Central American odyssey: Hurrying South

Dreams are over. Time to Hurry up. Time to catch us a boat to Colombia!

Indeed, we had a boat scheduled to take us from Panama to Colombia in about a week. The boat was a pretty good looking boat, called La Poste. It was our only option really, all the other reputable boats were fully booked and this one was the only other boat that looked legit. With a website and all.

So we left paradise, the many pretty surfer girls, the endless conversations, the pupusas (food, not call girls!) and the peace of El Tunco.

We decided our next stop is Nicaragua. It’s far, and Honduras is in between, but we can do it. We did it in two days, first day staying in San Miguel, with William getting sick. That was a funny town. There was a heap of funeral homes, headstone shops and everything related to death. This obviously crept us out and we thought we finally came to the “real” danger zone of El Salvador.

After I walked around the neighborhood I found out our hotel was standing next to a huge cemetery. So huge, that for the size of the town (half a million inhabitants) was a bit alarming to say the least. But anyway, it’s not all death and murder in San Miguel. Actually there is lots of life. Young people, not too many elders, but lively, busy and at least on first glance, didn’t seem dangerous to me. However, I made sure I was in bed before it got completely dark, mostly because next day was a big day. And it resulted to be bigger than I ever thought. William sick, hot weather and the most ridiculous border crossings. Honduras is a joke of a country and just to get in took us hours with so much (subtle) bribing, that I was getting worried how it will be on our transit through the country.

We had to pay about 22$ to get in. Into Honduras. Where you probably live for a week for that money. But hey, that’s the cost of adventure for gringos and I just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.

On the bright side, once again I was surprised with how nice the people were. With the exception of one customs official that I mistaken for a “tramite”, a guy who sorts out the papers for a fee, and politely sent him to f. off when he wanted to take my passport. In my defense, he didn’t look legit at all. But later I learned that officers don’t really wear uniforms there, and if they do, the uniforms are very worn out. Typical European mentality, when we think all governments have tons of money to spend on their employees…

Honduras is done, met a vast array of bikers on both borders, some cool stories, but nothing to take my interest further than a shake of hands and a “good luck”.

We got into Nicaragua after another impossible border and a late night arrival into Chinandega. William was dying, but still had enough energy for some fast food and a beer. Nicaragua was again, same same but different from everything I saw so far. Poor, but with a strong “western” influence, with its big shopping malls and plenty of fast food. Well, in terms of food, the whole Central America is pretty much an ongoing feast of fried chicken and rice with beans (pico de gallo).

The quality of the pavement in Nicaragua is outstanding. Apparently mostly donated by Japan and I have to say, my Japanese made bike was very grateful for that. Smooth ride. A bit too straight for me, but a smoothness we greatly appreciated after Honduras.

We stopped in Leon for lunch, met some lovely locals and a Canadian biker called Dave. Cool guy, with a similar plan, but on a much faster bike, a GS800. And a different, longer plan than we did. We had lunch together and kept going. Destination Granada.

 

Party, party, party, sex, sex, sex, we were out of there. This was pretty much what the whole trip through Nicaragua looked like, with the welcome exception of Ometepe. A “tit island” as I use to call it. An island, that is basically two connected volcano cones in a big volcano lake. A very special place. This was the only place on the whole trip that we rode slow. Mostly because of all the pigs lying around in the middle of the road, who didn’t care if you run them over and of course, because of the stunning nature. Call it positive energy, call it seclusion, this island is a very special place. So it was the ferry ride, but this maybe another day. Ometepe is a place that feels out of this world. A place that really has nothing to do with the latin chaos of Central America, nothing to do with wars, news, poverty or anything exciting. It’s a place that will calm you down, no matter what are your ideas about peace and relax. It’s just that kind of place. Even if standing next to an active volcano.

The excuse to stop there for days was of course women. In this case was a William project and I was just sitting quiet, admiring the many colorful birds, hauling monkeys etc. I’m glad we stopped, I think I’ve been to the real Eden, right there.

Guess what happened next, San Juan del Sur and more fiesta. This time a big one. Apparently the biggest pool crawl in this part of the world. Go figure what they mean by that. All I know is that there was like a little Woodstock lets say. Everyone there had something in common. Everyone was a traveler. Surfer, hitchhiker, biker, cyclist, everyone there was a stranger and everyone was there to have a good time. And good time it was!

To my surprise, next day we actually stuck to the plan and left. Today was time for Costa Rica and Montezuma. Didn’t make it all the way to there. Lets say it was too hot and the customs took us too long. And maybe the night was a bit too long…

Yet, we made it to Montezuma, met some new and some old friends, learned how to open a coconut with a stick and a rock and relaxed after the long days riding and longer nights celebrating.

 

 

 

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