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Old 03-04-2013, 07:10 PM   #136
dean10 OP
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Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Netherlands
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Gracias to Los Naranjos, Thursday, 15 November 2012, Day 135

Staying at a brewery and me a tee totaler luckily they did home made vanilla cream soda :-) as well[/caption]

Woke up ready for a nice hot shower but bugger shower did not work only a dibble of cold water. After a while I realised that there was no electricity so hence the cold shower so went out to speak to the young lad I haggled with yesterday over the price turns out no electricity in town power cut. I am sure he knew about it but failed to tell me so now cold shower and no Internet and I wanted to some research oh well cold showers are good for you brrr.

Not sure why this town had been recommended perhaps it was for the mountains around the place which I could not see because of the clouds or because of the national park nearby so I decided to head into the park to find out. Today was also cool and cloudy and threatening to rain and when I turned on to the road to the park this was a dirt road and I thought if it rains this is going to turn to mud and slush very quickly and the mountains where under a cloud so decided against going any further turned round and started making tracks for a brewery that both Chris and Geraldo had recommended that did rooms as well.

Strange day for the first hour the road was a terrible pothole everywhere so spent all morning avoiding them. Bit like a computer game trying to find a way through them this was not so bad when it was dry but again it began to drizzle so swerving and changing line quickly not advisable as the roads very greasy. Then there was an excellent bit of tarmac with less potholes and it was dry again whizzing along enjoying my self when I noticed up the road over a brow of hill a dirt track so slowed down which was fortunate as this dirt track was the road so from excellent tarmac to dirt road in a split second. You have to keep your wits about you travelling through here. So a dirt road for the next 15km with different levels of difficulty that kept me focussed. I had not had breakfast as I was still stuffed from the huge Chinese I had last night and it was nearly lunch time so when I finally made it to La Esperanza I was ready for lunch and just on the outskirts of town I found a nice little café that did Crepes excellent just what I fancied.

Sometimes what you wish for arrives just when you want cool little cafe after a stint of off roading[/caption]

So relaxing lunch after my motocross excursion and then back on the road to the Brewery. It was cold and wetter in the afternoon greasy roads and at some stages zero visibility as I was driving through the clouds sometimes. I thought it would be hot and sweaty here but its been cool and wet for the last 3 days not sure what I prefer but would like to be able to see more of the country but most of it seems to be covered by clouds. Took me while to find the place but I did and very nice it is to debating on whether or not to stay another night, as it is cheap and the surrounding area looks pretty interesting. Will decide in the morning.

On this trip I have not come across many long distance motorcyclist tonight there are 3 others staying at this so just like buses see none for ages and 3 turn up at the same time and 2 of them on the same boat as me to Colombia.

Spent the evening trying to pick the brains of the 3 motorcyclist but were all pretty cream crackered and sometimes the more you find out the more you wish you did not know sometimes ignorance is bliss and lets say after last night conversation I am reviewing the situation but ain’t I always doing that so no change there :-)
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:11 PM   #137
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Los Naranjos, Friday, 16 November 2012, Day 136

Birdie with same colour palette as me :-)[/caption]

Woke up snug as bug as I actually had a blanket and a tee shirt on as it was nippy here and it sounded like it was raining outside so rolled over and went back to sleep decision made I am staying another night. Eventually got up had a leisurely breakfast and finally went for a walk to Los Naranjos Eco-Archaeological Park which took a couple of hours pleasant walk through the jungle to the lake where there was a long raised boardwalk along the lake. Loads of birds and stunning scenery and it was dull and overcast and sort of drizzling so not to hot. The surrounding mountains covered by clouds so not getting the full vista. I am in two minds on whether the weather is bothering me as I am not a big fan on full on sun and heat but I would like to see a bit more than the glorious glimpses I have been getting to see whilst in Honduras but it is pleasant riding in this weather when its dry dam right scary when wet!

Los Naranjos Eco-Archaeological Park nice walk on the boardwalk[/caption]

Got back to the brewery at about 3 and treated myself to a piece of chocolate cake and a vanilla cream soda mmm lekker. The place is a brewery that I am staying at http://www.ddbrewery.com but as I am still on the wagon I have not tried any of the beer but no problem as they also make there own soft drinks, so orangeade, coke, vanilla cream soda and Root Beer. My favourites cream soda and the Root Beer and the food is not bad either.

Whilst enjoying my afternoon tea a Canadian Girl Jill arrived and was going for a walk to Finca Paradise Coffee Plantation just up the road and I still had some miles in me so decided to join, as did another young American lad. Another great walk but extremely muddy and slippery we picked up a guide a young Honduran school lad who offered to show us around as a guide we politely declined his offer but he was bored so joined us anyhow running ahead pointing things out. Excellent practise for my Spanish and another good walk.

Guide and victim to practice my bad spanish with :-)[/caption]

Got back to the brewery just as it was getting dark went back to the room to look for some good reading matter for my kindle for the coming months and ended up downloading 29 books all old classics so cost nothing so have plenty choice now but if anyone has any good book suggestions let me know and yes I maybe willing to pay Amazon if they look good. Nearly through the Hunger Games Trilogy then I think I will go swashbuckling with Alexander Dumas.

Had dinner with a group of folks staying at the Brewery and then a reasonably early night updating this well sort of and evening reading my Kindle.

Nice relaxing day with a lot of walking very pleasant :-)
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:12 PM   #138
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Los Naranjos to Danli, Saturday, 17 November 2012, Day 137

Pulhapanzak Waterfalls nice![/caption]

Its Saturday already I have somehow lost a day somewhere meaning I will hit the Nicaraguan border on a Sundays and Sunday is also the day of the local elections so hope the border is open. Plan todays was to get up reasonable early and go to the Pulhapanzak Waterfall and then head for the border town of Danli. So that’s the plan but did not get up till 10 ish as I could not see my watch in my room as it was dark in there. So a leisurely breakfast so did not hit the road till about 11.30 maybe skip the falls as they are not exactly on my way to ensure I get to Danli before it gets dark. As I get to the turnoff I say bollocks and head for the falls anyhow and will figure out the rest later. Spent a short time at the falls taking pictures then hit the road. For the first 100km I was backtracking along the route I came in a couple of days ago the difference to day it was not raining and I could see some of the scenery this time but still cool and cloudy so vistas slightly spoiled by cloud cover. This is the main road to the capital so in place very good twisty dual carriageway through the mountains but just to keep you on your toes the odd potholes or dirt track for road works and lots slow moving traffic but making reasonable progress and enjoying the ride.

Goodbye and thank you for all the fish.[/caption]

Have been told not to stay in Honduras capital Tegucigalpa (hands up anyone who knew that was the name of the capital) so passed through pretty quickly lots of traffic and the odd accident and fighting the locals for my share of the road. Lovely run in to Danli was about 4.30 so the light was great but was slightly concerned it was going to get dark on me but hit the town and found a hotel just as the sun was dipping below the horizon.

 

mandatory shadow shot all travels blog have them so guess this one needs one to :-)[/caption]

Joined by a Romanian Couple I had caught up with on the road into Danli but had lost due to traffic and roadwork’s and it turns they are also on the same boat as me to Colombia so that’s 4 fellow passengers I have met already. We go into town to grab something to eat and find ourselves in an interesting café run by a Texan who had landed up it here years ago. Interesting Chap and not bad food spagbol just what I fancied. Alex and Andrea headed back to the hotel and I went for a small wander on my own but not much here or the kind of place to be wandering out at night so back to the room and yes this is finally up to date it 9 o clock so bit more reading and then beddies byes. No Internet so unable to publish this so you lot will just have to wait for your next dose of Phillys Big Trip. Tomorrow another border crossing and a new country Nicaragua should be fascinating. Trivia fact on Honduras tomorrow is the elections so there is no alcohol being sold the day before the day after and the day of the election I wonder how this effects the voting :-)

 
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:16 PM   #139
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Danli to Leon, Sunday, 18 November 2012, Day 138

Gorgeous scenery blue skies and the sun is shining :-)[/caption]

Complete screw up day complete rooky error at the border cost me 2 hours and 120km extra round trip Homer Simpson Doh!

Day started fine checked out went round the corner to fill up the bike and grabbed some breakfast and then headed for the border. First day in ages that the sun is actually shining and blue skies and reasonably hot. A nice run to the border, which was not so far away, so was there in no time. Had left early by standards and it was Sunday so border pretty quite. Pulled over and a young lad came and asked me if I needed help with the crossing politely declined and then a few money changers turned up and I said I would talk to them later and they also left me alone.

  • First thing get me out of Honduras that will be three dollars very simple

  • Next the bike also no problem done also very simple

  • Guided by a bloke with a clip board who was the mandatory insurance salesman for Nicaragua called Javier to the fumigation area to get my bike sprayed with some gunk or insecticide which was done in no time and cost nothing

  • Then to get me into Nicaragua so first to immigration very simple this cost 10 dollars and another charge of 3 or 5 dollars I cannot remember and I was cleared for Nicaragua

  • Then the paperwork for the bike this took slightly longer as she kept getting the info on the forms wrong so at first my name was Phillip Amsterdam which she got from my driving licence so we changed that then the manufacture year of the bike she found a number on the registration that said 2002 but had nothing to do with manufacture date and we changed that and the usual confusion about me being English with a Dutch driving licence and bike and UK passport but as soon as that was done the bike was through

  • Javier had been showing me through the process and then sold me the mandatory insurance for Nicaragua which was 13 dollars.

  • Finally did money change with the local changers usual jovial haggling over the rates never except there first offer and see how far you can get to the rate that you know to be correct and anything near that is the rate I will take as I except these guys need to earn a living as well and there is no charge for the deal so they make on anything they can on the difference and I am not here to screw them I just like a fair deal.

  • So I thought I was through so packed the bike up and I slipped on the foot pegs landing on me knackers as this was still covered in gunk from the fumigation much to the amusement of locals watching football on the television which was in front of the immigration office

  • So headed to the gate when called over by the police what now I thought they wanted to see my papers the ones I just shown 2 minutes ago so driving licence so gave him this then he demanded my registration papers and then want another dollar for this so I object and ask what this for but no real answer and they had a receipt for this but I was pissed of at yet another contribution and or charge for the cops as they have nothing to do with immigration and or importing of a bike. As it was only a buck a paid and I was on my way


Whizzing along beautiful tarmac roads through gorgeous countryside blue skies and the sun was shining. I had a niggling doubt did I get my driving licence back and after 60km the niggling doubt became more real so I decided to stop and do a document check and bugger my driving licence was not where it should be (I loose stuff all the time so everything has a fixed place and if not there then lost) Checked everywhere but could not find it so my gut feeling was right the bastard copper (he was pretty creepy even before I had lost the licence) had not returned my licence. So U turn and back to the border I had done 60km and this had taken about an hour lovely ride but what was going through my mind what if the licence was not there how was I going to replace it and all the additional complicating issue on mislaying this vital bit of kit.

Got back to the border and was let back into no mans land to the police post where the 2 guys pretended they knew nothing about the licence but I guess from the way I was acting I was not in the mood to be fxxxxd around with as I was pretty sure this was the last time I had seen the licence and I was pretty sure it had not been returned to me. Eventually creepy cop went out back and came back and the other cop said I dropped it on the road and I should buy them a drink for finding it. I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt and maybe I had dropped it but deep down I think they where just fxxxxxg with me as I had tried to call there bluff on a bogus charge. I did not buy them a drink as requested but politely thanked them and said adios and did the same 60km stretch I had just done for the 3 time did I tell you this was a gorgeous bit of tarmac beautiful scenery blue skies and the sun was shining :-)

Note to self Philly you are total arse always go with your gut feeling and do a complete document check at every stage of the process as there a lot going on and you are dead in the water without these documents and you just wasted an additional 2 hours and 120km extra km what if it was pissing down and the sun was not shining this little fxxk up could have been a lot worse.

So got to the point I had been 2 hours ago bit more relaxed but my petrol planning was all out and it was getting hot and was going to get to Leon a lot later than originally planned. Lovely now hot run into Leon through mountains across flat plains with volcanoes on the distance pulled into Leon at about 5 just before it got dark looking for a hotel Viavia as it was place I heard about.

Can you see the volcano in the distance must try and figure out how to take hazy day photos[/caption]

Found the street and there where 2 other motorcyclist stopped outside Chris and Chloe and they had just checked out the hotel and there was one 3 bedroom left so the plan was to share and they had safe parking. So again had to drive the bike up a double kerb through a crowded bar and restaurant stalled it once much to the amusement of the onlookers and the bike was in.

Driving bike through pub photo shamelessly stolen from Chris and Chloe blog http://ccgadventures.wordpress.com[/caption]

Turned out they had a dorm as well and a double room so the sharing plans changed. Chris and Chloe had ridden up from Argentina so had dinner with them swopping info and stories which was useful and Alex and Andrea the Romanian couple from last night turned up and joined and later Paul and Dylan the two bikers I met at the brewery turned up so there was 7 bikers telling tall stories and all doing there best to put Philly of the rest of the trip or that what it felt like sometimes not sure if a lot of these tales are exaggerated for dramatic effect or it going to a bloody hard going from now on in who knows we will no doubt found out. I said it before there is something about ignorance being bliss, as I would rather not know than worry up front however did pick up a lot of useful information.

Been a long day tomorrow back to the books and Spanish lessons lets see if I can get further than donde es la baños this time :-)
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:18 PM   #140
dean10 OP
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Leon, Monday, 18 November 2012 to Friday, 23 November 2012, Day 139 to Day 143

Bike parked at the bar whilst bossman is trying yet again to learn Spanish :-)[/caption]

Studying Spanish at Dariana Spanish School back on Saturday :-)

So what have I been up to this week well truth be told I have sort of grounded to halt must be the heat because I do not recall doing a lot this week. As soon as I crossed the border into Nicaragua the sun came and it’s been extremely hot and sweaty since making doing anything a chore so slowly is the order of the day.

  • Dariana Spanish school. Back to the books again determined to get better at Spanish well as determined as you can be when its hot and there are lot of siesta needed to get you through the day. Went to the school on Monday morning and started my lesson with David that afternoon. There was huge American group still in on the Monday and Tuesday so no homestay available for me so I stayed put in the dorms in the Viavia not to conducive to learning but the cleaner Marie Therese did help me a bit with my homework. David a young 26 old Nicaraguan lad only been teaching 2 years and does not speak a lot of English but we had a fun 5 days not saying my Spanish is much better but I did enjoy myself and that is the reason why I am doing this trip. I think my Spanish is a tad better but like any language it a case of practice practise and put the work in. Did 2 afternoons and 3 mornings 20 hours and a bit of homework in total only me there for the 1st3 days and at the end of the week 2 others so very quite in comparison to Antigua Spanish School. So big thank you to David enjoyed my week with you.* Even got a certificate :-)

    David great teacher and Nicaraguan History story teller[/caption]

  • Story of Nicaragua. On our first lesson David took me into town to show me the Murals and he gave me an excellent history lesson and story on Nicaragua and explained the symbolism in the pictures. Fascinating stuff new bits and pieces but never the whole story looks like they have been screwed over by the Spanish then the Americans paranoid about communism and the protecting there interest in the Panama. Hopefully they are on the right path now rid of the imperialist colonists making a go of it with out to much interference from the outside world if that’s at all possible in today’s world. From what I have seen nice country and nice folks.(Please note this was all done in Spanish so must be getting a bit better)

    Great murals especially if you know the story behind them thanks again David[/caption]

    After revolution life goes on[/caption]

     

  • Gouda cheese. The good thing about staying somewhere a bit longer you can get a nice breakfast rhythm going for me in Leon was at Pan Y Pan. A French bakery with a French baker married to a Dutch lady who I met whilst driving my motorcycle through the bar on my first day. So you could get a French baguette sandwich and they had locally made Gouda Cheese, which was very nice. So for 5 days morning ritual a cheese sandwich and a cup of coffee in a nice courtyard and then to school. I do miss routine sometimes as I am continually on the move not knowing where I will be the next day so its nice to stay in a place for a short while

  • As mentioned in the previous posting there where 4 other motorcyclist staying at the Viaviaincluding me so that Chris, Chloe, Paul and Daryl and Alex and Andrea came round for whilst in town so for the first couple of nights hung out with theses guys swapping tall stories and trying to get as much info on the road ahead as possible with out scaring the shit out of myself. It was a bit quite after they all left but will meet up with 4 of them maybe on the way down to Panama City and definitely on the boat to Columbia

    Daryl getting the bike through the restaurant and bar[/caption]

  • On Monday there was a trivia quiz night so only me Chris and Chloe left so we had a small team of the 3 of us battling against huge regular teams. We did not to bad but not in the prizes (Not even close :-)) These two started in Buenos Aires and are doing the same trip as me but in the opposite direction same issue as me as they will be hitting the weather as they go north like I will be as I go South here is the link to there bog for those of you who like motorcycle blogs interesting reading and this is what Phillys is heading into. http://ccgadventures.wordpress.com

  • Saying Thank you not Gracias. Back to Spanish I have a weird block when it comes to saying Thank you. I always say Gracias which is correct however to me it does not sound like thank you or feel like a thank you so I always add on a Thank you and or merci to ensure that I have said Thank you totally redundant and confusing guess it was the way I was brought up had please and thank you drummed into me from a young age and its still does not feel right in a foreign language or as if I omitted it and to avoid the swift clip around me head I add in a English thanks as well. Guess I was brought up to well as where the clip is going to come from I do not know but still not willing to risk it :-)

  • One of the things I liked about Leon was that the sirens in the town went of at 7 O clocks every morning so folks without clocks and watches knew it was time for work and they went of at 12 for lunch. Not sure if I heard them for the end of the day as well but I thought this was a great idea and a lot of may day was based on these sirens

  • Like I said quite a slow week after school normally did some homework and hung around Viavia and about 3 or 4 venture out as it was slightly cooler and wonder all around Leon. Not quite Antigua but charming enough for wondering enjoyed my time here but need to be moving south.

    leon[/caption]


Problem in doing a full week probably missed loads but I guess it could not have been that interesting if I forgot about it already.
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:20 PM   #141
dean10 OP
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Oddometer: 258
Leon to Granada, Saturday, 24 November 2012, Day 144

Lots of Volcanos in Nicaragua and fields this colour brown loving it ![/caption]

There’s was of couple of things I forgot about last week they being

  • Copied a load of Kindle books of a chap Scottish Gary (Cheers mate) so have plenty of reading material for the coming decades problem is some of them I can open and read no problem but there are others that I am guessing are kosher so brought with some kind of key through legitimate channels so any of my computer geek/nerdy friends or anyone out there have any tricks to fool Kindle into thinking that I should be able to read these books for nothing send me a PM as not sure it’s the type of thing I wish to encourage to the younger viewers of this site :-)

  • I also masqueraded as an English Teacher this week there was this elderly Dutch lady who was wanting to learn Spanish but her difficulty was that her English was not that good and most of the teachers here are reasonable in English but not so good at Dutch so she was trying to see if she could improve her English. Well lets just say her English was as good as my Spanish currently is so the hour we did probably did not help that much but it was fun being the teacher for a change rather than the student. I know lots of you are thinking this bloke’s English is crap and you would be correct with that statement but I am getting into languages and even considering doing a TEFAL course maybe on this trip and doing a bit of teaching work whilst whizzing around on me bike as I checked this out and they do some serious work on your grammar which I never recall actually learning while at school so could be useful thing to do.


 

So back to today set the alarm clock for 6.30 keeping in the rhythm I had built up whilst going to School and the idea was that it should be cooler at that time of the day making the planned ride to Granada easier.

Got the bike out through the restaurant and bar this time no cheering crowd as it was early and first port of call the beach for breakfast.

So was it cooler you all ask nope was it bollocks 26 degrees and it slowly got hotter as the day went on. The beach was about 15km away from Leon not sure what I was expecting but was a bit disappointed when I found the road did follow the coast but you could not see the sea as there where houses between the road and the beach blocking the view. So eventually just drove into a Hotel/restaurant and it turned out to be a great little breakfast spot overlooking the Pacific just what I was looking for. Downside was the American owner chatty know all been there done it all type of chap offering info even though none had bee requested manage to loose him and positioned myself in the shade looking out at the waves when I was joined by a local fisherman called Roger so another inane conversation that I rather not have all I wanted was to enjoy the beautiful setting with a my cup of coffee and pancakes which I finally got as Roger realised that I was not much company at that point and buggered of leaving me alone which was great and had been looking forward to this for a while after a week living in Dormitories needed a bit of Philly time.

 

Suitable attire for the beach me thinks! Maybe not[/caption]

After breakfast and a very short walk on the beach as it was getting hotter had a further drive around this coastal village and headed back into Leon. Got lost in Leon even though I had lived there for a week but asked a friendly copper who pointed me in the direction of Managua. It was nice as long as you did not stop for long and there was a cool breeze but the temperature was 30 degrees and as we all know this chap is not designed for this kind of heat. Tootling down the road when I see a sign for Viejo Leon and Momotombo volcano so as I have not got far to go today decide to go and explore. Nice little road through nice countryside with the Volcano in the distance getting closure all the time. Eventually ran out of proper road as it turn to deep volcanic ash dust so another substance to add to the ever growing list of road surfaces that Philly cannot ride on so stopped here by a lake overlooking the volcano took a few pictures and back the same way I came before I cooked. Keep on moving is the trick in this heat.

Momotombo Volcano[/caption]

Later passed another sign for the Masaya Volcano and I remember reading that this was a national park and you could drive to the top and the crater so a quick U –turn nice chat with the lady at the gate in Spanish on what I could and could not do and of course I understood it all honest injun :-)

Spent an hour or so first at the visitor center than at the crater itself there was a nice cool breeze that took the edge of the heat but still bloody hot.

Crater at Masaya Volcano[/caption]

Finally hit the road and hit Granada at about 4ish so with all my little detours this turned into quite a long ride but most enjoyable in spite of the heat.

Took me a while finding somewhere to stay but find a quite little hostel 10 minutes walk from the central square which has a garage for my bikes dorm rooms 2 to a dorm and I am the only person in mine and cheap as chips and the Wi-Fi is reasonably fast as well.

So after a quick lie down headed into town for my tea had been told that Granada was quite touristy and was hoping that there would be a McDonalds and or burger king type of place as that is what I have a craving for but nope no luck did find a Tiptop the Nicaraguan KFC so that will have to do instead. Bit of a walk and then back to the Hostel getting this up to date. Had a bit of an issue logging into Word press as it kept asking me for my user name instead of my e-mail address and was locked out for a while as I for the life me could not remember it so was nearly banned from me own blog. After a bit of research found out it’s the same as your E-mail so that why I had not written it down as I thought that going to be easy to remember well guess not.

Going to spend another day in Granada as it Sunday tomorrow a kip in and a lazy day called for.

 
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:21 PM   #142
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Granada, Sunday, 25 November 2012, Day 145

Busy Market in Granada[/caption]

Bit of a sleep in then hit the showers bugger no water easily resolved just a question of getting the pump switched on downstairs. Tried a Skype call but continually getting an engaged signal so gave up and headed in to town to find somewhere for my breakfast. Simple exercise one would think but as I fancied pancakes and honey had seen them advertised on the central plaza thought it was a no brainer but they did not have any finally found a nice little place on the way to the market so had a nice relaxing breakfast there.

Cool little cafe for breakfast[/caption]

Spent the rest of the day just wondering around the town people watching and taking loads of crap pictures.

Base Ball a national passion for old and young in Nicaragua[/caption]

Spent some time watching the local play baseball there national sports and eventually back to the hostel where I sat on the balcony reading my Kindle and watching the world go by. Headed into town again for dinner found a Chinese restaurant down a side street and had special fired rice with prawns and chicken hoping that the prawns do not come back and haunt me and then to the Eskimo ice cream shop for desert and wonder some more before heading back to the hostel for more blog writing. So bit if a rest day.

Yesterday I was stopped by the police and the first thing he said to me that I had done an infraction which even with my bad Spanish I understood infraction seemingly I had been in the turn right lane and gone straight on at a roundabout which was in fact correct but in my defence it was not well marked and I only saw this when it was to late so plead my innocents and let of with a warning maybe my Spanish is not so bad after all.

 

Was walking along the lake when this bloke starts taking photographs of me which is weird even weirder was when he asked whether his wife/girlfriend could take a picture with both of us on it which of course being the tart that I am I obliged so she took pictures of me and my new best mate! And then they jumped onto a horse and carriage and disappeared. I wonder who he thinks I was had my yellow Valentino Rossi t shirt and look like a smelly hippy but I guess he thought I was some celebrity or just plain weird. This used to happen to me all the time in China but it’s the first time this happened on this trip well weird me thinks
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:23 PM   #143
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Granada to Balgue, Monday, 26 November 2012, Day 146

Loads of Volcanoes Vistas and I have no idea what the furry plant is answers on a postcard please[/caption]

Back on the road again yet another short day planned to the Isle de Ometepe. My distances I am traveling these days are very short this is for a couple of reason. The heat, that there is a lot I want to see in Nicaragua and that I have heard that Costa Rica and Panama are expensive so I would rather spend more time here and then do a quick spurt through these to catch my boat. Sort of in a holding pattern keen on getting to South America and getting some serious miles under my belt but totally dependant on the boat so look like a few more short days for the next couple of weeks.

Nice run to San Jorge again pretty scenery cattle country and loads of volcanoes vistas. Pulled into the harbour usual chaos I had no idea how much the ferry was and what time it went but somehow managed to get on the next one which was leaving and it did not cost to much. Pretty rough considering this is a lake the wind was very strong whipping up the water so hard slog into the wind so made sure the bike was tied down securely. Nearly dropped the bike doing a U turn on the ferry the deck is sheet metal which has no grip but just managed to stay upright.

Ferry to Isla de Ometepe[/caption]

First thing I did when hit the dry land was breakfast and then a lovely ride to Merida well that was the original plan.

Hit Rush hour leaving the habour[/caption]

Got stopped by the cops who asked for all my papers and when I told them they where buried in my luggage they where not to interested in seeing them but I had to pay 30 Cordoba’s (1 EUR) toll for the use of the road or contribution as it called here. The cop and the man with the clipboard pleasant enough so coughed up got a receipt but I guess I will be stopped again on my way back. Was heading to town called Merida and I heard that for the last 10 km it was a dirt track but was going to give it a crack anyways. So turned of onto the road and it was paved for a short while then it turned to crap. Huge boulders and no real track to follow so after 5 minutes I decide f**k this for a game of soldiers managed to get the bike turned round and head back to the pave road into Balgue. The road was just too difficult for me and I had other options so did not have to prove anything to anyone by continuing down that road. In Balgue I met some folks on the road and asked them about accommodation in the area and they pointed me to a coffee plantation about 1.5km up the hill. This was also dirt track but considerably more manageable than the road to Merida. So that is how I ended up Finca Magdalena a gorgeous run down old coffee plantation set in the side of one volcano with views over the bay to the other volcano.

Finca Magdalena Gorgeous old coffee plantation home for the next couple of nights[/caption]

Lovely I have a little box with a bed in and the views are terrific so I presume the position chatting to the other inmates and watching the sun go down. Chicken soup for dinner and a reasonably early night as this is an early to bed early to raise type of place. I am glad that I was not able to do the road to Merida as it got me to this great little location
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:24 PM   #144
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Balgue, Tuesday, 27 November 2012, Day 147

Some of the locals in Balgue[/caption]

Future bacon sandwiches![/caption]

Wow I am getting lazy with not having to do much riding because the boat is not till the 8th December and I am practically through Central America. Got up at 7 due to the fact that I had gone to bed really early but just lazed around on the balcony with the hammocks and the great views till about 12 leisurely breakfast and reading my new books on Kindle. For some perverse reason I am reading a book about a Jewish doctor/pathologist experience at Auschwitz not at all a pleasant read but I cannot put it down. I do this every now again read about a really horrible subject matter I will read something a bit more light hearted next.

Finally got in the shower and then went for a walk first up the hill till I sort of got lost then down the dirt track into the village to the local restaurant I had heard about run by an English bloke and just vegged around there with an English couple from the Finca who where driving through similar route as me in an old American van (Forgotten there names already god I am bad at names :-(). Had a very nice lunch of Dhal (lentils) and a lemon juice. Went for small walk around the village down to the lake and slowly made way back to the Finca uphill this time so needed a little lie down in the hammock when I got back and another sunset.

Had dinner with Taj a 60-year-old Canadian guy who works in the summer and winters down south in any hot country. He is suffering from Parkinson disease so he is not sure how long he will be able to keep up the present lifestyle. Interesting chap done quite a lot he has no idea how bad the Parkinson will get and how quickly but most be pretty scary as well as exhausting with the continuing shaking and twitching. I must admit when I first met he I presumed he was an ex junk with serious withdrawal issues until I got chatting to him. Should try not to be so judgemental in the future turned out to be fascinating bloke hope for his sake that the illness does not set in to quickly and he can enjoy a reasonable life as long as possible. Certainly makes you think on how fleeting life can be.

That evening joined by a couple of flight attendant Stewards and chatting with one of them about the life on the road interesting but not sure I would like to do it. This bloke been doing this for 14 years always on the move and living in hotels fascinating but not sure it’s my cup of tea or should that be tea or coffee sir. Another early night back in my box at the end of a very relaxing day.

 

 
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:26 PM   #145
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Balgue to San Juan Del Sur, Wednesday, 28 November 2012, Day 148

Wrong ferry wrong Quay wrong queue oops Wrong ferry wrong Quay wrong queue oops[/caption]

Not going to far today either but it does involve another ferry crossing which I do enjoy. It had rained quite a lot during the night so was worried about the dirt track down to the main road as this may have turned muddy and me and muddy roads are not a great combination. Packed and down the hill with only a few brown trouser moments then a nice run to the ferry which was leaving at 11pm so had loads of time. Waved to the cop and the toll collector who recognised me from last time and waved me through and onto the harbour where I tried to buy a ticket or at least find out how much the trip back would be no joy very unclear pay on the boat so went to get some breakfast and a coffee. Then join a very empty queue for the boat only me but turns out I am at the wrong quay so redirected to the right one and another boat which is choc block oops and there me trying to be there early to ensure a place. Approached by a guy who wants 10 Córdoba’s for road maintenance I refuse as I paid 30 2 days ago so they refuse to let me on the ferry I pull forward so I am blocking the road so if I am not getting on then no one else is getting on. Matey boy with the clipboard comes back with some uniformed chap who informs me that this is a departure tax and I have to pay or will not be let of the Island. We are only talking about 30cents here but I have principles and the receipt is identical to the one I have already except a different town name on it, so after a bit of clowning for the crowds (unamused sailors and lorry drivers) I cough up then matey boy does usual trick with the change i.e. not have any and they want me on the boat which is about to leave but I am waiting for me change and then I will go. So finally on the boat bike tied down calmer and less wind that the journey here.

Do not remember this one in my highway code book! Do not remember this one in my highway code book![/caption]

Chatting to a Quebecker French girl who is travelling with a tour group of 16 people and hates it and does not like anyone in the group and or the tosser of the tour lead. Made me giggle as I have very similar views on group travel not my cup of tea especially if you get lumbered with a group of dickheads. Quite glad of travelling on my own when you hear tales like this. The bloke comes around for the tickets and I do not have one and I ask him how much expecting another random figure and a debate as I certainly was not going to pay more than on the way here. Well it was another totally random number half the price of the journey on the way here! Go figure.

Got of the ferry slowly and caution ally as I did not want to end up on me arse like I nearly did last time and a short run to San Juan Del Sur. On the Pacific Coast again seaside town did a tour of the town looking for somewhere to stay. Lots of places, but none that looked like they much had a place for parking.

Chubby hot chap looking for a bed for the night Chubby hot chap looking for a bed for the night[/caption]

Finally find a place called Ola Italian run by an Italian Chap so another language to throw into the mix. 4 bed dorm all to myself cheap enough and crisp white sheets and fluffy crisp white towels so I was sold and they had Wi-Fi but this turned out to be crap, slow and intermittent. Went for a long walk along the beach so from one end of the bay and back to the other dull and overcast but still pretty warm.

Supposed to be a surf beach but not much evidence of that and when I got to the far end of the beach it started to rain so sheltered under a tree than in a café where I got chatting to a Canadian Couple who recommended a Chicken Place down the road for dinner.

It had stopped raining so back to the hostels where I spent some time cleaning up my computer as I have 120GB of memory but this is nearly full so freeing up some space by moving stuff to memory sticks and deleting loads of duplicate photos I have so hopefully that should keep me going for while.

Headed out again to the chicken place and the Canadian couple where there along with a German girl so I joined them but they had already eaten and the couple headed of as they where leaving very early the next day so left me with the German girl called Katje (well I think it was that you all know how good I am at names and at this point I would like to apologise to anyone who’s name I have forgotten and or got wrong its awfully wrong and rude of me so if anyone has any tricks for remembering names please let me know as I would really like to get them right but I am either not listening when told the name or it goes in one ear and out the other) Spent a short but pleasant meal with Katje walked her back to her hotel then back to the hostel fighting with the Internet which was not cooperating and I need some info on the border crossing. Took ages got enough but other things I needed would just have to wait.

Turned out quite a late night in the end beddy byes 4 beds to choose from all with clean crisp white sheets.

I had accident with my toilet bag the shampoo had leaked everywhere so cleaned that trimmed me beard which was getting a bit wild and had a shower and crawled into bed for a good night sleep.

 
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:27 PM   #146
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San Juan Del Sur to Arenal, Thursday, 29 November 2012, Day 149

The man from Del Monte he says yes! The man from Del Monte he says yes![/caption]

Day did not start out to well as remember I had the shampoo leak in my toilet bag well there was some still left on my toothbrush so ended up shampooing my teeth yuk was tasting shampoo all day double yuk.

Headed out of San Juan Del Sur after hitting the cashpoint and getting some breakfast had a bit of a small ruck with a rent a cop at the cashpoint as he would not let me park me bike in front of it road was empty no one around but he had his rules and I have mine so screw you mate I will take my business else where and I went to another cashpoint.

Short run and before I knew it I was passing a huge line of trucks signifying that I had probably hit the border. Not going to bore you all to death with the details this time but here is a link for those that may be interested http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=809883&highlight=RTWPaul&page=34

 

Plagiarised from someone else blog. Even after reading this the night before still very confusing and the whole exercise took about 2 hours with a lot of walking from place to place and lot of trying to find folks in a huge crowded area to sign certain documents so looking for a policeman then a custom officers.

Large queue at immigration into Costa Rica but got through all of this without a problem made a few friends on the way and no real hassle from the money changers or folks trying to offer there services decline politely and they leave you alone and other folks there willing to help if need be got some great help from the lady mopping the floor as I was in the wrong building :-)

So through the border no problem this time, and into another country with new challenges. Past a never ending queue of lorries on the other side which where hogging half the road with buses and cars coming straight at me on my side trying to push me off into the dirt no way Jose.

Heading for a place that Sjoerd Bakker had recommended only problems was as I was having problems with the Internet last night and had not been on line for a couple of days I did not really have the address and only a vague recollection on where the place was and I couldn’t remember the name. So as usual up to pretty standard Philly planning. When I hit the turnoff for Upala I decided to check with the cops at the side of the road as to the condition of the road as I recall that it may be a dirt track so pulled over and aske the police officer in my best Spanish how the road is to Upala was and he demands to see my passport. Cor Blimey Governor I respond also in Spanish I only asked directions and the state of the road and he is demanding documents. We have a bit of a laugh about this as this is a routine check point so the demands for my documents is not for my bastardising of the Spanish language and after his mate has taken the details required he tells me the road is excellent for motorcyclist so cheery wave and I am on my way again. Well excellent is not how I would have described the road it was dirt track for about 30km but fortunately seriously compacted dirt and old tarmac rattled to death but rideable and this got me away from the Pan America and into the mountains.

Excellent road allegedly  Excellent road allegedly[/caption]

Could not find the place that Sjoerd had mentioned as I thought is was further down a particular road than it actually was and I think I may have stopped outside of the place but it did not match what I could recall being describe but this is due to my crap memory. So still some daylight and like the roads when they did turn back into Tarmac so heading for a place called Arenal which I had heard about and I knew there should be places to stay there. As I had crossed the border into Costa Rica I expected my Garmin GPS to start showing more detail as allegedly I had detail maps in it for Costa Rica but it was not much better than it had been for the last couple of countries so never seemed to know where I was kept on telling me I was on the wrong road or driving in a lake! In short one piece of crap equipment maybe its me expecting to much but I would expect it to be functioning a lot better than it is kept resorting to a map I have and I should not have to do that. So I am running the South America Maps which is supposed to include Costa Rica so does anyone out there have any ideas why it may not working that well here?

Gorgeous run around the lake Arenal when I finally found the right road seemed to go on for ever and then I was in Arenal which was a sleepy village so looked around for somewhere to stay and could not find anywhere obvious so asked a couple of girls are there any hotels in the area and they most have thought I was a mad old purvey guy as they both pointed across the road to a hotel right where I had stopped. (Must improve chat up lines)* Must be tired, as I never noticed it. Went inside and they show me to a lovely room with gorgeous views over the lake and valley but a tad more than my budget so I asked if they had anything cheaper as It was getting dark so the view will be gone in 30 minutes and I only need somewhere to kip. This worked and I had another nice lot cheaper room without the view. Went for a walk and it was dark so need to remember it gets dark at 17.30 here so need to get of the road earlier pushed my luck again today but it worked out but that may not always be the case. Not much to see one street the entertainment was watching two huge high lorries trying to negotiate the small streets without pulling down all of the low lying electricity cables.

Watch those cables Watch those cables[/caption]

Back to the hotel for me tea as they had a pizza restaurant attached to it and I was the only one in that night so sat there on me own with a nice Pizza and a Fanta with again bad Wi-Fi trying to get this up to date. Oh there was someone else in the restaurant my old trusty traveling companion Daisy. For security I was allowed to drive and park me bike in the Restaurant so there she was blocking the telly. Now that’s what I call service.

Oi Daisy you are blocking the bleeding telly Oi Daisy you are blocking the bleeding telly[/caption]

I am not sure if I have actually called my bike Daisy in this blog before but that’s what she has been christened and what I call her and this is how she got the name. So Dave Emmett (http://motomatters.com) if you think this is references to your nickname well think again its not but it could be how you became to be called Daisy as well.

My grandmother name was Daisy and my father used to have an old Zundapp Scooter with a Daisy on the front of it. It’s a DL650A so theirs a D and A in the type of the name and its bright yellow so that how its become to be known as Daisy. And to top it all I really like the name. So me and Daisy in an empty restaurant with another dodgy Internet connection who says life on the road is boring not me :-)

 
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:29 PM   #147
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Arenal to Turrialba, Friday, 30 November 2012, Day 150

They seem to have some kind of symbiotic relationships see them together all the time They seem to have some kind of symbiotic relationships see them together all the time[/caption]

Been pissing down all-night and still is when I get up so prepare for a wet day. Move Daisy out of the Restaurant she puts up a bit of a fight looks like she is not looking forward to a wet day in the rain either. Have some help from the young lad from the hotel with packing my bike chatting away in Spanish to me but still do have a clue what he is saying. I understand that he is impressed with the GPS shame I am not crock of shit device more fun and games with it today. First port of call was fuel for the Daisy and then fuel for Philly at a German Bakery the rain has turned into a drizzle bit of a struggle parking Daisy as its wet and on a steep hill but eventually manage pull the sheepskin off to stop it getting wet and then greeted cheerfully with a handshake from the German owner of the Bakery says he knows me from the internet so maybe I am famous out there in the Internet world or he says that to all Bikers that pull up makes us feel special well it did it for me. So a Cinnamon Roll and a Raison Roll and a Cappuccino for breakfast and I am ready for a damp day in the saddle. Pull on my waterproofs trying to remember the last time I had these on it has rained but never enough to need them for a while. The roads are damp and it’s drizzling with the occasional shower but nice road round the lake slippery in places and surface forever changing so need to keep me wits about me.

Nope I have no idea what it is either! Nope I have no idea what it is either![/caption]

Got lost. How do you get lost when you have a GPS well I am buggered if I know the dam thing has not a clue where I am only has limited coverage of Costa Rica and forever telling me to head to a particular road number which is brilliant but it does not know where I am and in which direction said road is so in the end I am just using this as a tracking tool so where I have been which it can manage and I resort to the old paper map sun and compass and finally get back on track. Garmin this is one piece of shit you have sold me. Great run in the morning through hills and countryside dull and overcast but it never really got that wet. Got out of my waterproofs at one and for the middle part of the journey, which was not very nice. On a major road to Limon, which is, a harbour town so loads of trucks crawling up the hills not many overtaking opportunities so end up crawling galong at there speed which is frustrating. Eventually turn of back into the mountains heading to a place called Turrialba. Beautiful run through twisty roads and gorgeous scenery so the day started great bit of a dip in the middle and grand finale. Cannot ask for much more rolled into town at about 4.30 next try and find somewhere to sleep. Did a few rounds of the town which was busy and traffic and chaotic and could not see anything suitable or that I fancied staying when out of the corner of my eye I saw a sign saying hostel so cut across 3 lanes of traffic (driving like local these days) and pulled up outside. Had parking behind a gate and without even looking at the room I had a dorm space. You get a feeling for these things so you know already that the rooms will be fine just from the look and feel and vibe from the front desk. And I was right fantastic clean modern Hostel with a homey feel Casa de Lis 6-bed dorm with on suite and a nice garden to chill out in. Sharing with an old codger (kettle calling the pot black) American been in Costa Rica for years in town to buy supplies as he lives in the middle of nowhere with no electricity and a few mod cons. Left the Army in 1974 after been in Vietnam suffering from Diabetes linked to Agent Orange so now getting a pension from the army was pissed of with what he had been through in Nam so went Costa Rica as it did not have an army at the time (I love that rational) brought some land and been living there on and off since then. Interesting chap but you could tell he been living a hermits existence or not spoken to folk for a while as I get the same way when I go into my hermit mode so recognised the characteristics. Andy Clark of Radio Netherlands step forward and take a bow you have a fan this chap was an avid follower of your work on the radio and he misses you now that you are no longer broadcasting so he is asking the Dutch government to invest some money to get the full English Language Broadcast back on air.

Went for a wander round town and found a Chinese for my dinner Chicken Chou Min no noodles but some weird fried bready sticks. Different and I love that with Chinese in Latin America you always get a couple of slices of white bread with butter not very Chinese in my view but great for mopping up your plate :-)

That name is going to start cropping up everywhere now :-) That name is going to start cropping up everywhere now :-)[/caption]

Moody night shot[/caption]

Back to the Hostel sitting in the garden updating this and chatting to Dave (to be honest I have no idea what his name was as my memory has let me down yet again god wish I could remember names!!!) the Vietnam vet.

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Old 03-07-2013, 07:51 AM   #148
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Turrialba to Palmar Norte, Saturday, 1 December 2012, Day 151

And yes the sun does come out occasionally here been a while And yes the sun does come out occasionally here been a while[/caption]

Free Coffee and got chatting with the young Dutch girl Lisette who was the owner of Casa de Lis. Expat girl lived all over the world daddy worked for Shell sounds familiar. Nice chat gave me some ideas for my route South but they all went out the window. Said ta ta to Dave and Lis hit the chaotic traffic of Turrialba filled the bike up and before I knew it was whizzing along empty roads and the sun was shining and life was good. All I needed was a nice place for breakfast with a view good cup of coffee and some eggs. Well just as I was thinking that I came round a corner and there was a coffee plantation with all of the above. Bloody hell I am one hell of a jammy bastard so nice breakfast enjoying the scenery the sun and its not to hot this is quite close to ideal as you can get. Hit the road again nearly squished by a huge lorry coming up the hill 2 abreast fortunately I had spotted them so managed to pull to the side friendly waves from both lorry drivers. Spent the rest of the morning whizzing around the mountains thoroughly enjoying myself except for one thing that last of cup of coffee or maybe it was the eggs had triggered something and I had the screaming habdabs’ and my arse was on a hair trigger. Finally found some loos only problem no loo roll but now being totally fluent in Spanish was able to find a chap who could get me some so what’s Spanish for wipe me arse not sure we did that one in Spanish lessons.

Whizzing around the mountains pleasant way to spend a morning Whizzing around the mountains pleasant way to spend a morning[/caption]

So a lot lighter headed for Cartago as I was only going round in circles in the mountains enjoyable but going nowhere. Back on the Pan American but first I had to find it and when I was on it was not sure I had the right road as no signs and my GPS as much use as a one legged man in an arse kicking contest.* Resorted to asking for directions and getting confirmation that I was on the right road. I was expecting the road to be like the one I had been on yesterday full of trucks but it was deserted another reason why I was doubting that I was on the right road. It was a mountain road that kept getting higher and as it went higher it got cooler and soon it was down to 11 degrees centigrade must be very high. Then over to the other side and into the cloud so no visibility and it began to rain. Again not enough to stop to put on my waterproofs temperature rising as I came slowly down the mountain.

On the way up I came up behind a police car that was crawling along doing 50km there where double yellows so was not planning on passing but this went on for miles I think they where trying to tempt me into getting frustrated and doing something silly but nope just settled in behind them for what seem like ages until they turned of and U had the road to myself again but checking my mirrors in case they done a sneaky and pulled back out to follow me.

So damp slow run into San Isidiro due to conditions I am tired and my original plan of getting to Golfito gone out the window as I had spent to much time this morning whizzing around the mountains and slow going due to weather conditions so pull over fill up the bike again and have a short break which is unusual for me as I normally keep on rolling must be tired. So new plan I am going to Buenos Aires purely for the reason if I do not make it to Brazil I can always say without lying that I have to Buenos Aires only I will know this one is in Costa Rica. Its getting late and Buenos Aires really does not have much about and no places that I would like to stay see a sign for hotel but its 14km down a dirt track so not today this boy is tired. So I did my normal Philly optimistic planning and said there will be something better down the road so kept on rolling. It was dry and I was following a huge pretty river down through a valley, which was nice, but I in the back of my mind I knew it was late in the day as the colours where nice and if I was not careful I would be stuck in the middle of know where and I was already in the middle of know where. Passed a couple of place that I declined due to my weird optimism that there will be something better further down the road. It was about 5.15 and the sun was dropping fast when I saw sign for Palmar Norte 10km and I knew there where hotels there according to Julies Lonely planet from 1994 which I had pulled out and was occasionally consulting. It was just getting dark when I arrived in town did a quick tour saw no hotels oops but there where a couple of Chinese Restaurant that had cabanas and one of them was in the 1994 lonely planet so that was going to be home for the night as it was now dark. I have not said it for while but Philly you are a prick taking unnecessary risk when you know you could have stopped way earlier and risking running in the dark your cardinal rule number one not to ride in the dark!

Place I am staying bit of a shithole but not many options as I had left stopping till the last moment and it has no WI-FI so went into town looking for Internet Café most towns have loads of these here but could not find one finally found one but he was closing then I noticed a sign down an alley so had found the only other Internet place in town. Normally I would not bother about the Internet but I have another border crossing tomorrow so wanted to have a vague idea on what the process but as usual with last minute research I am confused as hell as this the first mention of mandatory insurance for Panama I have insurance already so not sure if I will have to buy some locally as well so looks like it will be fun and games tomorrow. Spent an hour on the net then wander around town not much just two streets looking for something to eat but nothing takes my fancy so default to the Chinese Restaurant attached to the Cabana I am staying in and Fried Rice with chicken and ham. I think I have eaten more Chinese than local food but hey who cares when I was in China spent my time looking for Mexican or none Chinese food so guess that the way I am put together I like non local food whenever I am abroad. Back to my room and yippee this is now up to date but who knows when it will be published, as I am not having much luck on the Internet front these days. I do hope someone out there is actually reading this as it is quite exhausting keeping this blog going so some responses please just so I know that all my effort is not in vain and I am not just talking to myself :-)

Hate the little bastards grrr! Hate the little bastards grrr![/caption]

Couple of observations on Latin America bikers do not wave to each other here much but occasional they do beep their horn so not sure of the protocol here so I give an small wiggle of my fingers that if ignored I can pretend I was only stretching my hands as there is nothing worse than a none returned wave.

People keep flashing me and at first I thought they where warning me of danger up ahead or police up ahead seemingly that is not the case but they are flashing me as I have my headlights on permanently and that is unusual here so they are warning me that my lights are on. Not much I can do, as they cannot be turned of much to the frustration it seems of the locals. Occasionally they are warning me against cops further down the road but I never know what the flash is for!

Costa Rica has a good way of collecting the rubbish there are large baskets in villages suspended high above the ground keeps it in one place keeps the dogs and other animals out and looks a lot tidier so great idea neighbouring take note.

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:54 AM   #149
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Palmar Norte to Boquete, Sunday, 2 December 2012, Day 152

Do Enjoy the odd dance event every now and again[/caption]

So another border crossing day last one of Central America Costa Rica to Panama. Leave the hotel it is already hot so going to be a sweaty border crossing. Nice run to the border stop for some fuel and breakfast and before you know it I am at the border. Drive right past the Costa Rica Immigration and end up at the Panama side so quick U turn and find the Costa Rican immigration which is a tiny place buried at the side of the road no wonder I missed it. Sign myself out and then next the bike no problem and no charge that I can recall and then back again to the Panama Immigration.* Some helpers offer their service again but politely decline they are also mentioning that I need mandatory insurance here but still not sure as I mentioned allegedly have insurance for Panama why would I need more cover. Hit the queue for immigration which was short and glad I did as later the line was massive no problem there and popped in Panama Tourist Info place to see about the insurance they seemed to think it was mandatory so for a simple life and it was only 15 bucks decided might as well get at as it may speed things up especially with my brilliant Spanish.

Directed to a hole in the wall round the corner next to huge shopping mall for the insurance could not find it at first until I realised it was really a whole in the wall I was expecting an office. Got the insurance then headed back to the customs to bring the in bike. The usual standard problems for them in trying to find England and the Netherlands on the Computer. (Reino Unido for UK and Paises Bajos for NL). And additionally the usual problem with the registration papers not having my name on it this is on two separate other pieces documentation, which are used in NL for transferring title not part of the registration. She insisted on copies of these so obliged and then the long wait while she 1 finger typed the documentation into the system and in theory I was in and so was the bike. All I needed was to find one last bloke to sign in the bike and I was in except some fat noisy bloke not sure if he was an official started whitering on about fumigation and I told him that I did not need it for a bike but he was insistent and said if I did not do it I would be turned back at the exit to the border. So sort my documents out drive through fumigation no one there except a soldier who waves me through and I pass through the finally border check without getting fumigated and I am in Panama. (I pass through a couple more police and customs checks during the coming days no issues so guess I have the full set of cards)

Heading for a place called Boquete, which is not far so a reasonably short day the border crossing has taken about, and 1 and half hours and it is an hour later in Panama than in Costa Rica. Get to Boquete at about 3.30 drive around looking for somewhere to stay when I spot a place with a few old bikes in the drive so check that out and yes they have a room cheap in what looks like a shed in the garden but pleasant enough. Place called Pension Topas run by a German who a Royal Enfield, Triumph and BSA in very states of repair.

No I am not bloody snowy and no I am not bloody related grrr![/caption]

Cool Rainbows[/caption]

More rainbows[/caption]

Nice enough place unload and settle in then head into town and at the square where there is a dance competition and sort of mini festival going on so settle in and enjoy the surroundings. Do a bit more wandering it is trying to rain but not enough to get you wet or force you indoors and the plus side of this drizzle are some amazing Rainbows I never seen so think colourful rainbows like these and they where complete arcs which is also something I never experienced so where the pot of gold then.

Took loads of photos of the dancing and the rainbows and then back to the hotel and later out for tea spaghetti and some seriously dodgy meatballs I think I going to regret these in the coming days. Another full-varied day hit the sack tired but content.
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:56 AM   #150
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Boquete to Chitre, Monday, 3 December 2012, Day 153

Downtown Chitre[/caption]

Have booked in a hostel in Panama City for tomorrow night but planning on taking 2 days to get there. The road between Boquete and David was pretty dull and I was expecting the Pan American to be dull as well with lots of trucks. Well I was wrong very pleasant run very little trucks and interesting enough scenery. So after riding around the hilly parts of Boquete headed back to the Pan American.

Only problem was the place is covered in cops they are everywhere on the road with speed guns in every town and village you past through so have to keep a keen eye for them and stick very much to the speed limits. When I hit Chitre there where about 8 cop bikes with 2 cops on them all in full military riot gear and the bloke on the back carrying a machine gun so that 16 bokes with guns why I have no idea not sure if I should be scared or happy that there so much security around. Hit town quite early trying to find somewhere to stay finally end up in a Chinese Hotel in a cheapish room. Go for a walk around town and then head to McDonalds for me tea. Must confess it the second time today as I stopped on the way here for a drink and a Mcflurry ice cream. Just fancied some comfort food. Stuffed head back to my room and try and get this up to date.
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