Travel writer Andrew Evans recently returned from a trip to Panama, where his dreams of a cross-continental stroll were dashed...
All I wanted to do was to walk across the bridge. That’s all. And yet it almost got me arrested.
Let me explain: I love crossing borders, especially on foot. I think anyone who loves maps knows what I’m talking about. Stepping from one country into the next is kind of exciting, right? I don’t need to skydive or bungee jump to get a thrill. Just let me stand with one foot in each country and be in two places at once. And why stop there? Why not up the ante and walk between two continents? Well, because you can’t, that’s why. I know because I tried.
On a recent assignment to Panama City, I paid a taxi to drop me off in North America so I could walk back to South America. What’s more, the ride took exactly five minutes and only cost me two bucks. We simply drove across the Bridge of the Americas and over the Panama Canal. Man, was I excited—here I was, about to cross the waterway that links the world’s two great oceans while separating the two American landmasses. It was a glorious moment, the Pacific Ocean was shining in the distance and rows of giant cargo ships were lining up to pass under the bridge and on to the Atlantic. I raised my foot in North America when a uniformed soldier started yelling at me. Then he was running at me, machine gun in hand.