Monday January 30, 2012, 100 km (62 miles) – Total so far: 1,181 km (734 miles)
The drive with the bus was more or less o.k. Less because they had turned on the A/C to the maximum and you felt like in a freezer. It was fucking cold. I had to put on all my jackets and wrapped my cambodian scarf around my head.
Another bothering thing was, that there was no ticket control while entering the bus, but at 3 o`clock inthe night they woke up all passengers to check the bus tickets…Don`t ask me why they didn’t do it at the beginning of the drive, must be panamenian style.
Also we had to pass three check points where they controled the passports and each time they woke up the whole bus turned the lights on and looked at each passport for an eternity. When we finally reached the border it was like 6 o`clock in the morning and as the exit desk on the panamenian side only opened at 7am, we had enough time to put the bikes together (They survived the journey without any defects, just the reflector of my rear fender was missing-not a big deal).
There were only 5 or 6 people queueing up before the exit desk so early and as there arrived lots of other buses closer to 7 o`clock,the queue rapidly grew to the normal panamasian standard. There came a guy to sell each one like a tax sticker to put in the passport, but one dollar for one sticker wasn`t really serious. The situation developped into a big chaos when there came another guy and told the people, they all had to go first at another desk to get their luggagge controled, before they could queue up finally at the exit desk.
Everyone ran to be the first for the luggage control, some started to complain and to get into discussiones with the guy others (like we did) were standing there thinking what to do now. ( Our „Pole Position“ at the desk was in real danger). But sometimes to do nothing and wait turnes out to be the best solution. As we were standing there watching the chaos, the guy suddenly asked for the bikes. „They belong to us“ I told him, and like wonder he just waved us through to the exit desk.
No luggage control, no further questions, just the exit chop in our passports and we could head for the Costa Rica entrance desk. The Costa Rica side is not complicated at all, and so half past 7am we were back to the Tierra of Coata Rica.
Our plans were to cycle until Palmar Norte to get as close to the Pacific coast as possible at this day. The ride easy, just the fact, that we hadn`t really slept in the bus made it a little bit exhausting, because we were tired. In the midday we stopped to have lunch at a little snack bar on the roadside.
„Gallo Pinto“ (rice with black beans) and chicken and a little salad -tasted awesome!! When we arrived in Palmar Norte we met another cyclist who recommended some accomodation and so, after having a cold shower, we soon were ready to get something to eat.
We found a chinese restaurant and ordered some curry with chicken, which was definetely a mistake. We thought of that tasty thai curry we always had on our asian trips, but here they don`t mean that, when they talk about curry. So it tasted more like a thick,white, chicken soup. Very strange. Sometimes it`s just „try and error“ when you are travelling….