Skip to content

Walter Jacob

August 29, 2017

Walter, my dear baby boy, oh how I love you. Elijah saved my life; but you, you complete my heart.

The rest of what happens, that’s just icing on the cake.

Elijah Charles

October 11, 2015



The greatest journey I’ve ever been on and will ever be on.



Absolutely lovely for the most part. Difficult to move and tiring at the end. Favorite part was feeling him squirm around. Ever since I took that positive pregnancy test my life has been brighter, happier, and full of love, hope, serenity, and joy. Watching him/my stomach grow was a miracle in the making.





Belly shots with Brock.



The evening before I went to the hospital. Love those puppies.




Granddaddy’s holding him.

September 28th, 2015 at 1:03 AM Elijah Charles came into the world at 10 lbs and 11 oz, 22.25 inches long. The nurse gave me cervidil at 7 PM, said I would maybe be ready for the pitocin at 7 AM – that’s not what happened. By 12 AM I was having intense, painful contractions, I was given a pain killer that worked wonders for a half an hour, then it wore off. The nurse checked my cervix – I was 8 centimeters dilated! Too late for the epidural, I was pushing (and screaming) within 15 minutes from then and 10 to 15 minutes later it was 1:03 AM and my baby was here. I had third degree tears and 24 stitches. The pain was immediately gone once he was out, and him laying on my chest, well I’ve never felt anything like it. Pure love.



Daddy ❤ Love them.

Everyday since Elijah was born has been magical.

And took him to his first Hot Rod Show! We'll go again in the Spring.

One week and some days old and took him to his first Hot Rod Show! We’ll go again in the Spring. Plus, hasn’t missed a Sunday Mass yet.

After one week and a day of giving birth.

After one week and a day of giving birth.

“Handsome like Daddy.”


Naky baby.

Naky baby.


Mommy loves you.

Express Yourself

May 19, 2014

There’s so much that I want to say!

Seeing Kierney in Denver, Colorado was long overdue. Here we are: she’s 8&½ months pregnant.


Jeff and I almost died on the road in Utah. He mentioned it in his post, but not as bluntly. We fish tailed a few times and spun out- talk about intense. I was holding back laughter as he was holding back tears and possibly vomit.

Vegas! This was the highlight of the trip for me. Imagine that? It’s a huge adult amusement park. Also, I got real with Jeff in Paris: had a breakdown over how much I miss and love Jessica. Sounds fun huh- crying at the bar? If you’ve never done it, you’ve gotta try it. You’re missing out big time.

Luckily I got to spend time with Megan, one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet, the next day. We went on our usual Chipotle date and I got to hold her newborn baby. So precious.

Megan and I at the top. Holding her baby in the middle. Jeff with a beer at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill in Caesars Palace; the beet and goat cheese salad I ate there was memorable. I recommend you order that if you ever find yourself there.

The bottom left corner is a shot from our hotel room at the Aria. When we walked in I felt I was in the future: the TV turned on, music started playing, and the curtain opened. Neato mosquito.

Next- I felt inspired to take a picture of the moon right there due to thoughts of my Uncle Lori. “I see the moon and the moon sees me and the moon sees somebody I love”.

That selfie is from the spa- Jeff and I did a couples a massage (they kept calling me Mrs. Czerniak- made me chuckle). And speaking of this horrible self portrait, Jeff introduced me to my new favorite band: Lake Street Dive. Here’s a video of them and all their glory:

San Diego was the next stop. Shout out to Anne! Thank you for your hospitality. After seeing more of southern California and now some of northern California, my vote is that I like the southern part better. But maybe I’m just tired of traveling and miss home. I’d def give northern Cali another chance.

Here are some visuals of the west coast:


Driving on the PCH, seafood dinner a pier, Santa Cruz beach, my usual doodle in the sand, the Golden Gate Bridge, Monterey Bay Aquarium (jellyfish fascinate me), a pretty photograph of the Pacific Ocean, and our view from the Giants game we attended. The San Francisco Bay is magnificent. What a baseball stadium. Highly  impressed.

I got my flight moved up to tonight because I miss my heart. The following are photographs of my life and the words I live by:


Kim and her pregnant self with her puppy, Sparkles, giving me kisses. The best roommate ever and I at a Nats game. Go Nats! Maria and I illin. Britt, my sister, and I hiking Old Rage- 11 miles! Couldn’t have done it without you, BO.

Abby <3 a little bundle of joy.


Oh how I love coloring and creating crafts with Mr. Dylan in the playroom at Jazzercise. So precious in his pjs with his Valentine's Day Doggie.

Oh how I love coloring and creating crafts with Mr. Dylan in the playroom at Jazzercise. So precious in his pjs with his Valentine’s Day Doggie.

Daww. True love right there, nig.

Daww. True love right there, nig.

I look at this often.

I look at this often.

This is it.

This is it.

& Secrets bury the soul.

& Secrets bury the soul.







Be in the know.

Be in the know.

Arriving in San Jose

May 15, 2014

trip routeHey there, Jeff here writing a guest post.  The trip so far has been great.  We’re in California now, arrived in San Jose.  Here’s some highlights since Anna last posted-

  • Anna appears to be immune to Nebraska.  I’ve never seen anyone not be bored with that drive.  It’s gotta be her super power.
  • We had to call an audible to head further west than Denver after leaving Iowa to avoid getting caught in a snow storm in the mountains.   Night drives thr0ugh rainy mountains can be intense.
  • Apparently we didn’t make it far enough as Utah wanted to get in on the fun, with murderous intent.  Luckily (or skillfully thanks to my snow driving prowess?) we made it through unscathed.
  • We stopped at an amazing family diner in Beaver, UT. If you’re passing through, you can do much worse than the Crazy Cow Cafe. The snow stopped while we were there as well.
  • Vegas was it’s usual self, full of shenanigans, alcoholism, gambling losses, and excess.
  • Anna rode a mechanical bull.  I see a future career here… Vid to follow.
  • Driving on the PCH between San Luis and Monterrey is fun in a sports car.
  • Now enjoy the images.  Time to find a place to live.

high roller artMe enjoying some art at the High Roller, in Vegas.




Cruising on the PCH. Really fun to drive that one.


high roller


Catching a view of the Bellagio fountains from the top of the High Roller, a giant ferris wheel that just opened.


On The Road Again

May 10, 2014

Around 13ish hour drive from home to Chicago. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it might be. It actually flew by and I highly enjoyed it. I slept for the most part when Jeff was driving and he was subjected to me belting it out to my favorite thing to listen to ever: Once More With Feeling- the Buffy soundtrack to the musical episode. We’ve actually listened to it twice so far (from home to Chicago and from Chicago to Iowa). I’m sure I’ll be singing to it again.

We drove past downtown Chicago and it was quite the eyeopener. I was hypnotized for that part of the drive. The buildings and the lights. To know of all the commotion that was going on there- all the shenanigans (as Jeff would say). I met his parents and younger sister, and some friends for happy hour. All lovely people. The Chicago accent is a hoot. And his younger sister reminds me of Daria. You know, the MTV classic. Oh and I love how his mother is into indie alternative rock- she’s quite the hipster. I dig it. And what a tasty chef- dank breakfasts were made both mornings. My stomach is grateful.

The drive up to Wisconsin was unexpected. Another state can be checked off my list of places that I’ve been. We went to Chili’s. One noteworthy fact is that our waitress had a small tattoo on her right forearm saying “out there”. Might be the best tattoo I’ve ever seen.

After spending the day in Chicago Jeff and I headed to Des Moines, Iowa.  Watched the Wizards until they started failing and same goes for the Blackhawks game. Shucks. We’ll get’em next time.

Here are some collages because I know how everyone likes to look at pictures over reading.

Pictures of the state signs, duck eggs in Jeff’s parent’s front yard, his house, me driving to Chicago and the two of us watching the Blackhawks game.


This other collage is the Nats game that got rained out before we left (had never seen that before- it was neat. They put the Wizards game on once the game got delayed). Jeff and his roommate, Charles. Jeff driving to Chicago, Maryland state line, Chicago skyline, Melanie in my lap a few days before the trip (I miss my Tamtam and Melmel), Mom, Z&S at the Sheep and Wool festival a couple days before we left (Jeff got there just in time for the most interesting part of the festival= sheep shearing. Chick was ripped). Pennsylvania state sign and last but not least, Maria and Dylan. My main lady and my main little man. I suppose I’m feeling nostalgic.


.. What can I say, I’m living the dream.. On our way to Denver, Colorado tomorrow. I can’t wait to see Kierney.

Haha also, Jeff told his grandma that my name was Andre and I’m a big black man. I don’t see that as too far off.

They Say I’m Caught Up in a Dream

May 5, 2014

Hello people on the internet. Happy Cinco de Mayo and happy belated Star Wars day. Hope you enjoy this time as you stare into the bright white abyss that is your screen. Matt has given me permission to use this lostandbroke site for more of my traveling adventures! Without him (womp womp), but instead with a new and improved man friend- Jeff Czerniak. He has a kind soul, much unlike Matt. Ha. Anyways, that’s enough for introductions.

The trip will go as follows: Fairfax, Virginia, Chicago, Illinois, Des Moines, Iowa, Denver, Colorado, Vegas, Nevada, San Diego, California, all the way up the Pacific Coast Highway to the spectacular San Jose (or so I hear). I couldn’t be more excited!!!!!!

We have planned to meet people on every stop of the way; his family and friends on the first two stops, my family and friends on the second two stops, another friend of his, and maybe we can swing seeing a girlfriend of mine who lives in Long Beach.

For now, just packing, planning, and enjoying every second of the ride.

And here’s a picture of Jeff and I (beer fest at the Nationals Stadium- Go Nats!)

There's no place like home.

There’s no place like home.

Open seas and the San Blas Islands

March 7, 2012

A few hours before we were scheduled to leave, Silvia had somehow arranged to find 2 more people to come on the trip with us.  Better yet, they were both girls.  Up until now, it was 2 couples and then me and Fletch.  Fletch and I thought it was going to be kind of strange traveling travelling on a boat full of couples so this was a nice relief.

The first couple we met earlier in the week and they had been waiting at our hostel.  Anna and Mauricio were from Uruguay and they had traveled the entire world studying architecture.  They both speak English pretty well and since they are from Uruguay I can understand their accent a bit easier.  Anna is really funny because if I don’t understand a word that should be simple, she’ll yell at me like “Don’t you know Yoghurt!!?”.

The other couple is Shane and Rachel.  Rachel is from Ohio and Shane is from England.  From what I can tell Shane is on the run from Mexico for trying to extort money out of the last school he worked at and Rachel left with him.  They work at schools for English speakers in other countries.  So, if you were a US citizen living in Mexico, you would send your kids to these schools.  From what I gather, he was fired from his last job but then he tried to extort extra severance from the school.  I won’t go into the rest because it was pretty weird.

Around 10pm (we were supposed to leave at 6pm) we left for the dock to take a dinghy out to the sailboat.  There we met with the other 2 girls.  Pretty much instantly Fletcher and I realized that we were now on a boat with 3 couples.  The couple was from Northern California and had spent the last few years doing borderline illegal stuff to save up for traveling.  I actually didn’t learn anything about them until about 2 days into the trip because the girls only left their cabin for meals and to puke.  When they did come out to talk they would go on about spirituality, unicorns, the joys of not shaving your legs, and so on.

An awkward sleeping arrangement.

When we arrived on the ship the captain showed us to our beds.  He told me mine was in the back of the boat with the girls.  I went to the back of the ship and found the door locked.  I knocked and told the girls inside that my bed was in there but they told me that there wasn’t room and I would have to sleep somewhere else.  The bed in the back of the boat is the master cabin so it’s really big.  Larger than a king size bed.  Juan Carlos, who is the first mate, goes back to talk to the girls but ends up having them come up top to speak with the captain.

If sleeping with a lesbian couple wasn’t awkward enough, I now had to listen to them discuss in Spanish why it was unsafe for me to sleep in the same bed as them.  To be honest, by this time I hadn’t shaved in 4 days so I probably did look a little creepy.  The captain explained to them that I was a “healthy boy” and that if I was bad they would throw me overboard.  Anyone that could understand Spanish got to listen in on a pretty weird conversation.  I wanted to explain to them that I was from DC so sleeping with lesbians was nothing new for me, but I decided to not bring that up.

The captain said I would take his bed for the first 2 nights and he would sleep up on the seats up top.  Sleeping in Captain Israel’s bed is a pain because Captain Israel is really short.  He makes the joke to me in Spanish “little captain, little bed”.  The bed ends up being so uncomfortable that I can only sleep about 3 hours a night.  After everyone wakes up I hot rack and sleep in one of their beds.

Heading to the Islands

Part of the trip is going to the San Blas islands.  Three are about 3000 tiny little islands throughout the Carribean that have pristine beaches and coral reefs.  The next day we’re awoken by a rooster at about 6am.

You may be wondering why we have a rooster on the boat.  I honestly assumed he was there for dinner but it turns out that Captain Israel trains roosters to fight and this rooster is his newest trainee.  It must have taken me over an hour to figure out that he wasn’t joking.  He even showed us these spikes that they glue onto the roosters feet to help them kill the other rooster.  He treats the rooster like a baby and often you will see him coddling it or talking to it sweetly.  I think if the boat went down, the coast guard would be rescuing 10 people and one rooster.

Getting to the San Blas only takes about 8 hours or so and we’re passing through relatively calm seas.  I assume since I was in the Navy for 6 years that I won’t be getting sick on this trip at all.  Nope.  There I am puking up my peanut butter and toast breakfast just like everyone else.

We  pull into the first island and it’s like a little town.  It’s nice but there’s not really a pristine beach.  Then the captain tells us that we’re here for immigration.  There’s a police station on this island and we’ll be getting our passports stamped here.  Once we stop Juan Carlos buys a huge fish from a fisherman that drives up to the boat.  This is dinner and man can Juan Carlos cook.  That meal was just about the best ever. 

Over the next 2 days we visit a couple of other Islands.  Apparently, it’s pretty hard to navigate around here and the captain points out sunken ships as we’re passing through reefs and sandbars.  The second island has one of those perfect beaches that you see in Corona commercials.  There are a ton of starfish up next to the shore and you have to actively look around so that you don’t step on them.

The next island is for snorkeling around a reef.  Captain Israel gives us some snorkeling gear, but unfortunately the snorkels look like they have mold in them.  I spend the first 5 minutes in the water cleaning out my snorkel but then I head for the reef.

Open water to Cartagena

The next two days we would travel over open water making a straight line to Cartagena.  The seas are supposed to be rough but actually aren’t bad.  No one gets sick for the rest of the trip.  It’s possible that this is because I broke out a bunch of Dramamine and gave it to everyone but we’ll just assume that everyone has a strong stomach at this point.

We do watches when we’re underway going across open water.  I’m now sleeping in the bed with the girls at this point and Juan Carlos comes to wake me up so I can stand the watch with Fletch.  He makes fun of me for being huddled into the corner of the bed when I’m sleeping.  He hasn’t quite figured out what’s different about the couple and tells me that I’m living his dream, sleeping with 2 girls.

Fletch and I take the watch and it’s kind of like the ones in the Navy.  You just sit there and chat for a couple hours and then go back to sleep.  When the captain explained the watch to us, he said just look for lights.  It’s really doubtful, but we might see a boat out here somewhere and we don’t want to hit it of course.

After a couple of days at sea we pull into Cartagena late at night.  We pull in just late enough so that we can’t get off the boat (though we can hear a Carnaval party going on the shore).  Israel and Juan Carlos jump onto the dinghy and leave for shore.  Someone has the bright idea of breaking into Israel’s stash of Oreo cookies and eventually we all go to sleep.  The next day we’ll be unloading the bikes and staying on land again in Cartagena.

Leaving for Colombia

February 28, 2012

Fletch and I rode out to Puerto Lindo to begin the boarding for our boat to Cartagena.  Fletch has been out here before so he led the way.  We stopped to get a pizza on the way and he pointed out a guy on a Harley riding by.  The guy’s name was Guido and he ran the hostel and one of the boats that goes to Cartagena.  Not ours.  Our captain’s name is Israel.
After lunch we head further on to the hostel and see Guido on the side of the road.  His face, knees and arms are covered in blood and he’s working on his bike.  He explains that a bus was riding in his lane and he had to ditch the bike on the side of the road or else he would run into the bus.  The bus driver claimed that Guido was riding in the wrong lane but you could see in the road where Guido had hit the brakes and skidded.  Guido would make it fine but the bike needed a few repairs.  He started it up and got it back to the hostel.
Buses and large trucks riding in the wrong lane is something that’s actually pretty common down here.  Anna and I were lucky that we didn’t run into that too much and I usually slow around curves anyways.  You never know what’s on the other side of a blind curve and though it’s fun to take the curves at high speeds, I prefer to be prepared for a bus, a cow, gravel, whatever.
The hostel that we were staying at in Puerto Lindo was really basic, much like the town of Puerto Lindo.  Google maps doesn’t show roads going out to this area and the store only sells bare necessities like candy and Romen noodles.  There is only one restaurant there that is run by a very nice Dutch man.  The place is a bit strange because no one ever asks if you would like something and no one could care less if you order or not.  If it weren’t for the tables and the sign, you would never know it’s a restaurant.
We were there a day early so we would start loading the boat the next day.  Silvia runs the hostel there and was helping us with the boat.  She told us to pack a bag with the most basic things that we would need for the trip and then everything else would be put in storage.  She said we wouldn’t need soap really because you’re in the water swimming all the time and just need to rinse off the salt once in awhile.   I packed just a few things.  A towel, my ipod, a camera, my computer, and the clothes that I was wearing.  Everything else went into storage on the boat where we would not be able to get to it.

Loading the bike was really stressful and I plan on never doing it again.  A lot of bikes come through here going to ships so you would think that they have a good process for this.  You would picture the boat being at the dock and you might ride the bike onto the ship, or maybe there would be a hoist on the dock which would lower the bike into a small boat and then the bike would be loaded onto the larger boat from there.  Nope.  Guido pays 4 guys to pickup the bike and lower it into the boat.  The scene is basically a bunch of guys lowering the bike into the boat while I’m yelling at them to not hold onto the bike by the muffler or some other piece that will break off.
After the bike is lowered into the small boat, I climb on top of it like I’m riding it and hold it upright while we go to the ship.  This looks really funny because I have to hold tight to the handlebars, concentrate on what’s in front of me, and it looks exactly like I’m riding normally.  It reminds me of one of those green screens they have in Vegas or other tourist places where you pretend that you’re driving a motorcycle and there’s some video of the road going on in the background.
Next the bike is hoisted onto the boat using the same system that is designed for an 80 pound dinghy.  Finding a spot to tie the rope around my bike is a pain.  It’s just not designed for this (not that other bikes are).  We find two bars on the frame under the seat and another place on the neck of the bike.  The first suggestions were around the handlebar and the luggage rack.  The luggage rack has a sticker on it suggesting no more than 10 LBs of pressure so there’s no way that’s happening.  Even though my bike is light for a cruiser, it’s heavier than the other bikes that come through here.  If the pulley is going to break, it’s probably going to be with my bike.  Additionally, there are just 2 of us holding the bike up with the help of the pulley.  If that pulley goes, both of us will be crushed by a beautiful bike.
The bike makes it onto the boat without falling into the bay.  This is another stressful part because I now have 3 guys jumping on my bike to mash down the shocks.  They’re doing this so that when it’s tied down it won’t bounce around on the boat.  The way that they’re doing this is each has a knee dug into my $600 seat and they’re repeatedly bouncing on it.  To keep the tank from getting scratched, they put pillows in between the bike and the railing.  It’s tied up a little bit more and then the captain says they’ll finish tying it later and they’ll wrap it up really well with a tarp.
The next day our captain had to drive around everywhere to get some permits and licenses taken care of.  Nothing to do with us or immigration.  He needed some paperwork to be legal for manning the boat from what I gathered.  It took a few hours longer than he thought so when he came back he told us that he would need a full day of rest the next.  Fletch and I look at each other but we’re both thinking “A day of rest, no big deal”.  He adds though that he needs a full day of rest, then another day to load food onto the boat, then we will wait a day and sleep on the boat that night.  Basically, we’re stuck for three more days.
Silvia gives us the rooms for free for the next few days, but it doesn’ help the situation much.  Our bikes are on the boat and all of my stuff is in storage.  I only have one set of clothes and no soap.  Worse, I have no shaver so in a few days I’m going to have one of those terrible Seattle style beards.  Since our bikes are on the boat, we don’t even have the option to go somewhere else unless we take the long bus ride into town.  These days would be some of the most unproductive of my life because I would just be reading, lying in a hammock, and living off of Ramen noodles.

Getting through the Pan American

February 13, 2012

San Felix 12 hours before

Anna left on a plane from Costa Rica about a week ago.  We were stopped in David, Panama due to the protesters and she decided that she didn’t want to do the 5 day boat ride to Colombia.  The seas are supposed to be especially rough this time of year and the trip is considered to be transportation rather than a lovely trip through the islands.  That’s probably a good choice.  Additionally, she saved a bunch of money by not having to get a flight from Colombia to a place where she could use my US Airways voucher.  I had a spare US Airways voucher for $425 and that covered all but $10 of a ticket back to Dulles.

The violent protests broke out the day after she left.  Had she not left on the plane that day, I probably would have been asking her to leave a day later or we would still be sitting in David.  The areas surrounding David were getting to be dangerous for tourists and the Pan American highway was especially dangerous.  I didn’t mind riding on my own, but not with a passenger.

After a 6 hour drive, I cleared the majority of the protests in Panama.  The fires from the protest were still smoldering and the town of San Felix was filled with Police.  San Felix had been the focal point of the protests the day before, because the protesters had burned down the Police headquarters and had engaged in fighting with the Police.  The fighting there was supposed to be over, but driving through I could taste the tear gas in the air.

Other travelers had told me that between Santiago (south) and David (north) there were protesters throwing rocks at cars but that it wasn’t too bad.  In my head I pictured some random people on the side of the road throwing stones.  I arrived at the point where protesters were throwing stones at cars to find that instead of a few random people on the side of the road, there was about 40 people in a group about 15 meters above the road on a hill.  When a car would pass, they would throw their heavy stones and typically, at least break the windshield.
I stopped the bike out of range from the protesters throwing stones.  I sat with another car and tried to figure out what to do.  Many of the protesters pointed at me and motioned me to drive through.  Like they were saying “We’re just trying to mess up people’s days, not kill anyone.  I moved forward because it was logical that the protesters wouldn’t want to seriously injure anyone.  I now have a rule that I shouldn’t be using logic on when angry people have stones.
I watch the protesters carefully as I pull forward and down comes a small shower of rocks.  The nearest one lands about 2 feet in front of me.  A car, apparently wait for them to chuck the rocks in their hands, speeds past me while I move my bike back a few feet.  Now, the protesters are all waving me through, almost in unison.  Some are holding up their hands to show they don’t have any rocks.  “Fool me once” I’m thinking.
A minute or so later, a few of the protesters are running behind the hill they are on.  All but a few are scrambing around now and distracted by something in the road.  I speed through the rock covered road and see an armored police vehicle with men holding tear gas guns.  Rocks are still falling behind me, but I’m pretty sure that stopped once I heard the police shooting the tear gas guns.  Traffic on the other side of the protesters was backed up for about half of a mile.  In the river, there were protesters being held off by police.  This was a scene that was playing on the news the day before.  The bridge I was crossing was actually being held by protesters only about 12 hours ago.
I made it to Panama City after circumventing another protest in Santiago.  Here, the protesters had blocked the Pan American highway, but cars and motorcycles could get around by going through side streets.  Trucks and buses could not go through because they couldn’t go through the smaller streets.
I knew Panama City was pretty light on things to see or do.  There’s the Panama Canal, the old buildings in Casco Viejo, and the cafes of Via Argentina, but it’s pretty much like Miami in the way that it looks and the prices.  This didn’t matter to me much because I was here to fix up my bike.  The hostel I was staying at had a beautiful view of Panama city because it was across the bay.  Everyone that had traveled into the city commented on how it’s like a facade.  Tall beautiful buildings, with nothing below them.
My first day in the city, I met a guy named Fletch that’s also doing a trip down to Argentina.  Except he’s putting his bike on a boat and heading for South Africa so that he can ride up through Europe. He’s from Colorado and he’s riding on a KLR 650 (adventure bike). We figured out we’re on the same boat to Cartagena and decided to ride out to the port together.
I spent the first couple days working on getting tires and an oil change for my bike.  It took a full day just to find a place that had the parts then another full day for me to recover from the shock of being told how much it would cost and to have the installation done.
Anna and I had been getting these insect bites that don’t really heal.  They swell up and look really gross but it takes forever for them to go away.  While in Panama City, one of the insect bites on my knee had gotten infected.  The first day I noticed that it was infected, I went to the pharmacy and got antibiotics.  Two days later it had gotten very bad and I was taken to the hospital.  The pain had gotten to the point where I couldn’t sleep and I had to limit walking to within the hostel.  The doctor gave me 2 strong antibiotics and pain medication via IV.  The 3am emergency room visit cost about $40 and another $60 for the medication.
A few days later my knee is better and I’ve been spending most of the time grossing out Fletch with my gross knee (sorry, no picture).  We’re loading the bikes onto the boat today so hopefully I get some good shots of that.

I think he said “Indians have set fire to the road”

February 5, 2012


After our awesome trip to Drake Bay in Costa Rica we headed south to Panama.  I was hoping to make it through the border that day but we got a late start and had to stay in Ciudad Nelly for the night (about 10 miles from the border).

The next morning we crossed the border to Panama.  Anna and I are pros at this now.  I did tip someone for a little help getting around to the different offices but I definitely didn’t need to.  Now that we’ve done this really stressful process so many times, it seems easy and we don’t need any help.  This used to be the worst part of my day but now that I understand the flow, it’s logical and much less stressful.  Having Anna on the trip also makes it much easier.  Anna did the migration for Costa Rica and she takes care of watching the bike while I’m working with the Aduana office (kind of like DMV).
After our pleasant border crossing into Panama, we headed south with a plan to make it to Panama City as fast as possible.  Everything was going smooth.  The roads here in Panama are really nice and the speed limit is pretty high so I feel comfortable driving as fast as I like to.  It’s hot down here so a little extra speed provides a ton of relief from that.  
We slowed down as we a approached a bus and a couple of taxis that were stopped.  A few police were in the area and there was some smoke coming from up the road about 30 meters.  It looked to me like there had been a car wreck and we would need to stop to wait for it to be cleared.  An officer wave to us in a motion that said turn around.  This was the only road to Panama City so I got off the bike to speak with one of the officers.
When someone is speaking Spanish to me, unless it’s a phrase I know and have heard a few times, I can only pick out a few of the words per sentence and try to make something out of it.  The first sentence the officer said, I could only pick out “Indians” and “fire”.  He saw that I didn’t understand so he tried to relate it to a movie and said some names of big movies from the US that involved Indians.  Next, he went through slowly and I put together “The Indians from the mountains have set the road on fire.  It’s closed for 3 days”.  My first thought, “wow, my Spanish sucks”.  That couldn’t possibly be right.
I assumed the campesinos (transit workers) were on strike.  This happens sometimes in this part of the world and the roads are shut down for a day or two.  One of the officers had given Anna a phone and called someone who speaks English.  The woman on the phone had said the road would be closed at least for today but didn’t know more than that.  This was the only possible way to Panama city by land.  
We drove back to the city of David and found a hostel to hold up in.  David is a nice city but is really just a city people stay in for the night.  Our hostel is filled with people that have been here since the protest started.  We’re now 5 days into the closure and it doesn’t look any better than the first day.  The protesters are not negotiating with the Panama government so the government setup an air bridge (lot’s of planes) to move people and supplies.  Tourist get free flights to Panama City from here in David.  That of course doesn’t help me get the bike down there.
I have already paid the deposit for the boat to Colombia and we’re supposed to be there on the 8th of February.  If the roadblock is still up by then, I lose the deposit and this South American journey turns into a Central American journey.  Right now, there is no news on if the road will open up.  We hear rumors of tomorrow, the next day, but most local people say that it could go on for awhile.  Though I enjoy the break, I’m not keen on sticking around in David for long.  If the road doesn’t open up by the time my deposit is lost, I’ll be looking at heading back up and just traveling Central America for awhile.