09/21 Not to worry anyone but this is supposedly the 2nd most dangerous city outside the capital. Honestly I don’t know what all the fuss is about. I rode around with my flashy gold necklace looking for a hotel for about an hour and I didn’t see a single hoodlum. That’s not to say I’m going to go bar hopping tonight– it is a major port town and I’m sure things get a little crazy after dark. I do know another touring rider that was robbed in the area a month ago so I’ll keep my guard up for a while.
The place I’m staying is Hotel Acon. Little pricey at $37 but one place was more ($56–Park Hotel) and 2 other hotel wouldn’t let me bring my bike in the room (Hotels American and whatever the one is across the street). The city itself is surprisingly clean for having a decent-sized port and I was riding around all over the place. Even the the area along the water looked nice.
Nothing exciting on the road today. Just more ranch/farmland. It’s hard to believe this country used to be completely covered by trees. Traffic sucked even more than yesterday. Maybe it’ll be better tomorrow. At a roadside bakery I was talking to the owner and he said the same thing that I’ve been noticing, people here have less respect for tourists than the other Central American countries. No surprises there but it’s a shame because, handled correctly, tourism doesn’t have to be a disaster like it is here.
Found an internet cafe with a printer so now I have proof that I’m leaving Panama on the off chance that they ask. I just went to American Airlines and found a flight from Panama City to Bogota (via Miami for $636?!). They let you put it on hold so I didn’t pay anything. Hopefully that works and I don’t get busted for being here illegally. I’ll book the flight for real when I get a little closer.
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