Monday, 23 April 2012

Eye of Water

The day after hiking Madaras,  I decided to move over to hotel Buena Vista at Playa Santa Domingo.  A private room for 15US/night and there was availability all through Semana Santa, and I settled in right away.  They was a big group of travellers that came and stayed for awhile.    They rented motorcycles for the day and ran into some problems.

The guys both skinned their knees in a small crash.  

Not so fun hiking a volcano with a scabbed up knee.

Looking out to the lake from the hotel patio.
It's really quiet and I think, really safe on Ometepe.
The natural spring Ojo De Agua or "Eye of the Water".  The lake is so warm to swim in it doesn't refresh you, but the water here is nice and cool.  It's busy now, because of holy week, but I'm betting other times it's almost empty.

A nice couple from Alberta.  It was nice hanging out with these guys for a day.

Getting exciting about climbing this baby.  Apparently one Europe was killed on Concepcion several months ago when he fell and hit his head.
I decide to go out for lunch and it's scorching hot.  Without thinking too much...I jump on the bike without a helmet and head out, thinking I won't go too far.

I get a coco frio (cold coconut) and lunch at a fancy hotel.  It's nice but I'd love company this afternoon.
After lunch I headed back to the hotel, but as luck would have it, there was a police check point and several motorcyclist and myself were pulled over for not wearing helmets.   I told the cop, my hotel was just up the road and my papers were there too.  Fuck, I'm dense sometimes.   I spoke to one of the young guys and he told me, we would probably get a $6 US fine and be released.  Not so bad I thought, but I wasn't out of the woods yet.

In the meantime, he asked me if I do any wheelies with the Tiger, and I shook my head, saying no I didn't.  He spoke to his friend, who then jumped on his dual sport bike, rode up the street, turned around and pulled a monster wheelie, flying past the 3 police officers that were still in position to pull over biker's without casco's.  It was like they hadn't even noticed him and barely paid attention to the stunt at all! Interesting.

While we all waited, a young biker with his girlfriend came around the bend in the road and was also pulled over.  Just about the same time a police pick-up truck came screeching up and 3 militant looking cops piled out.  The big one with officer bars belched some orders and the traffic cop,  relayed a message to latest offender.  I'm guessing the Senior cop didn't like his answer because he chased him, trying to slap him across the head until he jumping in the back of the police pick-up and hung his head in shame.   I wasn't really to worried before, but this concerned me slightly.

Then I was told we were going to the police station and I'm sure my face dropped to the floor.  A couple of the cops rode the other offenders bikes, but I was to follow and ride my own.  I think they are a lil intimidated by the size of the Tiger with the luggage on it.

We get to the station.  The adjutant is supposed to show up and issue us tickets which we will have to pay to the bank on Monday before we can retrieve our driver's licence's.  The young Nic that speaks English tries to bargain for me, but doesn't have any success.  I enter the room with 3 Nicaraguan policemen.  "Donde esta su casco?"  -where is your helmet? I  explain that,  it's at the hotel, tell them I understand how important it is and that I always wear it.  Then he asks where my papers are?  Just hen a funny thing happens, the cops start arguing in Spanish, and while they are doing so, the one cop slowly raised his arm and hands me my license.  They keep speaking in Spanish, then the one cop turns to me and says "go".  I say lo sieto y gracias"sorry and thank-you" and beetle out the door.  It's shift change and there are about 20 cops outside.  I slowly turn my motorcycle around without starting it, jump on, fire it up, and ride away with out a helmet.

The next day, I decide to try the Zip line and head out with my casco on.  Good thing too, the cops have the same road block set up.  The cop that arrested me, recognizes me right away and gives me thumbs up, for having smartened up and put my lid on.  Too funny.  

I guess I was looking bored so these guys get me to try it upside down.  

I finish the canopy and try a different restaurant for lunch.

Chicken, potatoes, rice and fried plantains.

That night I sleep well and dream of Concepcion.
The next morning, I'm up at 4:30 am.  My guide is 15mins late, but shows.  When we get to the base of the Volcano, he wants me to park on the side of the road, but I'm just not comfortable with that.   Finally he talks to a lady at a farm and she let's us park the bike there.  Things are looking up.

The climb is steady, but not too hard.  We look at the spot where the Finnish man was killed.

It's not too long before we're into the clouds.

At 1620m we reach the summit.

It's too windy and dangerous to stand up at the lip of the volcano.  The ground is really warm and we don't stay too long.

There's another guide with two Americans up top.  We keep pace with them all the way down.

Amazing flowers on the trail off the volcano.

That night I meet 3 swedish girls and we have a coffee and chat for awhile.  They're nice, but the next morning I leave Ometepe.  It's a beautiful place and I think one day I'll return.

I head toward the frontier and pass more wind turbines.  The size of these things still empresses me.

The border is a complete zoo and it takes hours to make it through immagration and aduana for the vehicle permit.

Finally free of the chaos and I'm finally in Costa Rica and it feels good.

The church in downtown Liberia.

I find a place to stay for the night and wash up.  It's doesn't take long and I'm heading out for dinner with an Italian and American.

I notice several things about Costa Rica right off the bat. The streets are clean. There doesn't seem to be many stray dogs, in fact there is so few, that I actually see cats.

I can't wait to explore this country.