Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cobra Road

Panama City- La Chorrera 30k´s

¨More than two billion inhabitants-one in every three on the planet- are under 18 years of age. Almost 90 per cent of them live in the developing world. The majority are poor.¨
- Plan Program review

A funny conversation...

Mike- Hey, Aaron, did ya hear that?

Aaron- What?

M- Did you hear what that dude just said.

A- Na man. Not really. He was talking a bit fast and my spanish isn´t quite that quick.

M- Ya dude. He just said something about a cobra.

A- Wait. What! A cobra? I just asked this guy what the road condition was like after the Bridge of the Americas.

M- Ya man. He answered you. Then he said something about a cobra road. The cobra road of death. The cobra´s mouth. Something about a f%$&n cobra...death...and a road...

A- Ummmm. Maybe we should ask him to repeat that part. Tomorrow is our first day and we have to go down something called the cobra. Ya...let´s ask him again...

We both titled our heads back...eyes wide open and asked him to repeat his story. Lento senior...lento...

This was a conversation that Mike and I had with the bike rental shop owner.

So here we are. It´s 6am. Were throwing some water on our faces, getting the pancake mix out, brushing the teeth and trying on biker shorts for only the second time. It´s day 1 and our taxi is picking us up in a hour and a half.

Why a taxi? Two reasons. One, if we were to ride from the hostel to the Pan American highway we would have to ride through this part of town called ¨The Red Zone¨. Supposedly this is one of the worst ghetto´s in all of Panama. I decided that it probably wasnt a good idea to take Mike through the worst ghetto in Panama within the first 20 minutes of our journey. Two, about 5 kilometers after this part of town is the famus Bridge of the America´s. They don´t let bike´s across this particular bridge.

So...back at the hostel Mike is excited because he get´s to use his ¨butt goo¨which is supposed to help bikers on long journey´s. I´m cooking up some pancakes and going over all the las details of the trip in my mind. Finally, I take a deap breath, relax and tell myself to take it one day at a time.

Taxi arrives in a geo metro. This guy ties both bikes up to his roof rack with something that resembles dental floss. A nightmare vision rushes into my head. Both bikes flying off the roof into Panama city traffic. Somehow the bikes make it.

We finally make it across the bridge. Mike and I get a rush of excitment and our nerves are starting to pick up. Were both eager to get a look at the traffic and the shoulder of the road. Finally our taxi drops us off in a ¨good spot¨literally on the side of the freakin highway. Mike and I get out..scratch our heads...eyes WIDE OPEN...and a bit nervous. The sounds of 18 wheelers flyin by didn´t help, pluss the thought of the cobra road was rushing in. Anyway...Mike said, with a big smile and arms wide open...¨Well...let´s do this!!!¨ I love this guy, he always there to pick me up!

Pic of me in La Chorrea after the first day.
We´re eating like crazy! I love the food in Panama. Chicken, rice, beans, coffee, plantains! Fill me up...I got a big day tomorrow!
It´s really hard to look cool in these things.
On our way. We found the old highway to La Chorrera. The road was good and the cars were going a bit slower. A nice break from the Pan American.
Mike taking a breather.
This was where the taxi driver dropped us off. Here I am trying to figure out how the dental floss held both bikes on the roof. One second the driver was there next thing we knew Mike and I were alone staring at the cobra road.
6 am wake up call!

Day 1 went really well. We had a few hairy moments but nothing we couldn´t handle. OUr bikes are in great condition and our philosphy is to take it slow and easy.


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