We reached the end of our rope and the end of the road in Panama. First the rope: We found Central America to be a real chore with the constant border crossings, police and military stops, heat and humidity, and poor road conditions. In fairness, we didn't spend much time sightseeing as we had decided to spend the majority of our time and resources in South America. We can come back to Central America some time in the future but it won't be on bikes!
So we were glad to reach Panama where the road ends just south of Panama City and we are flying the bikes over the Darien Gap to Bogota, Columbia. The road from the boarder was excellent and we spent the first night in David eating at a great outdoor patio and watching a torrential rain storm. Panama City is quite 'Americanized' due to the canal and the previous military presence and even uses US currency. Ross was able to replace his stolen New Balance shoes and clothing so I have mine back! It took a full day to get the bikes to the shipper and complete the paper work then book flights for ourselves. We have taken a few days off to explore the city and visit the canal which Ross and I sailed through in 2007.
Some general notes:
Food has been great and no one is suffering from eating salads or drinking ice water. As Wayne says "Hooray for Dukoral!"
Spanish really is an asset to make life easier and interact with people. We are managing pretty well. Steve & RuthAnn lived in Guatemala and have French and Latin and I took Spanish lessons before we left. By using it constantly, we are increasing our vocabulary and improving our grammar. In Nicraragua, we had dinner with a Peruvian philospher and a Cuban lawyer, both Red Cross volunteers.
Gas is about the same price as home with the exception of Mexico where it was a little less.
Tomorrow morning, we're off to the next continent on our airline, Copa Air-really!