I wrote many times before about the patience required while driving in Panama City. Problems included major traffic jams, noise. Continual horn honking and being aggressively aware to move when you see an opening!
Now I want to talk a little more about patience. I contacted six insurance companies because I needed insurance to extend my campervan permit. As well, I needed a passport stamp for the van every month while I was in Panama. I tried contacting five shipping companies to send my van to Miami, what seemed like a simple matter. Can you believe only 1 insurance company and two shipping companies got back to me? It seems that no one wants to make the effort to help me out and make some money. I have never experienced anything like this before. I have been working nonstop for a week and a half now trying to get my campervan to Miami. I realize that some of the frustration it is my own fault, because I don’t understand Spanish. I thought that the only thing required was to get quotes from shipping companies, until, I arrived at port. Surprise, they told me I needed a police clearance. As well, I had to hire a custom broker (agent) for $450.00 U.S. I tried to find a cheaper way. I found out that if I get the police clearance on my own, I could save $300.00. So I did! Patience, it’s an all day thing. First thing in the morning, I had to go to an inspector who checked the vin # and the motor # make sure nothing is stolen. By 2:00 pm, I was required to go to the National police where the inspector confirmed the information was all correct. Wow, I was ready to go. All this happened a few days before Carnival, Panama’s national holiday.. No agents work before or during Carnival and the ship leaves Wednesday. Carnival ends Tuesday, and more broker delays of course. As well, I had no idea the police clearance expired after 7 days, another delay repeating the police application. In my mind, I look at things like they are meant to be! So be it! I had a lot of great experiences and met some good people at the police station. First time there, I met three motor cycle drivers who were from Vancouver, Europe and the United States. The second time around, I met two more bikers who were from Alberta and Vermont. Their mission was to get their motor cycles to Columbia. I also met a young family who bought a motor home in Miami and were taking it home to Argentina. Conclusion, if the campervan isn’t shipped this week, I am going to either sell it or l am not going home to Canada. I am going to stay in Panama, my new home for sure! It’s meant to be?
I was a bit frustrated, so I decided to just take a holiday away from it all. I travelled to stay with a nice couple I met while staying at the last resort (hostel). They invited 83 year old backpacker Bob, and myself, over to their place. Kim and Ken are from Ottawa, and they house sit in two counties Costa Rica and Panama, anywhere warm. While there, I took them over to visit other friends of mine, Jim and Derrick from Toronto. As well, we visited big Johnny Calgary who lives in that massive condo an hour from Panama City. Kim and Ken allowed Bob and I a free room I got to sleep in the van (old faithful) again and they let me cook spaghetti dinner for everyone! Happiness can develop from patience!
I lost my phone a couple of weeks ago, so if you have sent me a message on whatsapp I have not received it and I will not set up whatsapp until I get home. My number right now is country code 507-6564-9586 and I hope to have a US number a week Thursday if the van makes it to Miami next week.
Pete Montgomery TravelCheapWithPete.com
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