approximate route: Cahuita (Costa Rica), Boquete (Panama), Panama City, Sailboat ride through the Kuna Yala (San Blas Islands) en route to Cartagena Colombia, La Guajira (Cabo de la Vela, Punta Gallinas)
I had a breakfast of crepes rolled with fruit and yogurt inside. The hotel was vaz something. I packed and got on the bike from my hotel to head to the border. I stopped once and noticed that one of the bolts holding the sidecases on was loose. I tried to tighten it but it broke immediately. Fuck. I kept riding for a little then realized I needed to do something so I pulled out the zipties and ziptied it good. A great start. I got to the border and mistakenly got stamped out first then go to customs and was told that it's break time, to come back at 12. I come back at 1130 and she says she'll start. I give her the paperwork the guy in Los Chiles gave me, a copy, and that isn't going to work. She wants me to start acting like a dick, but I don't. A couple hours later I move over the Panamian site after everything is taken care of in CR. Those assholes want me to buy a bus ticket even though I have a motorcycle. I local guy already talked to me at the border to try to help me out, so I found him and we got everything fixed and i got through the Panamanian side. I've heard that lots of these "helpers" are scammers and not "good people", but this guy seemed cool. Even when random people were walking by with problems, he'd help them out. I gave him $20. I also had helpers at Los Manos, the Honduran guy seemed cool, not sure on the Nica side. I gave each one the equivalent of $5. I was pissed, of course, when leaving, that everything took so long and should have been only an hour or so. My plan starting the day was to ride to David and stay there for the night, since it was a big city and would probably have the needed tire and bolt. I was so pissed and unwilling to do the smart thing and stop for a hotel when I should have, I ended up riding into the night. My temper calmed and I realized that this was stupid. I started looking for a good spot and finally found a place where a dirt road went behind a guardrail for a bridge and there was an open area so I set up camp there. Probably a good experience, but not my funnest hour.
I woke from the campsite at 7a, which means about 12 hours of sleep. I woke up and realized that I was pretty much in plain view of the road and there's a builiding next to me, but maybe uninhabitted. I packed the crap and hit the road, with the side case still only suspended. After making a few wrong turns because even though the road are good, the signs absolutely suck. I hit the Panamerican and went to David to begin my search for The Purple House. I found it without too much trouble and began the search. I walked around a bit for a motorcycle shop and found a small one who pointed me to a larger one. They had the exact tire that I wanted, a 120/90-17 Perelli. Bought that, then ate two lunches because I hadn't eaten in over 24 hours, then went back to the hostel. I stated messing with the broken bolt and went out looking for a hardware store and even found a specialty bolt store which had what I wanted. Bingo, much easier than I thought. Also, the broken part of the bolt turned right out. I got the rack and mounts back together, then changed the rear tire. Everything went well. Crisis everted. I didn't get done with everything until after dark and took a nice cold shower.
I spent a bunch of time talking with a fellow motorcyclist from France that was also staying at the Purple House in David. I had a real good time talking with someone with a different experience and hearing his perspective. He really liked Bolivia.
jueves 2011abr7 I woke up slow and John, the other rider, showed up and we took off out of Panama City. I lead and we took about the longest way possible, zigzagging all over the place and missing the very last turn that I needed to take the road along the Balboa port then having to turn all the way back around but finally catching it for a nice ride, through the deep forest along the Canal. Took the road to all the way to Portobelo and beyond to Puerto Lindo and stopped at Hostel Wunderbar and they had a boat leaving today but I didn't feel good about it so turned it down. We rode back down the road to Portobelo and failed to find Capt Jacks but another foreigner was waving his arms at us to stop. He said that he was also on a bike waiting on a ride to Cartagena. He already had a boat lined up, but it didn't have enough people to leave. John and I were in, since this seemed like a good and maybe only option. I ran out for money and loaded up. Took some pics also. I got back and spoke with Penny on gchat a little. I trying to get to her my current feelings, or lack of any feelings and you can't tell that much on chat, but it's rough on her. I don't know FUCKING ANYTHING. I don't like it either. I'm supposed to be leaving Saturday for Cartagena.
2011abr21 from the sailboat ride
The boat situation was loads of waiting time. Another guy, Mikey, got in contact with Alejandro, the captain, which made four of us total iwth bikes. John was really timid on the trip because he was direly afraid of seasickness. Stefan and I walked back to the lookout for the boat after lunch or dinner on the 11th and were happy and surprised to see that Mike's bike was loaded on the boat. We went back and told John that he needed to make a decision. He rode his bike up and down the little road that goes through town and narrows to one lane where the houses were built too close together and stopped to ask us dumb questions and then finally went to the dock. He went back and forth and talked with Humberto for a bit, then, while we were on the boat, he sat and talked with some guy on the shore for a long time about lancha routes through the gap. He has no idea what he's going to do. He's had at least of month to think about this problem while on the road and even more than that during the prep time. The four of us on the boat, me to Stefan, "Damn, I wonder what the hell John is doing." "Fuck, what is he thinking." Then Humberto, "He called me a bit ago, and wanted to put the bike on the boat again!!" "Haha," all of us. Stefan and I went back and forth a few times before deciding to stay on the boat for the night so that we could get an early departure. We packed quickly and I sent some last emails, then Stefan and I walked to the dock and yelled to the Odyssey and Mike and Humberto were talking on the boat and Mike came out in the dingy to pick us up. We put the last of our stuff on board, Humberto showed us the facilities, we did some bullshitting, then slept under the stars. "Jeez, guys, we need to get some lady's on this boat."
I started in bad shape very soon after hitting the open ocean, seasickness, after leaving the island of the Kuna Yala, which sucks pretty bad and I don't have much more to say on that. Humberto gave us a lot of freedom on the trip across, telling us the compass course and then pretty much just letting us do what we needed. We took turns on watch at night and steered since the autopilot was broken. I'm skipping around, but I woke up one night, with my bed at a 45deg angle because the boat was feld over from strong winds, and my only view was outside the cabin window at my DR getting submerged in sea water. Just by trolling some handlines, we caught two tuna, a mahi, and a big jack. The tuna was the best sushi I've ever had. Long distance sailing is something that I'd like to get more into, if I can train my stomach for it. Being out on steering duty at night, on the cork bobbing alond the ocean, the single haul boat keeled WAY over and sea spray blowing over your face and the moon's reflection hitting all the angles of the water's surface and making a light show and the flying fish gliding along the boat, made for quite a powerful feeling for me.
On one of my days reading, I found the following quote and quite liked it: He in his madness prays for storms, And dreams that storms will bring him peace. -Lermontov
The next morning, Mike went alone to retrieve the passports, but since insufficient information was provided, he ran back and we all got on bikes and headed down to the port and finally were able to get started on the importation stuff. Fat David, the official, was an idiot and we finally found the DIAN office and after a couple hours and about $40 per bike, at least half as bribe, we had the paperwork. We then stopped for a carwash, which unfortunately made us late for getting insurance. And so now we'll have to wait until Saturday (the 23rd, today's date was the 19th), best case, for getting insurance. We just went to the hostel, Media Luna, and Stefan and Mike worked on their bikes. I helped Stefan dissassemble his front brake, clean, reassemble, and bleed. He has front brake again and is happy.
martes 2011abr25 1230p
During the night, after I finished reading and realized that I was alone on the pool deck and was ready for some human accomaniment after reading and writing, I went upstairs to find Stefan. He wasn't up there, but the Aussies were and they were doing some heavy snowboarding through some deep powder. I was offered but declined but did get some drink. Austrailian foootbal was one topic. I also had a quite serious talk with Jacey about our futures while leaning over the large balcony railing looking over the pool and courtyard and what we thought we'd do whenever we decided that the trip was "over." He had a rough plan of getting back into finance in Sydney, but something more specialized than before. Before that, I felt like I just wanted to lay down and read my new book, Doctor Zhivago, which I've finally restarted from the beginning and think that I'll follow through and enjoy. But, I had a couple drinks and I was happy and feeling good. We took the party to the rooftop and continued drinking and I started feeling better. I decided to go down to the bar for a beer, partly to switch my drink from varying rum and vodka mixes to beer, but probably mostly because the bartender was extremely cute. I ordered one and she at first said in Spanish but then in English that I always seem serious. Nice, she started! We talked for a bit but then the bar got busy so I went back up on the roof and talked with another Aussie guy from Newcastle that was living in BC just real snowboarding all the time then came down here in the summer. I finished the beer and went back down to talk with Paulina (?). There was very little silence, which is unlike me and should be fully attributed to the alcohol, though, when in the proper mood, my communication has increased (if that's even correct terminology). Possibly, Paulina also affected this: perhaps with the right partner, I am encouraged to speak and words are put into my mouth, though I won't deny the alcohol. She seemed interested in the conversation throughout. Jacob joined us for a bit also and always added some comedy, though his original intention may have been the same as mine. I think some topics were our travel plans, her up to Central America then cross over to Europe, ages, we're both 28, how she's moved around Colombia a bunch, work. In the end, I enjoyed the experience that I did get, and man, she was cute. After she closed the bar and walked off, I felt a little let down, a little distraught that probably the highlight of my day was over, but joined the other fellows, blokes, for more drinking and I was fairly drunk anyway so I didn't dwell on it much. I went to bed after 4a while the others were still doing some snowboarding. The two Aussie girls were the last to leave the room and we all spoke for a bit while I was in bed and exchanged FB details. They both said that they liked the way I talked, partly my Southern accent, but maybe there was more than just an accent that they liked. I've also heard this from Clare, and I think Penny as well. They headed back out and I went to bed.
jueves 2011abr28 Cabo de la Vela
I went up the hill to El Faro, beautiful view. I kept on that road and found the beach Ojo del Agua, beautiful also, but not as much as the area had been talked up. I had to do a little repelling along the "culvert" to get down in the flood gorge in order to be able to walk down onto the beach. Ten meter high cliffs surrounded the cliff on the back side and wrapped around to the sides, so that the beach was entirely enclosed. Much of the rock was very loose everywhere, in most places, it looked like small pieces of granite, about the size of one or two finger nuckles, and could easily be pulled from the rock. There was anther type of rock, also in large quantities, which looked like a huge mangled sponge. Another funny thing happened. I was just sitting on the beach, thinking about the big questions and beginning to think about leaving, when a small boat rounded the corner and came toward the beach. I figured that it was just some fishermen. The boat got closer and it was the family from yesterday, on the ride in! I was too quiet because I wasn't in the mood to talk, but we said hi to each other and waved. One girl had really big boobs, I started wonder if they were real. I headed back and passed Cabo along the beach and kept heading roughly southward along the coast. Nothing spectacular that way, though maybe I'm a bit jaded, with the road running along the blue, sun specked ocean and small native huts spread throughout the arid, scrub landscape and oddly enough, concrete type stuctures running over the water's path during heavy rain, always a problem in the deserts. Only thing was there was no way to cross on the structures, unless by foot. I headed back to my place. I didn't know what to do. I stopped at a store and got a refresca and a water and finished both of them there. The girl working there had an interest and looked through my wallet then gave me fifty questions. Asking about the ride and if I had a wife/gf, which everybody and their brother asks about. I got two waters and a Coke and went to my room and read a little then maybe took a small nap, I at least layed down for a little. I didn't feel the best. I woke up and after a little search found a place with beers better than lukewarm and got them and then walked two stalls down and got three bananas and ate and drank all of them, after I gave a little banana to a young local kid who's father was working at the hospedaje.
I spent a bunch of time "thinking" today, at the top of El Faro, on the beach just sitting and while swimming and while watching the sunset, and for awhile I had some sort of feeling that I was close to a breakthough. I'm not sure why that was, but I don't really feel that anymore. Most of my time "thinking" is spent just sitting there and thinking of how I want "something" different and how I still have no idea what that is, so mostly abstract daydreams. That doesn't seem overly productive to me now. I can try to stear the dreams more, but I think that I tried that once and I really don't have much else going on to give that much thought to and I always ended up in the same place. Maybe it will prove productive, but they still seem on the surface as a kinda waste. I also started thinking that I gave too much thought to girls (when actually, I probably think much less about it than many others).
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