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Tour du monde en autostop - Jeremy Marie

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 Travel Diary : Time to change... Cape to the North

At least my feet on the ground! That was my first words at my arrival in America and especially in Panama.. After two months on the sea, i could find a little bit of civilization, with his assets and problems.
I have to admit that after so long time on the sea where my only movements were to open tje fridge and take a pan to eat, or simply going down three stairs and jumping on my cabin when i wanted to sleep; it was really difficult to readapt.

Looking for a place to sleep, finding the cheapest place to eat... i didn´t know how to do... I was getting lazy... i had to make violence to myself... and i finally succeeded to move my two arms, then my two feets... The adventure was ready to keep going.

My aim, as i was saying, was to reach South America. But here it is, already from Panama, without having the time to taste a little bit the road, a problem was there: the Darien Gap.

On the map of Panama, the Darien Gap in the South-East

The Darien Gap is the only place in America where the Panamerican road, going from Alaska in North America to the Terra del Fuego in South America, is not going through.
This place existing on the both side of the border between Panama and Colombia is one of the most dangerous place on our planet.
Indeed, on top of the fact that crossing this jungle would mean going through a distance of more than 150 kilometers without indications and in the middle of a dangerous natural environment (i remind that we are in the middle of a jungle!), there is the problem of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces nof Colombia), who are very actives in this area.
The FARC is an armed guerilla acting in Colombia to gain more power inside the governement. Simply, to still be present, this group chose to orientate his occupations towards the drug traffic and the kidnapping.
You have maybe heard recently the case of Ingrid Betancourt, who was released after having been kept for a duration of more than 6 years.

To come back to the journey, the passage of the Darien Gap was a little bit risky... I had to find another solution. This other solution was to find a boat to cross this little part of the Caribbean Sea on the way to Cartagena in Colombia.

To be honnest, i didn´t have a big motivation to look for again a boat at his moment. You see, after having spend 2 months on the sea, my will was really to travel, to move, to meet new people... In some words, i wanted to go bacl on the road.

However, i went to have a look on the Yacht Club in the corner to have a better look of the situation.

First of all, i went to the Yacht Club of "Balboa" in Panama City

The Yacht Club of Balboa in Panama City

After having left a message on the board, as i did in Cape Yown, and having spent some time time in the Sailers bars, i went to the second Yacht Club of Panama City, called "Flamenco". Less success even.... It wasn´t even a board...
Only a radio on which it was possible to let a message to the sailers who were on their boats.

After having met some people in those placea, i collected more informations.
First of all, and i already knew it because i was coming from this direction, we are against the winds. Few boats are going to Cartagena but a lot are coming from there.

On the second hand, the best place to start for this kind of boat is in the Archipelago of San Blas, in the Carribean Sea. Here we go, an invitation for a little bit of adventure.
After having look on the map, i went on the way to Carti, the only city open on the sea and reachable by the road, and what a road!
I think this is one of my worst choice of my world tour to go there!

Anyway, it took me two days to get to this road situated at 150 kilometers of the capital, and absolutely no place to ask for hospitality on the way Llano-Carti, where i end up at the end of the day.

Here is my place to sleep for this marvellous night: some pieces of wood!

 And of course, i had to wake up in the middle of the night because of a tropical rain

I finally reach Carti, after having felt asleep in the middle of the road, sat on my bag while i was hitch-hiking on this beautiful morning... and then...
Carti is not a city, Carti is not a town, neither a village... this is one house. ONE HOUSE!!! One building, to welcome the tourists arriving by plane and who are renting the services of the local people Kunas to reach one of the more than 300 islands of the corner.
Indeed, i should find on which island it is possible to find this kind of boat, which should go in the same direction and should accept me aboard.
I find myself in the middle of a touristic business where the tour in the carribean sea to Cartagena cost at least 350 dollars for five days.
Surely a bad choice. I make the decision to come back to Panama City and to act consequently.

I am looking for a boat only for a week but i have this road which is open in front of me, this road to the North, this one going through all the countries of Central America and his Azteques pyramids and Mayas temples, then going through United States and Canada into Alaska...

This road looking at me, open to me, she´s inviting me.

I dedide to organize my plans and those one seem logicals. I am in America to discover the one of the North and the one of the South. No matter where i start, i have to do both.
I will start on the road and no on the sea, and this is perfect for me to be honnest.

The way?
Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico and keeping going up by the West coast of the United States and Canada on the way to Alaska. Then i will cross to the East and going down towards Miami... where i will try to find a boat to the Carribeans to finally get to South Amerrica.

But now, i stick out my thumb and let´s go for some hitch-hiking!

See you soon for an article about Panama and Costa Rica, where i am currently.

Jeremy



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