Wed 19th to Sun 23rd October
Our time here has been spent servicing and cleaning the bikes, buying consumables in case we can't get them in South America and some posh new air flow bike trousers to replace the ones Bob wrecked back in Mexico.
Most of our time in the city has been spent on foot, leaving the bikes at the hotel rather than put everything on to end up in a traffic jam all hot and sweaty .
Like most cities, Panama is full of contrasts. On the one hand there is the ultra modern area full of skyscrapers, designer stores and garages selling expensive cars to those working in the city's large financial services industry.
The F&F Tower, the City's most impressive skyscraper
......and the other half which is much like other Latin American cities, chaotic, seemingly disorganised but much more interesting.
On the street outside the fish market.
Local kids playing on one of the few open spaces in the old city.
We were about to explore the old part of the city when this shot was taken. Unsurprisingly it bucketed down shortly afterwards and we dived into the nearest bar/restaurant for shelter. Built after the original city was destroyed by the English pirate Capt Morgan in 1671, the area is a designated World Heritage site and has some outstanding architecture, although much of it is in the early stages of restoration. We had intended to go back for a better look (and some pic's) when the weather was better but didn't manage it.
A useless fact to impress your friends. The highest toll paid by a single ship was 419,000 dollars for a trip that takes 10 hours (not a bad rate of return). The smallest was 36 cents paid by Richard Halliburton in 1928 when he swam the length of the canal.
On the way back we visited Panama Viejo (the original Panama city that was destroyed by Capt Morgan in 1671) an area of ruins that are the remains of the first Spanish city on the Pacific coast and one of huge importance to the Spanish at the time.
Not a lot to see other than a few remnants of walls.
We are off to Carti (San Blas) in the morning to pick up our transport for the trip around the Darien Gap and deposit us in Cartegena on the Colombian coast. Hopefully we will be back on dry land next Saturday and won't have suffered too much from sea sickness. In the meantime we will be incommunicado for a few days.