I mean, Colombia. Long story, don’t ask.

It only took about fifteen days to do what would be about 400 miles if they had a road from Panama to Cartagena.

First we recovered the van, which was stored while we were back in California.
We also got the van back today. #vw #vanlife #vanenvan #vwt3 #panama #vanagon #westy

Then I made a zip tie-and-latex glove fix to the distributor hall connector. I was proud that I figured out what had happened and was able to fix it myself.
Hall sender connector fix, MacGyver style. The cable for the hall sender was loose, and the van would lose power and die, or not start at all. I have a new complete distributor but no tools to do timing, so I used a latex glove and zip ties to hold the co

Then we went through a myriad of inspections, checks of numbers, photocopies. I came to believe that some people experience pleasure in paperwork. And I wonder where all those photocopies we made are now. Probably in some file, forgotten and waiting for the next fire or flood.
Waiting for police inspection in #panama. #vw #vanenvan #westy #vanagon #vwt3

Then we drove the van into a port.

And into a container, along with our new friend Evan’s Jeep.

Then we waited because Copa airlines doesn’t transport animals between July 16th and August 16th. They don’t transport animals on days when there’s a holiday in Colombia either, but they wait until five minutes before you get on the plane to tell you. Via email. We were lucky I checked my email and we didn’t board the plane, otherwise, we would have been in a different country than Milo, with him at the mercy of the least nice people we’ve met in this trip: Panamanians.

Finally, we put the doggy on a plane, and only then we climbed on board.

Then followed three solid days of paperwork. The first to get Milo back, the other two to get the van.

There it is, intact. Waiting until it can be inspected tomorrow and returned to us. #vanlife #vanenvan #vw #vwt3 #cartagena #colombia #vanagon

Finally we are in South America. We like Cartagena a lot, but we are itching for some altitude, so we are going to head to the mountains tomorrow, to see if we can find some cooler weather.

Also, Colombia: what a pleasant contrast! Lately we had been remembering Mexico very fondly. Mexicans are extremely nice. We got used to saying “buen provecho” when entering or leaving a restaurant. Everybody seems happy to help, if you are stranded in the road someone always stops. Other countries, like Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica also have their big share of extremely nice people. Our experience was really bad in this regard in Panama. Maybe we spent too much time in the city, and that’s how people in big cities are, but I got tired of the rudeness. Cutting in line, grunting at you instead of speaking. At the end I would just tell people things like “please use words if there’s something you’d like to communicate to me” and “I’m glad to let you cut in line, I’d just like you to admit you are doing this”. Oh, and “I will pay the fare you mentioned, but only if you admit you are in fact robbing me because I’m a tourist.” Yep, that was Panama for me. We did meet a couple of nice people (and if you are reading this you know who you are), but overall, Panamanians are not doing much to make us want to go back.

Now, as soon as we arrived in Colombia, it was like night and day. People here smile! The first day of paperwork was actually not that bad, because of how nice the people at customs were. Amazing how far a smile and a “buenas tardes” can go.

Anyway, we are happy to be in Colombia. To end on a good note, here is a photo of Milo catching a ball in Panama:

1 comment for “Rodrigombia

  1. Sergio
    August 25, 2013 at 8:09 am

    No cambien oro por baratijas!…

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