T – Have you ever had a day where you not only went forwards but you also went all the way backwards too? Well we now have! What a day.
We were intending to be up early so we could be at the aduana office 40kms back down the mountain for when they opened. But the bed was comfy and we were still lounging about come 800.
Finally we pulled ourselves together, slugged back a litre of milk mixed with oatmeal for breakfast, packed everything up and got under way.
The ride back to David was quite nice. It was reasonably cool, downhill all the way, and the road was fairly quiet. We were soon navigating the slow very calm traffic of David. Everyone here in Panama seems extraordinarily nice and we are really enjoying it. So many people have come and spoken to us in the street, cars stop and allow us to merge into the traffic, its all so lovely and civilised after the chaos of the last countries.
We made it to aduana and an official was soon telling us that he could fix it no problems and we could just take a seat and he would sort the documents out. About 1.5 hours later he called us in to sign the completed new forms. Which after checking the VIN numbers, our passport numbers and then making sure our nationalities were now listed as Australianos we signed them. Just as I was walking out the door I noticed that the official had put down the exit date as the same day as the entry date, So back we went. Third time lucky right?
He apologised profusely and said that he would again need to cancel the new permit and reissue yet another one. So we went back to the sitting area and waited it out. It was at this point Chantelle realised she didn’t have her phone. I had used it last. In the hotel. In the mountains. 40 kms away. Damn it. We decided to ride back there to get it after we finished with aduana. We were called back into the office where we received the new forms and after checking them very very carefully and noted there were no mistakes we signed two copies and handed them back. The aduana official shuffled them together and handed us our new copies back. Phew. Done. Or so we thought….
C – I thought this fix would be quick and easy! Apparently not. It took the official two hours to do these forms for us. The office was nicely airconditioned though!!
T – We high tailed it back up the mountain and retrieved Chantelles phone before setting our GPS for the camp we had picked 200kms to the south. It was now 2pm and this meant we would probably ride in the dark a little.
We took a back road that brought us out on the Pan Am and soon we were riding through km after km of roadwork. About 50 km’s of road works all up. We had a few decent showers of rain but we really enjoyed it because it was sporadic and allowed us and the bikes to cool off for 10 minutes before the brutal sun would come out and steam us dry again.
At about 80 kms from camp we went through a police check point where we had to show off our fancy new and very correct import papers. The Policeman looked them over then came over to me and said “Theres a problem here” I was expecting some type of shakedown or something. Nope. He was right. There was a problem.
When the aduana official had taken our signed correct papers back and shuffled them about he had mixed in our incorrectly dated ones. So we had two import documents now. One was my correct one for Mabel and the other was my incorrectly dated one for Mabel. Chantelle didn’t have any proof that Rosie was in the country legally. That is a very bad thing. It can mean impounding the bike, fines and or arrest for Chantelle. Luckily the police officer didn’t read the name on the import and was only concerned that there was a mistake on the dates. He told us it was no problem but that we should get it fixed as soon as possible in Panama City. I hurriedly took the papers from him before he could see they were both mine and thanked him profusely saying that we would rather return to David and have them fixed straight away. He seemed a little confused and even unhappy about this but we kept stressing that we knew they were important documents for the bikes and so on. So we turned around and rode back to David, just as the rain came belting down.
C – I was somewhat concerned about this. We had a choice of 70km to camp (where we had arranged to meet a fellow traveller, Aaron, for the evening), then onto Panama City (about another 300km) and hope the aduana there would be helpful, or just return 80km back to David. I wanted my bike on the road for the least amount of time possible! The rain was already bucketing down and we were drenched before we could our wet weather gear on. We both decided it was way too late to consider the wet weather pants, our boots already half filled with water. Sigh. I had just been thinking this morning ‘how could I have wanted to go home yesterday’?
T – Feeling extremely low on the morale front we decided to stay in a nice hotel with hot showers, enjoy a steak for dinner with a brownie and icecream for dessert. So after a total of 280 kms of riding today we ended up right back where we started.
I enjoyed 2 very hot, very long showers as my leathers and jeans drip dried in the room. Although part of me is so annoyed and so down about this I am glad we discovered it when we were close enough to return to David and not when we were in Panama City trying to export the bikes.
C – The hotel was perfect! The dinner was perfect. We both went to bed happy with our choice to stay here. It was worth every penny! Then, just when we needed it, we got a beautiful message from a blog reader in Australia, Simone, which made us both smile! Thank you to everyone out there who has been so supportive.
T – So tomorrow we will have another try and see how we go.