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Rolling again …

Sonntag, Juli 5th, 2009


David – Las Lajas

93,5 km, 5:21h, Ø 17,4 km/h, 708hm

I went to the Café #1 and took a look at the breakfast buffet. A while ago I read in a journal of other cyclists, that they were getting very untypical food for breakfast. Now I know what they meant. There were sausages, wiener, beef, meat-balls, all kinds of fried things, Pasta … pretty much everything you wouldn‘ t expect on a breakfast buffet. The place was packed and the plates were loaded! I couldn‘ t believe it, but, well, when in Rome do as the Romans do. (I didn‘ t, though;-)). The only things I saw I would count as breakfast items were boiled eggs and fruits. Since I wanna get rid of those pounds I unfortunately gained again in Purto Viejo (and I know that only fruits wouldn‘ t have done it for me) I just got a coffee and drank it at the plaza, then I had a sandwich back in my room at the hotel.

Just when I left – guess what – it started to rain again! It wasn‘ t so bad and happened a few more times during the day. The ride was beautiful, but up and down pretty much all the time. But those climbs weren‘ t too bad and never really long or too steep. The temperature alternated between 25 degrees in the rain and 38 degrees when the sun was out.
Ever since I got the new rim in San Pedro (Honduras) my spokes become loose. Though I tightened them at the hotel last night I was shocked that I had to do it again after 20km! That‘ s when I decided to stop every 15km to check them. Next stop – loose spokes again. This time I tightened them even more. I don‘ t know too much about it, but I‘ m getting better at it. 5 km before my next check I thought that I heard and felt my trailer bouncing behind me. So I stopped saw that there was a big bump on the tire. Great! Just this morning I decided to leave my spare tire for the trailer behind!!! However, it still works, I just let some air out and now the bump is a bit smaller – and I have to push a little harder…

That was enough excitement for today and after 70 km I decided to look for a place to stay in Las Lajas. The town is about 4 km off the road. I asked some people for a room and they all told me to go to “Restaurant and Bar Meira”. That I did, it‘ s 5km off the road. I looked at the room which is very, very, very basic, but it has a fan in it. The mattress on the one bed is so soft that it “hugs” you when you lie on it, the other one‘ s so thin that you can feel every single wooden board under it. Shower and toilet are outside – let‘ s better not talk about it. It started to rain again as soon as I got here and so I stayed (5$).

When the rain stopped for a while I cycled the 8km down to the beach. It was almost deserted, only one family out there. Of course it started to rain again on my way out there, but I still enjoyed it – and was glad that I didn‘ t have to sit in my room (without electricity – it went of when I got there). It was a nice ride.

Back at the “hotel” I ate dinner there, fish, rice and beans and platanos – for only 1,50$ !!! And it was good, too. They are playing mexican music (What‘ s the name of that famous mexican guy again??? They already played the song in which they say something about Veracruz at least 15 times!!!) at the bar, which I can hear very good in my room mixed with the soccer-game they are watching in the room next door, nice.

I guess it‘ s a no-shower-day today … yeah, I know, that‘ s disgusting. But, as far as I know they don‘ t make internet with odor yet – that‘ s your advantage to the people that I’ll might meet tomorrow.

Good night


Cheating Big Time…

Samstag, Juli 4th, 2009


Changuinola – Almirante … and from Almirante to David by bus…

27km, 2h 8min, Ø 12,6km/h, 475hm


It rained almost the whole night. At least every time I woke up I heard the rain on the roof. It was very loud. When I got up this morning it was dry, but when I was finally ready to leave it started to rain again. In less than 5 minutes I was totally soaked. Since wearing my rain-jacket just makes me sweat so much, I didn‘ t.

When I climbed one of those steep hills (> 10%) a thunderstorm started and it rained so hard I could hardly see (though I was only moving a little bit faster than a snake making 4km/h!!!). So I stopped on the side of the road, sat down and put the footprint of my tent over me – not that it mattered, I was wet anyway, but that just felt like the right thing to do. So I just sat there and waited, and waited, and waited. After about 20 minutes which felt like hours it didn‘ t rain so hard anymore and I climbed the rest of that hill. Unfortunately it wasn‘ t the only one… Later, at another roadside-stop two Panamenians came over to chat for a while. They were very friendly and I wasn‘ t even scared of the machete the woman held in her hand;-).

When I reached Almirante I knew that I couldn‘ t make it to Chiriqui Grande today, about another 70 km away. Realizing that my plan to make it to Panama City in time was doomed to fail. Well, it was a pretty ambitious plan anyway, especially after a 5-week-vacation with too much beer and pina-colada, too much pollo frito and Wakims‘ (no idea how to write his name, sorry) super-delicious food – especially in the combination with almost no exercise!!! And when I booked the flight I didn‘ t realize that it‘ s on a monday and I probably won‘ t be able to find a bike-shop to get a box for my bike on a sunday. So I have to be in Panama City on friday to look for a box saturday and do some sightseeing on sunday. But also I know that if I‘ d had more time till my flight I would have stayed longer in Puerto Viejo.


However, when I drank a ginger-ale in front of a store in Almirante it started to pour again and I found myself starring at the bus across the street on which it said, “Changuinola – David”. Only a few minutes later my time-problem was solved and my bike was tied up on the roof of the bus. To transport the bike was no problem but I had to pay the same fare for it as for me, so it was 14$ total for a appr. 160km ride. It was a 3-hour bus ride through what would have been beautiful but hard terrain on the bike. Somewhere high up in the mountains it started to rain and a strong wind blew – I was glad that I wasn‘ t cycling there!

Seems like I‘ m looking for excuses here, maybe I am. Sometimes I just forget that it‘ s my game and that I‘ m making the rules…


Dropped off at the busstop in David, Panamas 2rd largest city was kind of confusing. I looked around for hotels, checked rates and finally ended up in the Hotel Iris right next to the beautiful plaza, the Parque de Cervantes. I almost thought I was in Mexico again! There was an elevator so bringing the bike into my room at the second floor was no problem. I took the cheaper room without AC. I walked around to find a grocery-store, then ate a sandwich and some grapes for dinner and watched TV – unfortunately I was too tired to go down and sit at the Plaza for a while which I regretted at the same time.


On the road yet?

Freitag, Juli 3rd, 2009


Almost… Of course it rained when I woke up at 5am, so I turned around and finally got up at 6:45am. Now it‘ s almost 8am and I‘ m waiting for the rain to stop. Don‘ t worry, I‘ ll only wait a few more minutes. But … if I hadn‘ t booked the flight I would still be in bed;-).

Now I don‘ t have a choice, I have to leave today if I don‘ t wanna hitchhike to Panama. So I better get going!

ML, once I‘ m in Panama,


I did it!

Freitag, Juli 3rd, 2009


60,8km, 3:34h, av.sp. 16,9km/h, 178hm

Believe it or not – I really left Puerto Viejo, after 5 weeks! I still can‘ t believe it myself, but I‘ m in Panama now.

At 8:30am the rain stopped and I hit the road. I had to go back 5 km (a mix of dirt and paved road) to the main road. During the next 15 km there were some climbs, but after that the road was mostly flat. It was a beautiful ride through banana-country. 

I wonder if summer-vacation started today for the kids here cause I passed several school where there was loud party-music and kids were eating cake. But I don‘ t know. 

To enter Panama you have to cross an old bridge which has a railroad track in the middle and wooden planks on both sides of the track. The bridge crosses a river and the fence is partly missing. It was no problem to push my bike across the bridge after I got my exit stamp at the costa rican migration.

On the other side of the bridge is the panamenian migration. Though Ryan told me that this border is one of the most relaxed he has seen I didn‘ t expect it to be that easy! The lady looked at my passport and asked me where I was going. Then she wanted to know if I had a departure ticket which is required. I said „yes“. She wanted to see it. That‘ s where I expected the trouble to begin and thought, „Not again!!!“. I probably have a border-trauma since the honduran-nicaraguan border ;-). However, she asked me to step to the side and wait a few minutes after I told her that I didn‘ t have a paper ticket. Then she asked me again, I told her my flight dates and the airline, she stamped my passport, gave it back to me and that was it! No questions about the bike, either. Obviously they ask sometimes for documents that show that you are the owner of the bicycle. In Panama bicycles even need a licence-plate. But so far I only saw one bike that had one.

Yes, so that was that. I still couldn‘ t believe how easy it was while I pushed my bike down the damm on which I was. Just when I was looking for a road sign a car stopped and the driver told me which way to go.

The road to Changuinola is still new and has great pavement – and the car-drivers know that, too, and obviously enjoy going fast!

Around 1:30pm I arrived in Changuinola and decided to stop for the day. It turned out to be a good decision, because it started to pour for quite a while after I checked into a hotel. Usually I ask if I can see the room before I pay. That‘ s what I did today, too. But the guy at the reception didn‘ t understand me. I asked for the rate and what to do with my bike. All good. But when I asked if I could see the room he said „no“. I asked why not. He didn‘ t tell me. I asked again. He showed me the fridge and asked if I wanted a drink. „No“, I said, „I just want to see the room.“ This time he told me they didn‘ t have any smoking rooms. I said „that‘ s perfect, but why can‘ t I take a look at the room?“. Another guy who worked there joined our conversation, I repeated my question and pointed to my eyes, like I did before. And suddenly it was no problem. The guy who didn‘ t understand me showed me the room and we both laughed about it. Of course the whole conversation was in spanish, but so far everybody understood me. Oh well. The room is pretty big, has AC, TV and even a hot shower! I don‘ t even remember when I had the last hot shower, so that was a nice treat.

Walking around the main road a bit I talked to the cop for a while who already waved to me when I was looking for a hotel. He asked me if I had my passport with me, what I didn‘ t have. He said it‘ s required in Panama, but this time no problem. So far really nice people here in Panama.

I found a grocery store and then ate fried chicken and rice as an early dinner. There is 1 hour time difference between Costa Rica and Panama. It should be a 7 hour difference to Germany now.

That‘ s it so far. Although it‘ s only 9:30pm now I‘ m gonna hit the sack.

CU Anja

Caribbean Dreams …

Donnerstag, Juli 2nd, 2009


… have to end, too.

I know, I didn‘ t write anything for almost a month now. But this blog was supposed to be about cycling – and that I didn‘ t do for a while, except for daily trips to the grocery store 300m down the road ;-).

I‘ m fine, everything is good. I had a great time here in Puerto Viejo, met many interesting people, ate good food, enjoyed some cold drinks, relaxed and had a lot of time to think about all kinds of stuff …

Just a couple hours ago I said to Ryan that I only came down here by accident (at first I wanted to cycle along the pacific coast, but then Laura, a friend, told me about her friend Ryan who just opened a bar at the Caribbean in Puerto Viejo). He said it wasn‘ t an accident, it was destiny (thanks Ryan, I had a great time). Maybe he‘ s right. And I‘ m so glad I took this road and got to know this beautiful place of earth. And the friend of a friend became a friend.

Every day more I‘ m staying here makes it harder to leave. I packed my bag already several times, but in the morning, when my alarm-clock rang I always said, „just one more day“. So days became weeks and weeks more than a month.

Today I decided to book a flight, now I really have to go! On the 13th of july (that‘ s already in 11 days!!!) I‘ m flying from Panama City to Miami. From there I‘ ll cycle north along the Atlantik Coast and hopefully meet Larry in Jacksonville (I met him on my cross-country biketrip in the US in 2005) before it‘ s time to fly back to Germany.

Since the flight is booked there‘ s no time to fool around anymore. Time to get back on the road!!! Time to go to Panama! Right now I‘ m not too enthusiastic when I think about it but I‘ m sure as soon as I‘ m back out there I‘ ll enjoy it again.


What can I say???

Montag, Juni 8th, 2009

Ryan just makes the best Pina Coladas ;-)))

Rainy days…

Freitag, Juni 5th, 2009


Rain – the whole day. Finally I decided to walk down the beach. And it was great! The warm waves around my legs, the rain which was a little bit cooler, from above. I was soaked within a few minutes. After a while I sat down on a part of a stem of a tree in the water. Every other wave was so strong that it splashed on me once it hit the tree. So I watched the waves for a while. Behind me two dogs chased two horses down the beach. But they weren‘ t successful, the horses came back. Though I‘ m not a big horse-fan I think horses on the beach, especially a lonely beach like this one, spread a special atmosphere – of freedom, power, elegance …

On my way back I jumped into the waves for a swim. The waves broke just a few meters off the shore and they were big and strong. But once I was behind the surf it was fun. The raindrops bounced on the surface of the water, it looked like rain peeling off a good impregnated tent or raincoat (not like mine with sucks the water right in and keeps it;-)). I really wished I had a waterproof camera!

At night, after finishing my book in the hammock, I perfected the day with a few beers and a Pina Colada at the bar.


What is it …

Donnerstag, Juni 4th, 2009


Puerto Viejo

… that makes me stay and stay and stay … in the same place, if it‘ s not the beauty of the place or the people or the atmosphere? Don‘ t get me wrong, all of the above is perfect here! But I know that‘ s not what makes me stay.

Maybe I should ask (myself) instead what keeps me from getting back on my bike. Cause cycling is still fun, I‘ m enjoying it, the slow but steady change of things, other people and places, new experiences – even those mountains and hills I‘ m complaining about so much. Many times it‘ s tough, but it‘ s a challenge and a great feeling once I get to the top, sometimes rewarding with great views or fast and fun downhill-rides.

But after a few days off the bike it‘ s always a struggle to get back on. Though I know that as soon as I‘ m out there – it won‘ t even take 5 minutes – I‘ ll enjoy it again. And that should be motivation enough, shouldn‘ t it!?!

So, what is it …?


Yeah, I know…

Mittwoch, Juni 3rd, 2009


Though I packed most of my stuff yesterday and already paid for the room I wasn‘ t too motivated to leave this morning. I had a few beers last night, talked to Ryan about Mexico (he road his motorbike through Central America) and watched some mexican music-videos (I know that I‘ m in Costa Rica here;-)).

I figured that I could stay another day, catch up with my blog, spend my last Colones and go for another swim…

Pura Vida

Dienstag, Juni 2nd, 2009


Costa Rica – Pura Vida. Though this is a beautiful place it‘ s hard for me to imagine to stay here forever. Is it really pure life to chill, drink, smoke, take drugs and talk about how good life is – all day every day? Obviously there are many people here who think so. That‘ s not my world. There‘ s much more out there to discover! This might be paradise, for a few days, maybe even a couple of weeks. But soon it will be time to move on!