Saturday, October 31, 2009
Well... it's not marked very well ( if marked at all)... so we missed it! Karl's gps is working quite well and we know when we passed it...and the map was even showing a "monument at the equator" but we didn't find it! Bummer!
So it was an un-cerimonial disappointing passage. Oh well! Next time!
And we didn't have a chance to see if it's true that the water in a funnel on one side of the imaginary line spins right and on the other spins left...a mistery that will remain a mistery.
Maybe our friends riding after us will have a chance to do the test. I don't think I want to ride back for that.
Then we made it to Quito...the capital. Cold and raining...the old colonial part of it is quite great but the thin air (2800mt)is so polluted by diesel fumes that is hard to breath. Still we managed to walk around and enjoy the happy chaos and the working life of the city. Not many gringos here. In the "center of the world". and we missed the view of vulcanos too, thanks to the fog. Oh well. Next time!
Friday, October 30, 2009
So we just left Colombia today...A country we loved. Nice people, beautiful, clean, on the move,organized and where the police never asked for bribes and they always smiled( the only one!). To use the words of the smiling last person I talked with: Colombia is not a country only of drugs and guerrilla, we are nice welcoming people and we are proud of our country...tell your friends.
Crazy truck and bus drivers though! We saw absurd dangerous manuvers that made us screaming in our radios, all over this twisted roads...but not many accidents!
We are officialy in the Andes now! (Dagli Appennini alle Ande!)
Few miles from the Equator line and it's cold! But we are at 2500m of altitude after all! And it feels good! A nice gift after waiting in the heat for hours to get the bikes papers stamped.
Anyway. Happy Halloween to all. We are working on our costumes...
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Yes we are in Cali. Medellin was ok but after all not so exciting, at list in our experience ...big cities are (so far) noisy, polluted and very hard to navigate in, forget the safety and the fact that all is very expensive. We stayed in a super (rip-off)fancy hotel for one night then we move to Picasso Hotel were Geary and CJ that we met in Panama were staying... and it was so much better! But again we did not fall in love with the city...actually we were happy to leave. On a positive note I want to say that people were super nice and helpful. We all got lost soon or later andlocals on small motorcycles offered to lead the way to were we needed to go. All smiling and welcoming. Streets are clean and it looks like a lot of improuvement is happening everywere. It's very easy to struck conversations everywere ( yes even in traffic) and they are all curious and appreciative about our bikes and our trip. I don't see many gringos here and I understand that the reputation of the country used to be not so good but I really think that things have changed and I can see a lot of effort put into it and defenetly an outspoken hope and desire,heard from the few I contacted, to make it even better.
Today we left early for Cali and the hills were really a beauty. Karl's clutch started slipping again and that was a real concern, but we made it to the Casablanca Hostel and after few phone calls we went to the Suzuki dealer 4 blocks away and they immediately took the clutch apart and ordered the new parts...we are very relieved! Again: super nice people and very capable.
Tomorrow the bike should be ready and we'll make a plan for the next move. Cali seems even nicer than Medellin. At list it's smaller. Maybe we'll get some salsa dance lessons! My foot is almost 100% back to normal!
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Cartagena...really nice! A definite carribean flavor here! A party town too!
Food is great, people are smiling and fun.
We had a lovely afternoon walking around and drinking fresh tropical fruit juices...
We also encounter some people from the ship ride and we chatted about our different destinations...
Some were backpackers, some just coming back home to Colombia,a guy was riding all over the world on his bike since 8 years ago, then us, then a lovely couple on the same bike... very diffent personalities and stories and travelling style and all confined in the small space of the ship for 6 days, sharing good time, hard time, chores and fun...and all went well! Good job to all!
Anyway... yesterday we left Cartagena and we stop almost half way to Medellin. In a little town were not many tourist might stop...but I was tired and some rain convinced me to stop.
Infact I cut in front of a local small bike and even if he braked he ended up hitting me on the side and I went down...no damage to anyone or anything...thanks to the muddy road and the slow motion of the impact... just quite embarassing... I have no pride left anymore!
Today we made it to Medellin. The countryside is beautiful. A nice river, rolling hills becoming lush mountains...fresh air... but then Medellin is hot again and a pretty chaotic town,not so appealing, at list as a first impact, so we will stay just the time to do laundry ( we stink!) and to fix few bolts getting loose on my bike and a couple of bolts broken on Karl's rack.
Friday, October 23, 2009
It would take me a loooong time to describe the last week...A trip within the trip...
and to send out images to document it...
So I will just give titles of possible chapters:
Wunderbar or the hostel from hell.
The Golden Eagle or the ship in hell ( as hot as hell).
San Blas islands or the paradise also hot as hell.
A great group of people on the boat that made hell bearable.
The best lobsters cooked on wood fire ( do we get that in hell too?).
Were we sinking? No just 8" of water under board...oh what the hell!
112F and waiting prisoners on the boat under a scorching sun (shade didn't help)for some stupid passport stamps...that was 5 hours of real hell.
But now we are in a cool(AC)hotel in beautiful Cartagena and all seems so far away...
And then dolphins, sharks, sea stars, canoes carven in trees trunks, sunsets and white sand,pelicans...
Karl was a sport...he got so sea sick! But he braved it all. He doesn't want to hear the word ship or boat again...Me...I loved it. Would I do it again? No.
It was great and hard at the same time.
Seeing the bikes lifted by strong giant locals and hoisted on the ship was incredible.
Seeing them on the road again and riding them even more satisfying.
Having ice cream last night it was heaven!
Tomorrow going south again! Toward Medellin. Hopefully a bit cooler. Still about 100F in this lovely Caribbean City.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
So we are in Panama’…Right now is Santa Catalina at the end of the road from Sona’. Locals are a bit territorial but otherwise a nice surfing spot. The roads we traveled to here were quite beautiful, winding trough fluorescent green thick jungle, fire engine red dirt and smooth pavements.
The border crossing was almost smooth made exception for assisting to a strong punch given by my “papers helper” to someone that allegedly was trying to get my wallet… or maybe to get his job… … it will be for ever a doubt…but it was sort of disturbing and anyway an other reminder of how brutal the world can be outside our protected daily bubbles…
On the freeway I had a traumatic chicken encounter( more for her than me…)…I take it as a good luck sign of self immolation. A blood sacrifice as a good omen for the future… the creature was waking all the way to the left when she decided to come back and diving right in front of my bike…I heard a loud bang and I saw in my rear view mirror a cloud of feathers…a bit too dangerous to stop on the freeway and giving her the proper honors so I do that now with all of you followers. I ‘m sure other creatures are enjoying her terrestrial remains.
May her next life be greater!
We stayed a full day even if Karl couldn’t keep surfing on those good waves due to a ding he will need to repair on his board. He met Joe Stinson here, a very nice and interesting man who is going to get married on Monday and that knows old friends of him and lives in Canadensis, close to were Karl grew up! And he’s not a surfer or a guy of his age but certainly a well traveled person and with a great knowledge of spirituality( among many other things!). The world is very small after all.
Today we made it to Panama City. A very boring ride were rain ( yes again!) was with us ( on us) a lot….
Tomorrow oil change, surf shop for a repair kit, pharmacy for sea sickness meds…hopefully time to see things around.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Left Arenal(after the most incredible rain and ligthing storm I'v ever seen)we headed for the border...we started dry but rain rain rain arrived ...and we went up and up all the way to about 10,000 feet and the warm monsoon rain became freezing mountain rain...
So we were quite soaked and cold.... but the rain stopped when we were again in the lower land, a beautiful luscious tropical green allaround, and we were again dry and warm in half hour!
So we stopped at Palmar Norte, a very bizarre pueblo were we will spend the night and go to the border early in the morning, expecting an other long paper work ordeal. And right now....it's raining again! Good thing the roads are in pretty good order.
We had chines food tonite! And we got snickers for dessert too...diet first!
Friday, October 9, 2009
Not much to report.....we decided for one more day of healing for me and resting for Capitan Carlito.
Moonsoon rain, vulcano,hot springs, liquados, books, tv,and lot of sleep.
Tomorrow heading south, then Panama, then a ship on the 17th for Colombia.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
As soon as we arrived in Nicaragua we felt so much more welcomed…even smiling cops and not asking for money!
So we decided to head for the coast and find some surfing spots. We saw a volcano with a plume of smoke, we even rode on few miles of fun dirt road and we ended up stopping at …. Nice place but not a real surfing spot at list in this season. So we moved the to a beach more south…a couple of hours south…as few people told us…a rideable road as they all said…
Well…it was not…at list for me…as we all know Carlito is a champ…me …no…and defenetly not on that road with rocks the size of footballs and dips and twists, washed by torrential rains and not on a loaded v-strom with road tires…Karl had to come back and ride my bike up a little hill… an obstacle that should have made me stop going…but…few miles ( they said….) and then the road is great! But the road was bad so and I ended up falling and hurting my left foot.
Then the road got even worse and the heat was horrendous and my foot was hurting and the iboprufen was making me sick, and I was exhausted so I went down again…and thanks to the crash bars the bike was still working but at the third timeI ended up on a wall of rocks, this time hurting the fairing and my right hand…
So I wasn’t able to ride anymore at that point, totally spent feeling sharp pain at every bump… so against his will ( and principles) I told Karl I to try go ahead and eventually getting a ride back with a 4wd and ride my bike back…
I could barely walk, actually limping…
So he went and I sat there, in the middle of the jungle… in pain and totally empty… but feeling not too worried even if the sun was setting , Nicaragua is a safe place …everyone knows…
A local on horse approached and we had a little chat…then he said…you don’t want to be here at night alone and not armed…muy peligroso!
Great! Perfect moment for sinking into Zen meditation…I’m not kidding. What else to do?
Mean while Karl made it (in a flash, due to his skills and the concern for me) to the first village were he found people willing to help. His Spanish is improving too!
So just when my meditation was actually sliding gently into a more western exploration of practical ways to spent the night safer, considering that I had no idea of when the rescue team would have been back, I heard a car coming up the road and towering above everyone on the back of a truck my hero was smiling. He even had a bottle of cold water!
So here I was squeezed on the back of a truck full of kids and luggage. And Capitan Carlito following us on my bike in the dark. Boy he’s good!
But then… we had to move the first rescue truck who got stuck on the road….and other painful hour long confusing chaotic ordeal…
But everyone meant more than well…they were all super nice. Including a family ( with a good 4wd) that on their way to a nice dinner at home, instead ended up being part of the adventure….
And we ended up sleeping in a pretty bad hotel but at list safe and now close to the surfing spot….
So the day after we moved to it…few miles road still dirt but not rocky…
And after few up and downs on the road we found a very nice hotel…except…they had stopped serving food… so in the evening we rode ( I was on the back of carl’s bike) a couple of miles to a nice restaurant…
It started raining…I mean moonsooning and the nice road becomed a river of mud in matter of minutes….
And we tried to get … and we both went down…no big damage but I decide to walking back….while Carlito was struggling with a mud that caked his tires and locked his front wheel so bad that he really struggled quite a bit to make it back.
Jin the morning we run out of there as soon as the road was dry to find out that Karl felt his clutch
slipping… did he burn it the night before on the mud?
And the clouds again were forming ominously dark over our heads… but we made it out …finally on the paved road! Joy! We got our dirt road fun for a while.
And the clutch needed only to be adjusted! Just in the middle of the main street of a village for the amazement of the locals of course.
So we made it happily to the border to Costa Rica. And we spent the next 3 long hours doing the usual absurd paper work… (we are getting used to it now) and photocopies and stamps and long sweaty lines… this time though in fun company of an other bunch of bikers from US going in the same direction…of course more rain this evening but now we are nice and dry in a Hotel in Liberia.
Tomorrow hot springs and volcano!
Monday, October 5, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
So we left at 6;30 am Chiquimula (Guat), were last nigth we had a nice parrilliata after watching a parade of scooters with all kind of conbination of passengers ( see pics).
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Too hard to describe the beauty of all of this!
We are in the Jaguar inn right hundred yards away from the entrance of the ruins and inside this huge beautiful natural park.
So we had breakfast then we walked right in…. and after 5 minutes walk we had a chance to see spider monkeys in acrobatics. We were the only people around and they felt very confortable in jumping and eating just above our heads.
So we kept walking for hours, chatting away, through this very nice paths surrounded by thick jungle ,following small signs that took us from ruins to ruins…. Dozens! Some just small mounds of stones still to be restored but some truly amazing majestic buildings towering over the dense forest. We claimed few of them and everytime the view was just stunning.
We got also totally soaked in a burst of monsoon rain but it was just a refreshing blessing from the sky.
We had a decent lunch inside the park and we kept walking.
Then we went back for a little rest and we walked again in the main plaza of the ruins were we enjoyed, just us and the monkeys, a very quiet and magical sunset.
The road from Antigua was very very long and uneventful and defenetly a considerable detour from our route but it was worth it!
We are close to the border with El Salvador now ...crossing tomorrow...