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Saturday, February 22, 2014

GO 78, GO!!! | Costa Rica >>> Panama

I woke up this morning in David, Panama after a brief stopover.  I originally planned a couple of nights in David, but I wasn't a fan of the city, so decided to book it to Panama City today.  And book it I did!  The racer in me came out and I made it from David to Panama in 4 1/2 hours, which is a record (if you take into account the two gas stops and 30min police detour).  Hence the name of this post...  GO 78, GO!!!  

The "police detour" was totally my fault.  I failed to realize that there are a $hitload of police radar points in Panama.  I was cruising at 120k+ in an 80k zone and split between two cars directly in front of Manuel (my new friend - the police officer).  He waved me over and I pulled to the side immediately.  He came strolling over and immediately pulled out the infraction/ticket book.  He told me that he was going to write two tickets.  One for splitting between vehicles, and one for speeding.  After chatting for awhile and pleading ignorance and gringo stupidity, he laughed and said he would drop it to just speeding.  As he began to write, I started chatting more and joking with him to see if I could get him to let me off with a warning.  He was a cheerful guy and seemed to be in a good mood.  I also got it out of him that he is a lifelong moto fan.  I showed him some photos of the racing days and from my trip.  He looked at me and asked "are you sorry?".  I said, "of course...  lo siento!  It won't happen again".  He said, "ok amigo, be careful and slow down".  So all-in-all, the 30min police detour could've been much worse.  Thanks Manuel!!!  

In my last post I mentioned that I would be leaving Manuel Antonio and exploring more of Costa Rica and possibly Bocas in North Panama.  But damned if it didn't happen again!  I got stuck in Manuel Antonio for a week (originally planned two nights).  There were two reasons for the delay.  First, I was staying at Hostel Plinio, which is a killer spot.  I talked briefly about it in my last post, but can't say enough good things about the place.  If you are coming through Costa, and are looking for a nice room w/ secure parking for the bike, don't hesitate to stop.  It is owned by a really nice guy named Corey, and all of the staff are amazing.  I felt at home at Plinio straight away and could have spent a long, long time. 

The second reason for the delay was of course a chica.  Donna is a lovely Peruvian that works at the hostel.  She has been in Costa for a little under a year and plans to stay.  We ended up having a LOT in common and had an amazing time exploring the town and surrounding beaches and areas.  We zipped around on the bike together all week.  We rode to Domenical, Uvita, waterfalls, random beaches, etc, etc, etc.  She was my tour guide and we were pretty much together 24/7 when she wasn't working.  We are in the process of planning some time together when I'm in Peru.  She needs to visit family there anyway, so it works out perfectly.  BellaDonna, my poisonous Peruvian wildflower, if you are reading this thank you for the amazing tour around Plinio and Costa Rica.  Five stars!  I can't wait to spend time with you in the future.  ;) 

So now I'm in Panama...  That means that I've clocked approx 7k miles on the bike since I left.  I've been away from home for three months, and have visited eight different countries.  A close friend Kat sent me a message last night asking, "how is your heart?", and I have to say that I'm happier than I've ever been in life.  I know that sounds like a cheesy blanket statement, but it's entirely true.  I'm incredibly relaxed and am completely immersed in this adventure/journey.  Chloe (the bike) has done an amazing job thus far.  Aside from one flat rear (not her fault), and a small battery issue, there have been no problems.  I feel confident, happy, strong, and muy tranquilo.  I've grown internally as a person a great deal, and know that it was the right decision to kick a leg over the bike and go.  In fact, I'm a bit sad I didn't do it sooner.  Alas, I'm loving it now, and there is no such thing as the past or future, so I'll live in and enjoy the present, and enjoy the ride.  

I was planning to do a few things in the city while I'm here.  First, my friend Estefania lives here, but she is lame (I hope you are reading this E!).  She booked a boat tour through San Blas directly over my trip here, so I probably won't be able to hang with her.  I also wanted to stop into the BMW dealership to source new tires and ask about the rear wheel bearing recall (anyone reading this - I would appreciate any insight you have into this).  However, after doing some research it looks as if Ruta 40 in Medellin is a better option for service.  Plus, my tires have some meat left, so I'll wait until Colombia.  So, now I have three nights booked here at Hostel Siriri (nice place - they are letting me park the bike directly in the lobby) with no plans.  I'm thinking of studying more Spanish here in the city for a few days.  I leave Thursday the 27th to meet up with Paul, my friend and fellow moto traveler from England in a sleepy little beach town southwest of the city.  We'll be there for a few days, then I'll return to the city for the beginning of Carnival on the 1st, then board the Stahlratte on the 2nd for the trip to Cartagena.

I think that's it for now.  I'm off for a shower and shave, then we're having a BBQ here at the hostel.  Since I've been here to PC before, I've been nominated as nightlife tour guide this evening.  We're going to kick it off on Calle Uruguay at the clubs/bars, then make our way over to Havana Club for some sweaty salsa.  Wish us luck!  

Hasta pronto, 

~ D  

PS...  On yet another somber side note, Marco, the chef and manager of the restaurant at Plinio, was involved in a car accident last night.  He was driving back to Manuel Antonio from Domenical and apparently had a single vehicle accident.  I became close with Marco during my stay at Plinio.  According to Donna, the current prognosis is not good and the doctors fear the worst.  Marco is married with two small children.  Even though the majority of you reading this don't know him, please keep Marco and his family in your thoughts and prayers.  Rest well my friend, I hope to see you the next time I return to Manuel Antonio.  Hang in there Marcito!  

Rough life...  ;)

1 comment:

  1. Dude, I can't tell you how jealous I am of your adventure. I couldn't be happier for you. Ride on brother!