After leading a semi-domesticated life in Costa Rica, I am heading south again continuing my journey. Semi-domestication was unlike any other time in my journey. In the evening I would help with laundry and dishes or often just relax watching TV. During the day I would ride, explore Costa Rica and enjoy the adventure of travel, as I have been doing, but would return “home” each night. It was like having the best of both worlds.
My adventure world continued, through the twisty roads of Costa Rica leading to beautiful cities, scenic mountains, past coffee farms and to the beaches. People here are warm, friendly and helpful, the food is fantastic, very fresh and there is a calmness here that was unlike other countries that I have passed through during my adventure. I interacted easily with people here with was as much of an adventure as the twisty mountain roads. One corner was so sharp that I felt the foot peg scrape the pavement, my adrenaline raced as I pulled the bike upright out of the corner.
Semi-domestication was an interesting experience as well. For the first time since I left Canada I had a key to a home and could come and go as I pleased for more than a few days. Home cooked meals are very easy to get used to. I used to hate shopping of any kind, but made at least three trips to Wal-Mart and shopped around for fresh apples and other groceries, all by motorcycle of course. There was no housekeeping staff to make my bed each day.
As the saying goes “all good things must end” and my time in Costa Rica was no different. I left San Jose early with the plan of crossing into Panama in the early afternoon. I took the left at Wal-Mart just like Google earth said I should, but then everything just went to hell. I did not recognize anything, none of the signs made any sense and the traffic was getting heavy. I followed the road looking for a sign that would point me in the right direction and then, somehow I was back at Wal-Mart. How did this happen, I drove in a complete circle and don’t remember making a turn. No problem, it’s still early so let’s try again. Ok turn left at Wal-Mart, oh there’s the problem, I missed a turn, got it this time. I had a lot on my mind this morning and was not paying attention and sometimes my bike seems to have a mind of its own. I was driving along for another 30 minutes, mind wandering, when I looked up and saw Wal-Mart. I am right back where I started, only 4km from where I was living for the past 2 weeks. I guess my bike did not want to leave any more than I did.
I eventually, after almost an hour and a half got on the right road and was heading for Panama, still with enough time to cross. I followed a sign that said “San Isidro”, the road I needed. After 16 kilometers appeared a giant pile of dirt in the road, 2 meters high in the center. A pile of dirt was blocking a major highway and nobody was around to provide information. Some other drivers who were there scratching their heads and looking at the dirt, confirmed that this was highway 2 and the way to Panama. I drove over the dirt pile. The dirt was more like mud and it was flying everywhere, I don’t know how I managed to not fall. After one kilometer the reason for the dirt pile was clear, a giant sink hole, the road was washed out and was not passable. Back over the dirt pile, people were looking at me like I was a moron. (When will I learn?) Now I had to find another way so I asked for directions back at a gas station. “Take the very twisty roads, over the mountains, cross a river, go down the mountain, and then you turn right”. I just hoped the river has a bridge.
After 34 kilometers of twisty back roads I was just 12 kilometers past the sink hole, but at least on the right road now. Riding along enjoying the beautiful scenery, alone with just my thoughts inside my helmet; life is good. Riding like this is good for my mind, I get answers to questions I never knew I had and calmness comes over me. Until the dark clouds appeared. The rain start suddenly and I am getting wet, it is the middle of nowhere but off in the distance I see a bus stop. I drive over the sidewalk and pull under the bus shelter to put on my rain gear. A young want in the bus shelter looks at the stickers on my bike and starts a conversation:
Cual es su pais? (Where are you from or more specifically “What is your country”)
Soy Canadanise (I am Canadian)
Tu moto? (your motorcycle)
Canada, Aqui de la moto (Canada to here by motorcycle)
Tu loco? (you’re crazy)
Si, un poco loco. (Yes a little crazy)
By now the road is flooded but I start of again anyway. The rain is so hard that I can hardly see and the sound of the huge drops hitting my helmet become deafening. There is no place to pull over. Some construction up ahead gives me a rest and time to think. I decided I would stop at the next place I could and wait out the rain. There are not many people on the road now and this is usually not a good sign.
I take an easy corner when suddenly the bike begins to hydroplane. My bike is pointed in one direction but is going another. It is going off the edge of the road, heading for a cliff and below it was nothing but jungle. I looked down at my speed, 75km/hr, I was going to die. Those palm reading Chinese fortune tellers were wrong, I was not going to live to be 100 years old; I was going to die in the next few seconds. The edge of the road moves closer and thousands of thoughts go through my mind; “I still have not filled in the emergency contact info on my passport”, “my friends address is in the storage box, but this bike is too big for her”, “I wonder if I can get a refund form the fortune tellers”, “I have not had peanut butter in along time”. Just inches from the edge my back tire catches on something and the bike is heading where it should be, it stays on the road. I am saved, and the rain just stops as quickly as it started.
The rain stopped long enough for me to get some photos of the huge river that the highway often follows. Then it came down even harder than before. I could not see a thing and the sky grew dark. My spot lights lit the way very well, but I was getting nervous. I could feel the water splashing off my boots and hitting my side boxes. When I reached the city of Neily, the rain stopped, I found a hotel and got the last room. Panama can wait until tomorrow.
Confession – During my Semi-domestication I did not actually “do” any laundry. It was agreed that I would help best by not interfering. I left San Jose smelling much better than I did when I arrived. However I did wash dishes.