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Latin America Monica Dispatch

Being Tardy Sucks!
(AKA The REAL story behind why we are still stuck in Panama!)

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Welcome to the Maritime Authority of Panama, where our well-laid pans went awry!

Sittin' on the dock of the bay.....
With nothin' to do! And nothin' to say!

By now you probably know that we are still in Panama trying to find transportation around the Darien Gap. (Does Anyone Know How to Get Out of Panama?!? So just how is it that we didn't make it on that boat we arranged so carfully?

We were late!

What do you mean, you were late?

We were late, as in LATE! As in "next time set your alarm, pack your stuff, make the bed, put on your boots, and get out the door ON TIME!"

We were 15 minutes late to the docks, and so here we were, it was 4:45 on Thursday afternoon, and we were sitting morosely in the Panama Maritime Office, wondering if maybe the immigration official would come back.

You see, we were asked to be at the docks at 4:30, but we thought we could get there a little late, since we are in Central America, which has the "manana (tomorrow) syndrome." We eventually left the hotel at around 4:20. Abeja, Kevin, and I had a taxi driver who wanted to practice English with us, stopped for gas, and went in crisscross zig-zags through traffic to get to the Old City, where our boat was waiting. Shawn and Kavitha were already there (they came in another taxi), but when Abeja went to check on immigration, the man who gives out exit stamps was gone! Oh no! You need those stamps in your passport before you can leave the country!

Abeja came back fuming, and told us there was a crowd of other people already on the boat. They had all arrived before 4:30, had their passports stamped, and brought their luggage aboard. The immigration official had stamped everybody's passports and made photocopies, then left.

Ooooohh, the group was mad. Kavitha sat in a corner of the room, shaking her head in dismay, and Abeja started saying, "Remember, in school, you're not supposed to be late for class? Why is that?" Shawn, watching all our backpacks like a hawk (see Shawn's last dispatch), put the palm of his hand against his forehead and closed his eyes, and Kevin walked out to get some fresh (well, salty, actually) air. We looked at each other morosely and passed around a pack of pistachios.

I explained that things like these happen (people were interrupting me that it didn't have to happen, we could have gotten to the docks on time). But, delays are inevitable, and part of travel is dealing with the fact that there might not be transportation when you want it, or meals that you like, or even weather that cooperates with you. I figured that you would be amused, too, that even seasoned travellers like us make dumb mistakes.
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Kevin and Abeja have gone to Colon to catch a boat to Columbia in the Caribbean Sea, while Kavitha, Monica and Shawn are still waiting in Panama City.

We decided eventually to go back to the Voyager hostel, and boy, were we embarrassed! We had just said goodbye to Abdiel and Guadelupe), taken photos, and walked into the sunset with our backpacks strapped on, and here we were returning so soon! (To learn more about the hostel, check out A Traveler's Paradise: Yummy Food, Hot Showers, and NO COCKROACHES!!!

The next morning Kevin and Abeja left for a port city on the Caribbean Coast, called Colon, while Kavitha, Shawn and I decided to wait here and try our luck.

To see how we did, check out my next dispatch!


Team - Has Anyone Ever Taken Over YOUR Country Just To Be President?
Kavitha - Partytime in Panama!
Team - The Ghosts of Pirates Haunt These Waters
Monica - Hey There, Sailor, Got Room For Three More?

Meet Monica | Monica's Archive
Meet Monica


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