Sunday, 29 November 2009

On 27 November I left Quito and made Cuenca a beautiful city to the south. Whilst asking a policeman for a hotel Cristian pulled up and in perfect English said that I could park the bike in his spot in a secure car park and he would then walk me to a reasonable hotel. To top it all he paid for the hotel. Top bloke! He is the Ecuadorian distributor for Fuji Film and also has a bike.
From Cuenca I rode to Macara right on the Peruvian border. The border crossing was very easy and the Peruvians did not charge me anything. I made Chiclayo that night and was able to meet up with David, the guy who I left the UK with way back in April.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

How much?

Got Maisie sorted to fly to Quito. Almost choked when I was told that it would be $1901-34. Still I had no option and after arranging for her to see me in Quito, I paid $486 to get myself there. Six hour wait at the aiport and then I was heading over the Darian Gap. A 50km stretch of lawless jungle between Panama and Columbia where isn't a road.
Quito quite a nice place and now waiting for Maisie to arrive later today. She had an overnight stop in Bogota, Columbia. I hope that she is being well looked after. Almost certain that I will get the Maisie out of customs tomorrow morning and then ride south to meet up with my mate.
Last night met up with Nico, a local, and Frank an Aussie who rides a BMW650 Dakar and has been on the road for 8 years. He thinks that he may go home next year. B****y hell that is a seriously long trip.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Now I just need a flight!

There has been some long days to get to Panama having passed through Costa Rica since the last update. Beautiful country but it did rain a lot.

Border crossing onto Panama was OK then passed through David. Since Mexico I have obviously sinned and lost my Saintdom. Went to see the Panama Canal today. Very impressive but could not stand the heat waiting in the 45 minute queue so slipped into a side entrance and saw ships going through. Could not get any photos though.
I now need to get my bike shipped to Ecuador so that I can catch up with David who is hanging aound there for me.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Granada. The Nicaraguan Antigua.

Anither expensive border crossing to get into Nicaragua. I think that it pays to use the services of one of the many locals plying for that business. Having crossed the border the bike kept losing power like it was fuel starvation. Cotinued for about a mile and then the petrol light came on. I had only filled up about 10 miles earlier. On pulling over petrol was spraying out from beneath the fuel tank. Empty feeling in the pit of the stomach. This could be serious. On checking one of the connectors had come off. Before starting the trip I had removed it with great difficulty. Had this been a poor connection since I started? If so why had it not been leaking. It still remains a mystery.
Spent the night and a day off in Granada which is without doubt the best town I have visited so far. Picturesque, friendly, cool and safe. Had a rest day here and wandered around town and down to the lake from where blows a woderfully cooling breeze. Great and cheap hostel where Mazie has again been treated to a night under cover and what is more even the chicken busses are courteous and friendly.

Monday, 16 November 2009

On the way to the boder with Hondurus I came across a number of bridges that had been washed away by the recently torrential rain. On crossing one river a couple of feet deep with a bottom of rocks the size grapefruit I dropped the bike with my leg stuck under it. Fortunately an eagle eyed local saw that I was having trouble and lifted the bike off me. At the border I hired a guy to help me through. Thank God wat a nightmare even with him knowing what to do and where to go it took 3 hours and $85. What a rip off. I was only going to be there for one night. This hotel room cost me $25. A beautiful country but I found it to be a rip off.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

10 murders a day

From Antigua it was a mornings ride to the El Salvador border. Quite an easy border to get through and only took 2 hours. The thing I noticed about El Salvador was the intense heat and beautiful coastline. I stayed at the surfing centre of La Libertad in a really nice lodge. Have to say that I was feeling terrible and threw up a couple of times. I put it down to a touch of heat stroke and stayed there for a day to recover. El Salvador has a population of 6.7 million and is the most populated country in Central America. It has a strong gang culture and there are 10 murders a day. That said they are very friendly people but clearly do not feed their livestock enough. These goats were eating the road.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Guatemala the second time round

Having visited Guatemala last year this was just going to be a way to get to El Salvador. That said I was still amazed by the beauty of the country. A lot of things have changed though one is the road from the border to Antigua. Last year it was under construction and travelling was at little more than walking place. Now it has a lovely smooth surface and allows for speeds upto 90kmh. What has not changed is the recklessness of the Chicken Bus drivers. Chicken as in they play chicken with anything on the road. The problem is now they (10 tons of brightly painted ex US school bus) are coming up behind you at 110+ kmh. I stayed the night in Quetzaltenango at Casa Argentina where I did a hike from last year with Quetzal Trekkers. This is the aftermath of one of their days in the mountains.

The 2nd night I spent in Guatemala was in Antigua. The second thing I noticed is the number of extra tourist police. Dozens. Or at least I thought that they were Tourist Police. It turned out that they were Traffic Police employed to enforce the new toll for any car entering the city. The third difference was how many restaurants, boutiques and ice cream parlours have now opened to cater for the blossoming American tourist market. None the less Antigua is still a beautiful city and one which I enjoy despite my encounter with firearms on the previous visit.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

I cano speako Espanol nowo!

Whilst in San Cristobel I took 2 days of one on one language training at ´The Tree House´ or using Franish Le Casa de les Arbres. There actually was a tree house expertly modelled by my teacher.
The town was full of people in local clothing. No that is a mad dentist who pursued me all the way back to the hotel desperate to extract my teeth.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

The Aussie connection

On the ride south from San Miguel I was caught by Errol on a BMW GS1200. We then continued to ride together until San Cristobel. He had intended to ride to Argentina but time beat him and he decided not to do it. I never thought that I would admit to it but I actually enjoyed the company of an Aussie and despite a drop goal and 3 points he was not at all bitter.
San Cristobel was a lovely town with a very strong indigineous connection. One evening I enhanced poor appreciation of music by listening to local artists and this was followed by cows testicles. Yes it is true they tasted like chicken but then again doesn´t everything.

Friday, 6 November 2009

On the way to Oaxaca there was an great road through the mountains. Oaxaca was a gem and I even found someone playing the bagpipes. I thought that I should include this for my Scottish friends.