Tag Archives: Leon

Danli to Leon, Sunday, 18 November 2012, Day 138

Gorgeous scenery blue skies and the sun is shining 🙂

A complete screw up day and a complete rooky error at the border that 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 with petrol and I grabbed some breakfast and then I 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 I was there in no time. I had left early by my standards and it was Sunday so the border was pretty quite. I pulled over and a young lad came over and asked me if I needed help with the crossing I politely declined and then a few money changers turned up and I said I would talk to them later so they also left me alone.

  • First thing to is 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 also 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 a UK passport but as soon as that was all done the bike was through
  • Javier had been showing me through the whole process and then sold me the mandatory insurance for Nicaragua which was 13 dollars.
  • Finally I did a 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 I packed the bike up and I slipped of the foot pegs landing on me knackers as it 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 I headed to the gate when I was called over by the police what now I thought they wanted to see my papers the ones I just shown 2 minutes ago so first my driving licence so I gave him this then he demanded my registration papers and then want another dollar for this so I objected and asked what this was 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 me 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 it could be lost) I 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 I do a 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 issues on mislaying this vital bit of kit.

I got back to the border and I was let back into no mans land to the police post where the 2 guys pretended they knew nothing about the licence but I guessed 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 with it and the other cop said I dropped it on the road and I should buy them all 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 3rd 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 is 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 a bit more relaxed but now my petrol planning was all out and it was getting hot and was going to get to Leon a lot later than originally planned. It is lovely now hot run into Leon through mountains across flat plains with volcanoes in the distance I pulled into Leon at about 5pm just before it got dark looking for a hotel Viavia as it was another place I had heard about.

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

I 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 bed room left so the plan was to share a room with them and they also had safe parking. So again had to drive the bike up a double kerb through a crowded bar and restaurant I 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

It turned out they had a dorm as well as a double room so the sharing plans changed. Chris and Chloe had ridden up from Argentina so I 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 them all doing there best to put Philly of the rest of his trip or that is what it felt like sometimes I am 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 have 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 🙂

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 🙂

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 ever since making doing anything a chore so slowly slowly is the order of the day.

  • Dariana Spanish school. Back to the books again I am determined to get better at Spanish well as determined as you can be when its hot and there are lot of siesta’s needed to get you through the day. I 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 is a young 26 old Nicaraguan lad who has only been teaching for 2 years and he does not speak a lot of English but we had a fun 5 days I am 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 is just a case of practice practise and put the work in. I did 2 afternoons and 3 mornings 20 hours and a bit of homework in total only me there for the 1st 3 days and at the end of the week 2 others joined so very quite in comparison to the Antigua Spanish School. So a big thank you to David I really enjoyed my week with you.  I even got a certificate 🙂

    David great teacher and Nicaraguan History story teller

  • 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 I knew bits and pieces but I never knew the whole story it looks like they have been screwed over by the Spanish then by the Americans paranoid about communism and then protecting there interests in the Panama. Hopefully they are on the right path now well rid of the imperialist colonists and 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 it is a nice country and nice folks.(Please note this was all done in Spanish so I must be getting a bit better)

    Great murals especially if you know the story behind them thanks again David

    After revolution life goes on

  • Gouda cheese. The good thing about staying somewhere a bit longer is you can get a nice breakfast rhythm going for me in Leon this was at Pan Y Pan. A French bakery with a French baker married to a Dutch lady whom 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 a morning ritual of 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 one place for a short while
  • As I mentioned in the previous posting there where 4 other motorcyclist staying at the Viavia including me so that is Chris, Chloe, Paul and Daryl and Alex and Andrea who also came round whilst in town so for the first couple of nights I 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

  • 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 the huge regular teams. We did not do 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 they have the 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 the territory 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 this 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 this is totally redundant and confusing I guess it was the way I was brought up and I had please and thank you drummed into me from a young age and its still does not feel right even in a foreign language or as if I omit it I need to avoid the swift clip around me head so I add in a English thanks as well. I guess I was brought up to well as where the clip is going to come from here I do not know but I am still not willing to risk it 🙂
  • One of the things I liked about Leon was that the sirens in the town went of at 7am every morning so folks without clocks and watches knew it was time for work and they went of at 12am 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 my day was based on these sirens
  • Like I said quite a slow week after school I normally did some homework and hung around Viavia and at about 3pm or 4pm I would venture out as it was slightly cooler and wander all around Leon. Not quite Antigua but charming enough for wandering I enjoyed my time here but I need to be moving south.

    leon

      

      

Problem in doing a full week catch up is that I probably missed loads but I guess it could not have been that interesting if I forgotten about it already.

Leon to Granada, Saturday, 24 November 2012, Day 144

Lots of Volcanos in Nicaragua and fields this colour brown loving it !

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

  • I copied a load of Kindle books of a chap Scottish Gary (Cheers mate) so I 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 are 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 please send me a PM as I am not sure it’s the type of thing I wish to encourage others to do or for 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 I am 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 it could be a useful course for me to do.

So back to today I set the alarm clock for 6.30am 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.

I got the bike out through the restaurant and bar this time no cheering crowd as it was early and no one was up and the 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 I am not sure what I was expecting but I was a bit disappointed when I found the road did follow the coast and you could not see the sea as there where houses between the road and the beach blocking the view. So eventually I 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 a chatty know it all been there done it all type of chap was offering me info even though none had been requested I 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 had have all I wanted was to enjoy the beautiful setting with a my cup of coffee and my pancakes which I finally got and Roger realised that I was not much company at that point and buggered of leaving me alone which was great as I had been looking forward to this for a while after a week living in Dormitories I needed a bit of Philly time.

Suitable attire for the beach me thinks! Maybe not

After breakfast and a very short walk on the beach as it was getting hotter I had a further drive around this coastal village and then headed back into Leon. I got lost in Leon even though I had lived there for a week but I 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 plus 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 I decide to go and explore. Nice little road through nice countryside with the Volcano in the distance getting closure all the time. Eventually I ran out of proper road as it turns 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 then back the same way I came before I cooked. Keep on moving is the trick in this heat.

Momotombo Volcano

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 to 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 in the national park and of course I understood it all honest injun 🙂

I 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 it was still bloody hot.

Crater at Masaya Volcano

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

It took me a while finding somewhere to stay but I 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 its cheap as chips and the Wi-Fi is reasonably fast as well.

 

So after a quick lie down I headed into town for my tea I 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 I did find a Tiptop the Nicaraguan KFC so that will have to do instead. A Bit of a walk and then back to the Hostel getting this up to date. I had a bit of an issue logging into WordPress as it kept asking me for my user name instead of my e-mail address and was I locked out for a while as I for the life me could not remember it so I was nearly banned from me own blog. After a bit of research I found out my user name is the same as your E-mail so that is why I had not written it down as I thought that is going to be easy to remember well I guess not.

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