So many things I’ve wanted to share but I’ve been too tired and too disconnected to write. For whatever reason I’ve not slept particularly well here and I’m not sure why. It is noisy so that could well be it.
From Rivas and San Jorge I headed to Ometepe island on what could be the most incredibly bumpy journey by boat I’ve ever had. As I thought about all the cargo up top on the boat and watched us rock back and forth so much I thought water would come in, I literally planned my escape should the thing tip over. It’s probably not helpful that I’d just read a book about traveling via the worlds most dangerous boats, plans, trains and buses. Here’s a little view from the way back, a significantly less troublesome journey than the way there.
On the island I wound up staying in the main town/city rather than journeying further into the island and frankly I’m quite happy I did. My time was spent at the LOVELY Cornerhouse B&B, owned by expats from the UK and Canada. It was an absolutely lovely room that while lacking in hot water and AC more than made up for it with cleanliness, attention to detail and to be quite frank, the incredible welcoming attitude of both of the owners. Some of the most lovely people I have met to date.
Staying in town afforded me the ability to get around without any trouble. While I’m not particularly paranoid I like being in a place where I feel pretty safe to walk the streets in the evening and since it gets dark here at about 5pm evening is really early. I like having choices of where to eat and what to do and you give much of that up when you stay someplace a bit more remote. Sure, it was noisy but it also made me feel like I was really experiencing town life, instead of just some tourist resort. Besides:
Top that off with excellent coffee, smoothies and food (best steak and caramelized onion sandwiches ever and the best bread I’ve had in ages) and this place is my favorite place I’ve stayed thus far. I can’t possibly recommend it enough.
When I got to the island I simply had to take a picture of the motorcycle loaded on top of the boat. I couldn’t help but think about it as the boat rocked back and forth on the journey to the island.
My new friend Robinson noticed me looking and spent the next couple of days telling me I needed to rent a motorcycle from him. He had the best bikes, in good repair and it was the only way to see the island. But how could I possibly do this? After all, I spend time telling people how stupid it is to ride without gear. Sure, I had long pants, a long sleeve shirt and boots that I’d ride in even at home plus Robinson had helmets but we all know that’s not gear. I struggled with the idea for a couple of days. And then I stopped.
How incredibly ludicrous of me. The ENTIRE reason I started riding motorcycles was for this VERY situation. I didn’t get my endorsement because I wanted to ride in the US, I didn’t think I’d love the freedom of riding (I do now). No, I started riding because I knew in other countries a little motorcycle would give me the ability to travel to places I couldn’t get to easily and that they’d be cheaper and less isolated than a car. And yet here I was questioning the idea of renting because I didn’t have my proper motorcycle kit.
As I thought about how incredibly stupid that was I figured I did still need to have some standards. So how about range standards? No skin below the chin. Sure, my cotton shirt wasn’t going to help me much in a crash, but I also wasn’t going to be going 70mph on the highway… I don’t think that 125cc dirt bike could get over about 40 even with a strong tail wind. But that did mean I spent a decent chunk of time going around the small town looking for gloves. Some crappy leather work gloves would have to do and frankly they likely would be fine for what I was attempting. And I was off.
It was so much fun riding on the little paved roads. The idea that they could build these roads with paver blocks is just amazing. But then the pavement ended…
Unlike dirt roads in the states the roads on the island immediately turned to complete rubbish. Fortunately the little bike bounced right over the rocks sticking out of the road by many inches since frankly there was no way to pick through them, you just had to aim to hit them as straight on as possible and go for it. Bumpy as can be but it never took the handlebars from me or twisted them in any way. I suspect having Bob would have made things more difficult…. he tends to twist a bit when hitting big rocks.
I really wish I’d taken video of some of the trucks and buses on this road as watching them go over 2 foot drops and into deep puddles was amazing. They were literally crawling along no faster than you could walk. It can take hours to go only a few kilometers here just due to the conditions of the road. The fact that it had been raining didn’t make things any better. The road was OK where wet but the puddles were deep thick mud and one definitely tried to take the bike from me. Having been warned about any single scratch on the bike costing me a fortune I was especially concerned about not putting the bike down. On another topic, the bike largely stopped the comments from the guys. There was no more “Hey Baby” but just looks of surprise when they realized I was alone on a bike on these roads. I don’t know that they’d seen that before. Certainly not often.
Heading on I rode up to the waterfall hike and learned a new lesson… you can’t change who you are, the best you can do is accept yourself. More on that in the next post.