Mud & Rain

The ride over the mudslides started a little late as 95% of the boats stopped running between Bocas and the mainland as they were running out of gas. One last boat company still had a bit of fuel so they were running 4 or 5 times a day, whenever they had a full boatload os passengers. Hitting the mainland at 10 am I started the journey and it was smooth for the first 65 km with only 4 or 5 mudslides but after that the road was a disaster. For 15 km acending up to the divide there were streams running across the road, 40-50 mudslides, no road in 3 places and only half a road haning on over the steep mountainside in 2 other places. Lucky for me there were probably over 50 large machinery working on the mudslides and all but the last 2 mudslides had been cleared just wide enough so small 4×4 supply pickups could get through to the desperate civilians on the caribean coast. Three times during the ride, convoys of 20-30 pickups full of supplys would pass by with a polica car escorting them on either end. Being the only other person on the road I received some odd looks. At the end of the day I pulled into the Lost and Found Jungle hostal, a small treehouse type structure in the middle of a cloud forest with feeding stations all over to attract wild animals.

The next 6 days it has rained and I made my way to Boquete a small village of 4000 residents up in the Panamanian mtns. Here is a great place to xc ride through the jungles but I´m starting to morph into an amphibian after being wet for days on end. Usually in central american countries the rural folks hike around with machetes in there hands, but now everyone is packing an umbrella. Another traveller at the hostal I´m staying at has bought 3 of them, but they are a hot commodity and keep vanishing. As a result from the rains, most trails and side roads have been closed due to slides and being washed out. I tried one 12 km trail called the quetzal which passes over a small pass into another village but after the first 4 km I travelled about 350 meters over a jungle mess in the next 1 hr, saw a snake, got scared and peeled back to Boquete. On the way back to town I was chased by a few dogs which is nothing new in central america but these dogs were pretty aggresive. Overtime I have started to notice a trend that the wealthier a country is, the more vicious the dogs get as they are fed regular meals to stay strong. In countries like Nicaragua and Guatemala there are stray dogs everywhere but they´re undernourished and seldom a problem. Not here in Panama or Costa Rica. After many trials and errors I have found the best way to deal with these suckers is to stop, turn around and chase them with my water bottle back into there yard. Works 90% of the time. The other 10% of the dogs are a bit braver and pose more of a problem. Tommorow its off towards a small surf town on the pacific coast for a little warmer weather.

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