South-Central America: Getting to the Canal

Typical fruit stand
Typical fruit stand
Renewable!
Renewable!
Happy Germans!
Happy Germans!

Rivas, Nicaragua. Was walking to the grocery last night when I came across a great marching band practicing in a big open dirt field. They played a kind of ‘dirty south’ horns and drumline but mixed with a Latino flare. The dancers, half men and half women, were doing seductive salsa steps to the drumline and playing little percussion pieces… So cool! I stoo dand watch a while, happy to have stumbled across something so authentic and up my alley. I want to learn to move my hips like that!

Unhappy Canadian
Unhappy Canadian
Long days
Long days

Libera, Costa Rica. The most defined change across borders since the US/Mexico border. Everything feels very clean and beautiful, nice landscapes, but dry as we are here in the hottest, dryiest season… perhaps not the most scenic. People have big smiles for us and without the harded eyes I’m used to. Now I feel like the one who has been hardened and it’s reflected in my greetings and interactions. That is to say it will take at least a few days to soften up to Costa Rica, but it is very nice here. While we devoured cucumber avocado tomato sandwiches outside the grocery, another older Canadian chap came up for a chat. He was from Vancouvery and shared stories from 45 years of travel (according to him), driving his truck all over the world. But, it quickly became clear he didn’t have all that much to say and seemed very lonely. Made me think about the balance between travel and laying down roots. I like to travel to get a snap shot of the world at a time and a place (for me and the world), to open my mind, to have fun… But I would never want to travel so much that I loose my connection to home.

Just relaxing in the rec room
Just relaxing in the rec room
Goodbye next morning
Goodbye next morning

Roble, Costa Rica. Second day in Costa Rica, and it’s been a nice change of scenery. Many people seem to be doing very well here, lots of amenities and luxuries that I was familiar with what seems like a long time ago, back in Mexico! The road had a terrifying amount of traffic… non-stop trucks and busses with no shoulder so we are all trying to balance on a narrow road with us cyclists like the last two dishes on a full dish rack. Fortunately we’ve had two nights with Costa Rican bombaros which is a whole new level I can barely believe. We’re off down the pacific cost now, wont be able to cross the country and hit the Caribbean side like I had originally planning, I’ve got a sail boat to catch now!

Dude from Flordia
Dude from Flordia
Bombaro Cyclists! They were so not tough getting all their gear taken in a bus, meals made, and bikes cleaned and tuned every night. We were jealous haha
Bombaro Cyclists! They were so not tough getting all their gear taken in a bus, meals made, and bikes cleaned and tuned every night. We were jealous haha
Big land fish
Big land fish
"Edible paradise in between the mountains and the sea"
“Edible paradise in between the mountains and the sea”
Rest day in Costa Rica
Rest day in Costa Rica

Palmer Norte, Costa Rica. Just spent two nights staying at a little Finca in the jungle, between the mountains and the sea. Everyone there were really cool people and it was a great change of pace to slow down and get to know some folks. However, the owner (an old German guy) was a bit of a character and I don’t mean that in an enduring way… leaving a little too much in his own world I think. Costa Rica has been beautiful with lots more wildlife and clean rivers. Have seen all kinds of monkey’s including the skretching monkey which is very scary. From what I can observe, it seems like the economy is a little less all-dependent on tourism, so while still perhaps built on the back of tourism, they seems to have diversified a little with other types of primary commodity production and lots of development everywhere. Passed rows and rows of planted palm trees adn then a huge palm oil plant which was the one really dirty operation I’ve seen here. Otherwise a lot of pretty chill people, lots of ex-pats and surfers. Pura Vida!

Beach Times
Beach Times
Germans...
Germans…
How bombaros see bombaros
How bombaros see bombaros
Ol' Pan Am highway again...
Ol’ Pan Am highway again…

Rio Claro, Costa Rica. Woahh, just got in out of the torrential rain. We road a solid 100km and were just getting some food at a grocery when it started to blast down. We decided to hang out there a while before making it another 15km down the road to some bombaros. Got all our rain gear on but I didn’t have a shirt, so we got quite a reception cycling through the pouring rain which is actually kind of refreshing when it’s still 35 degrees out.

Bikes have licence plates in Panama!
Bikes have licence plates in Panama!
Bus stop rest stop
Bus stop rest stop
Staying with on the Panama Coast
Staying with on the Panama Coast

Santiago, Panama. Hard like tanned leather… as we enter the last country in Central America, it suddenly feels like the end of the line. Panama is hot and wet right now and we’ve finally seen our first taste of the rain season. The countryside feels very remote whie the few cities are recently and rapidly urbanizing and seem to be attracting a lot of population. Excited for Panama City and seeing the canal. Spirits have been high as we enjoy the last few hundred km’s together. A MAN, A PLAN, A CANAL: PANAMA.

Jarek
Jarek
Panama Canal while crossing the Bridge of the Americas with crazy traffic
Panama Canal while crossing the Bridge of the Americas with crazy traffic
First (and only) subway in Central America - Panama City
First (and only) subway in Central America – Panama City

Playa Corona, Panama. Met Jim on the road today, and after an invite to sleep on the beach at his place, we decided to call it a short day and backtrack our way 6km and down a small beach road. So glad we did because their place is beautiful and just what we needed. Had a last swim in the Pacific and some very impressive waves before a long and interesting discussion on libralitarianism. Well more of a lecture perhaps… (sorry Jim!). Still, while I don’t agree with most of the conervitative ideas about government that Jim supports, I also don’t really agree with the liberal counterpoints, nor do I have an answer of my own… just more questions. I like to be challenged in that way though, forced to think and work through ideas. Finally I took a nice moonlight walk on the beach which I had all to myself.

Pimp my bike
Pimp my bike
Double pimp my bike
Double pimp my bike
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One thought on “South-Central America: Getting to the Canal

  1. It’s great to hear from you again Tom, I was beginning to worry but Dianne allayed my fears saying that your parents are meeting you in Colombia. Have a great time! Reading about your boat trip I wondered if it brought back any memories of Lake Ontario! It’s hard to believe you are in South America. When you get to Peru, if you head up to over 3,000m. and go to Cusco I know a great place to stay.
    Take care and have fun….hi Jill and Stan!
    Kathryn

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