Thursday, 11 October 2012


We have sailed through the Panama Canal a couple of times. Today we saw the action from shoreside.

I am in awe of the minds that conceived of this elegant engineering masterpiece.

It was built at considerable human cost. 20,000 people died during its construction. Most from yellow fever. This prompted research into identifying the cause... and ways to manage the mosquito population.

We watched a couple of ships move through the Miraflores locks and exit to the Pacific Ocean. We spent time in the excellent museum, too.
I really like being the captain on this simulator in the museum.

Ricardo our taxi driver took us on a tour in the rain.

He was very proud of his pimped wheels on the passenger side of his car.

Ricardo mi amigo.

These shopping mall 'boxes' caught my eye.

I have been thinking about how we maintain our equilibrium as the 'high performance' adventurers we have become.
It is obvious to me that regular meals and good sleep and daily routines are the basic necessities. We have developed a routine of packing, having breakfast, getting on the bike, stopping every hour or so, having a stretch, having lunch, finding somewhere to stay.
Sometimes it is quite small things that shift or disrupt our equilibrium. And, small things like the touch of a guardian angel, a kind word, or a smile can restore it.
Each day I have been blessed by someone. The smiling welcome at hotel reception, wonderful simple food cooked by loving hands or someone enjoying a little joke.
We have had the most challenging phase of the trip over the last week. The change in routine with earlier starts than usual and consequently not having breakfast till later, one extra long day, more rain, stressful border crossings, and the pressure of needing to be here in Panama by today.
We needed to be strong as a team and to support Dick who has been lead rider and has been lead negotiator with the crossings in Central America. Some of which were tedious but manageable. In some others people inserted themselves in the process and then demanded money with menaces. Think hands on 'umbrellas'. I am full of admiration for Dick's negotiation skills.
It was obvious that our presence was being referred from one border to the next. At one place we were stopped and the chap shouted 'Richard'. Only one other person calls Dick, 'Richard' and that is his mother. The chap had obviously been alerted to 'look out for the yellow BMW bike' by someone who had seen his name on his passport.
1 Corinthians 10:13. Everyone is tested. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.
The ride through Central America has been faster than we would have liked but we needed to be at Carti tomorrow to board the ship to Cartagena.
We are all looking forward to time on the Stahlratte where someone else will be doing the 'driving'.
Snorkelling, fishing (kingfish and tuna), white sands in the San Blas Islands all seem idyllic.
We have ridden 25,405km since Vancouver, and 6902km since Hollywood, California.
It is time for a rest.
We will be away from the internet for a few days until we get to Colombia.

Location:Santiago to Panama. 224 km. 6902km since Hollywood, 25405km since Vancouver

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