Colombia Panama

Steeplechase from Colombia to Panama

By on 28 October 2017

I rolled into Bogota like a new king. Everything because my driver put whole his huge speakers inside cars on full power, and he changed our car in mobile disco. In Bogota I had place in Couchsurfer host, in home of Nicolas. He lived almost outside the city, but I was lucky that I found him. Nicolas is really promising young graphic designer, with amazing sense of humor. His parents, who have their own restaurant, charmed me with care and openness. Open, warm home. Last home in Colombia who became metaphor of whole Colombia.

Together with Nicolas and his father we went to play tejo – very characteristic game of Colombia. But whole places where we could play were closed, we decided to move to favorite club of Nicola’s father, where was only music from 50’-80’. Nothing special You say, but what is interesting that here is a lot of places with that kind of music and are fulfilled with young people! And TVs as You can see. On every tiny floor (and there are 3) of that place are 7 huge screens! Amazing and strange place 🙂

Nicolas told me about new media conference which should have place in those days. In schedule was meeting with biggest creators from Disney’s and Pixar’s stables. I couldn’t miss it! So Instead see city we spend two days in metal hangar to hear and watch how world’s best animations are preparing. But there was time also for city.

City which didn’t made great impression on me. Main empty square with streets around president palace. I saw there most bored secret agents in my life. With cigarettes, someone with cup of coffee, other with cellphone and Facebook. Probably I could go inside without any control.

Real city center is on one from closed streets. Bars, restaurants, a lot of people, some bands, music. Classic thing. But what is stand out – punks, homeless and bums. They are lying on streets in front of biggest institutions and nobody cares about that. I felt once again like in Rio de Janeiro 😀

Where is drunker?

Middle of street is perfect place to take a nap

On main square is more pigeons than tourists

To take picture of president palace without fence I had to sneak through complicated bars. After 10 minutes which I spend there, finally some soldier told me that I can’t be even on sidewalk 😀

In fact Bogota is for two days. There is not so much parks, green fields, interesting galleries or museums. But one place is obligatory to visit. Museum of Gold. I never been in museum with so huge protection. But it shouldn’t be surprise if we gonna realize how much of gold is there. But best moment was when I stopped licking glass isolating me from gold, and I realized that whole that gold for Indian’s creators… was without value! That was only good metal to prepare jewellery. How they were surprised when conquistadors killed whole villages only to reach theirs earrings.

Gold, gold everywhere. But sometimes thing is valuable not because amount of gold used to prepare it, but because of craft and… and something more. For example that raft. Its small like a hand but have private sad guard with revolver and few cameras.

For Bogota I reserved 4 days. I believe that in corners of that city is waiting a lot of interesting places to discover. But became time to jump over Darien Gap – 160km kilometers of real jungle which is dividing Colombia and Panama. I had a lot of lucky because few days before me Wojtek and Seweryn, with who I travelled few weeks in Peru, should have same fly. Should because even that they came enough before on airport they… even didn’t went on plane! They didn’t had proof that one day they will leave country. Even that is true law nobody will ask about that kind of things if You will travel from United States or Europe. But from direction where is a lot of Colombians and Venezuelans they want to protect against illegal immigrants. But in the same moment against polish hitchhikers.

True is that if I would fly first, I would have same problems because I never heard about that law! Good that I read their post in right time. So I bought cheapest bus ticket from Panama to Costa Rica, prepared bank statement to proof that I have more than required 500$, I came on airport one day before. I had fly next day at morning and I had fear that I will be late. Same like on plane to Easter Island, but that time I was completely sober 😉 So last night in South America I spend sticked to window where on other side was slept a lot of big, metal birds. I had a little fear that someone in night can put drugs inside my backpack but everything is ok, if I write those words 🙂

Good that when I wanted to give my backpack I saw information that even inside checked luggage I couldn’t have deodorants, lighter and paper gas. Well I miss especially that last one but rules are rules. I don’t know what could happen if I had that things inside my backpack? I couldn’t fly? My backpack couldn’t go with me? They could call me to open backpack? I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter. Thankfully I didn’t had to check it.

Under me Darien Gap. There are people who are trying to cross on feet that 160km of jungle on border between Colombia and Panama. Someone have lucky and they are on other side. But others can meet partisans, smugglers, dangerous animals, or finally soldiers from Panama whi will ask why they crossed border in illegal place. Crossing that place in ground can take few days. In place 2 hours.

In Panama waited for me job in Hostal Las Catallinas. Few weeks before my friend send me that some polish guys are looking for one month help in hostel. I could have roof for one few nights! That was obvious that I want to work there! Only I should reach that place…

First touch with Panama was… a little bit hard. Of course I didn’t check where I gonna land. I thought that is obvious that I will go to main airport. But when I went out of plane I didn’t saw huge terminals, but only bushes of small, third class airport on ex US army military base. Staff is shouting and poking. Boorishness and crudeness. But I had stamp in my passport, taxi driver was persuaded to take me to city center not for 40$ but for 15000 Colombian pesos (around 3$), I withdraw cash from ATM (but I spend so long time to find one from which can accept my card) and in crazy bus I went 80km from city to my hostel.

What is interesting in Panama government establish prizes for basket of common products. Rice, beans, milk and some other things. That mean, that prizes of that goods can’t be higher than those one set down by government. Sounds a little bit for me like a communism system 🙂

Sunday mess in… Saturday 🙂 In Panama is something like 4 millions of citizens. Guard who I met on one from gates, told me that one million are Chinese, other Americans, third Colombians and Venezuelans. Finally fourth Panamanians. Interesting mix. But influence of people from United States is biggest. Whole machines, public telephones, sockets, switchers, fans, machine to ice etc. with English letters are conveyed from USA.

One from banks where entering is like a real adventure. First of all luggage need to leave outside in locker. Than guard is checking by small metal detector if we don’t have gun. Than we can enter through first door to enter to sluice with giant metal detector which can find even keys! If You don’t have anything finally You can enter and wait in looooong queue 🙂

Second person who I met in Panama, was Renee. Really interesting guy from Jamaica who was born door by door with home of Bob Marley, and he saw how his carrier grown. We talked a lot, and at the end he told me that he know on which two Caribbean islands is treasure. Unfortunately he doesn’t want to tell me that 🙁

In supermarcet in Panama, if You will not take a receip, You can pay fee! 1 Dollar!


In Bolivia I met a lot of witches who are selling magic soaps, oils and candles on every occasion. On warts, love, treachery, success in business and many others. But there they sold that in dedicated shops. Here You can buy that things in supermarkets. Are next to shoe polish.

How my job looked like? Well word “job” is too strong for what I did there 😀 That hostel, located in exclusive, protected neighborhood fulfilled with American’s pensioners, is not really attractive for tourists. In week we didn’t had any clients, only during weekends we had some guys from city who want to catch sun. We prepared breakfasts and cleaned rooms. Normal hostel’s things. But in mid time… hours on our private swimming pool, on beach, movies, 3 seazons of Twin Peaks, play with toucans and talking parrots. Chill, relax 🙂 But became time to say goodbye to that place and to visit capital of Panama.

80$ per night. Normally I would never sleep here 😀