To continue our story of a series of unfortunate events in Colombia, the issues didn't end there. Further proof that it is difficult to travel on a South African passport.
Further reading: Day 280: a series of unfortunate events in Colombia
We arrived in Panama, and were completely surprised by this country - it was nothing we expected!
Super modern, and expensive since the official currency is the Dollar (but we knew this), but it has a nice atmosphere about it.
We didn't plan to stay long, as we just went there to get out of Colombia in a rush, and book our tickets out to South-East Asia.
We booked a nice hostel, the cheapest we could find, and started looking for flights that 1) weren't ridiculously expensive, and 2) didn't require a layover in the USA, Europe or the UK. Hahahaha - joke was on us! It was nearly impossible.
You can get really cheap flights to Thailand or Singapore for example, but they all stop over in the USA or Europe. In case you missed the previous post, South Africans need transit visas for these countries. We had to apply for these visas in person at the relevant Consulate, make an appointment which was only available in 2 weeks time, and had to pay $160 for the US transit visa or 35 Pounds for the UK transit visa, or an actual Schengen Visa for Europe - to sit at the airport for 2 hours! That is just ridiculous. And to stay another 2 weeks in Panama was just too expensive.
I spent a week searching every possible option available!
I eventually found some nice cheap flights to Mexico. This was a great option as we still wanted to explore Mexico, but we also needed visas. They are free! But we had to make an appointment once again with the Consulate and they only had appointments available for a month later! And then still to get from there to Asia.
Again, back to the search for the holy grail.
Found flights to Thailand from Buenos Aires via Dubai - great! but it stops over in the UK. We thought, OK, maybe we can just do that, but once again - we needed flights back to Argentina (expensive) and then wait 2 weeks to apply for transit visas. Scratch that.