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Latin America Team Dispatch

HELP! We're Trapped in Panama!
 
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Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru
We tried to take two ferries, but they were delayed. Then, we tried to catch a banana boat to Ecuador, but it took too long to get our passports stamped, and we missed the boat! We were bummed, but then we came up with a great idea. We're going to have a contest to see who can get to Colombia first. Team 1 is Kevin and Abeja, and Team 2 is Kavitha, Shawn and Monica. The race is on!

Do you want to know how it all happened? We thought you might like to read some excerpts from our PRIVATE e-mails to our friends helping coordinate the Trek from San Francisco, California. It has been quite an adventure!

Shawn - Wednesday, March 17

Today is our last day in Central America. We should be in Columbia in two days. We are taking two ferries along the Pacific Coast and will contact you from Columbia. Abeja and Kevin will check out Columbia, while Monica, Kavitha and I head straight for Ecuador. We should be in Peru by the 28th, or 29th

Abeja - Wednesday, March 17

The boat got delayed! We're supposed to leave tomorrow.

Shawn - Wednesday, March 17

Even when we get out of Panama we have to go through Ecuador to get to Peru and Ecuador is shut down and on strike! I just talked with a woman who waited four days, JUST TO GET TO THE AIRPORT! We are looking for alternative routes through Brazil or by sea around Ecuador, but I don't think there are any.

Kavitha - Thursday, March 18

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The city of Yaviza (in the Darién Gap)
We just got word... the five of us got passage on a little, dirty, old boat full of bananas for just $12 each... fifteen hours overnight to Jaque, a southern Pacific border town.

Ahhh! I just watched Titanic for the first time last night! The boat's name is Amparo (which means "shelter") and it's leaving from Panama City around 6 pm tonight. Oh my goodness, I can't believe we're going. Abeja is already making ginger tea to help with seasickness. I've never been on a boat for longer than a few hours.

Shawn - Thursday, March 18

I can't wait for the banana boat! This will be fun!

Kevin - Friday, March 19, 1999

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Isla Barro Colorado
NOOOOO!!! You won't believe our bad luck. After we had made all of the arrangements to leave last night on the banana boat, we weren't able to get our passports stamped in time. We had to wait for hours in different lines! I don't even want to think about it.

So we have hatched a new plan... Abeja and I are going to Colon. We think there are more ships passing by there than there are in Panama City. Whichever team finds a boat first wins!

Wish us all luck, and maybe the next time you hear from us will be from Colombia!

THE TEAM

Abeja - The Darién Gap: A Mother's Worst Nightmare
 
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