ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 12-02-2012, 11:17 AM   #226
vtwin
Air cooled runnin' mon
 
vtwin's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2005
Location: NorCal
Oddometer: 7,298
[QUOTE

But we get by and it is always fun to try and communicate in Spanish. And... we actually really try to avoid English and speak, as best as we can, in the language of the places we are traveling through (Spanish in this case) as I think it is a matter of respect and politeness. Not to mention that even if you are lousy at it, the locals usually appreciate very much your tries. [/QUOTE]


+1, good way of being a guest in a country.
__________________
"Alles hat ein Ende--nur die Wurst, sie hat zwei"
Monroe.

"You only have too much fuel if you're on fire"
unknown
vtwin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2012, 12:01 PM   #227
apollomission19
Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2012
Oddometer: 19
Wow!

Thank you for a wonderful trip.
apollomission19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2012, 09:31 AM   #228
AnjinSan OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Bucharest
Oddometer: 232
Hi guys!

just wanted to share short update:

we've reached Panama City yesterday. And now are getting ready to cross the Darien Gap. Here is a view from last night in Panama City:



Also, while waiting for the boat, I took some time and update the route we've been traveling so far: So the first 3 phases of the trip are updated here, on the Route page, with the number of kilometers and a quite accurate depiction of the roads taken (with exception of the cases where Google Maps doesn't know there is an actual road there :) )

The funny thing was that I under estimated the distances quite a lot before departure. While still at home, the route on google maps was saying ~35000 km for the HOLE trip. Now we are just in Panama and the trip odometer has more than 30000 km.
Conclusion: the real life never goes on a straight line And it is far better this way!

Hope you will enjoy it!
__________________
We are exploring the New World
Track and like us on Facebook
AnjinSan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2012, 10:09 AM   #229
AnjinSan OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Bucharest
Oddometer: 232
The New World III.14 - Honduras!

Honduras: 16 – 18 November
I must admit that when I was planning this trip I didn’t really like the idea of going through Honduras. I didn’t know too much about the country. But I think that most of the people that are on a similar trip try to pass Honduras in one day. If you stick to the main road, PanAmerican highway, there are only 140 km from El Salvator Honduras border and Honduras- Nicaragua border. If you manage to cross the first border early, 140 km later you are already in Nicaragua. But we don’t want to use the PanAmerican border crossings. And then, why not spend one more day in Honduras? Therefore our plan is to go up North from El Salvador, crossing into Honduras through a less transited border (already a habit).
Leaving El Salvador (we heard that this can get complicated at the main border crossing) is very easy. Nothing complicated, not even a “guide” offering his services, peace and quiet. A yellow barrier later we are in front of the Honduras border crossing. We almost passed the building.
This is it! A small room and a window. You give them your passport, pay 2 dollars and get a stamp on your passport. Simple and fast. Wait, it’s not that easy. We are in but what about Gunnar? Where is “Aduana”? A few hundred meters further down the road…. a new and good looking building.
We get there, park the motorcycle and… let the fun begin. There are many free desks (the building is new and modern), but apparently not anyone around there can handle such an “important” business such as the temporary importation of a motorcycle in Honduras. I am told that I have to wait for the “jefe” to come and process my papers. So we wait for about 20 minutes for the boss to show up. I am smiling at the guy behind the window (the one that cannot help me) and he is smiling at me. The difference is that my smile is… more sweaty (it’s almost noon and outside is really hot) and he smiles back a little more… chillier (there is AC on the other side). Meanwhile Andreea is hiding in the shadows leaning against the building. Unfortunately that’s not cold either.
It’s hard to describe how hot it is outside. I feel like I’m in an old provincial town, somewhere in the dusty Baragan (a part of Romania), on a long August day, and no one is in a mood for doing anything. Nearby, in the parking lot, the wind plays with the dust, sending it in small swirls through the sleeping trucks.
Eventually, the man who was supposed to help us shows up. I regain my energy and go to him joyfully giving him all the details. The guy is nice and wants to help us. He checks out the motorcycle, the VIN and says “Bueno” then heads back to his office. “Great, this will be over in no time!”, I’m thinking. I follow him, already making plans about what we are gonna have for lunch in Honduras.
When we get to the office, him on the AC side, myself with the sun on my side, he tells me I only have to make some photocopies and I am good to go. “Ah, but I already have copies”- and then I say to myself “What do you think, hombre, that this is my first border crossing, paff, we came prepared!”.
The official looks at me with pity (as if he wanted to tell me “yes, I’ve seen this bravery before”) and then starts: 3 copies of your passport, 3 copies of the registration permit, 4 copies of your driving license, 3 more copies of the passport page that has Honduras entry stamp and then some more of the papers he just prepared (he hands them to me through the small window of the office). He is telling me all this in Spanish while I’m looking at him with dumb eyes trying hard to remember all the documents I have to photocopy and the number of copies. I’m defeated, I surrender and tell him I don’t have so many copies. 1-0 for Honduras.
I ask for the closes copy center and he points me a small building somewhere in the distance on the other side of the road. Ah, it’s so hot…. and no trees around. I get to the copy center, tell the lady how many copies I need hoping I didn’t forget anything. 10 minutes later I am back to the Aduana office with a pile of documents.
Ready, is that it? No, now you have to pay an auto tax that allows you to ride in Honduras. OK, I pay it, anything for some shadow. Ah, you don’t pay here, you have to pay at the bank. And where is the bank? Far away, all the way to the entrance as you came in, next to immigration office. But it’s OK, you can take your motorcycle to get there faster. I get to the bank and… surprise: 1 hour lunch break. Argh…. super, it’s 12 o’clock and the only bank employee needs to eat also. Good. 2-0 for Honduras. I go back to the Aduana building, tell the border person all about it and then crash next to Andreea (who mind her own siesta all this time leaning against the Aduana wall). I also join this intense activity.
Lunch break is over for my bank employee, I go there again, I pay and go back to the office. Is this all? No, not quite. You need… guess what? 3 copies of the receipt you just got from the bank. 3-0 for Honduras.
One last visit to the copy place and we are finally free to explore Honduras. It took a little bit longer. But, to be honest, the process wouldn’t have taken too long if we hadn’t been there at lunch time and if it hadn’t been that hot. It wasn’t crowded and people were really nice. We are now back on the road. We have 500 km to discover Honduras.
Everybody warned us that the roads here are not that great. And they were right. We barely left the border and we see that here and there there was some repairing needed….
The good thing is that it is easier to avoid the holes when you are on 2 wheels. The bad thing is that if you hit one hole by any chance…. you would probably wish you had 4 wheels, for stability. We cruise carefully (I’m thinking that seen from behind some might think the motorcyclist is drunk, riding all in zig-zag) and we’re moving on without problems. We notice something new to us: some of the locals stopped waiting for the state to fix the road and fill the holes on their own. Many of them are doing it using earth most of the time and sometimes gravel. First rain probably washes everything away.
Don’t think that they are doing it because they want to do something good for the country. Actually, some might do it as an act of kindness but others simply ask money from the drivers as a reward for helping out. We heard that others do only this the whole day, cover and uncover the same hole with the same earth (just pretend they are working) asking for money in return. We don’t want to believe these kind of stories so we mind our own business, riding.
We pass by Santa Rosa de Copan, and Lonely Planet said that this city is beautiful and interesting. We didn’t find it worth stopping and visiting, maybe it was because of the gloomy weather.
We look at the map and discover that a little bit further there is a city called Gracias (a Dios). Long time ago Gracias used to be the capital of Central America. We decide to stop there (we like the name of the place and even for that we feel like it is worth stopping here) and we find a clean hotel, with hot water (that’s a big deal!!!!) and secure parking for the motorcycle. It’s secure if you don’t drop the motorcycle into the lake. Sorry, the pool.
There are many cars on the streets with huge flags. There will be elections in Honduras in two days. We learn that there was a political crisis here in 2009 that brought up coups, presidents were deported and other changes in the system. All these details bring back bad memories as we recognize these bad decisions taken by other politicians from other parts of…. Europe. We hope that these disturbances will remain in the past and the 2012 elections will be quiet. I don’t know much about their campaign but I know they like flags. Many flags and as big as they can get. We couldn’t find a national flag but the flags of political parties were everywhere. Pure madness.
But this is another story. Everyone can read about it and better understand these aspects. Eventually, apart from passions and political fights the important thing is the performance of the ones that rule the country, no matter what their political color or…. shade is. About this situation, apparently a ministry publicly declared somewhere in 2006 that 94% of the founds allocated to his ministry go to the bureaucracy and only 6% is used to make something useful. Interesting!
On the other side, nature and the people we talk to seem to fully compensate. Green forests as far as your eyes can see, guarded by high mountains. The weather is on our side, the sky is blue.
Surprisingly I might say, the road we decide to take has excellent pavement! We love it and we are relaxing, enjoying the road.
We go up a steep hill and something seems wrong about the road. I hit the breaks, as I couldn’t see past the hill. And what a good thing that was. As the perfect asphalt suddenly turns (without any warning sign, no nothing) into a dirt road!!!!
Unbelievable! Same road (and one of the main ones) totally transformed. And no, there was no machine, or sign to indicate any repairing activity. Just like that, for the next kilometers you ride a dirt road. And for the picture to be more real, traffic coming from the other direction changed also. A pair of oxes were heading our way
We lower our speed and keep going. But we are seriously asking ourselves if this is the right road or we took a wrong turn somewhere.
Then when we get to an intersection with another dirt road we meet the police. Now that’s a surprise. They stop us and ask for all our papers. In return we ask them if this is the right way to go and how far is it to Esperanza (prophetic name for the next city). And… before we left, since we stopped anyway and the police seemed to be in good mood, we ask them to participate in the 1st of December casting. You’ve probably already seen what came out.
Refreshed by this stop and interaction with the police that seemed to be really nice people we head to the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa. We don’t stop here and from what we see we don’t regret it.
Maybe we were in the wrong place in the city. Maybe the road we took got us into more… delicate areas. But all we can see is ghettos, crowd and trash. We are very happy to find our way out.
A Santa Claus is waving us. He’s got Pepsi belt and for sure he will have to fight hard the Coca Cola Santa Claus, we don’t know where that one was now. Holidays are coming, holidays are coming!
We are now on the road to the border between Honduras and Nicaragua. Sun will be setting soon so we need to find a place to sleep. Until then, we notice a commercial that we wanted to photograph for so long. Machetes anyone? And not just any machetes but the ones that “fly in your hands”?. Notice how the machete comes out of the commercial frame. Splendid!
We also notice that there is yellow VStrom behind us. Traffic is pretty intense so we don’t feel like stopping. We lost him at one of the intersections and didn’t expect to see him again in the same day. Once the sun sets we stop in Danli, a small city pretty close to the border. We choose a hotel and in the parking lot we see the same yellow VStrom with Dutch licence plates. The world is big but for travellers like us there will always be chances to meet. We meet Phil, an Englishman travelling to Argentina by motorcycle. He ia alone on a 2012 VStrom, the new model. Gunnar will have good company tonight.
Good night! Tomorrow we cross the border in Nicaragua!
Route map for this episode:
View Larger Map
Next time we meet Nicaragua and descend a volcano as fast as we can! Stay tunned!
__________________
We are exploring the New World
Track and like us on Facebook
AnjinSan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2012, 07:08 PM   #230
AnjinSan OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Bucharest
Oddometer: 232
Nicaragua: 18-23 November

Crossing into Nicaragua is easy. Almost too easy. We are not asked for any extra copies while exiting Honduras.In 10 minutes we are on the Nicaraguan side and everything runs smoothly. Here we get a bonus that we didn’t receive in the other countries, our tires get “cleaned” with a special solution.

While we are waiting for all the formalities for importing the motorcycle to be completed we notice a big and…. pink billboard right at the entrance in the country.

The billboard is huge and we are curious to know who is the gentleman in the image. Oh well, is the president, Daniel Ortega. Dedicated socialist, member of the Sandinist party, already on his 2nd mandate and hoping for a 3rd one (but needs to make some “adjustments” in the Constitution for this). But thinks are never simple.
Lonely Planet says that Nicaragua was an area deeply affected by conflicts and oppressions and it’s history was influenced by a lot of external factors. And seems to be true if we think about the Spanish influence (indisputably present in the whole Latin America) and all the way to the American influence (baseball is the national sport in Nicaragua – same as Panama-, brought here by the American soldiers during the military presence in the country).

Leaving the history and politics aside we get to meet the Nicaragua of 2012 and the first impression is very good. From the road that is paved and in an excellent condition (although supposed to be a road to a secondary border crossing I couldn’t believe my eyes how good it was) to the villages that seem more organized and… cleaner. It’s a beautiful day, one of those days when everything is exactly how it’s supposed to be. Motorcycle is running smoothly, from behind the girl’s hands are holding you tight and you are so happy to be on the road. We are listening to music, some of the songs coming from you in “the Music Mailbox

And we realize that Nicaragua is the place to go shopping if you are in need for a hammock! By the side of the road we see nicely colored hammocks, with all kind of adornments.

Our first destination is Leon. A traditional city seen as pertaining to the liberals is one of the “heritage” cities of Nicaragua. The other one is Granada and it is located around 100 kilometers to the East, on the shores of lake Nicaragua, historically one of the cities belonging to the conservative party. The interesting part is that for many years these two cities “battled for supremacy”on the political scene (and not only). Eventually, it was decided that the capital should be Managua, a city located in between the two so that both parties should be satisfied. Leon is now one of the main attractions in Nicaragua.

We didn’t like the city that much. Maybe because the main square was being renovated and therefore closed. Maybe because the hotels were too expensive and it is not that clean. We stayed there only two nights. And we enjoyed it because we got to meet other travelers like us. Some coming from Argentina and going to Canada and some that were planning to pass also through South America.

Travelers that got together in a restaurant to talk about places like Patagonia or Canada.
We didn’t actually stay in the city the day we were in Leon. We decided to join a group that was heading to the nearby volcano for ashboarding. If we decide to do a touristy thing let’s do something that involves adrenaline. It is an extraordinary experience. Here are just a few pictures from the trip to the volcano and from the volcano. I also have some videos and I am hoping to get some time soon to edit them. Cerro Nero volcano dominates the green valley with it’s darkness.

It is still active and there is still the possibility of an eruption.
When we get at the bottom of the volcano we take our boards and protection suits and start climbing. It takes us around one hour to reach the crater.


Smells like sulfur on top. And there is steam coming out of the crater. And we can see other smoking volcanoes in the distance.


We put on our protection suits- there are just some orange overalls that look like prisoners’ uniforms in the American movies- and get ready for “boarding” on the dark ash.


I took my motorcycle helmet with me since it was the only place I could put my Action Cam. All the others have goggles.

We only have one picture from the actual boarding and we have it from the organizers. You didn’t have time to take pictures otherwise as you had to keep your balance and yourself on the board.

You can reach pretty high speed when you get down. The record is something over 90 km/h. I will show you more interesting captures from the boarding when I manage to edit the videos. By then, let’s take some time to relax in the sunset, we experienced some intense sensations. Cheers!

From Leon we went to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. We were invited there by Salvador’s family, a passionate motorcycle traveler just like us and they were very hospitable and kind. Salvador is now traveling through Asia but his mother was an excellent host and we enjoyed two quiet and relaxed days. Actually, we relaxed doing stuff as one of the two days we went to a nearby farm where we could admire exquisite horses.

And not only did we have the chance to admire and caress them but we were invited to ride a beautiful horse of noble breed. Andreea told me that I looked like a small kid and had a smile as big as my face. Wouldn’t you be the same way?

Reyna took really good care of us and we are very grateful for that but it’s time to get back on the road. Next destination is Granada, considered the oldest Spanish settlement in Nicaragua.

We find a pretty cheap hotel (good thing we’re off-season) and since there is no other parking spot, we are allowed to bring Gunnar inside with us.

I put him in a corner of the reception area where, poor guy, will have to watch telenovelas with the receptionist the whole night.

The city is sitting on the shores of the interesting lake Nicaragua: it is the widest lake in Central America and even since the XIX century it was considered a suitable place to create a crossing between Atlantic and Pacific. A place of strategic importance wanted by many countries. In 1914, US signed an agreement with the Nicaraguan government of that time that granted them sole rights for building a canal between Atlantic and Pacific. The agreement was advertised in the country as a huge success and seen as a huge source of income once the canal would have been completed. Until today absolutely nothing has been done for this construction... Hmm I wonder if the fact that US owned for a long time the Panama Canal had anything to do with that...



Maybe not having this canal is a bad thing for the economy of Nicaragua but the good part is that their waters remained peaceful and unpolluted by the big cargo ships. And Granada was saved from industrialization and went on being a beautiful colonial city, good place for receiving tourists.


We walked for a while on the narrow streets and ended up in a coffee shop maintained by people with disabilities. It is called “Café de las Sonrisas” and all the time we spent there we only saw people smiling. There is also a hammocks factory there where these people are offered a chance to work and integrate in the community. We should never ever forget how grateful and happy we should be for everything we have and for being healthy.


Here we discover the largest hammocks we’ve seen so far. Lovely, brightly colored and the most comfortable, according to Andreea.


We leave Granada behind and head to the border crossing between Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Theoretically, you only have one option if you travel by motorcycle and want to cross from Nicaragua to Costa Rica: the border crossing on the PanAmerican highway. It’s the only official option. But… while in Leon, we learn from Chloe and Chris that there might be another crossing, a smaller one, East of Lake Nicaragua, on a less traveled road. Hmm, this is interesting. We decide to see how this border crossing works. It turned out to be an interesting choice from many points of view!
Our trip in Nicaragua proved to be too short for the things we wanted to see and do. It is a beautiful country that deserves more time.
Route map for this story:

View Larger Map
Next time we find out how adventurous the border crossing was and how we managed to cross into Costa Rica! Stay tuned!
__________________
We are exploring the New World
Track and like us on Facebook
AnjinSan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2012, 07:25 PM   #231
Turkeycreek
Gringo Viejo
 
Turkeycreek's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: Banámichi, Sonora, Mexico
Oddometer: 1,000
Alex, you are getting so good at teasing us about what will be in the next post. Keep the reports and the great photos coming. Have you met up with Tom and Radka, Hewby or Allison for the crossing to Columbia yet?

Abrazos!
__________________
Mexico - Dream, Discover, Ride
Hotel Los Arcos, Northern Sonora's Motorcycle Haven
http://www.losarcossonora.com
Turkeycreek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2012, 08:25 PM   #232
AnjinSan OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Bucharest
Oddometer: 232
Hey Tom, yeah, hopefully my posts are getting better as well, not just the "mystery" from the end

I know that Radka and Tom are in Panama since yesterday, but we do not stay at the same place. We are going to meet tomorrow morning for the ride to Carti.

About Hewby I do not know anything new... but I sure hope to meet her as well one the boat.
__________________
We are exploring the New World
Track and like us on Facebook
AnjinSan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2012, 04:47 AM   #233
OldPete
Be aware
 
OldPete's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: Los Alamitos, CA
Oddometer: 4,652
Most excellent ride report!
Well written with a good pace. Most of your pictures are not snap-shots but have atleast a pause of heart felt thought.

I have read every word and the hook was set when I read of the Russian fella you guys met in AK.

The History can be searched.... Panama used to belong to Colombia.

Looking forward to more of two-up on a Wee Strom.
OldPete is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2012, 05:12 AM   #234
Merlin III
Mean SOB
 
Merlin III's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Maine
Oddometer: 1,506
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldPete View Post
Most excellent ride report!
Well written with a good pace. Most of your pictures are not snap-shots but have atleast a pause of heart felt thought.

I have read every word and the hook was set when I read of the Russian fella you guys met in AK.

The History can be searched.... Panama used to belong to Colombia.

Looking forward to more of two-up on a Wee Strom.
The narrative is very thoughtful. I could read it and enjoy it even without the photos.
__________________
"I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I am not absolutely sure about anything." Richard Feynman, CalTech Scientist, Challenger Disaster Committee member.
Merlin III is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2012, 07:48 AM   #235
Turkeycreek
Gringo Viejo
 
Turkeycreek's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: Banámichi, Sonora, Mexico
Oddometer: 1,000
Alex claims to be an IT analyst but he is really a philosopher and an astute observer of life. Perhaps he has found his true calling on the seat of a motorcycle and behind a camera.
__________________
Mexico - Dream, Discover, Ride
Hotel Los Arcos, Northern Sonora's Motorcycle Haven
http://www.losarcossonora.com
Turkeycreek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2012, 07:26 PM   #236
Dracula
Deus ex machina
 
Dracula's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Fuquay Varina
Oddometer: 988
Felicitari pentru o aventura minunata

Alex and Andreea,

You are the light of my winter darkness.
I wish you that your journey should never end,.

If ever come to NYC area you will have a place to rest and stay.

Godspeed!
Dracula is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2012, 11:34 AM   #237
AnjinSan OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Bucharest
Oddometer: 232
Hi guys, thank you for all the kind words. I still think you are too kind and that I am not doing anything special. But on the other hand I do recognize that you encourage me to keep writing in English as well. So part of this RR is... you "fault"

I am sorry for the long delay but we've been on the high seas for the last 5 days on the Steel Rat.



The crossing to Colombia it wasn't without adventures but it was a good one. We have some stories tell you, all about it soon.

The bike is still on board so we will make the formalities tomorrow. Hope all will go well and tomorrow we will have the bike as well.

Until then, maybe I'll have time to catch up with the RR
__________________
We are exploring the New World
Track and like us on Facebook
AnjinSan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2012, 09:24 PM   #238
Dracula
Deus ex machina
 
Dracula's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Fuquay Varina
Oddometer: 988
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnjinSan View Post
The crossing to Colombia it wasn't without adventures but it was a good one. We have some stories tell you, all about it soon.

The bike is still on board so we will make the formalities tomorrow. Hope all will go well and tomorrow we will have the bike as well.

Until then, maybe I'll have time to catch up with the RR
Can't wait, you are living the dream.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do"
Dracula is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2012, 10:37 AM   #239
AnjinSan OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Bucharest
Oddometer: 232
Oh yes… we made it. We crossed the Darien Gap and made it (by the time you read this) in Columbia. We are still in Central America with the story. Who knows, maybe I will have some time, before taking the motorcycle out of customs here in Columbia, and get a little bit closer to present day with the blog…. So… let’s see how it was in Costa Rica:
Costa Rica: November 24 – December 02
Here we are, heading again to a border we didn’t know too much about. We knew that there is a very small border post and you need a boat to cross a river between San Carlos, Nicaragua and Los Chiles, Costa Rica. Nothing special so far, the only problem was what kind of boats are available for the crossing and, once we get to Costa Rica, where we could buy a compulsory insurance for the motorcycle. These were the thoughts that kept us busy all the way to San Carlos… a place so isolated that seemed to be at the end of the world. We get there and try to find the port and the customs, not before saying “hello” once more to…. mister president!
We ask about the boats and insurance we need to buy for the motorcycle in Costa Rica and we are told that it is possible. Once we get there we should just ask where is the place where they issue insurance. Goood, as for the boat, there will be one just now, at 13:00, big enough to carry your motorcycle. So we are invited to proceed with our papers. The border officials are nice, everything seems to go perfect. We ask again about the papers we have to make on the other side and we are assured it will be ok. Hmmmm, ok then, let’s leave Nicaragua.
We park the motorcycle on the peer…. and I see for the first time the boat “big enough” to carry a motorcycle. A tiny passenger boat that had a fairly flat area in front. That was it. Compared to what we were seeing now, the boat that we used to cross the river in Guatemala seemed now a real ferry!
We have the papers ready so the dancing began. We anyway didn’t want to go back as we had to make a detour of a few hundred kilometers. Let’s put the motorcycle on the boat then.
We have to descend some stairs first. What, you’re telling me that a motorcycle cannot go down the stairs? Normally no… especially when it is not an enduro one, but in special cases and with a little help the VStrom can go down the stairs!
Now we have to put it on the boat. Gunnar is pretty low and not doing very well. But the shield is doing the job and we manage to get on the boat. Now we have to tie it well. Esthetics is not important.
And that is it… we are on the little boat and the motorcycle is on it also. We just have to tie it up very well, we would want our motorcycle to start dancing on the “huge” surface it had just for itself…
And we go. We say “goodbye” to Nicaragua. We enjoyed it and would have liked to stay longer, with or without pink campaign posters. Goodbye, Nicaragua, hope everything works out for you!
The boat ride is more than one hour long. I keep one eye on the motorcycle to make sure it doesn’t move…
…an the other on the landscape. I feel like home, in the Danube Delta!
We are getting closer to the Costa Rica border and… getting off the boat doesn’t seem to be easier.
Unfortunately we only have two pictures from getting off the boat. One with both wheels in the boat and another with both wheels on land. Andreea confessed that in between she was unable to do anything, not even breathing. She told me that there were a few “delicate” moments when I was trying to get the motorcycle off the boat and the latter was going away from the shore while my wheels were one outside the boat, on the shore and the other in the boat. Hmmmm, maybe it is better I didn’t realize that.
After some zig-zaging on the ramp I get to the street level and I feel we deserve to celebrate this victory while the locals were looking at us like we just landed from an UFO. Probably it’s because of the jacket….
Unfortunately we don’t get to enjoy our victory too much. The guy from the Costa Rica aduana gives us bad news: “you cannot buy motorcycle insurance in Los Chiles.” “OK, then where can we buy insurance?” “Ah, in Quesada, a city nearby, only 90 kilometers away.” “Hmmm, fine, I will go there then. “Since the motorcycle cannot be used (cannot leave the customs without papers), where can I take the bus?” “The bus station is in the central market but it’s no use to go now, the INS office is open until 15:00 (it was 14:00). Well, tomorrow then? No, not tomorrow, agency is closed during the weekend (it was Friday). And just like that we were getting one defeat after the other. I was really wondering at ne point what would happen if I come up with another solution. And there we have it, the longest border crossing and that was not because of bureaucracy or too many people trying to cross the border but because you cannot buy a stupid insurance.
That’s ok, all we can do now is relax in Los Chile. We even find a hotel with acceptable rates and manage to convince the border official to let us take the motorcycle out of customs, promising we won’t take it out of the city. Days go by peacefully in this city that looks more like an American suburb.
It’s Monday, 5 AM and I am up, my bus leaves at 6:00, I am in Quesada at 7:45 AM and at 8:00 I am one of the first customers of the insurance agency. 9:00 I am back in the bus and 3 hours later I am back in Los Chiles. I decide to go straight to the customs and do the papers. The border official already saw the motorcycle anyway. I go there, he recognizes me, tells me everything is ok, I just need to go make some copies (of course) around the corner. I go. I am at the second copy of the 4 when I see the border official. He tells me he is sorry but he has to leave for one hour. I am staring at him not knowing what to say. I cannot believe it. I was waiting for 3 days in that place, now I have all my papers and he wouldn’t want to postpone his lunch for 3 minutes until I make my copies and leave the place. I was so close to tell him what I feel from the bottom of my heart. I also knew that me making a scene will only delay the process. So I wish him to enjoy his meal and I go have lunch. One hour later we are in front of the customs with the motorcycle and our luggage all ready to go.
We are finally on the road in Costa Rica. And we discover a beautiful country, tidy and, from what we can see, also clean. And we also discover… the rain! It’s time to try out my new rain suit that I bought in a supermarket in US.


Our first stop is only 110 kilometers away, La Fortuna (70 of the 110 kilometers I already did twice that day by bus). We get to La Fortuna and rain follows us, we meet Paul there. We spend one day there admiring the Arenal volcano. It is still (very) active so you are not alowed to climb it. WHile we were there we didn’t see any eruption.
We enjoyed the sun and the nature’s green (no wonder after so much rain).
I don’t usually post pictures with flowers but let’s take a break from green, here is one for those of you who fancy these kind of captures.
Since it was sunny and the sky was clear we stopped here to “film” some scenes from the Romania’s National Day movie.
The next day we ride with Paul to the Caribbean coast. The route is very nice but we cannot see much because of the rain. It rains a lot but luckily our rain gear do their job.
We pass many bananas plantations. Chiquita, Dole and other familiar “brands”. I will now think of Costa Rica whenever I will see them in the markets…
Ah, no more bananas you say? It’s ok, we also have…. pineapple.
Caribbean sea is an exotic destination and a place we haven’t seen before. The weather is bad but I can only think about fine sand beaches, guarded by palm trees and blue waters. You know, like the movies. But all we get is dark sky and heavy rain. After Port de Limon we randomly choose a village (used to be fishing village not it’s a touristic one) where we were supposed to stay for a few days hoping for better weather. Instead of porch with a sea view we get something more… “domestic” and very very… wet.
After only one night Paul decides to leave and search for the sun somewhere else, across the border, in Panama. We decide to give this place (and the weather) one more chance and visit Cahuita National Park. And that was a good decision indeed. We barely see the sun but we are happy it doesn’t rain either so we can enjoy the luxuriant setting.
Everything around is like in a pirates movie. Fortunately we don’t meet them but all kind of animals, from the small but hard-working ants

… to the slow sloths that barely move hanging from the thick branches.

There are monkeys everywhere. Very active and very curious.
We even meet a racoon that seemed to be very interested in the dumpsters at the park entrance. We saw us coming and went away fast.
The beaches are really wild. There are no umbrellas or chaise longues around here. Palm trees, coconuts, fine sand and the sea… a little bit turbid because of all the rain.
If you watch the sand carefully you can find some more creatures.
We are enjoying Cahuita. That’s also because there are not so many tourists. We enjoy this luxuriant setting and we barely meet other people. We also appreciate that there is no entrance fee for this National Park, apparently the locals objected to charging visitors. And their protests helped, for us this is the first tax free National Park we visit.
It’s December 2nd and time for us to set sail to Panama, the last country we will visit in Central America. The weather is getting better and we cross the border at Sixaola without difficulties. We have to wait longer because we arrived after a bus full with tourists. But the delay is not too big and it doesn’t take long for us to hear “Welcome to Panama!”.
Route map for this story:

View Larger Map
Next time we will introduce you to Panama- the last country we visit in Central America- and find out how we will cross the Darien Gap. Stay tuned!
__________________
We are exploring the New World
Track and like us on Facebook
AnjinSan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2012, 07:25 PM   #240
AnjinSan OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Bucharest
Oddometer: 232
Guys, until the next part of the ride report, just wanted to say that we are enjoying Cartagena and here... Holiday Spirit can be felt all around!



On a more serious note, the bikes are out of Aduana today so tomorrow we go explore Colombia
__________________
We are exploring the New World
Track and like us on Facebook
AnjinSan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 11:34 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014