Long Way Up (2020) s01e09 Episode Script

Colombia, Panama & Costa Rica

Got sun on my face
Sleeping rough on the road
I'll tell you all about it
When I get home
Gonna roll up the sidewalk
Gonna need letting up
Comin' round to meet you
The long way up
We're gonna ride 13,000 miles through 13 countries.
From Ushuaia, in and out of Argentina and Chile, to the Atacama Desert,
heading up to La Paz before we cross Lake Titicaca,
continuing along the Andes to Colombia, over to Panama,
through Central America and Mexico, arriving in Los Angeles 100 days later.
We're gonna give these guys video cameras,
and they're also gonna have cameras with microphones on their crash helmets,
so they can film themselves as they're riding along.
Is this a road? Oh, my God!
A third motorcycle will travel with them,
and on it will be Claudio, our cameraman.
In addition, Russ and I will travel in two electric pickup trucks,
along with cameramen Jimmy,
Anthony and Taylor, who will also help with logistics.
We'll be filming the guys from the vehicles,
linking up with them at borders,
but otherwise, the motorcycles will be on their own.
We've been waiting here for over three hours now,
and we've just heard that our destination, Buenaventura,
has been shut down because of fog.
And it all has a bit of a knock-on effect
because the boat we're supposed to catch is leaving in two hours.
So, it's not looking really very good at all.
But is it possible to land at Buenaventura now with the fog?
No problem.
-Yes, it's open. -Good.
So Buenaventura is open?
Yeah, everything is okay.
We finally got the good news we've been waiting for,
but we're cutting it a bit fine
especially as we've got to load and unload at the other end.
-Ready, guys? -Yes, sir.
Let's go.
We've ridden our bikes a long way since we started,
but now we've hit a bit of a brick wall.
With the roadless Darién Gap blocking our route
between Southern and Central America,
we've got no choice but to go by air and sea to get to our next country, Panama.
Charley and I are in one plane with the three bikes,
and Russ, David and the crew are in the other plane with all the equipment.
We're trying to find the other plane.
I think he must be up here.
What I thought was gonna be easy is obviously difficult.
Hang on.
-There he is right here. -Where?
On the left.
There he is.
Wow, that was close.
It's spectacular flying over the Colombian jungle in these two planes.
It's real Raiders of the Lost Ark stuff.
Pretty cool.
The bikes are all in one piece. They didn't fall over.
So, that's the first leg of our three-part journey to get into Panama.
-All right. -Yeah.
-Right. Next stop, the ferry, yeah? -Okay.
We're heading into proper deepest, darkest Colombia now.
Like, Buenaventura's still connected by road,
whereas where we're going, there's literally no roads in or out.
So, only way to get there is by ship.
The boat's gonna take us along the Pacific coast,
passing a handful of remote villages along the way
on a two-day journey to Bahía Solano in northern Colombia.
They are-- They're super isolated communities,
and a lot of them are slaves that ran away
and set up these isolated communities on the coast, you know,
and just lived off farming and fishing.
Why is Buenaventura still on the no-travel list?
This area in particular because it is a port town,
because it is so isolated.
You know, it's been a hub for paramilitary activity,
for narco activity,
and obviously, conflict with the FARC and other--
and guerrilla groups, you know, that have been around.
-There's some boats. -We're going down there?
The boat's down there.
-There's our boat. -You're kidding me.
-Seriously? -That's it. Yeah.
Hey, my friend. Speaking English?
Castilian, brother.
It's gonna be really interesting. It's gonna be an interesting affair.
This one?
This is a wreck.
How do we get it down there?
There's also, like, 15 people living in this boat.
So many people on it.
This can't be our boat.
This doesn't even look seaworthy.
That's not the one that we saw the pictures of.
No, it's not.
This is not the boat you're looking for.
Move along, move along.
This isn't our boat, is it?
-What? -It's not the one in the photos.
The one in the photos is over there.
That one up there. That green one, surely.
They're already preparing the food for us down there.
-This is it, is it? -This is our boat.
This is our boat?
This is a rough boat.
There's no joking about it. It's a rough old boat.
We're supposed to be on it for two days.
This is, like, gonna have bedbugs, cockroaches, ticks, rats--
Yeah. Wait, we are in the way. It's all going--
Yeah. I mean, they're just putting the bikes on.
It's almost like it's a done deal, you know.
We were trying to negotiate getting in a better boat.
So, there's no going back now.
My God!
Oh, no. He's pushing my bike alone. It's very, very heavy.
I think they're used to doing this with scooters.
I don't know that they're used to doing this with Harley-Davidsons.
The reason they're rushing is 'cause the tide's going out.
And if we don't get it on, we can't get the boat out.
Here he goes.
Let's just get in, shall we?
They're having a little bit of an issue in the machine room.
You may wanna come and have a look at it.
You're not gonna believe this.
They're having a little battery trouble, of all things.
They can't get the main engine going.
If you look down there, you can see that battery there.
They've used that to start the main engine.
And it started-- The engine started within a--
Like, within a heartbeat, it started.
So, that's a good sign.
I loved that they've borrowed the battery from that boat over there
-To jump-start. -to jump-start this boat.
Ciudad Mutis. Nuquí, Chocó. Over.
It's just the noise.
I love all the voices and the rabble. Isn't it great?
This is-- This looks nice.
You said it. Step aboard. Come on.
This will be a shot that'll be difficult to get at sea.
That's true.
Wow, look at the birds flying over the waves.
And now a fisherman passing in the distance. Wow.
-Captain, the ship's all ready, sir. Okay. -Good.
Unframe the main sp-lame and frame the plain stints.
Okay, I'll flutter the flames, sir.
It's sort of a mix between James Mason and a pirate.
Look. We're off, we're off, we're off!
This is my cabin.
There are three bunks. Here.
Three on here.
I'm gonna just try and sleep on this middle one,
but I have chosen the only cabin which doesn't have a fan.
And which is by the exhaust.
Pretty crazy, huh?
Oh, my God. It's so good.
Oh, my God. It's really delicious.
I mean, that is fresh fish.
-Yeah, this is great. -Yeah.
More fish?
-I'm so happy. I love it. -Are you?
-Yeah, it's delicious. Yeah, really good. -This is actually amazing.
Yes. Charley Boorman.
-He is in the house. -Speak of--
How are you doing?
Very well. Yeah.
It's a bit like what it might be like in prison.
Well, I thought it seemed familiar.
It's got a little prison vibe, doesn't it?
Really does.
Gonna go to the bathroom.
She's noisy, but she's safe.
Here we go.
This is how the bathroom works.
I guess it's just constant pumping of seawater into here and
This is where--
This is where I shall leave you for now.
Join us next week on Long Way Up to see if the boys make it to port.
Good morning.
I didn't sleep particularly well.
I was sliding around, like forever on this bed.
This was my view this morning.
Huge, huge ocean.
You know when you're in a small boat, and you go out, and you can't see land,
you suddenly feel very small?
It always takes, like, a day or so to get your sea legs, I suppose.
-Morning. -Morning!
I have a coffee in my hand,
and I was going down the corridor, and I went like that.
And I went
And I didn't spill a drop.
I love the boat.
Great food cooked fresh every day. Mainly fish, of course.
She's laughing at me. I didn't want any fish.
I know. I just can't face fish first thing in the morning.
-You not gonna eat? -No, I'm fine.
Muchas gracias.
Many of the crew on this boat have spent their whole adult life at sea.
It's like a like a source of life.
It's something that, once you're in this life,
you get so attached to it that you don't want to leave anymore.
It's something special for me.
This has been my job since I was a young lad.
We grew up among fishermen.
My siblings and I grew up fishing.
So it's my profession.
And now on January 16th, I'll turn 85.
This boat is a sweetie.
Whenever anybody says you shouldn't go there,
it always ends up being the best place to be.
This is why we do these trips. For this. That's why I love it.
'Cause you're only ever gonna be on a boat like that with those people, and
It's just crazy. It's so fun.
Look at that land! Oh, my God, I love land.
All along this coast is pretty much uninhabited,
but there are a few villages here and there,
so we've asked if we can check them out.
Like a gazelle.
The cooks actually stop off here to pick up supplies for each trip.
Have I got a hood? Yes, I've got a hood.
This is known as the Chocó region,
and it's apparently one of the wettest places on earth.
The village we're headed to is called Nuquí.
It's crazy, isn't it? Right in the middle of--
Well, in the coastland, this is still a community here.
I don't think there's any roads here. Everyone just comes by boat.
-Hey, so you want of that? -Yeah, let's do it.
Wow, what a high street.
Your shop's beautiful. Bueno, bueno.
I like the skull and crossbones with a cig in his mouth.
You know, when we get back to the boat-- Have we got--
There's no towels, are there?
Yeah. I don't have a towel, yeah.
Well, maybe we should buy some towels.
Gracias. Thanks, mate.
-Hola. -Hola.
I love it. I love this place.
I love all the col-- how colorful everything is.
Here, you have everything. Everything.
If you place a plantain sucker in the soil,
six months later it's ready to harvest.
And if you go to the water, there's fish too.
-Gracias, señor. -Bueno.
It was a really nice place to walk around.
Just lots of friendly people
and totally different from what we've seen.
You know, it totally felt like Afro-Caribbean. You know?
Look at this.
What's that? Moonshine?
-This has alcohol. -What is it?
It's viche.
-Viche. -So, this is sugarcane alcohol.
-Is it? Let's smell it. Let's smell it. -Have a smell. Have a sniff.
Then you won't see me for a week.
The good news, he didn't drink any. The bad news
Oh, my goodness.
-A little bit strong. Yes. -That is strong.
I'm glad we got off the boat.
It was worth seeing this town, wasn't it? Big time.
Ready, guys?
Harley-Davidson have sorted out the parts I need for my bike,
but the quickest way to get them to us means shipping them to Costa Rica,
not to Panama.
When we get to Panama
I'm gonna go with my bike on a truck to get it into Costa Rica.
I just like the idea of taking care of my own bike,
but you can do Panama for both of us.
Yeah, that sounds good.
I'm gonna miss you.
I'll miss you too.
-But it'd be a nice adventure. -What's that?
We've chartered an Antonov cargo plane
that will take the bikes first to Medellín and then on to Panama.
And from there, I will have to take my bike to Costa Rica
to collect and fit the Harley parts
and hopefully get my bike back on the road.
5:00 a.m. We're just docking. It's really sticky and hot, isn't it?
The Antonov is just a cargo plane,
and it's not allowed to take passengers internationally across borders.
So, it goes straight to Panama City with the bikes,
and I want to be as quick as possible getting my bike to Costa Rica.
So, I'm going to see if I can stay on the Antonov
land in Medellín, say goodbye to you, and then carry on with it to Panama City.
-Is that looking like it might happen? -We'll see.
-Okay. -Yeah.
All right!
-Colombia! -Colombia, here we come!
-Is that it? -No.
Oh, my God. That is a crashed airplane.
Our plane was supposed to be here,
but because we haven't paid the bill yet, it hasn't even taken off.
So, we're just trying to organize that now.
Bikes are unloaded.
They're safe there. We've got policemen watching them.
All the kit is getting unloaded in there. Most of it's already in there,
and we can basically do what we want until the plane arrives.
So, we've got a couple of hours to kill.
I know, I know you belong
To somebody new
But tonight You belong to me
Night, you belong to me
It was lovely.
Well, that's killed two minutes, only another hour and 58 until departure.
Luckily, there's a beach not far away.
It's amazing to be here in these remote parts of Colombia.
I definitely wanna come back here.
Any word from our Antonov? Has it taken off?
No, let me get on that right now.
Wasn't it meant to be here
-two hours ago? -Three hours ago.
The plane's landed already, so we'd better get a move on.
Yeah, okay, we've got the ramp.
One minute, we're relaxing, having beers on the beach and playing around.
Next minute, the Antonov is actually here.
So, we could have been here earlier possibly but anyway.
There's nothing we can do about that.
I still don't know if I'm gonna be allowed to travel all the way there today.
-Definitely helps if we hurry up. -Is it possible?
It is possible.
He has to get authorization from Bogotá. Sooner we leave, the better.
I love this plane.
It's a real bit of solid Soviet engineering.
Bombs away.
This is Russia's finest.
Funny enough, they're not allowed to fly in European or American airspace.
So, that sort of tells you the whole story, doesn't it?
This is for you since you're traveling by yourself with the three bikes
So, as soon as we arrive, I think you're gonna stay with them.
You're doing the customs and everything.
And that jacket will help you to not get lost, I think.
I'm gonna be doing immigration's work with them
and then as soon as-- when the immigration's done,
we're gonna carry on to Panama City tonight.
Don't be like that.
So, let me just run by. I stay here
-So, yeah, I can-- Yeah. -With the guys.
We can hang around until customs' process is completely finished.
It's just immigration that you have to be on your own for.
-Okay, good. -Let's go, Ewan.
We got 40 minutes to clear customs.
They put it on the bus.
What happens with the bikes?
Do we have to unload them to go through customs?
Yes, of course.
The three of them have to be taken off and then back on the plane again?
This is tomorrow.
You won't leave now?
Okay. So, let me talk to them.
I guess I'm not going anywhere tonight.
Just a bit bummed.
-You were so ready to go. -I know.
You were like, "Bye, guys. Okay, see you."
I know. I said all the goodbyes. Embarrassing now.
Well, here I am on my own. Tout seul.
The first day I've woken up in the hotel right next to the airport
where we did all the paperwork for the bikes last night
after not being allowed to carry on with them to
Panama City.
So, I said goodbye to the guys last night,
and it's a sort of odd feeling to be
on my own now.
I should be able to make it to Panama City today,
and from there, I'll drive all the way to Costa Rica
to get the Harley parts in San José.
Tonight, Charley and the crew will take a commercial flight to Panama City,
and then he'll ride his bike to Costa Rica while I'm fixing mine.
Yeah, hopefully, you'll be pretty close to the border with Costa Rica by tonight.
-Yeah. -Yeah.
If it goes smooth-- I mean, I don't know.
Of course, these things always take longer than we think.
Like last night, we thought it would be
We thought for a minute I would get on that 6:30 plane, but--
Hey, Ewan.
-It's cargo, no? -Wrong place, yeah.
There we are.
The bikes are through here.
Now the pilots have arrived.
All the flight crew are here.
Just have to have the bikes checked by the narcotics officers,
and then we'll head to Panama City.
I'm watching the dog doing its work.
It's just amazing how it sniffs at every nook and cranny of the bike
and gets its nose up and under the bike wheels and the engines.
All over the place.
And it didn't wanna play with Claudio's laughing llama.
Well, I think the policeman, the narcotics officer,
is happy that there's no drugs in the bikes or in the bags,
so they've wrapped them all up.
And now I have to go and clear passport control in the airport.
The only way I'm allowed to fly legally across borders with cargo
is if I become an actual crew member.
I just got my credentials,
so I'm now legitimately crew master for this flight.
On the Antonov.
I am officially a member of the flight crew.
Just a member of the crew. Just be the cargo master.
Start the engines, and we should be on our way.
I'm really excited to get my bike to San José and get it back on the road,
but I'm bummed to be missing the rest of Colombia and Panama.
All the luck, Ewan.
Before I leave Colombia,
I really wanna take a look around Medellín.
So, where are we off to?
We're going to the Comuna 13, which is one of the neighborhoods
that used to be really dangerous in the '80s.
It is like an example of how the 'narco culture' changed
-for good. -Right.
And how, when they invested in public infrastructure
it helped change the mindset of the people
in the neighborhood and from everywhere.
I was told that District 13 was an absolute no-go area
when the likes of Pablo Escobar were in power.
At the end of 2002, the police steamed in using tanks to clear the area,
and the fighting finally finished.
I could do that if I wanted to.
It's now become a popular tourist attraction
with people flocking in to see the murals, artwork and symbols of hope.
This is one of the most important graffities in the area.
This mural represents a crucial moment
in the Comuna, the Operation Orión.
It was one of the largest military operations here in Medellín,
especially here in our area and in the streets that you guys have been visiting.
Wow, fabulous.
The hills are so steep here that to try and help the neighborhood,
they put in escalators to help the locals get up and down to their homes.
The electric stairs,
they are the unique electric stairs in the world in a place like this.
In a place like a favela.
So, this attracted the tourists coming here.
And that, I'm guessing, helped change the community
because it brings money into the community, I suppose.
-Yes. Exactly. -Wow.
Famously, Bill Clinton paid a visit during one of his trips to Colombia.
The only American president to do so.
From being, like, the most dangerous cities in the world
to be this is like a huge example for all of us as Colombians.
A stronger belief in how investing in arts and culture
can change a whole society.
This is the proof of it.
It's a rather wet welcome to Central America.
Bikes are gonna go down the ramp onto these pallets,
and then they're taken to customs on these pallets.
I didn't know about that.
It's rainy and bloody hot and sticky.
There's your bike going, Charley. Nothing I can do about it now.
Did everything I could for her, you know?
I'm all right. I just managed to get through. I just got through.
I had to go through to get immigration, but I had to go and get a--
I had to go and become officially a member of their crew, you know.
So, I got my badge.
Yeah, all good. All the bikes are all in one piece.
Well, I'm just keen to get it there as quickly as possible
so that they can fix it.
I've got a 500-mile journey to meet the Harley engineers
who, I hope, can get this bike up and running again.
Today while Ewan is heading for Costa Rica,
I've arrived in Panama City.
I picked up my bike, and I plan to have a look around.
Especially its canal, which it's famous for.
That is big.
That is really, really big.
This canal is a shortcut for ships
to go between the Pacific and the Atlantic.
I'm quite blown away.
When we came over the bridge here and then you see this place here,
it's quite mind-blowing to see it.
Yeah, it's pretty amazing.
How many ships can go through?
Okay, these locks were designed for about 14 vessels per day maximum.
But what does it cost?
A container vessel like that, if it fully loaded, $1.2 million.
-For a container. -1.2 million to go one way?
-Yes. One way. -One way.
It makes so much money for Panama
that these new locks were built to increase the capacity
and were opened in 2016 at the cost of $5.5 billion.
Basically this has been your baby from the very beginning.
I was one of the four that were leading the project,
and then in 2012, I was chief engineer of the construction.
So, it was great.
How are you influencing women coming through this business?
There were some people that kind of doubted my appointment,
and I bought myself a pink hard hat.
And the pink hard hat became very famous.
That was not the intent. The intent was for me to tell these people,
"Hey, I'm a woman. I can do this job."
There's a big movement now
to encourage women to climb the corporate ladder.
There's a lot of studies that have proven
that when you have a more diverse board making decisions, industry thrives.
What's happening now?
That means this gate is gonna open,
and this vessel is gonna come through to the next chain.
Do you see that the water level now is the same? Both.
Wow. Wow!
-Oh, my God, it's huge! -Yeah!
It's the exact same principle from the original locks.
Hello. Hello, little one.
Where are you guys from?
-London. -From London?
Wow. Okay.
Are you doing another round the world?
Yeah. We're doing Long Way Up.
Yeah, on the electric bikes.
-Can you believe it? -That's awesome.
Just plugging in.
What an incredible place and an inspiring woman.
But I haven't quite finished with the canal just yet.
Well, this is something that I've wanted to do for ever such a long time.
So, my father made a film here called The Tailor of Panama.
He made it with Pierce Brosnan and Jamie Lee Curtis.
And there's a scene--
He's swimming in the water here, and this huge tanker goes past.
And I said, "Dad, look, I'm off to Panama."
And he says, "Well, you gotta recreate this shot."
And now here we are, and look, just--
What's that over my shoulder?
You know? Just-- I don't know.
Huge, isn't it?
Don't panic, Charley.
It's just for you, Dad.
Thank you for being my father
and the inspiration to Mr. Adventurer and Mr. Traveler.
Got it all from you, Dad.
Oh, my God!
Not expecting that!
I'm wondering how Charley's getting on in Panama.
I know he's visiting the site where his dad made that movie.
But I'm on my own little adventure through Costa Rica,
and I'm thinking about my family too.
You're so far away from me
You're so far I just can't see
I'm desperate to get to San José.
Not just to get my bike fixed but because I'm gonna see my daughter, Jamyan.
I tell this story sometimes
because I've got an absolute example of a decision changing my life.
And not only my life but Jamyan's life
and my family's life and her sisters' and her mother's life.
When we were in Mongolia, we'd got a week into it.
Four, five days into it.
And we were struggling 'cause it was wet, and it was muddy,
and we were getting 20 miles a day and
Although at the same time,
we were experiencing the beauty of Mongolia
and the remoteness of life there
and the way that people live their life there,
we were also frustrated by the mileage,
and we were heading for Ulaanbaatar, which was 1,000 miles away,
and we're starting to feel like we were never gonna get there.
And we had one of those dips
where you lose sight of what's important, I suppose.
And we got the maps out, and we were looking at the maps going,
look-- And I said it.
I said, "Charley, if we turn left, we can be in Russia in a day
and we can be back on that road on the map."
We looked at this left or straight-on decision.
And I remember calling David
and I got him on the phone and said, "Look, we're thinking about
turning left and getting out of Mongolia." And we would have missed Ulaanbaatar.
And David was immediately very spiritual about it.
Don't miss the stuff that you love about this thing.
'Cause this is once in a lifetime, so
So that's all I'd say.
And as he was speaking to me, I immediately knew he was right.
But then maybe the point is that it is a struggle,
and that we just struggle on.
Well, we did carry on, and we did get to Ulaanbaatar.
And Charley and I went to a street shelter for children.
And we were both massively moved by it.
Nothing could have prepared me
for how young the children were there.
There was girls there that were two years old.
This little one here, who was found two weeks ago,
will only talk to this girl here.
And they seem to have found some bond together.
We left that day,
but I couldn't stop thinking about that little girl.
It took nearly two years, but eventually, we adopted Jamyan.
So, it's like one of those decisions in life where you think--
I could look back at that and go,
"That would've--
that would've changed everything, you know, if we'd done that."
And if we'd turned left, I wouldn't have met her, you know.
So, that's pretty amazing.
But it's a big moment. It was a big moment, funnily.
After months on the road, I get to see Jamyan in a couple of days
if I can get my bike fixed in time.
-How are you doing? -Good to see you.
-This is Kalee. -Hi, Kalee. How are you?
Nice to meet you.
Rachel and Kalee have traveled from Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee
to get the bike ready.
So, describe what's gonna happen.
So, the frame's gonna come off, swingarm's gonna come off,
and then it gets separated from the EVPT.
Bloody hell.
I can ride a unicycle.
Not very far, but I can ride a unicycle.
Scares me to death.
Oh, my God.
I feel like I just watched someone being operated on, and I like it.
I'm so impressed at the way it comes apart.
It's been amazing watching the bike stripped down,
and now we're gonna work late into the night
to put it all back together again
and hopefully be back on the road tomorrow.
While Ewan is fixing his bike,
I've been told about this extraordinary guy.
Pachanga, yeah. Pachanga, Pachanga.
Meet Pachanga.
He's 85 years old and still riding motorbikes.
-Wow. -Yeah.
Wow! You've got some amazing stuff here.
I remember some of these posters growing up.
-Yeah, no? -Yeah.
When did you get into Harley-Davidson?
When I was 14 years old, I had an uncle.
He had an automobile shop.
And he had one Harley, but one of the first 1940s Harleys.
He teach me to ride up to the pier.
And from that day, Harley-Davidson addict. Yeah.
-Wow! -Yeah.
That is beautiful.
There she is. Let's see if she'll start.
-Listen. Listen, listen here. Listen. -Okay.
I love it. I love it.
I hope I'm still doing that when I'm 85.
The bike was worked on all night to get it ready.
All right. Back on the road, man.
This bike is really sweet.
-All right, mate! -How are you, mate?
Look at that. Look at the bike.
How are you, guys?
Good to see you.
You just go around the-- It's behind this building here.
You can't miss my bike.
Yeah. There we are.
There's another adventure in adventures of adventures.
-Hey! -Bloody hell.
All right, mate. How are you?
I missed you.
I'm gonna have to sort of let go of my fatherly worries
and let her embed with the crew and let her just be--
You know, help Doctor Karen or help Jimmy or help whoever.
And I'm just gonna have to sort of, you know, not be too big of a daddy.
I'm gonna have to let her
be a grown-up and that's, you know--
It's so good to be back on the bike,
and I'm so looking forward to seeing Jamyan.
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