonomé before heading to Panama City, but google maps doesn’t know about the road.
Bad new first: On Friday morning as we were leaving our hotel’s parking garage our solar panels were ripped off by the low ceiling. We were able to get into the garage with only a small amount of trouble, but the geometry differed on the way out. Needless to say we are livid with the hotel, whose employee told Chris “no problema” 4 times when she asked if our camper would fit in the garage. And he told her to go to the top level of the garage – the only place in the garage where the damage could have occurred.
OTOH, after airing down the truck’s tires to get out of the garage (and then airing them back up) we went into the belly of the beast – the Panamanian bureaucracy – and came out unscathed. We had to get the truck inspected (morning) and get a release from one the police agencies (afternoon). The process went a lot smoother than we expected based on other travelers’ reports.
The day before, Thursday, because both our vehicle temporary import permit and vehicle insurance expired 4 days(!) before we were due to surrender the truck at the port we had to renew both of them. The insurance renewal was a PITA. (The government of Panama, in its infinite wisdom, grants a 180-day tourist visa but only a 30-day temporary import permit (TIP) for vehicles. If the TIP expires big fines are due.)
To the photos!