The Darien Gap is the informal title given to the break in the highway which would otherwise run from Alaska to Chile. It gets its name from Darien, which is the largest and eastern most province in Panama, but also includes the northern extremes of neighbouring Colombia. It is what stopped me driving on towards South America
It is a vast area of rugged, sparsely populated, jungle covered terrain, which is second only to the Amazon in scale and within it’s confines are the huge Darien National Park and a self governing indigenous area.
Europeans first visited The Darien in the early 1500s. However people from my own shores arrived in 1696 when 2500 Scots tried to establish a trading colony. Many of the settlers died from disease, and those that didn’t had everything destroyed by Spanish soliers a few years later. So much of Scotland’s wealth was invested in the colony, and subsequently lost, that Scotland was nearly bankrupted and effectively lost its status as an indepent nation as a result of the fiasco.
I know how they must of felt because all my own best laid plans are starting to look more than a little shaky because I can’t off-load the car. I have now significantly dropped the price to get rid of it, because it will be impacting on my later plans in a big way if I allow things to drag on much longer. A cheap selling price is not ideal but the financial implications of the potential delays, the time itself and the administrative overhead of any changes needed, will be far more costly for me in terms of this trip.
Drastic times call for drastic measures and I spotted this place a few doors down from my hostel yesterday. (www.darien.org.pa) I have decided that if I do not sell by lunchtime on Monday I will walk into their offices and hand over the keys. That would be outrageously generous of me but I really have had enough of feeding the local mosquito population and just sitting around for days on end. We did something similar on the Sahara Surf trip, so it wouldn’t be the end of the world and a lot of good would come from it, not least me leaving!