Having done my sightseeing in Panama City, my number one priority became making arrangements for my motorcycle to fly to Colombia with Girag. Of course there was also the small matters of watching Sunday NFL football, getting my motorcycle serviced before heading out of the country, and a bonus, an unexpected visit from a classmate and friend of mine from Royal Roads University!
By the way …. it is still rainy season here 🙁
Sunday NFL Football
One thing I love to do is get lost in NFL football all day Sunday, and Monday and Thursday nights. I love the buildup, drama, ups and downs, and the excitement when my teams win. It has been somewhat marred this year by people politicizing the game and then there is the head injury issue. Many choose to boycott the NFL because of them. I choose to ignore all of that for now and just enjoy the game. Not that I don’t have opinions on those subjects, but I’m not going to let those issues take away from my enjoyment. I have my own things I boycott ha ha.
It took a while of searching to find a place to watch the games. I figured somewhere around the Hard Rock Hotel there would be a spot and I was right.
Motorcycle Servicing at Bavarian Motors
My little onboard computer said I needed a servicing in 500 km. Being the dutiful BMW motorcycle owner I am, I set out to Bavarian Motors.
Actually, regular maintenance is really important for me. I have next to no mechanical ability. For that reason, my best line of attack is to really take care of my motorcycle to prevent breakdowns the best I can.
Bavarian Motors was unique from what I have experienced in the past. Unique for a couple reasons. First, it seems to operate like an assembly line. I pulled up into a servicing lane behind a bunch of cars. Being a motorcycle, I was singled out.
And being an English speaker, I was singled out again to talk to a person who spoke some English. He advised they would do the regular servicing and check everything for me. I was then escorted upstairs to another unique feature of Bavarian Motors. They basically have their own coffee shop that is free to customers!
They had tables, couches, workstations and great wifi. So there I sat and wandered around until my motorcycle was ready. I was then escorted down to their downstairs lounge ha ha
Quite the place. The servicing didn’t cost too much and I got a wash out of the deal too. However, as I rode away I remembered that I forgot to tell them about my right front signal light that wasn’t working. Crap! This light has been giving problems ever since I dropped the bike on the Dalton Highway in Alaska. Oh well. Next time.
Meeting a Royal Roads University Friend
One highlight of my stay in Panama City was meeting Christa who I had gone to Royal Roads University with to get a Masters Degree in Human Security and Peacebuilding.
Funny that Christa lives in Edmonton and I live in Abbotsford. Yet we have never met as those places. It has been at school in Victoria, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where she was doing a field practice, and now in Panama where by coincidence she was taking a vacation with a friend while I was there.
The hardest thing about being on the road is not having friends to be with. Loneliness can creep in for sure. Even if you are an introvert like me. Soooooo is was very nice to have dinner with a friend. It made my evening for sure!
Girag Air Cargo Inquiry
Now for what I had been dreading …. how to get my motorcycle from Panama City to Colombia. I’m a big fan of Oisin Hughes. He has the best adventure motorcycle video series out there. I’ve watched it many times. When he got to Panama City he used Girag Air Cargo. Others also recommended Girag. So that was going to be my first attempt.
I rode out to the airport where Girag is located.
To get there I ended up going through these toll booths again. I haven’t figured out how to pay yet, so I just keep riding around the gates. There is no one there and no place that I can see to deposit money. So far the police haven’t stopped me 🙂
Anyways, to get to Girag I also had to pass through a Customs road block at the entrance to the airport cargo facilities. I just said Girag and that I didn’t speak Spanish ha ha. They waved me through.
Once at Girag I spoke to a woman who didn’t speak English and ask if anyone there did. She got me her supervisor who spoke fluent English. YAY! For such an important event I didn’t trust using my Spanish to communicate.
What ended up happening was she took a copy of my passport, vehicle registration, and Panama Temporary Import Permit and told me to bring the motorcycle in on Monday and they would fly it out to Bogota, Colombia on Tuesday. It would cost just over $1000 US cash. Awesome!
Girag Air Cargo to Bogota Columbia
That next Monday I brought my motorcycle back to Girag. It all seemed too simple! I rode my motorcycle into their warehouse where they checked it over.
Yup, that is another motorcycle flying out with mine. It belongs to Carlos from Brazil who I met at Girag as well. He had packed everything onto his bike. I had just put the bulky and heavy stuff in my panniers and bought a spare suitcase to put the other things in. In retrospect I could have put more on my motorcycle to save paying an overweight fee at the airport when I flew 🙁
Anyways … I paid my $1000 US and that was it!! All the paperwork had been completed already by Girag after I gave them my documents on my previous visit. Now I needed to find a way to get back to my hotel. Here Girag went the extra mile.
The English speaking Girag Supervisor asked one of her staff to drive me out of the complex to find a taxi. We drove out of the complex and attempted to get a taxi. But the drivers in the small town didn’t want to take me all the way into the city. So Girag drove me around until he found a taxi driver that would and negotiated the price for me. So nice.
I would definitely recommend Girag to anyone.
My motorcycle and I were now both flying to Bogota, Colombia, on Tuesday.