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Photo by Ellen Delis, Lagunas Ojos del Campo, Antofalla, Catamarca

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Ellen Delis,
Lagunas Ojos del Campo,
Antofalla, Catamarca



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  #1  
Old 25 Aug 2013
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Central America 2013:"Yo soy Italiano no Gringo"

Central America 2013: “Yo soy italiano, no gringo”


Hellò everybody.

Excuse me for my english: I don't use google translator and I'll try to use my limited english skills: any correction wiil be appreciate.

This winter I was looking at the countries wehre I've never been: unfotunately a lot. I began to think to Central America. What I know about Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua Panama etc. ? The language wouldn't have been a problem: spanish is really similar to italian.
First I'd like to explain the title of my thread. During my vacation I ascertained that in all the countries I've travelled a lot of people, at the first touch aren't very friendly. Most of them don't like a lot USA citizens. When I clarified I was italian everything was going easy. You can have similar situations all around the world: in Lituania people don't like Russians. same problem between Chines and japanese. In the 60's there are a lot of problems between Italians from north and from South, when people from South are moving to the North, looking for a job.
I'm here just to tell you my vacation and I'm not able to judge this kind of situations: but this is a fact.
My first idea was to drive up to Yaviza a city in the state of Panama, where the road end, because begin the jungle, the Darien Gap that separate Panama from Colombia.



Setted the arrival point all I could do was find a starting point. As in the past, the cost for ship my bike (Suzuki DR 350) was too high. So I began to look for some motorbike rent. However in every state of Central America Motorbike Shops don't allow you to drive outside their countries. Another problem, the rental rate: very very high. Just in Costa Rica Wild Rider Costa Rica - Motorcycle Rental and Motorcycle Adventure Tours, 4x4 Car Rental, Costa Rica Adventure Tours and more ... was possible find a 45 $/day rent for a Honda XR 250, but just to drive in Costa Rica. Just in April I went in touch with www.mxmotoadv.com and the owner Mr Oscar write to me that he can arrange all the documents to can drive outside Mexico...but the most cheap bike is a Kawasaki KLR 650 for 75$/day. My idea si to drive for 24 day and so with the air ticket Italy-Mexico-Italy at around 780 $ my vacation will start with a cost of 2580$ !!!!!!!!
Unfortunately this is my only chance.
Another thing is that I've got to start from Mexico City: with google maps Mexico City is far from Yaviza 2200 miles. Go and back are 4400 miles this means 183 mile / day. With all the customs, roads and the weather ( hurricane season starts in May) this appears a little bit difficult. At the end I decided to start and drive up to..possible and then come back.
This was my way



Safety: it's dangerous travel overland and alone in this countries ? Loking at statistics seems correct
This is the rank of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world

Most Dangerous Cities In The World - Business Insider
(I read this article in Italy when my vacation was ended)

I've gone and slept in someone of this list

N° 47- Cuernavaca ( Mexico)

N° 20 San Salvador ( El Salvador)

N° 12 – Guatemala (Guatemala)

N° 5 – Districo Central (Honduras)

N° 4 – Acapulco (Messico)

N° 1 – San Pedro Sula (Honduras): 719,447 people and 1143 homicide/year

You can see pictures like this in every city in Central America







It's better to don't take shots at this men (police, security, military) they can get nervous.
You can understand that you aren't in a normal situation if you see a man with a double-barrelled shotgun and body armor that guards a bakery. I've followed some basic rule

1) Just drive with the sun light: criminals work in the night and so in the morning they sleep, wake up in the afternoon, plan operations and begin to work with the dark

2) Avoid to sleep in the big cities: I always was looking for little cities (pueblos) more safety and cheaper



I've followed a spanish course for 3 month and I used 2 road maps






2 guide book
one is the Footprint: at the moment if you have in mind a travel vacation are the best



the other is the Jump To...Central America 2013: this is my personal guide book and this is the book of the tenth anniversry



I started on 05/19/13 and went back on 06/15/13

Expenses

Motorbike rent
Sono partito il 19/05/13 e tornato il 15/06/13
In tutto ho percorso 7328 km
Spese
• Noleggio moto --------------------> 1.813 $ (1368 €)
• Volo Italia-Messico a/r-----------> 791 $ ( 597 €)
• Vitto,alloggio,benzina ecc…----> 1789 $ (1350 €)

Totale--------------------------------4393 $ ( 3315 €)

I'm european citizien and so no vissas for all this countries.
First idea was to rent hte Suzuki DR 600, but Oscar wrote to me that the bike was seriously damaged at the come back from a previous rent. The chance to rent a Suzuki 200 (perfect for me ) wasn't possible due to documents to croos the borders: not possible to prepare. So I had to rent the Kawasaki 650. To have less problems at the custom, we agree to prepare a sale contract, okay just a formal agreement between me and Oscar, but in this way I turn out to be the owner of the bike. With a rented motorbike some border could be very difficult to cross. I did a similar thing in 2010 in India, where sell a motorbike to foreign people is forbidden (except in Mubay I think). All the motorbike shops "sell" the bike to the tourist and "buy" it (for less) when you come back.

I started my vacation from the airport of Bologna with a hand luggage of 20 pounds(9 kg) and a bag of 26 pund (12 kg)



I land in Mexico City at 5 am of Monday withdraw pesos and take the subway. First direction is wrong, but when I get the right direction is working time and the mexican subway became a cage as in the MMA, and you've got to fight for your place, to get in and get out



I arrive at the hostel around 8 am, right in time for the breakfast, included with the bed, for 13 $ (10 €)

Inicio - Hostal Amigo





my roommates are sleeping so I lean my luggage and wend to the Zocalo, the main square of Mexico : is the third most wide square in the world, behind Tien An Men and the Red Square.





For two months in the square ther's a permanent presidium of the teachers, for salary reasons









across the square ther's another presidium: old people are complaining for the cost of drugs



Around 3 pm I met Oscar: he will give me the bike Tuesday (tomorrow), so I'll can start Wednesday.



Chedraui is a hard discount and I have gone there to buy food even for tomorrow.





The streets that bring you to this Chedraui are full of food shops and chicken shops
I've never seen so many





what else can you buy if not chicken ?



Tuesday May 20

No problem with jet leg: I wake up at 6,30 am (the first in my room) and I'm even the first for breakfast



My idea, initially , has been to start from Costa Rica or Guatemala and so in my guidebook,Footprint Central America, I don't have Mexico informations. But I've got my personal guide, The Jump To.. and couple of ideas.
One is to visit Plaza del las Tres Culturas, where in the 1968 (during the Olympic Games) police and Army shoot at the students
The second place is the Azteca Stadium, where in the 1970 (during the World Cup) Italy beat West Germany in an epic semi final 4-3 in overtime. In the stadium ther's a golden plaque that remember this game.




Plaza de las Tres Culturas is just 2 miles (4 km) far from my hostel: I can walk







This is the square of the slaughter and the memorial stone







this place remind to me TienAn Men Square, in the 1989: even here there were students, normal people and after a while the Army come and began to shoot: always ideas scare dictatorships

Reach the Azteca Stadium is a little bit complicated: you've got to take subway and a special train, the Light Train ( Tren Ligero)...no problema I can use the landmark gps of my guide






the ticket machine takes my money, but don't give me the ticket, but one ticket inspector write a special pass, just for me



The Azteca Stadium is impressive: is the third most big in the world, with over 100.000 seats



the golden plaque



the statue dedicated to the "fan"





in the late noon I meet Oscar that deliver to me the bike and explain how to use the air compressor in case of a puncture



In the hostel we define everything, I pay the rent, deposit and he give me a "purchase document", so the bike "is mine". Obviously in the document hasn't the notary signature, but who care ? (Remind this for Costa Rica)
Panniers aren't very big, so I decide to don't bring with tent and rucksack and the heavy hood






finish


very nice the hostel owner: he allows me to park the bike inside



Wednesday, May 22

the start



Immediately the mexican jam says "Good morning italian biker": a driver hit my lateral pannier with his car door. Ok it's breackfast time



my first planned stop is the Maya archeological site of Palenque, 540 miles(1000 km) far from Mexico City. In my first day I stop in Sayula De Aleman

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayula_...28municipio%29









along the road you can find a lot of traditional and cheap restaurants




Today is very very hot and the engine of my Kawasaki begin to "stutter": damn !!! I get out the highway, looking for a mechanic. After a while the Kawasaki is going better. I take a rest to fill the tank and I notice that unlike in Italy here in Mexico the high octane gas is in the red pump dispenser and not in the green.
Oscar has told me to use just high octane gas. With the tank full of this gas, the bike restart well. I just have stopped to check the temperature level, but a mechanic told me that is normal to see the marker a little bit high when you're driving slow: today ther're 113°F (45° C)



At dusk I reach Sayula De Aleman and the owner of this shop suggest to me a very cheap motel





The motel is called Lena Loca ( Mad Wood): the owner give to me the room 150 mxp = 12$ = 9€..but not the key:" No se preocupe senor" Ok probably ther's some kind of security





A little walk to the "centre" of the city



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Old 25 Aug 2013
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Coming back to the hotel I rest for dinner :should be cheek lard





Thursday May 23

Before start, a little prayer: the statue is right to my motel. After I look down and I notice again a oil blot in the ground, under the engine. Mhhh maybe a check would be not a bad idea. On the map I see the city of Villahermosa, 500.000 people: there should be a Kawasaki mechanic. The city is just 124 miles (200 km) far from here.







The city is big and wide, but on the bypass I see a Yamaha workshop: the mechanic explain how to reach the Kawasaki dealer




Surprise, is an official Ducati dealer: coffe and air conditioning





The mechanic is too busy, but they send me to in a workshop : the name should be a guarantee



the mechanic is really professional: in a minute understand the problem and begin to work...very very fast



the problem is a consumed seal, but the engine is so dirty that I think that the mechanic in Mexico City have not checked well the bike



the mecahnic find in a shop the original spare part and in 3 hours everyrhing's fine



maybe will be possible reach Palenque to sleep there



Now is low season: no problem to find an accomodation. The cheapest are in the town, most you go close to the archelogical site, more prices rise up




Palenque is well organized to greeting tourists: banks, gym, restaurants, shops.

Palenque è organizzata per accogliere numeri importanti di turisti e quindi si trova di tutto: banche, palestre, ristoranti, negozi per lo shopping



this is a contest of a catering institute



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Old 25 Aug 2013
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dinner



corn on the cob as dessert



Friday May 24
The archeological site opens at 7,30 am



motel with spa (not mine)





Travelling during the low season allow you to visit the interesting places with peace and quiet. Finally I can really walk through the Maya Empire. It is always exciting to can touch something that you just watched on TV
Here you can find some informations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palenque

I just can put some pics







It's very early: just now peddler are coming















around 1,00 pm I get out



I begin to plan my first border crossing. My second "scheduled" stop is the archeological sit of Tikal in Guatemala. I have in mind to cross the border at Frontera Corozal, where launches bring tourists and even motorbike across the river





this farmers work in a land trust and own the agricultural land



for lunch this mexican Kentucky Fried Chicken looks great





the owner



a check point



this is a very particular picture



is my last pic with the red wind stopper that I bought last year to travel in Vietnam. At the next check point a military tell to me that one of my lateral panniers is open. The look is broken. In Central America bumps are in every city to limit the speed: probably this is the reason for the damage



I drive back for some miles, but nothing: ok I need another wind stopper. I have bougt it for 40 $(30€): maybe I'll find something similar in Guatemala. I fix the pannier with my elastic rope







At Frontera Corozal (4 pm) the mexican custom is very quick (the bike is mine). I get some gas from a non official gas station: the man asks to me if I need to cross the river with the bike. He's got a launch: the price is 200 mxp = 15 $ = 11 €

cross the river on the launch is really funny









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Old 25 Aug 2013
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I'm in Guatemala



after the rise take a right and you're in the correct direction



At these little town it begins to rain and I stop in a little bar to drink and change the money. As in Central Asia the rate exchange is very close to the bank rate, and I prefer to travel with local money in my pocket.
I stop even cause I remember the suggestion of Oscar:" Stop to drive if begins to rain, in this part of the yaer begin the hurricane season and with the wind and rain is easy see branches fly on the road"






is a very easy off road...but for me and my pilot skills is demanding





after one hour finally the immigration



Just a little snag: here ther's just the immigration, no custom. What I can do for the bike ? An official tells that ther's no problem. I can get the documents for the bike (temporary import) in the first SAT office, the Guatemala vehicle office. This documents are necessary, because after Guatemala I've in mind to travel in Belize and without the Guatemala documents will be impossible cross the border.

Around evening I reach the city of San Benito. Tomorrow morning I'll go to SAT and then to the Tikali Park
More or less this was my way from Frontera Corozal to San Benito





Hotel Imperial 2 ( probably a motel chain) is ok: 50 queztal ( less then 7 $)






the San Benito movida offers to me a live church show



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Old 25 Aug 2013
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Saturday May 25

Very early in the morning I'm at the SAT office. It's Saturday, but banks are open so why not the office ? Because the bank is open on saturady..SAT no, even sunday. Ok today I can go to the Tikali Park, visit, come back and maybe find an hotel on the lake and take sunday as rest and plane the travel to Belize and tthen to Honduras, cause I'd like to travel by boat from Belize to Honduras.
Sabato 25 maggio





Let's go to Tikali, there are just 40 miles (64 km) to drive.



Very nice road, no jam, just me and...suddendly I have heard a rumor behind me: what the hell ? The bike begins to ripple and altough I was driving around 50 miles/hour (80 km) instead to brake slowly I've lost the control of the bike. I became a piece of chese and the road the grater. What a pain during the slide.

This is my slide on the road




the bike







me ( the piece of cheese)



some farmers that are working near the road, help me to lift up the bike. I find the neutral , turn the key and push the start: engine is ok. The damage semms to be just on the chassis. A lady stops her car and tells to me that she can call with her cellular phone a mechanic that has a pick up for the bike.
I begin to think to my body (bike first): I've got my medical aid. Is in the pannier...ohh I've lost my first aid, with the red jacket in Mexico. Even my t-shirt is damaged: I bought in India in 2010

It comes the mechanic and in 2 minutes picks up my bike.





We had a stop in El Ramate to a pharmacy: I'm lucky the clerk is a medicine student. He says that is better disinfect wounds: no problem this liquid doesn't burn. Correct, the liquid doesn't burns..sears !

[ur]=http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=4737&u=13013946][/url]



even my travel jeans are wrecked



at the workshop, finally I understand what's has happened. The right lateral stand wasn't well welded and so he had moved away and after went under the back wheel. The front wheel looks as happened a puncture. A son of the mechanic can bring me to San Benito. Instead the private clinics I prefere the public hospital. It's saturday should be really few people. I was wrong. Worst than in an Apple store selling IPhone 5 at 60 $. The waiting room is full of people: womans, childrens, parents, a little chaos
After an half hour a doctor comes to visit me: no visit rooms, just curtains that create different places. With me ther's an old woman with a problem in a foot. The doctor says that first is better disinfect the woundes( ohh no again), stich the hole in my knee and after make some X-ray. I tell to him that I don't think X-ray are necessary: I feel pain, but I can move the leg and bend the knee. The answer of the doctor doesn't allow a reply:" Even I belive that aren't fractures, but belive isn't the guideline of medicine"

Ok: yes sir.

A nurse comes to disinfect and tells to me " Don't worry looks like alcool but doesn't burn" I answer" Ohh because to save money is diluited with water" My mother is a former nurse and in the 60's (to save money) always in the hospital alcool was diluited.
After the doctor snitch my knee




now go to the X-ray room



the machine is 70's style



the X-ray is ok: no fracture. 8 days and will be possible remove the stitches: outside the hospital, in the pharmacy I can buy antibiotic, liquid to disinfect, painkilling etc...
Thanks doctor: how much does it cost visit, and X-ray ? Nothing, in every nation of Central America this kind of healthcare are free, even for tourists

Coming back to the workshop , we had a stop to a supermarket, called MegaPaca: I need to buy a wind stopper, a t shirt and a heat. Suddendly in the store I heard that air conditioning begins to work, but I think is too much: the wedding dresses begin to fall down. It wasn't air conditioning: it's an hurricane and the wind is so strong that employees have to close the doors. Ok hwen begins the rain is better to stop if you're driving.



After 1 hour wind and rain, but my driver tells that in this period of the year can happends even 2 or 3 times a day.
When we come back in the workshop the bike is ok





mechanic asks to me if I can drive the bike: I'm able to drive, because the right knee is necessary just to brakes, is the left food that has to work to shift. I've just to pay attention when I go on the saddle.
I follow him to El Ramate where I find a nice hotel, lakefront for just 40 queztal (5 $). very cloce a grocery sell the ice: I get antibiotic, painkiller, put the ice on the knee and then sleep till 6 pm. Ok tomorrow is sunday and I can use the day to visit Tikali using the bus to reach the archeological site. Half day is enough. It will reamain half day and night to rest and maybe monday I'll can drive again.
In a travel agency near the grocery I buy the bus ticket to Tikali: tomorrow morning at 6 am and he comes back around 3 pm: perfect.


Around 8 pm I go out to dinner: knee isn't bad and the doctor had told me that even snitched I can bend it






Back in the motel , with a pillow I fix the ice on the knee and sleep.
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Old 25 Aug 2013
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Sunday may 26

The bus to Tikali picks up at 6 am: I wake up early and at 5,15 am I'm ready to the stop. At 6,10 nothing, but I can see some veichle going. After 30 minutes I understand: Guatemala's time is one hour behind Mexico's time. I set the clock of my cellular phone. At 6.00 am the bus arrive: there are 5 tourists.
Before 7 am we reach Tikali



at the entry I buy a map with the monuments



then I chase the main path and walk... I limp towards the Main Square: is something impressive, I'm alone and I enjoy it a lot







distances between monuments, in Tikali are long, but if you have a hole in a knee they can look very very long
Around 9.30 am I rest for a while: the steps are breezy. I sleep for one hour and half. Now, wlaking, I feel the knee's better



In Angor Wat (Cambodia) the jungle wraps up the monuments: here the jungle covers the monuments and sometime they suddendly appear to you













After a rest to drink, I see the signal to the Temple IV: I've seen a lot and for this you've got to climb a very long staircase. Ok, doesn't matter. More or less there are 200 steps. but once at the top I remain open-mouthed. In the middle of the jungle 2 tips of the temples appear to you: amazing







at 2,00 pm I comeback to El Ramate and at 4 pm painkiller and antibiotic and sleep.



At 7 pm I wake up and walk to the lake and I can see something that remind to me the Italy in the 60's: woman are laundering while children are playng and men washing cars



Monday may 27

It takes one hour to prepare the bike, but the knee is going better



I look back at my itinerary: I don't have any informations about ferry service between Belize and Honduras: every day, once a week ? Overland is too long and so I have decided to skip this country and drive to Honduras.



First I've got to go to SAT to get documents for the bike. At the San Benito's office isn't possible: an employee suggest to me to go to the SAT office in San Flores, because it is bigger.




Even here no way to get the documents. Ok I've got to try to explain my situation at the border. Today is a day to use to "familiarize" again with the bike. Is a perfect day: rain and wind. This is a 2 hours stop somewhere in Guatemala




The ground cloth I bought last year in Vietnam is very helpful even if the Kawasaki 650 is bigger than the Yamaha 200 cc Serow





Around evening I stop somewhere near the border, more or less 19 miles (30 km): hotel Escorpion was waiting for me. Just half hour to have a showewrand hang out the clothes and I go out to find something to eat. In a little shop I find canned food: ok in the room I've got water and bread.
Inthe room ther's the television and watching channells availables ther's one that broadcast the Italian Cup Final, between Roma and lazio . Both team are of the city of Rome and ther's a fierce rivalry.
I'm not a soccer fan: I've played for 30 years to american football. But here, outside my country is nice to can watch this match and the broadcasters are fantastic





vince la Lazio: i commentatori sud americani sono uno spasso. Si entusiasmano e riescono a entusiasmare anche con un tiro fuori di 5 metri

Tuesday, May 28



The immigration is very very fast, but at the custom. Luckily, the employee, after have seen the picture of the crossing border mexico-Guatemala, understands and write(for free9 a kind o transit permission, so no problem with the Hoduras custom.




At the Hoduras side, I chabìnge $ with Lempiras. At every border you can find this people (is a regular job) that change money




In San Pedro Sula I've bought the chain spray: yes the most dangerous city in the world. Looks quiet, but 719.447 citiziens and 1.143 homicides...





Inthe afternoon I reach the Yojoa Lake and I eat a fish in a restaurant lakefront: they let you to choose the fish and then they cook it









In the late afternoon I arrive at tegucigalpa, the Honduras capital and I stop to a police station along the city bypass to ask the direction to Nicaragua border, the city of Danli.
The cops are amazing kind and sheperd me up to the right exit



From now I stop to be smart and the mule inside me let me became very stubborn. Is 8 pm and I see a motel. Is an hour motel: 30 $ for 3 hours and 60$ for the night. I continue to drive and a taxi driver tells that ther's a motel near the bus station: should be cheaper. No: 80$. I come back to the first hotel. I don't have enough lempiras. I've got the 100 4 bill, but they don't have the change. Can I use my credit card ? No. Ok I take the bike and drive looking for an ATM. In a bih shopping center I'm able to get the money. The bike is near a McDonald: is good because it starts to rain a lot. Ok once a time in a vacation you can eat in a fast food. I eat and look at my maps. Around 10 pmk it stops to rain Now I've got just to detour on the bypass. After 20 minutes I became a little bit nervous and again the rain, but slowly. I decide to get out the bypass, but when I see a man on a motorbike with his girlfriend I stop. I ask to him if he can bring me to a cheap motel. The first is 20 $, no. Finally he brings me to the Salomè Motel: 8 $ for the room, 2 $ for the parking and 2$ for him= 12$






Good night
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Old 25 Aug 2013
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Wednesday May 29

The hotel Salomè isn't so close to the bypass, but finally, with the help of a taxi driver I find the direction of Danlì



my reception









green big spaces...police military and security everywhere



ok this is a picture just to joke for Italians. I try to explain. Terrone is italian slang word that in the 60's was used to indicate Italian south people that are relocating in the north, to find a better job. Most of the time the term was used in an insulting way, as nigger for afro american people or guinea for italian people that migrated to USA. Now is different and even south Italians joke with this word





at noon I'm at the border of Las Manos: the Nicaragua's burocracy is a nightmare, even the disinfestation of the bike: it probably would have been better if they had disinfected my clothes



this is an italian girl that works in an ONLUS



I enter in Nicaragua with the sun





my first Nicaragua cloud burst. For bikers Nicaragua is a very well organized country: his bus stops are built perfectly to repair motorbike and biker. Two hours under the bus stop, but I've got time to make friends with moms and children . Especially children are very curiouses about my map.







I hope this video could give to you an idea about how strong is the rain in this period of the year

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Old 25 Aug 2013
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For the night, I stop in San Isidro at the pension Viajero..San Isidro, one of that amazing, wonderful, very normal little place, in the middle of nowhere






a little restaurant: tomorrow in Nicaragua is the national Mom Celebration






Thursday, May 30

I'm lucky, the city alarm clock works perfectly: at 5.00 am a pick up with speaklouder begins to play songs for the mom celebration. There are more or less 125 miles(200 km) to the border with Costa Rica, maybe will be possible reach Liberia.












the Lion Club





Granada is very very busy, but is the main starting point to visit the Big Lake of Nicaragua











Costa Rica border is worth then Nicaragua Border. Immigration and custom are a little bit far. You also need a lot of fotocopy: ther's an office, but always with truck driver line. You must also subscribe a temporary policy, in a third office !!. After one hour and half, I'm ready for the last step: documents for the bike. A young employee tell to me I can't go with my bike in Costa Rica: tragedy...why ? All my documents are ok, but in the purchase agreement ther's lacking of notary signature. To entry in Costa Rica every veichle bought in other countries, must be endorsed by notary or lawyer. Mine has'nt..obvious is a gold brick. I try to persuade him sayng (true) that in Mexico is enough the signature of a third person, and this is what ther's on my purchase agreement..I did it. No I can't travel in Costa Rica with the bike. I ask to can speak with the office manager. When he finally comes at the help desk listen to me and after a minute looks at the employee in the way" Always the same old story", then tells to me to go across the street where I'll find an office that looks as a church: ther's a lawyer that can regulate my documents



In case this is the office



In 5 minutes the lawyer makes a fotocopy of my purchase agreement and then certify it



after 3 hours I'm in Costa Rica and I reach Liberia where I get a room in the Liberia Hotel: this will be the best accomodation of my vacation: 12 $ ( 9€)











thers's the free wifi and I try to connect with my pc: Ubuntu works well.

Friday May 31

Today breakfast in the hotel: 3$




I've got in mind to travel in Costa Rica till to Atlantic Ocean to the Tortuguero National Park



It isn't possible to reach overland the park: last part of the travel must be made by boat and sleep in the park could be little expensive. This two truck drivers suggest to me to travel till Guapiles , leave there the bike, and then use bus and boat to reach the park: is possible arrive early in the morning and then come back at the end of the day: sounds good.




Guys of university : canvassers




This is a storical picture: I've reached the top as motorbike driver



After I've taken the picture I start again. I push the start button: nothing, just the sound of the silence. Ohh, for sure I'm not in the neutral. I push the pedal cluch: now I can move the bike, for sure I'm in neutral. Ok go...nothing. For five minute it's normal: i grumble: Stupid guy...why with the bike...what happenend...what I can do?
Finally i ask to a girl in a house if I can leave my bike in the garden: the city is 4 miles far.




I keep with me the little back pack with all documents and money and the pc: perfect if some criminal find me will be a bingo: a tourist, old, alone,lime and with money: I feel as a wounded gazelle that must cross near a bunch of lions.
After a mile I find another home with 2 men. I ask If they can bring me to the mechanic. They want to try to help me conneccting the battery of my bike to the battery of their car. I come back to get the bike. When I arrive at the second home it appears too much difficult connect the 2 batteries. One of them brings me in the city, where a taxi driver with a pick up comes and for 11$ bring me and the bike to the mechanic








At first, even the mechanic is a little bit confused, because, as we noticed before, the bactery looks good: horn and lights are working. I'm speaking with another client when suddendly I heard the "VROOOM" of my Kawasaky !!!!
I look at the mechanic: is he a wizard ?




No, the kawasaki 650 has the neutral between every gear and not only (as my Suzuki DR 350) between first and second gear. I was in the neutral between third and fourth gear. He clean the filter: very dirty.






After this stop will be impossible reach a place near the Tortuguero Park, ok I try to go to Guapiles.

Along the road I had a stop to this caddle market









Costa Rica or Texas ?





the signal roads for Guapiles aren't very clear



the trucks drivers told me to pay attention to the fog on the road for Guapiles in the mountains, but, you know ? I was born and I live in the Padana Valley, country of Modena, a land with one of the worst weather in the world. Hot summer with a lot of umidity, cold winter and fall with a lot of rain and fog.



After a crossing place situation goes better







I arrive in Guapiles: no tourist agency. I take a room in the Wilson Hotel. It has taken a while...not a lot of people, but in the first room fan was ko, in the second was'nt possible to look the room, the third wasn't possible to open. The fourth was the right one







A girl that works at the Wilson explain that is alittle bit difficult to reach El Tortuguero from here. I've got to take the first bus tomorrow morning at 5.00 am, hope to can get the connection with another bus at 6,30 am in another city (not guarantee) and then
reach the boarding point. I look at my map and decide to drive to Puerto Limon, so for sure I'll can see the ocean and then look for the Park.
Guapiles looks a peaceful place, but everybody in Liberia told me to be very careful: even the owner of the Wilson says the same. So i walked outside to eat, but near the hotel




prayisn't a bad idea



this is very unusual: this womens are playng bingo inside this shop of white goods



I finisch wy walk watching this future soccer champions

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Old 25 Aug 2013
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Saturday June 1
I have decided: It's better to skip the visit to El Tortuguero. It probably would have been interesting if yI had had the chance to see turtles spawn, but this isn't the right period. Ok let's go to Puerto Limon to see the Atlantic Ocean
Puerto Limon's harbor



A girl that works as harbor cop tells tome that here in Puerto Limon ain't tourist agency and now it's low season. Furthermore suggest to don't drive too much in the city with my luxury motorbike: I'm a good target. Ok i look at the map and drive a little bit along the oceanfront

This, at the harbor, is my first pic to the Atlantic Ocean



This should be (more or less) my arrival point



I stop for a coffe and the owner of this shop solve a mistery. This kind of shop is named Pulperia and in italian language polpo identify this mollusk



First time I have seen this name I was thinking that pulperia should be a place where is possible to eat the Polpo. This have sounded good near lakes , but sometimes in the mountains ? Pulperia is a name for little shops that sell almost everything
http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulper%C3%ADa








Finally I find the way to reach the beach. It's really low season: most of the hotel are closed





I'd like to mail this picture home, but I've got to hide the wound. My family doesn't know nothing about my fall



I begin to come back to Puerto Limon...but you know ,still my mind is thinking to El Totuguero. In Puerto Limon I ask to a truck driver and he tells to me that near Puerto Limon, Moin ther's a landing stage with launches that bring tourist to the Park. Moin is 6 miles (9 km) far from Puerto Limon: here you can see the direction




I speak with a captain launch. There are two tourists and their are going by launchas to the park: 250$ each (186 €), plus the cost of motel , minimum 30$ /night. The cost isright, because you remain 2 days in the park and the launch has to wait you to bring back here. Ok bye bye El Tortuguero. But the captain has an idea: what's about a 2 hours tour, with his launch along the river ? many animals, quiet and just 30 $...perfect. Just half hour to can come back to a Maxi Pali to buy some food and gett cash






my captain was waiting for me



just the time to look the bike and eat a fish sandwich





all the pilots of this boats have followed a course organized by the national tourist office: two main rules. The tourist is like a baby an neve speak about politic and soccer.
We will sail with this launch



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Old 25 Aug 2013
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For all the trip the captain has spotted many animals...I've been able to get a pic every 10 animals





the little road that run along the river is full of motel for tourist.





The caiman ( smaller than the crocodile): he's motionless, faking to be a log, waiting for food





Finally I'm able to pic this green animal: he isn't an iguana







monkeys







Speaking with the captain, I tell to him would have been a good idea drive along the river: it's so quiet. " Mhh not a good idea " he answer. This is an uninhabited zone, yes there are motel, but now, during the low season pandillas (gangs) are everywhere. If they see a biker, alone, for sure I can go in a big trouble. he explain that at the beginning of the road there are a lot of cops, but they don't go in the territory to check and a lot of them are connected with pandillas.

He stops the launch in front of a house. Just yesterday a 26 years old biologist was killed. His name is Jairo Mora Sandoval, born in Costa Rica. He was here to study turtles and was involved against poaches of eggs turtles. This house has been his laboratory. On May 31 (yesterday) a bunch of masked man have killed him, probably becouse he had reported to the police about this illegal trade.
A modern hero, maybe unknown for most of the people




this is a picture (from internet) of Jairo



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_..._Mora_Sandoval

Now I start the way back to Mexico City. I've already forgotten Panama. The problem aren't miles, but the time that you can have to drive everyday. During this period of the year the rain really can limit your daily mileage. Furthermore, Panama means two crossing border more. At the moment I've got to cross 4 borders to reach Mexico.

Are we talking about the rain ? Her's it: two hours stop. When a young mom comes with her child I lend my towel



Around late afternoon I reach San Josè: I prefer to avoid big cities, but now is better to stop. At a crossroad I ask to a taxi driver if one of the hotel that I see is cheap, but with the parking. He smile and tell to me that this isn't a zone for tourist...even if I remain in the room. He gives me sign to follow him. After 10 minutes we arrive in a very dangerous zone af San Josè...for me: Marriot, Sheraton, McDonalds, luxury shops and big cars. Ohh prices in this place can kill me. But fortunately he sign at a friendly name: Youth Hostel Aldea, that's perfect. 13 $ /night, internal parking and free kitchen








rice for dinner



during the dinner I met a canadian girl, 20 years old: she's travelling alone in Costa Rica. What a difference with italians girls, that always are afraid to travel abroad and especially alone: almost impossible to see one outside Italy...as the bigfoot.

very nice the hostel furniture









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Old 30 Aug 2013
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Thumbs up

Good photos, excellent story!

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Old 31 Aug 2013
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Sunday June 2

Breakfast




outside the hostel ther's a running competition





I reach Liberia early, but due to Sunday in the hospital isn't possible take out stitches




Ok it's better to go to the Nicaragua border




again at the Costa Rica border I notice something



It's the Gionata Nencini's mark of his project Partire Per Partire per... | Un Viaggio nel mondo in moto



There are a lot of volcanos in Nicaragua



Stop due to cloud burst and I see a damaged bolt in the support of my left pannier...obviously is the one without the look






I arrive in Granada still with daylight and in an internet pooint I can find some adresses of hostels: the problem is always the same. Not all have the parking for the bike.


Nothing with the first two hostels but I follow a bunch of guys with the rucksack and the Oasis Hostel is ok Oasis Home Page

The Kawasaki 650 is a very adaptable motorbike even as a dryer



Out for dinner and then back in the hostel. I clean and disinfect the wound on the knee. It's possible to see a little bit of infection, but I decide nothing important. Befor to go to sleep I watch a movie about the incredible story of Aron Lee Ralston the american mountaineer that in 2003 cut his arm to can save life...I don't now why, but I tocuh my knee





Monday June 3



I wake up very early so, before breakfast i walk a little bit trough Granada









have you ever seen a news-stand like that ?



this kind of butcher shops are very common especially in Asia and Africa



the hostel's breakfast is fantastic



Going out of Granada, I see the sign of an hospital, supported by the japanese govenement: why not ? Here is possible to take out stitches, but I was right: still a little bit of infection, so the doctor prescribes some antibiotic..again



In the pharmacy I notice a water supplier: drugs are expansive and so, in this countries, people can buy them one-by-one and take in the pharmacy





around noon stop to repair the bolt. fantastic this mechanic shops in Central America





to optimize the stop I decide to eat. I've chosen a restaurant "A la Carte", the Maxi Pali and his fish menù





After lunch I start and I see a sign for a volcano: it's the Volcano Motombo, the Nicaragua's symbol




I'm in Nicaragua, the volcanos land, I've got to see one. I watch my GPS with mileage and it's possible to do a little diversion






Before the volcano's zone ther's an enclosure and the minders tell to me that to visit the volcano you need a special permit that just in the capital is possible get, through a tourist agency...ok how much does it costs an exception ? 4 $ ( 100 corderas) and they allow me to drive on the road to volcano Motombo: just follow yellow arrows









sometimes is possible see the volcano. It's fantastic, just me, the volcano and my motorbike...I hopr, I don't know what kind of people you can met along this road. It was'nt a good idea to drive alone.



The problem is that the road begin to become too much difficult...for a biker like me. The ground is always more soft and hot. I can get stuck: so I decided to come back. The walk to the volcano is a 10 hours trekking and normally tourists sleep there.



Driving to the main road I had a stop to drink in a pulperia...2 hours speaking with the people





We speak abotu school, economy and politic. Too many politics, too much money for politic salaries and most of them, here, are nicknamed "Politics si senor ( the yes sir/no sir)...it's sounds familiart to me
For the night Malpasillo, a city of 6.000 people
A women rents cheap rooms



parking


the anterroom



double bed



let's go to see what can offer the malpaisillo by night



a basket court



in the city, looking for dinner, I see a "restaurant" in the garden of a house.



when the smoke of the barbecue finisch, it arrives my chicken: delicious



coming back to my room I heard some music coming from the basket court: ther's a soccer tournement, for womens and men





sorry, but the video is really dark

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Old 1 Sep 2013
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Excellent update!
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Tuesday June 4

Very early in the morning I leave Malpaisillo. I've decided to drive along the Pacific side and so this means cross a little bit Honduras, to can cross El Salvador: at this point border crossing doesn't matter



Sorry, but from now you'll see some picture with a little piece blurry: the umidity (I think) had dirtied some piece of the lens
Along the road I notice people that are working with pickaxe and showel. They are part of an ONLUS (from USA) named Amigos for Christ Amigos for Christ | In His Service




They are building a water main for this village, that at the moment has water just twice a week. Furthermore they'll build bathrooms for the houses. It's a mix of local people and tourists (most of them from USA). The tourists are payng around 800$ a week: they work and receive food and accomodation. The Nicaragua's governement contribute to the project covering the 5% of the costs

This engineer has studied in Italy for 8 month








I'd like to remain some day, but I've got to drive too much fro a 2 day stop
lunch before the border



Nicaragua-Honduras border



here I find the only stupid frustrated cop of all these borders. After immigration and custom a Honduras cop stops for the last check. He begins to ask to me the passport and after he asks to me wher's the voucher of the custom, for the motorbike. I tell to him that's inside the passport. From now he became hostile. He tells that custom don't stamp passport for the bike. Ok my spanish is nothing more than basic, but I think that a phrase like " Desculpe senor puede mirar en el pasaporte" should be enough clear. Obviously he had understood, but likes continue with his gag. For 10 minutes he repeat that I don't have to joke with him, because he can put me in jail for 72 hours. This man is a kind of person that needs to show his "power": so best thing is to begin with a lot of Lo Siento (I'm sorry9, in front of all other people. Excuse me, my spanish is bad, you're working and I'm a tourist, you're right I'm wrong ecc... After a while he's satisfied and watch in my passport findig hte custom ticket. Ok now he let me go and I arrive in San Lorenzo




First motel are out of my budget 30$/night, but a taxi driver brings me to a 8$/night motel



going around with the bike I watch the waterfront zone, with nice restaurants and the historical dock





I don't know what I have eaten in this little restaurant near my motel, but was good





then I find a bar with a wide screen: ther's the soccer game Jamaica-Mexico a game qualification for the world Cup



Jamaica -Mexico 1











Wednesday June 5

Today I'll entry in El Salvador



quick dry






this time I accept the help of border "employee" to get all documents. One man helps me in Hoduras and another in El Salvador. I'm pushing the bike when a cop comes and ask to me how much money they have asked me for the service: price is ok, 5 $






A news: in El Salvador you don't use a local money, but the US dollar

I don't know how log will stay in El Salvador. The transit permit of 24 hours is quick to obtain, but the visa transit is a different thing. Another proble at the custom ther's some problem with the server and all comunication are going by fax...at the end I've waited for 3 hours










Is afternoon when I can start and so Usulutan become my stop. i find a motel with the right name, Milagro (Miracle)
.








the street market is fantastic







quando dico che sono italiano i sorrisi si sprecano







my dinner: chicken, fried and boiled, rice and something else





the dog that eat my leftover, after some minutes is alive: ok





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Old 2 Sep 2013
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Bellissimo anche in inglese! Grande Momi!
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