Tag Archives: Chinese

Copan Ruinas to Gracias, Wednesday, 14 November 2012, Day 134

A total cleaning solution me bike is needing a clean!

Another good nights sleep. Last night I was speaking to the owner Geraldo a Belgium motorcyclist and he had given me a couple of pointers for routes through Honduras. This morning another leisurely breakfast and then Geraldo helped me get the bike out through the bar when I say he helped he actually did it for me and I supervised 🙂 So another recommendation coming up ViaVia in Copan Ruinas run by Geraldo all bikers welcome and here is his number if help is needed 00504/98400292 blond large breasted 18 year old chica’s are also welcome so this chap has a broad taste.

I filled up just outside town after getting lost in the one-way system which seems par for the course on leaving any new town and I hit the road. The weather here is wet and overcast and it was the same yesterday threatening to rain and when it did rain not enough to stop to pull your waterproofs on. Lovely road out of town I passed an elderly couple also on a motorcycle so I waved but they ignored me as he was focused on riding I passed them about 4 times during the day as I kept stopping to take photos and they finally got used to me passing them and I was getting a wave now 🙂 Later in the day I came across what looked like a landside and the road was covered in brown treacly mud and there where a lot of vehicles stopped and I noticed a little older lady with a rucksack walking on the side of the road with a helmet on then I noticed a bloke in brown leather jacket waving at me. I was trying to keep the bike upright as it was like riding on ice but as I went past I realised it was my new friends and they had gone down in the mud and that is why everyone had stopped and was helping he signalled to me to take it easy but I was already totally focussed on getting through the mudslide follow a truck through trying not to touch the brakes and to keep rolling forward. It was not surprising that my new friends had gone down as there was absolutely no grip and I only got through by pure luck and the fact that I had slowed down to a walking pace because of the commotion. They where both on there feet so I hope they are both okay I did want to get involved but as a foreigner here I am not sure what I could have done to help.

It was damp and the roads were greasy and after the scare above my pace dropped considerably.

The roads here are not to good potholes everywhere. The locals make an attempt to fill them and fix them and then they ask for money to do this you have got to admire there entrepreneurial spirit but I think they are making it worse rather than better and I just wave and smile as I flash through. Got to Gracias at about 3.30pm problem is when you arriving in a town early you are less likely just to take the first place that you rock up to. I was looking for an address that Geraldo had given me but could not find it so went to about 4 different hotels which were either to expensive or too much of a dive even by standards. I normally I would have taken one by now. I was doing a U turn and a bloke in jeep asked me if I needed any help and I told him I was looking for a hotel and he said expensive and I said no so he said to follow him which I did and he took me to a place right in the center of town and then drove of. Thanks mate turned out to be reasonable so I checked in there. I went for a wander but not much to do in this place so I am not sure why it had been recommended. A one horse town but it did have a Chinese restaurant so I fancied a change so that is where I had my tea Chicken Chop Suey and it was huge no way I could manage it all on my own but very good I needed a change for me taste buds as there only so much beans and rice you can eat before it gets old. I was chatting to the Chinese girl there and it turned out she was from just outside Hong Kong so I was trying to remember any Chinese I knew but blank and my Spanish not so great either but it was entertaining.

Back to the room as was not the kind of place for wandering around in the evening I think I was the only tourist in town so another night in with my faithful computer and me oh the joys of travelling 🙂

Fireworks anyone!

Final thought for each town you come through there are loads of stalls either side on the side of the road selling whatever the town speciality is today it was fireworks loads of them just on the side of the road if one of these went up there would be one hell of a spectacle as no Health and safety here.

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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

Its 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 it looks like she is not looking forward to a wet day in the rain either. I have some help from the young lad from the hotel with packing my bike chatting away in Spanish to me but I still do have a clue what he is saying. I understand that he is impressed with my 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 it was a 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 I am greeted cheerfully with a handshake from the German owner of the Bakery who 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 to make 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!

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 just about 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. I got out of my waterproofs at one point 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 so not many overtaking opportunities so in the end up crawling along at there speed which is frustrating. Eventually I 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 a great grand finale. I cannot ask for much than that I rolled into town at about 4.30pm next try and find somewhere to sleep. I 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 (I am driving like local these days) and I pulled up outside. It 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 who has been in Costa Rica for years he is in town to buy supplies as he lives in the middle of nowhere with no electricity and a few mod cons. He left the Army in 1974 after been in in Vietnam he is suffering from Diabetes linked to Agent Orange so is now getting a pension from the army he was pissed of with what he had been through in Nam so he went Costa Rica as it did not have an army at the time (I love that rational) and brought some land and has been living there on and off since then. Interesting chap but you could tell he been living a hermits existence or had not spoken to folk for a while as I get the same way when I go into my hermit mode so I recognised the characteristics. Andy Clark of Radio Netherlands please 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.

I 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 🙂

Moody night shot

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 I wish I could remember names!!!) the Vietnam vet.

Turrialba to Palmar Norte, Saturday, 1 December 2012, Day 151

And yes the sun does come out occasionally here been a while

Free Coffee and I got chatting with the young Dutch girl Lisette who was the owner of Casa de Lis. An expat girl who has lived all over the world as daddy worked for Shell sounds familiar. Nice chat gave me some ideas for my route South but they all went straight out the window. I said ta ta to Dave and Lis hit the chaotic traffic of Turrialba I 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 a  nice breakfast enjoying the scenery the sun is out and its not to hot this is quite close to ideal as you can get.I hit the road again nearly getting squished by a huge lorry coming up the hill 2 abreast fortunately I had spotted them so I managed to pull to the side friendly waves from both lorry drivers. I 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. I finally found some loos only problem no loo roll but now being totally fluent in Spanish I was able to find a chap who could get me some so what’s Spanish for wipe me arse as I am not sure we did that one in Spanish lessons.

Whizzing around the mountains pleasant way to spend a morning

So a lot lighter I 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 there are no signs and my GPS was as much use as a one legged man in an arse kicking contest. I 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 I 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 and the 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 yellow lines so I was not planning on passing them 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 I had the road to myself again but checking my mirrors just 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 I 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 I must be tired. So a 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 been 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 I see a sign for hotel but its 14km down a dirt track so not today this boy is to tired. So I did my normal Philly optimistic planning and said there will be something better down the road so I 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 and light 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. I passed a couple of places that I declined due to my weird optimism that there will be something better further down the road. It was about 5.15pm 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 borrowed from her and I had pulled it out and was occasionally consulting it. It was just getting dark when I arrived in town I 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 is a bit of a shit hole but not many options as I had left stopping till the last possible moment and it has no WI-FI so went into town looking for Internet Café most towns have loads of these here but I could not find one I finally found one but he was closing then I noticed a sign down an alley so I 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 was but as usual with last minute research I am confused as hell as this this is the  first mention of mandatory insurance for Panama I have insurance already so I am not sure if I will have to buy some locally as well so looks like it will be fun and games tomorrow. I spent an hour on the net then I wandered around town not much to see just two streets I was looking for something to eat but nothing takes my fancy so I 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!

A couple of observations on Latin America bikers do not wave to each other here much but occasional they do beep their horn so I am 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 am never certain  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 countries should take note.