Vasco Nunez de Balboa

There is rapidly increasing tension in Panama City caused by two really stupid shipping agents. Unfortunately until they calm down and sort themselves out Bridget is held captive. My plan had been to collect her today and do a 6,000 mile service tomorrow before driving on to the border with Costa Rica. So unless they get a grip there is every chance of a major eruption from me shortly.

Although still a few miles away, I am also keeping an eye on the situation in Honduras which I hope will be peacefully resolved before I get there. Personally I am backing the BRIDGET for PRESIDENTE campaign although she will have to fulfil several overseas visits before getting down to sorting out the domestic issues.

We now seem to have wrested the attention of our North American cousins and several invitations have been gratefully received for Bridget to visit. It remains to be seen, however, if they are anywhere near as generous as our Australian friends were. It will be a hard act to follow. I am hoping that one of the big Vegas entertainment hotels, with a social conscience, will sponsor an appearance by Bridget and hopefully some of the Car Owners clubs can help. We are prepared to do most things, although Bridget has drawn the line at ‘jumping the Grand Canyon’. Mind the way she flew in India after hitting that speed hump…..

I am currently very aware of how helpful it can be for people doing similar journeys to this, if someone that has already trodden the path has a few tips to share, so here goes:

  • Take considerable time to select a shipping agent before arriving at a port. They are not sitting waiting and their service varies dramatically. Highly recommended in Buenos Aires is Addax Cargo, e-mail  In Ecuador avoid Logística Internacional S.A.  LOGISTSA
  • Right-hand drive cars are illegal in Peru, but you can probably get away with it
  • Right-hnad drive cars are illegal in Panama, since 2008 and the customs are trying to enforce it. Currently it is possible to get a special pass from the local ‘Transit’ office, allowing you to drive through the country if you are a tourist.
  • There are no ‘on the spot fines’ in Australia, or South America, so do not offer any cash to any police officers
  • Although Argentina, Chile, Peru and Ecuador officially require carnets for your vehicle, they are rarely demanded, so don’t offer
  • There are many myths about what you must do. For example I was told I had to have an address in Panama before I would be allowed entry. Nonsense. In most cases if a ‘requirement’ is illogical they are rarely enforced.
  • Petrol throughout South America comes in 95, 90, 89, 84 octane. I strongly recommend avoiding all but the 95. In emergency take 90 but try to use a filter funnel. I can recommend ‘Mr Funnel’ even with a name like that it really is good, saved me a few times in Pakistan.

Well I am still hopeful that we will be able to move off before the weekend. I’ll keep you posted.

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