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Travel Blog

Not Just a Trip to the Supermarket

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Elizabeth and Brady hopped into the car and headed to the supermarket for what they thought would be an easy and uncomplicated grocery run.

They started driving, and as they neared the store they approached a roundabout complete with traffic light and speed bump.

“I understand how each individually controls the flow of traffic but I’m not sure what they accomplish all together,” Elizabeth pondered as they wondered whether to obey the light, or standard rules of a roundabout.

“Confusion! You have to go slow because you’re not really sure what’s going on, so I guess it does control the flow of traffic,” Brady answered.

They pulled into the parking lot and tried to find a space.  To their dismay, the design of the parking lot allowed for only one lane of traffic around corners, not enough spaces, random pillars blocking spots, cones reserving spots for who-knows-who, and tight spaces requiring k-turns to get in or out.  With the car finally parked, Brady and Elizabeth headed inside, carrying their empty water jug to return for a full one.  (Tap water is not potable.)

“I have to leave my purse in a locker, so you go return our water bottle and I’ll meet you by the bread,” Elizabeth told Brady as she headed to the lockers where you have to store any bag you brought in so as not to shoplift.

Brady went to the station to exchange his empty water jug for a ticket to get a new one.  “This bottle is too damaged, we won’t take it back,” the employee told Brady.

“I just bought it here a few days ago, it looks exactly the same!” Brady said, starting to get frustrated.

“I’m sorry, call the company and maybe they can exchange a new one for you,” the worker replied.  So Brady looked at the jug; three different numbers to call.  He called one, not a real number.  He called the second one: disconnected.  He called the third one: does not exist.

“Great,” Brady said as he stored the jug in the locker with Elizabeth’s purse and walked into the store.

Last Updated on Monday, 11 February 2013 23:56 Read more...
 

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Bolivia

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The Mexigonians have arrived in Bolivia – 5 months ago! They apologize for the delay, and hope to get everyone up to speed in just a few articles. Here is the low-down of the trip from Colombia to Bolivia. If you are spared for time, here are the highlights:

  • Colombia was beautiful, and heavily armed with military personnel.
  • Ecuador was absolutely beautiful, inexpensive, and for the most part, very well-organized.
  • They had car trouble in the mountains in Ecuador where a man with a machete helped build a tow truck from a tree trunk and pickup truck.
  • In Peru, they had the most car trouble, which forced them to bypass important tourist sites.
  • Rocinante had a broken wheel bearing, which caused the wheel to fly off into the desert while speeding along the highway, and three flat tires (in one day) due to an awful alignment.
  • Also in Peru, they left the coast and ascended into the mountains quickly. The car wouldn’t start due to the cold and a faulty starter, and so some people stopped to help. They helped push-start the car, but stole the camera as payment!
  • Brady and Elizabeth arrived in Bolivia in the middle of the night due to yet another flat tire, and prepared themselves for life in Cochabamba!

Colombia is a beautiful country from North to South. Brady and Elizabeth visited the colonial town of Cartagena where they picked their car up from the port, and drove to the country’s bustling capital, Bogota. After visiting countless museums (including the impressive Botero paintaings) complete with mummies and ancient artifacts, they moved south. They arrived in Cali, not only the salsa capital of the world, but also the area with the most plastic surgeons and hence, the most augmented women! From the jungle and mountains to the hot, hot flatlands in the south, Colombia is definitely one of Mexigonia’s most enjoyed stops.

Last Updated on Sunday, 01 August 2010 18:55 Read more...
 

Part II: Cartagena, Colombia

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Braden, Elizabeth, Josu, Ana and Carlos woke up in Colombia’s beautiful and historic port town of Cartagena. They grabbed their paperwork and headed over to Barwil’s office to start the process of disembarkation of their vehicles. Little did they know that this process would consume the next three days due to signatures, copies, and lunch breaks.

At Barwil they would have some copies made, and head to the bank to pay a port fee. They returned to Barwil to leave a deposit on the container, in case it was damaged or dirty. They then headed to the customs office, in another part of town, to get some paperwork to import the car. They had to return after the office reopened from its two hour lunch break, in order to get paperwork, copies and signatures. Then they headed to the port.

“You need a pass card to enter the port,” some port officials told us.

“You need to show proof of insurance to get a pass card.”

“Our pass cards don’t work,” we had to inform the officials more than once.

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Part I: Shipping a Car from Panama to Colombia

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Between Panama and Colombia there lies a great expanse of virgin jungle, uninhabited, and rarely crossed on land by travelers. The map shows the Pan American highway narrow down to an unpaved road before it altogether stops at the jungle’s door. This expanse is called the Darien Gap and even with such daring courage, Rocinante was not about to venture here. Elizabeth and Braden would have to send their steed on a cargo ship to Colombia, but not before experiencing the thick beauracracy of Latin America.

Elizabeth and Braden hiked up three flights of stairs to the office of Barwil Agency, a shipping company in Panama City. With the help of Barwil’s star employee, Evelyn, Braden and Elizabeth began the process of shipping Rocinante. They met a couple from Basque country (Spain) who were also driving to Patagonia, and thus shipping their camper to Colombia. To save on cost, 

Last Updated on Monday, 08 February 2010 20:52 Read more...
 

Pura Vida!

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Elizabeth could feel wind blowing on her face through the car window. Rocinante was cruising faster than 20 mph for once in a long time! Not only were the roads paved, but there were lines painted for lanes and reflectors on the shoulder. There was a shoulder! Rocinante was happy; Braden and Elizabeth were happy. Mexigonia had reached Costa Rica.

Restricted by an arranged flight back to the United States from Panama, Elizabeth and Braden could not spend much time in this wonderful country, but they did manage to experience Costa Rica’s pura vida lifestyle in that short period. They arrived in Jaco, a beach town on the Pacific coast. Filled with tour companies, souvenir shops, and impressive hotels, Jaco is a tourist attraction for many from in and outside the country. The cost of living for a tourist was commensurate with the volume of visitors, and therefore, beyond Mexigonia’s budget. Luckily, Braden and Elizabeth found a campsite near the beach where they spent the night with other travelers, iguanas, and the sound of the waves.

“Esta ola es tuya,” Sebastian told Elizabeth as she awaited “her wave” and prepared to stand up on the surfboard. Braden had been surfing before, but this was Elizabeth’s first time. Stubborn and cheap, Elizabeth rented a board without a lesson and soon realized that she could not even get past the breaking waves on her own. She walked back to shore,

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 January 2010 02:55 Read more...
 
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