Danli, Honduras To Liberia, Costa Rica 0

Click Here To View Today’s Photos

Up at 6:30, packed and had an early breakfast before checking out of Hotel Granada at Danli, Honduras.  We were on the road by 8:00, heading back up into the elevation with some pretty views, although it looked like we might get hit with some rain.

The border crossing at Las Manos came up on us very quickly; suddenly there was a backup of trucks in the road and people flagging us down to change money or offer their services to assist in the customs and immigrations paperwork.  Riding a motorcycle we are usually waved to the front of the line (a good thing).  Dave hired a helper and Pam changed our remaining Honduran lempiras into Nicaraguan cordobas.  It went pretty fast, as we had to pay both exit fees in Honduras and entrance fees in Nicaragua, although once again there is no stamp for entering Nicaragua, and we were told it would cost $40 US each if we wanted one for a memento.  We decided to take our chances on this one.  The Honduran side only took about 10 minutes, and the Nicaraguan one 20; we were through in half an hour, which surprised us both.  The only downside was that somehow the equivalent of $40USD manage to evaporate without receipts and we’re not sure just where it went but we got right through.  

The road was good, we immediately noticed how well groomed it was with paved shoulders, gutters and retaining walls. Coming down from the frontier it looked like we might have rain as clouds were building in front of us, but we never got any; so far we have lucked out and our only rain has been in the rain forest (Tikal).  Shortly after passing through Ocotal we joined up with the Pan American Highway for the first time on our trip.  There didn’t seem to be any difference in the road at this point.

Nicaragua appears to have lots of cooperatives for many different agro-industries; we saw plants for rice, cigars, and plant nurseries.  There was lots of new construction as well, with large homes and nice landscaping.  We passed a Zona Franca (Free Trade Zone) that looked quite active.  Our route through Nicaragua went almost straight south as we headed for the border crossing at La Cruz, and took us directly between Nicaragua’s two biggest lakes which are separated by a small isthmus.  We took a short break for snacks and water at a roadside stop and a local person gave us directions to avoid Managua by going through Masaya and driving along lake Nicaragua.  The directions were good, but the first 5 kilometers of the road after Masaya were under construction, and the road was only one lane.  We zipped along on the one lane and suddenly realized that there was traffic coming at us; we had inadvertently bypassed a traffic cop who was queuing up traffic to convoy through and we met up with the convoy coming in the other direction.  Oh well, people were nice; we pulled to the side and waited till the conga line had passed, then quickly zipped up to the new road.  Once there, it was a beautiful drive through handsome farmland and sizeable ranches; lots of cattle and houses perched on small hills overlooking the lake and the two volcanoes on the other side.  We came upon the frontier quite suddenly, and found it a huge mass of people; large tour buses, pedestrians, and a small “mall” of services including banks and food, as well as the government processing.  Of course several people to contract assistance with the crossing immediately hit us up; Dave hired one and Pam stayed with the bike while they went off to process the papers.  While waiting Pam had an interesting conversation with a moneychanger who spoke almost no English but knew the English names of almost every professional Chicago sports team; he said he was a big Chicago fan.  When Dave returned almost 40 minutes later, we learned that we had only received the paperwork to leave Nicaragua; we now had to actually go to the gate which was about 10 minutes walk away, present our papers, then be passed on to Costa Rica and begin all the paperwork to enter.  Our guide was unable to come with us past the gate; he was finally able to find someone with dual citizenship who could come with us and get us started on the other side. After passing through the gate it was another 10-minute walk to the customs area, which was a madhouse; several hundred people lined up on both sides of the road in both directions and large tour buses trying to squeeze through the crowds.  We looked for customs and immigrations and saw a very small office marked aduana (customs), and we saw a queue of people at a long table with their baggage lined up and opened as if for inspection, but we didn’t really see anyone who looked official, with the exception of the Tour Guide from one of the buses who looked very impressive in his starched white uniform.  Somehow our new guide picked up two extra helpers and they all began directing Dave on the different steps; first passports, then the bank, then customs (where somehow we got almost to the head of the line and avoided a full bag inspection and a multiple-hour wait.)  One again we came up short $40USD without receipt, but it was worth it to bypass the lines.  By the time we finished, it was 5:30 pm and almost dark, and we still had an hour to drive to Liberia where we planned to stay for the night.  It had taken us almost three and a half hours to complete the crossing.

The road in Costa Rica was not nearly as good as the roads in Nicaragua; single lane with lots of asphalt patches, rarely was there a fog line on the shoulder and center lines were sporadic.  The trucks and buses traveling the Pan American highway are always in a hurry and don’t like to wait for anything, and we were caught in a stream of them heading south from the border.  It was full dark by now, although the stars were bright and the moon was almost ¾ full; they made it bright enough for Pam to see ghostly fields and Brahma cattle to the sides of the road.  There was a large truck in front of us leaking some liquid; we suspected he was carrying oranges as the air was filled with the scent of fresh squeezed orange juice and orange blossoms.  We followed him most of the way to Liberia where we stopped for dinner at an American-style motor food court; Burger King, Subway, Church’s Chicken, etc…  A Canadian that Dave had met in the food line recommended a hotel across the street, we opted to try for something downtown.  The Canadian owned a bar in southern Nicaragua in a town called San Juan Del Sur (I think).  His bar is named La Republica but he is going to change it to My Place.  He said that Nicaragua is much less expensive than Costa Rica which we believe is true.  Nicaragua may be the new place to go for Central America Tourism.  Our friend said there is a large surfer community there in southern Nicaragua.

A local recommend a place whose name we couldn’t understand, but he gave us good directions and finally we found it downtown a block from the central plaza with secure parking for the bike inside the courtyard right in front of the office (which you can see from the satellite picture on our position report if you zoom all of the way in (see link below.)


They wanted $50USD for the room, gave us a discount to $40USD if we didn’t need a receipt, and made up a passport number for us rather than make us dig out our documents.  The room had air conditioning and TV, but no hot water and no Internet, we have not had hot water since leaving Guatemala. The hot water in Guatemala consisted of a little electric heater in the shower head, which worked well as long as the water was turned on low. There was an Internet cafe just two blocks away, however, and for the first time since leaving the US we were able to have our nightly dose of Jay Leno and Craig Ferguson!  We plan to stay here two nights and get laundry and bike servicing done tomorrow.  

Tonight Our Location

Latitude: 10.6303

Longitude: -85.4356
Nearest Town from unit Location:  Liberia, Costa Rica
Distance to the nearest town:  0 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 01/19/2008 03:08:21

Please send your feedback to:


We will fix this page so it loads faster someday.

Liberia To Puntarenas, Costa Rica 0

Click Here To View Today’s Photos

Well, the best laid plans—

We were up by 0800 and walked down two blocks to a restaurant Dave found last night when scoping out the Internet cafe.  We had a great breakfast with Pinto (rice and beans), tortillas, fried eggs, grilled beef, fried plantains (Pam’s favorite) and of course excellent coffee.

After breakfast we went across the street to Planet Internet and checked out emails and Dave uploaded the latest web info.  It took some time, as it had been two nights since we had Internet access and there was a lot to upload.  Afterward we headed back to the room to look for a place to do laundry and get the bike washed and serviced.  That was when Dave realized he had left his 4-gigabyte thumb-drive, attached to the bike keys, in the back of the computer at the Internet Cafe.  He went back immediately, not 20 minutes after we had left; the clerk was standing behind the kiosk where Dave had been working and when he asked about the drive, the clerk didn’t even bother to look, just said, no, nothing here.  Dave threatened to call the police and persuaded to no avail.  Dave is sure the guy pocketed the thumb-drive, and the bike keys with it.

Although there was nothing of importance on the thumb-drive (just the uploads for the website), someone now had access to our bike. After one last search , Dave gave up and came back to the hotel where we immediately packed and left using the spare keys.  We wouldn’t sleep too well knowing someone was running around town with keys to the bike.  Bummer, minor annoyance but even in relatively civilized Costa Rica you can’t take your eyes off of anything or it will get a new owner.  Beware of the owner and employees of Planet Internet across from the Plaza in Liberia, Costa Rica, they are dishonest.  The owner is known to people we spoke to as “El Chino” and appears to be of asian descent and not well regarded.

On the road South, we stopped in the small town of Caas for gas, and as we were leaving saw a Suzuki and Stihl shop on the south side of town.  We went back to investigate and found the Galeria Mecanica run by Geovanni Barantes Chaverri.  We ended up having the oil changed and the chain cleaned and lubed by the owner himself.  He performs service on the Suzuki 750s used by the Police so had the parts we needed and some very good motorcycle oil. It was a nice little shop that also serviced lawnmowers and Stihl chainsaws.  We had top quality oil and filter and the labor price was just $10.00 USD for all of the special attention.  We highly recommend this establishment.  We attracted lots of attention from the other clientele because we had such a big bike, and got all the usual “how fast” and “how much” ($) questions.  The son of a guy who worked at the shop, young Jefferson Artavia Arguedas,  was helping around the shop and spent a lot of time talking with Pam about anything you could imagine; a very bright young man who seemed much older than his 10 years.  He went to the store for us and bought replacement batteries for the camera so we could take pictures of the shop and the great people there including a great picture of Jefferson and the bike (click this link).

When the servicing was finished, we said goodbye and continued south toward Puentarenas and Jaco, both of which we had heard were good for beaches and hotels.  The roads were the same as we had experienced last night, two-lane, asphalt patched and sporadic markings, but at least we were able to see the speeding traffic and cars impatiently trying to pass big trucks on the curves.  The landscape in the daylight is beautiful, rolling pastures and big spreading trees.  Pam twice saw monkeys in the trees overhead.  The few houses we saw on the roadside are neat and substantial.

After several kilometers without any signs for Puentarenas, we stopped at a Police way station to ask directions.  The policeman on duty was relaxing in his undershirt while smoking a cigarette; it turns out he spoke excellent English and recognized the license plate, having worked on a tugboat barging fuel from San Diego to Coos Bay OR, and then taking lumber back to San Diego.  He told us we were very close to the turnoff for Puentarenas and gave us good directions for which we were thankful as it was getting close to sunset.  It was getting dark when we entered town, and we discovered that it was the last day of school vacation; we had some difficulty finding a hotel.  The first 4 we tried were full; finally we found one literally at the end of the hotel zone (and the town, which is located on a sand spit) called Hotel Yadran.  We got the next-to-last room for $70 US in the old section of the hotel, and an option to change to a better room tomorrow.  There is secure parking in the back (Dave got the last spot).

We unpacked and went to the restaurant for a drink where we had the very good local beer, Imperial.  We priced dinner at the hotel restaurant and decided to walk the kilometer back to the town center where the locals eat.  We passed what appeared to be a local drum line in full street performance with both drums and dancers.  The streets were full of people as it was Saturday night, many who were returning to the cruise ship docked at the pier. We saw several places that looked interesting for dinner, and finally chose one that was full of local families.  We had an excellent meal; Dave had fillet of sea bass in garlic and lime juice, with French fries and salad.  Unadventurous Pam elected not to try the tripe and instead had rice and shrimp with salsa and French fries and salad.  The most expensive dinner on the menu was $4.00 USD.  Dessert was several blocks away at a local ice cream shop where we unknowingly ordered huge ice cream concoctions; Dave’s was called a mega-Churchill and had papayas, apples, bananas, cherry Jell-O and ice cream served in a large parfait glass.  Pam had a banana split, which included corn flakes, papaya, cherry Jell-O, and was served in a large soup plate.  Bizarre but good.  We needed the long walk home.

Tomorrow we will do laundry.

Here was tonight’s location.

Latitude: 9.9755
Longitude: -84.8496

Nearest Town from unit Location: Pueblo Nuevo, Costa Rica (Puntarenas)

Time in GMT the message was sent: 01/20/2008 00:17:52

Check out the satelite photos of our hotel and the peninsula:


Feedback to dave@rogorides.com

Puntarenas, Costa Rica 0

Click Here For Today’s Pictures

We slept in a bit today, as we will not be riding; had a good breakfast on the hotel veranda with beautiful view overlooking the beach.

After breakfast we split up; Dave went to catch up on the website, and Pam went to ask about laundries nearby so that we could get our clothes done. She was met with puzzled looks from the staff at the front desk; it seems we had lost a day somewhere, and this was Sunday, not Saturday; all the laundries were closed!  Pam walked into the town center anyway as we needed cash from the cash machine, and found several people who thought there was one that was open, but never found it, so she came back home and did the laundry by hand in our room.

As it was Sunday, most of the hotel guest checked out by 2pm and the front desk clerk called to offer us a better room with a balcony view.  Dave moved everything over and we realized what a bare-bones room we had occupied the night before; the new one even had hot water!  We restrung the clothesline and all the laundry was dry before we left the next morning.

While Pam relaxed by the pool, Dave took a stroll around the neighborhood and discovered the ferry dock just two blocks away.  We then watched a beautiful sunset from the balcony of our room before heading back downtown for dinner.  We had a cappuccino at a 24-hour restaurant on the beach with a Bonanza (western) theme before returning to our restaurant of last night where we had another excellent meal including ceviche. (Raw fish marinated in lime juice.)  We stopped once again at our ice cream to share another mega-Churchill before heading home.

Tomorrow we head south.


Puntarenas To Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica 0

 Click Her For Today’s Photos

We enjoyed our included breakfast at the lovely beachside restaurant and packed up to continue south toward San Jose and Panama.  It was very warm early and we saw on TV that it was 94 in Panama City.  At one point we had considered sending the mesh summer riding pants and jackets back home to lighten our load, but are sure glad we didn’t.

We took a couple of last rides around the Point of what is Puntarenas and along the beach.  Puntarenas is a long narrow peninsula sticking out into the bay and our hotel was a block from the tip end.  We headed back toward the mainland and took a couple of pictures of the very long pier constructed for the cruise ships that use Puntarenas as a port of call. 

We rejoined the Pan-American Highway and headed south.  It wasn’t long before we were stuck in a line of cars, trucks and busses.  The road was fairly good but narrow asphalt without any markings.  We spent a lot of the time in first and second gear following the slow traffic, occasionally breaking into the clear.  A little over 50 miles later approaching San Jose the road was wider in many places with 2 and 3 lanes in each direction.  This was a big improvement until we came into San Jose.  Signs seem to be an optional thing here – there are some but they are confusing and sometimes contradictory.  Needless to say we got into San Jose but then had a problem finding our way back out.   We stopped to fill up and had coffee and a sandwich at a Shell gas station and got good directions to get out of town.  We would end up asking for directions 3 more times before being completely successful.  Finally we saw a couple of traffic cops that were standing at a round a bout beside their 750 Suzuki patrol bikes writing tickets.  One of the officers gave us good directions, even drawing a map, and seemed to enjoy practicing his English.

We now headed out of town and straight into the next big town of Cartago, a very nice town with a magnificent large church and some impressive Spanish ruins.  There were some tour busses parked at the Church (see pictures) and it seemed to be a destination.  However, as luck would have it the main road seemed to evaporate and we had trouble re-connecting to get out of town.  Once again we had to ask for directions 3 more times and finally found ourselves on a secondary road that would rejoin the Pan-American Highway. 

You could see large clouds massing on top of the impressive peaks surrounding the city and I had been asking folks since San Jose if it was going to rain.  The general answer was “no, just some fog in the hills.”

South of Cartago we started up into the mountains and towards the clouds.  We thought that as in previous days we would zip up to 4,000 feet and then back down into the tropical warmth.  As we started up toward the clouds Pam asked if we should stop and put on our rain suits and Dave foolishly believed our amateur forecasters, thinking that if we got a little wet it would dry quickly as we came down.  Well, we ended up climbing up to 11,000 feet, going completely through the rain clouds and out the top and getting soaked in the process.  We are sure that that pass took at least 75 KM to cross; we were over 9800 feet for a long time per the GPS.  It is too bad that it was so cloudy as the views must have been spectacular.  We had some camera problems too so got very few pictures.

As we were following a slow truck up the mountain a couple on a Harley Sportster 883 with saddlebags passed us (and the truck) in the rain and continued up the mountain.  A little while later we passed them stopped along the road and then while we were stopped for road construction we came together and chatted a little.  They were Ivan and Liliana from Buenos Aires, Costa Rica and just finishing up their honeymoon and heading on home.  They had been up in Guanacaste at the beach and had taken the canopy ride where you slide several kilometers down a rope draped from the mountain along the top of the jungle canopy.  

We needed gas again after crossing these mountains and it was now 4:00 p.m. and time to find a hotel.  Our new friends were stopped for gas as well and invited us to coffee.  We met them at McDonalds per their direction in the town of Perez Zeledon.  We had a very nice meeting, it turns out that both of them are pharmacists.  Dave asked if Ivan would have a Hotel recommendation and he told us he knew a perfect place.  His friend owns a hotel and drives a Honda Shadow 1100 (see pictures).  After coffee we followed him and he introduced us to Melvin Madriz, the proprietor of the Hotel Los Crestones in Perez Zeledon where we also met Melvin’s family and checked into the Hotel.  We were also introduced to a gentleman from Panama City who was traveling to San Jose to attend a medical convention; he had arrived earlier in the day on his beautiful Honda Goldwing 1500.  Dave was invited for drinks later.

Later in the evening Melvin hosted a group of local enduro riders and there were glasses of wine and large platters of food poolside as we talked motorcycles, travel and looked at pictures of our trip so far.  Of special interest were the photos from Palenque, Tikal and the back way into Guatemala.  All had a great time and Dave was given a sticker for the bike that says “Lobos Moto Club” Perez Zeledon, CR.

While Dave was talking bikes, Pam had been enjoying our first real hot water in a week and the campaign debates on English CNN.  When the bike club members left, we were now ready for dinner and we walked up the street to Pizza Primavera and had some very good Pizza.  Perez Zeledon is a very nice little town.

Tomorrow we leave our friends here and head for the Panama border and toward Panama City.

Here is where we were tonight 

Latitude: 9.3684
Longitude: -83.7057
Nearest Town from unit Location:  Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica
Distance to the nearest town:  1 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 01/21/2008 23:34:02

Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica To David, Panama 0

Click Here For Today’s Photos

We had breakfast at the Los Crestones Hotel restaurant which included the excellent CR coffee and we were introduced to more bikers as they showed up this morning.  Jaime Allen, a professor from the University of Costa Rica arrived on his KLR 650 and I think was planning to ride north to San Jose with Noriel Chang who was riding the Goldwing 1500.  At breakfast we got Hotel recommendations for both David, our first overnight, and Panama City, Panama our second overnight.  We were told that there were two ways to get to Panama from Perez Zeledon.  One way was to continue on the Pan American highway and the other was to go southwest over the mountains to the Pacific coast toward Dominical and then go south along the ocean.  The recommendation was to go the coast route.

As we said our goodbyes and prepared to depart, our host, Melvin was ready for a ride and volunteered to lead us out.  Melvin suited up and mounted his beautifully prepared Honda 1100 shadow.  I won’t say we followed him it was more like we chased him as he knew the roads very well and was a good rider.  Melvin led us on the back roads through the neighboring mountains to the coast.  We crossed several one-lane bridges as we rode alongside steep cliffs.  The ride through the mountains was beautiful with lots of twistys; there were a few clouds but we didn’t ride high enough to go through them like yesterday, and the temperature remained comfortably cool for most of the ride.  After about 50 minutes we reached the coast road, and Melvin invited us to stop for a coffee at a hotel owned by a friend before we continued on.  He led us up a short dirt road to a paved entrance that led to a gorgeous hilltop hotel called Cristal Ballena  (Crystal Whale).  The view was fabulous, looking out over miles of Pacific Ocean with huge rocks sticking out of the water.  The largest rock was known as the ballena or whale.  Our hosts told us that this was a national park and marine sanctuary, and that migrating whales could often be seen.  We had cappuccinos on the terrace with the million-dollar view; Pam spotted a strange tree with a spiky fruit hanging from it that we learned was guayabana. We’ve often had it as a fruit cooler, but never knew what it looked like.  The landscaping was spectacular and Pam photographed some beautiful orchids growing in the garden.  

We finally left the beautiful location and turned south on the coast highway, which was an excellent road, generally in much better condition than the Pan-American with good markings on either side.  It ran for a little while right along the coast where you could see beautiful beaches through the trees, then wound inland along a river and finally through several large plantations of palm trees.  There wasn’t a lot traffic until we got within 30 minutes of the border.  Twice we saw a large iguana in the road, both were narrowly missed (we hope).  At about 2pm we gassed up and bought water and snacks just 16 kilometers from the border; given our experience entering Costa Rica, we wanted to be prepared for a long wait if necessary.  We had a relatively speedy crossing, though; only 20 minutes to exit Costa Rica, and 50 to enter Panama.  It might have been even quicker had there not been a carnival crossing at the same time; the customs officials were very busy clearing the paperwork for the several trucks that carried the carnival rides. One difference from the other crossing we have had was that there were relatively few people bidding to help us across, only a handful of kids.  Dave picked one (who immediately became 4), and they ran him all around 6 different windows necessary to clear all the paperwork, each window on the opposite side of the building from the last.  It was a good place to people watch, as there were many people standing or sitting around waiting for someone in their party to run all the paperwork.

Once we cleared into Panama, the roads turned into 4-lane divided highways and we tooled right along.  The countryside was similar to what we had seen in Costa Rica but not nearly as overgrown; there were lots of pastures and we could smell freshly cut hay as we rode by.  There were several small neat houses set back from the road, and we saw bus stop shelters and overpass walkways at regular intervals.  We were only 35 kilometers from the town of David, and it didn’t take us long to arrive.  One of the riders last night had recommended the Hotel Castilla as a good place for bikers with secure underground parking and a good rate of about $45.00USD, so we headed for that.  It is right on the town square; unfortunately they were almost full and we ended up paying ($75USD) for the only room they had left which was a suite.  It was very nice though, with a balcony that overlooked the square, and it has Internet in the lobby.

The currency in Panama is the good old American greenback and everything looks relatively prosperous.  We walked to a nearby downtown restaurant for dinner, Dave had a large T-bone steak and a couple of beers, Pam had fillet of sea bass in garlic sauce and a apricot milkshake.  Including desert, a liter of bottled water and a couple of cans of beer to take back to the hotel the bill came to $16.00 USD.

Tomorrow we plan to cross the Panama Canal and continue to Panama City.

Tonight we were a the following coordinates, click the link for map and satellite views.

Latitude: 8.4283
Longitude: -82.4254
Nearest Town from unit Location: David, Panama
Distance to the nearest town:

0 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 01/22/2008 23:03:56


David To Panama City, Panama 0

Click Here For Today’s Photos


We purposely planned a late start as Dave wanted to do some catch-up on the website.  We went out to breakfast at the cafeteria-style restaurant next door to the hotel (they seem to be popular here).  Pam had the local stewed beef over rice, and juice, which was very good; Dave bucked the system and ordered fried eggs with chorizo and toast.  It took a long time to make, and when it arrived, the chorizo was missing.  Tired of waiting we accepted salchichas in tomato sauce instead when offered that were large Vienna sausages sliced into pieces in a tomato sauce!  Oh, well, it was better than it sounds.

After breakfast we walked to a small shop on the other side of the hotel to pick up an electrical converter for the computer, as we will be encountering 220 volts in South America, and found a pair of ear buds as well so that we can use Skype in public without sharing our conversations with everyone sitting nearby.  We also bought a sim card for Dave’s unlocked cell phone; we now have a Panamanian cell phone.  After that we went back to our lovely suite and packed to leave.  It was an easy ride out of town to the highway, and we think we ended up taking a lesser-used road that swung toward the coast instead of CA-1, the Pan-American Highway.  We are still not sure if this was the Pan-American highway or we just got off onto a secondary route.  Much of this road was some of the best road we had encountered to date, very fast and smooth with many curves.  There was interesting scenery, typical landscape with pastureland.  Pam got a picture of what appeared to be three hanging birds’ nests high in a tree.  We also saw several of the odd nests that we have seen all the way down from Costa Rica; we don’t have a good picture, but they look like giant caterpillar cocoons, sometimes as big as 3 feet by 2 feet, wrapped around tree trunks or fence posts.  We are guessing that they are ants or termites, but haven’t found anyone who can tell us yet.

It was a good road, well marked and in good shape except for some areas later that were under repair, and there was very little traffic; we only saw three buses the entire way.  We did get stopped by the police at a checkpoint; they wanted to see our passports, and wouldn’t take “they’re buried in the luggage”  for an answer, so Pam climbed down and dug out the documents.  The officer leafed through them, handed them back and said OK, so on we went.  I guess we must look like desperate criminals.  The road appeared to turn back into CA-1 in Santiago, where we stopped to gas up, and at McDonald’s (where else?) for some coffee and water.   Out of Santiago the road became the highway we knew and loved, with lots of traffic and lots more occurrences of asphalt and concrete repair.  There were several areas though that were very good, expanding into 4 and 6 lane highway as we approached Panama.  There were a few places where we were close enough to see the ocean, and then we swung east again and didn’t see any till we came close to the city.  We passed several “coasters”, small Toyota buses used for public transportation up and down the coast.  We also saw small stands on the roadside with brightly colored typical local Indian dresses for sale. We did climb up into the mountains a little and it was very windy for almost the whole trip.  For the last twenty miles or so we traveled on a toll road that was in great shape.  Motorcycles had to pay the toll here, unlike Honduras, but it was only $0.50USD.  (It seems very odd to use US money again.  Everything here is priced in US dollars and everyone accepts and gives change in USD, although occasionally we will get a balboa coin with the change.)

We pulled out the directions that Noriel Chang had given us to get to Hotel Parador, the recommended hotel in Panama City (thanks Noriel).  The signs were a little confusing and before we knew it we were in the wrong lane and missed our turn.  Because we were on the toll road it was almost 10 miles before we had an exit where we could turn around, and as we were getting back on the toll road in the other direction, we saw a large suspension bridge just beyond the curve where we were headed.  On the way back to our missed intersection, Pam could see the top of the towers of the first set of locks in the Canal.  We finally got back to the right road (according to Noriel’s map) and headed into the city.  We came around a corner and ahead of us was the Puente Las Americas, a large arched bridge that spans the entrance to the Panama Canal.  From the top we could see several ships to the west waiting for their turn to enter the canal and to the east there were ships waiting to enter the locks.  The views were spectacular but we did not get any pictures as we were quite high up and there were 4 lanes crammed on the narrow bridge and heavy traffic.  We continued on into the city; the signs were very confusing for us, but we followed the roads as best we could. One took us up and down densely forested hills that were very reminiscent of driving through Portland, Oregon.  No sooner had we both remarked on that, then a taxi driver passed us with a big smile and a thumbs-up sign, and yelled “yeah, Oregon!” as he passed us; he had seen our plates.  We were stopped next to him at the next light, and asked directions to the Hotel Paradorâ; he said no problem, he would take us there himself if we wanted to follow him.  His sister lives in Oregon!  We followed him into a large shopping mall complex (over several speed bumps) where he dropped off his fare, then he led us back through the wooded roads we had come down, through some back streets, and finally up a very nice neighborhood to the very door of the Hotel Parador.  Dave chatted with him; his name was Oscar, while Pam went to negotiate the room.  Noriel had told us about $50USD, but once again we got the last room at $77USD, with an option to change tomorrow to a less expensive one.  As it was getting dark, we took the room that was actually quite nice, parked the bike in the secure parking garage, and tried to send our satellite locator message from the ledge of our room window.  It didn’t work because of all of the surrounding tall buildings.  We then went up to the swimming pool located on the roof to send our satellite locator message.  We admired the incredible views of the city lit by the full moon.  We are in the middle of a very nice neighborhood, with several nice hotels in one direction, a main boulevard at the end of the street, and several very nice-looking condos or apartment buildings to the other side.  We sat and watched an absolutely beautiful full moon rising over the high-rises of Panama City while listening to someone in the near neighborhood practicing their French horn.  Breezes were blowing in from the ocean and it was still a very comfortable 80 degrees F temperature.  It was magical.

We were by now ready for a late dinner, we went downstairs in search of dinner.  The desk clerk recommended many international places in the immediate area on Argentina Street, but when we asked for typical Panamanian food she told us about Del Prado, which is only two blocks from the hotel and is a 24-hour cafe-type restaurant with lots of outside sidewalk seating.  We chose an outside table for dinner where we relaxed for the next two hours.  While having before dinner drinks (Dave tried the local beer, Panama, which was very good) we noticed several fast-food delivery boys zooming by on their small scooters with a medium-size cargo boxes on the back; all well labeled as to the vendors; Domino’s, Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut.  It is clear to see that the Americans have been here.

Dave had sanchocho, the local chicken soup that he remembered from traveling here years ago; still just as savory, with big pieces of chicken and potatoes, and 2 whole fried red snappers and fries.  Pam had a sort of Panamanian bouillabaisse; clams in the shell with octopus, shrimp, and calamari, all in a spicy red sauce.  There was garlic bread and fried plantains as well.  After a leisurely dinner, we enjoyed a dessert of flan — custard with caramel sauce, finished off with a cappuccino and hot chocolate.  After a very satisfying dinner we had a short walk back to the hotel.  At 11pm the streets are still full of local nightlife, lots of people walking and still sitting at the cafes having coffees.

Latitude: 8.9874
Longitude: -79.5264
Nearest Town from unit Location:  La Cresta, Panama (Panama City)

Time in GMT the message was sent: 01/24/2008 01:23:39

Nice satelite photo of our location tonight (the green arrow) and you can see the Panama Canal off to the left, we passed over it just before we arrived.

Feedback to dave@rogorides.com

Panama City, Panama 0

 Click Her For Today’s Photos

We set the alarm and got up early for the included breakfast in our hotel’s restaurant (grilled cheese sandwich, juice, and coffee/hot chocolate).  I then put the Panamanian SIM card in my AT&T cell phone that we had had unlocked at a little shop in the Chinatown of Austin, Texas.  It took a few minutes to get it working as I had to both enter a pin number and call *165 to activate the SIM card.  Once figured out, we began calling to inquire about air freighting the bike to Bogota.

We had heard really good things about GIRAG freight forwarder from other riders, and they were really easy to deal with.  When Dave called, they gave Dave everything he needed to know to prepare the papers and ship the bike; they told him to have it out to the airport by 2 or 3pm, and they would ship it tonight to Bogota.  This was about 11am, so Dave had some running to do to get copies made of our paperwork, and to go to the bank; GIRAG accepts only cash.  While he did that, Pam unloaded the Caribou bags that had remained locked on the bike and repacked everything so that we could check our riding gear, put the fragile items in our carry-on bags, and ship everything else with the bike in the Caribou bags.  It was a tight fit, but we managed to make it work.  While Dave was out, he also bought 3 padlocks for extra security on the bike’s bags, and picked up some grab ‘n go lunch boxes at a super market; 1/4 chicken, rice and potatoes for him and barbeque beef in mushroom sauce, rice and potatoes for Pam.  Good, and only $4.85 for both including drinks.

After lunch we reloaded the bike and secured all the bags; Dave changed into riding gear and set out for GIRAG at Tocumen International Airport.  He asked directions from a taxi driver in front of the hotel who told him it was very complicated to get to the highway, and he would be happy to guide him there for a small tip, whatever Dave wanted to pay.  They agreed on $8USD and away they went.  The taxi led Dave to the entrance to the toll way and then pulled over, got paid and gave excellent directions from there. It is a long way from the airport terminal to the cargo area on side streets that wind around the backside of the large airport.  Dave had to pass through three different security checkpoints and then locate the correct warehouse.  Upon finding the correct GIRAG building it was easy from there, however, we had been told to deliver the bike with minimum of gas in the tank so had not filled up in 200 miles.  All of the warning lights had been blinking since the toll way and it must have been close to running out, but it made it.  

The people at GIRAG were very nice and efficient.  Dave had brought copies of the relevant documents and they typed up the airway bill, shipper’s declaration and hazardous material paperwork.  Dave waited while they went and got clearance stamps.  We were then charged the $450 US for shipping, $100 for hazardous material and $1.51 for airport tonnage tax.  Dave wheeled the bike into the warehouse, disconnected and taped the battery terminals and rotated the mirrors inward and that was that.  They would strap the bike to a pallet and load it onto Aero Sucre that night, it would be ready to pick up first thing tomorrow in Bogota.

It was now 5:00 p.m. and a long walk back out of the secure area to get to where a taxi could be caught.  Dave was invited to ride the GIRAG employee van with the ladies that were just finishing their shift.  The van would deliver us to a bus terminal out on a main road where everyone could catch his or her bus back home.  One of the ladies lived close to the area where our hotel is and Dave followed her after getting out of the van.  The bus ride was interesting, about 30 minutes back into the bus terminal where Dave caught a cab.  Thanks to the nice people at GIRAG Dave got back quickly and with the cab fare for only about $2.85 instead of $25.00.

With the bike on the way to Colombia we now called the Panamanian Airline COPA to make a listing for tomorrow morning.  The reservation agent was extremely nice and spoke excellent English; we were booked for the 09:49am flight Friday morning.

We checked our email and our friend Ricardo Rocco in Quito had answered our request for a hotel recommendation in Bogota.  He says he always stays at the Hotel San Francisco, just across the boulevard from the renowned Hotel Tequendama. We tried to make an online reservation but the hotel website would not accept the entries, so Pam sent them an email instead requesting a reservation. We’ll see if it works when we get there.

After a long evening repacking and finishing up loose ends while we still had Internet, we went back to Del Prado for dinner.  This time we ate light with sandwiches (Cuban and sliced pork) on toasted French bread, and Pam’s favorite fried plantains, known as tajadas in Panama.  Dave tried both the Atlas and the Balboa beers; Balboa is definitely preferred.  Afterwards we walked back to the hotel to finish final packing, as we need to leave the hotel for the airport by 7am.  We will definitely miss Panama.

Our location today was:

Latitude: 8.9875
Longitude: -79.5265
Nearest Town from unit Location:  Veranillo, Panama (Panama City)

Time in GMT the message was sent: 01/25/2008 02:56:23

Panama City, Panama To Bogota, Columbia 0

Click Here For Today’s Photos

We were up at 6am, as we need to leave the hotel by 7am.  Unfortunately the included continental breakfast doesn’t start until 7, so we will miss out on that today.  It was difficult to perform the usual room and luggage checks to make sure we didn’t leave anything behind; because we had repacked to allow the fragile items to be hand-carried, almost nothing was in its usual place.

We left on time and picked up a cab in front of the hotel that took us away from the Hotel Parador and the lovely neighborhood of El Cangrejo to eventually arrive on the toll highway that runs through the main part of the city along the shoreline.  It was a beautiful morning with just a little overcast, and we had a quick and uneventful ride to the airport.  The airline staff at COPA was courteous, professional, and extremely efficient.  We had absolutely no problem checking in, though as we were leaving to pass through security and immigrations, Pam realized she didn’t have her phone.  What to do?!  Was it packed in an unusual place in one of the bags?  Did it get left behind at the hotel?  Did it get left in the taxi?  After clearing security and immigration, we went to a quiet gate area and completely emptied the carry-on bags, but did not find the phone.  We called the hotel, they checked the room and did not find it, and the taxi driver wasn’t back yet, but they would ask him; we were to call back to find out.  When Dave called back, the taxi driver still wasn’t back so the hotel was able to reach him on his cell phone.  The driver did indeed find the phone in the back seat (the classic cell phone commercial), and the taxi driver headed back to the airport.  Not knowing if the taxi would arrive in time to make the flight, we agreed that Dave would go on ahead so he could get the bike; Pam would take her own passport, helmet and carry-on and try to make the booked flight.  If she missed it, she would come on the next one a few hours later.

Now the challenging part; we had already “left” Panama when we cleared Departure Immigrations; Pam couldn’t just walk back out to the curb.  Instead, she had to go to Arrivals Immigrations, “enter” the country and have her carry-on bag inspected by customs before she could meet the taxi.  Everyone listened sympathetically to her story in broken Spanish and was very helpful; she was back on the curb in no time.  The taxi arrived 25 minutes before scheduled departure; phone and dollars changed hands, there was a mad dash back through security and Departure Immigrations and down to the gate.  The flight had already boarded, but the gate agent recognized the woman with the motorcycle helmet, called her by name and escorted her down to the plane.  Whew!

It was a nice short breakfast flight to Bogota; it only took an hour instead of the scheduled 90 minutes.  We landed at El Dorado International Airport and cleared immigration and customs with no problem.  After retrieving our checked luggage, Dave went to change some money to Colombian pesos while Pam watched the bags (and the people).  Dave returned with hot coffee and a fresh-out-of-the-oven unusual bread (pan de oro) that looked like a Kaiser roll on the outside but was filled with cheese on the inside.  It was very good.  We asked around and found a very helpful Delta Airlines baggage agent who knew where the GIRAG facility was located as there were miles of cargo buildings around the airport.  We hired a taxi to the GIRAG airfreight offices to pick up the bike.  It is walking distance but we had all of our luggage with us.  At the first office they were expecting us and gave us the stamped original copy of the air bill.  We were instructed to take it the Customs Office a few blocks away, fill out some paperwork and get an inspector to come and release the bike.  Our cab continued and after two wrong stops in the busy freight area we finally made it to the right building. We didn’t know how long it would take for customs to get to us, so Dave stayed at the customs office with the paperwork and Pam took the taxi downtown to the Hotel San Francisco  (and yes, they had the reservation.)  Daniel at the front desk staff speaks English and was extremely courteous.  The hotel appears to be enjoying rejuvenation; it is an older hotel with signs of “shabby chic”, but it was spotless with a comfortable lobby holding large leather sofas and cozy seating areas.  Our room was on the 9th floor and very comfortable, with a nice view over the adjoining rooftops.

Meanwhile, back at the airport Dave was asked to take a seat and wait for someone who could help.  After about an hour of waiting Dave went up and asked if he had been forgotten.  He was told to come back at 2:00 p.m. when someone would be available to help (it was now shortly after 1:00 p.m.).  Dave went outside and in Bogota, like the other Latin American countries we saw large numbers of motorcycles zooming around.  We had read about and now could see that every motorcycle rider wore a vest with the license plate numbers of the bike on both the front and the back of the vest.  They also had the numbers on the back of their helmets.  Both driver and passenger wore the vests.  Dave approached a biker, an airfreight employee who was sitting on the grass having lunch to ask him about the vests.  He confirmed that wearing the vests and helmet markings were mandatory and that the fine for not doing so was 251,000 Colombian Pesos (about $100).  The biker told Dave about a shop about a mile from the airport where they make the vest.  The biker then told Dave to put on his helmet and he would take him to the shop.  Dave was driven to Tapimotos Lucho’s where he was able to have two vests made in about 40 minutes with the reflective license plate numbers sewn on and also put on his helmet.  He also bought the adhesive numbers for Pam’s helmet, all for less than $20.00.  Now being legal to drive in Colombia, Dave headed back to the airport by cab.

Back at customs the right person was now available and the paperwork was quickly finished.  The officials and employees in Colombia were very friendly and helpful at all times.  Dave was driven back over to the GIRAG warehouse where the bike was inspected, more paperwork was done and Dave was told he could take the bike.  Mirrors were turned back around, the battery was connected and ready to go.  That was when Dave was told that the only way out was the way he came in – down a couple of flights of stairs.  Normally, this would not have been a big deal but Dave was concerned about the weight of the attached saddlebags if he started to go over one-way or the other.  Dave briefly considered taking the bags off riding down the stairs and then putting the bags back on.  However, it was an uneventful ride down and he looked like he did this every day to the amusement of the gathered crowd of spectators.

Now the trick was to get gas before the engine died and find the way downtown.  Both would prove to be challenging.  The main streets of Bogota are divided and generally do not allow left turns, Dave kept passing gas stations that were on the left side of the road.  Anyway, finding gas and then finding the way to the Hotel downtown ended up taking a couple of hours in very heavy, chaotic traffic in the rain.  There are many streets in Bogota without proper drainage and Dave ended up driving through large puddles or small lakes and mud in heavy traffic.  Once at the Hotel San Francisco the attentive staff assisted with parking the bike in the secure parking area outside, putting the rain cover on the bike and bringing the bags up to the room.

Having only had the small airline breakfast and coffees today we were ready for dinner and elected to dine in our Hotel restaurant.  The restaurant is on the second floor and all tables are next to large glass windows that look out over the boulevard, with elegant white tablecloths.  Pam ordered the Trout cooked in butter, garlic and lemon juice.  When it arrived it was a huge trout that covered an entire large dinner plate with all of the fixings.  The trout was perfect.  Dave ordered the baby beef, which was a large tender steak served on a sizzling metal skillet.  Pam had fresh squeezed strawberry juice and Dave sampled the local beer, Aguila.  Desserts and coffee followed, the check with tip was less than $20.00 US.  Tomorrow we will enjoy the cosmopolitan beauty of Bogota.

Where we are today:

Latitude: 4.6105
Longitude: -74.0723
Nearest Town from unit Location: Bogota, Columbia
Distance to the nearest town: 0 km

Time in GMT the message was sent: 01/25/2008 20:05:57


Bogota, Columbia 0

Click Here For Today’s Photos

Click Here For A Nice Slideshow Of Candelaria

Today we slept in.  We are on the 9th floor, so the traffic noises aren’t as bad as they could be, and we both slept pretty soundly.  It was a little overcast when we went out for breakfast, but not yet raining.  Our hotel is located only about three blocks from the La Candelaria district, so headed there, as we had read that this was a nice area with lots of unique things to see.  On the sides streets off the main boulevard there are lots of small cafes and bakeries, all with a barker inviting you in to sample the goods.  We stopped at a small bakery that had marvelous looking pastries in the window and enjoyed coffee, hot chocolate, a huge chocolate-dipped oreja (pastry ears, or palmas) and a pan relleno– very large round roll of sweet yeast bread filled with cream cheese and guayabana paste.  Excellent!  We each ordered seconds.  While we were selecting our choices to eat, a street person charged into the cafe, shouting at us in Spanish “buy me a piece of bread!”  Dave just shook his head no and we turned away.  The man then charged up to the cashier and said “this guy is going to buy me a piece of bread!”  The cashier looked at us, again Dave shook his head no, and we all ignored the man, who finally left.  It left Pam a little unnerved, as the guy looked a little wild.  However, as we continued on we began to really enjoy the atmosphere of this sophisticated cosmopolitan city.  The streets are very clean; there is a wide variety of beautiful architecture spanning several centuries and styles, all mixed together.  People are very pleasant.  We have noticed that the dress is fairly informal; some of the older people wore suit jackets or dresses, but most people were in jeans or slacks and sweaters or light jackets, which made it a little easier for us to blend in.  Traffic is a bit frenetic, but people obey the signs at crosswalks, which made crossing the wide boulevards feel safer.  There are buses and taxis everywhere, and every so often both civilian and military security was to be seen patrolling the street corners.  In spite of all the warnings we had read, we felt reasonably safe in Bogota; of course we treated it as we would any big city, walking quickly as though we know where we are going, no obvious jewelry or valuables, and stay in the safer districts.

After breakfast we continued walking up the side street till we reached a large open plaza, with a beautiful view of the mountain above, there is a large white cathedral perched at the top, which we later learned was Cerro de Montserrat .  As we got closer to the plaza, the shops became bigger and more glamorous, with lots of shops displaying the wonderful leather goods for which Colombia is famous.  We crossed the plaza and found ourselves in a pedestrian zone where a street market had been set up; we wandered through it taking in the colorful handicrafts as well as the practical offerings such as batteries, and phone minutes.  Pam stopped at a book vendor and purchased a small book of Colombian myths and legends.  At the end of the market was another plaza with a gazebo and statue of somebody famous; we are not sure whom, but there were some great shots of the cathedral on the hill.  We also encountered one of the special buses that we had read about, the Trans-Milenio.  These are similar to subways back home except that they double buses are above ground; there are special platforms for boarding and exiting, and you cannot board or disembark anywhere else.  They can also travel in areas that are designated pedestrian concourses, unlike other vehicles.  We started down one of the pedestrian walkways that was nicely bricked and had a water-step-fountain running along side.  There was a very nice-looking bookstore where we decided to stop and see if we could find some books that had more information about things to see and do in Colombia, as most of the guidebooks we had investigated before we left were very sketchy.  We stayed for a little over an hour until they closed up for lunch, finding some beautiful books with great pictures and background for all of Colombia.  The marvels of Columbia are vast and it would take a long time to view all of the beauty of this country.  Pam also found a book of drawings by Colombian native Fernando Botero to show to Dave, who was not familiar with his art.  He is fondly know here as “the man who draws fat people”.

We appeared to be in a university neighborhood, as there were many young student-types and lots of advertisements for student discounts.  We walked up a few side streets to see nicely tended homes and apartment buildings, some with some great art deco exteriors.  Back on the main pedestrian way we came to a large intersection by the Trans-Milenio stop Museo d’Oro (Gold Museum).  The square was humming with people, and we saw several clusters of men all talking animatedly and holding white papers in their hands like open napkins.  As we walked by, we realized they were buying and selling Colombian emeralds; the stones were just lying loose in the papers.  One man followed us for a ways trying to sell us a “beautiful stone”, but we weren’t about to buy anything off the street.

We found another side street with a book fair going on; the entire street was a pedestrian walkway and even had small malls off to the side.  EVERYONE sold books, some places bought books, and every genre of book you could think of.  The street was very crowded; one gets the impression that the people in this part of town are well read.

At the end of the book fair area we found a small shop that sold phone minutes and sim cards.  While Dave talked with the owner about acquiring the right sim card for his phone, Pam watched the booming business in the shop.  It appears many people don’t have phones of their own, but they don’t really need them; they can walk up to one of hundreds of these tiny storefronts or to the vendors on every corner, give a phone number which is dialed for them, and then quoted the charge based on the number of minutes used.  At this kiosk there were people in line waiting to use one of many cell phones that were all numbered and chained to the wall; the owner’s young son was sitting on a stool taking orders and assisting the next customer in line.  This is quite a business concept.

We started to feel a few raindrops so decided to head back to the hotel and try to find a Laundromat to clean our riding suits which have not been cleaned since we left Chicago.  We looked through the yellow pages for a self-service type of laundry but only found one; when we called, she was very nice, but said she was very far away from us.  We asked the hotel staff for recommendations and the head housekeeper said there was a self-service laundry at the Hotel Tequendama, which was just 2 blocks away.  Dave called and was eventually put through to someone who assured him they had self-service laundry, it was open until 6pm, and that we did not need to be guests of the hotel to use it.  Great!  We threw all our laundry into our duffel bag (including our riding gear which had not been washed since we left home) and headed for the Tequendama.  You can guess what happened next.  We entered the lobby of this glamorous hotel in jeans and sweat suit and were immediately accosted by the chief bellman.  When we asked about the laundry, they asked if we were guests. No? We wouldn’t be able to use it.  When Dave explained that he had just spoken to someone not 10 minutes ago who said we could, they called the laundry to see if it was still open.  No, sorry, it’s already closed, but you can come tomorrow, but not here; it’s just around the back, you can go see it now so you will know the way.  We thanked them, and walked around the back.  The only thing we found was a regular laundry (not self-service) that was closed until Monday.  Oh, well.  We continued walking just in case there was another door for the self-service laundry, but found nothing, so after making a complete circle around the Plaza International Tequendamas we were back at our hotel.  Tomorrow we will try the place that is far away up north.

All that walking had Pam ready for a short nap; afterwords, Dave went to check email while Pam put the plate numbers on her helmet to match her chaleco.  Dave came back with updates from several friends; Bill Roy had read our question about the big brown nests in Costa Rica and Panama and informed us they were termite nests. He had learned that when he was in Costa Rica a few years back (mystery solved!).  Our young friend Jefferson from Canas, Costa Rica had found the website and thanked us for including his picture.  We find we are making good friends wherever we go.

For dinner, we hired a cab and asked for a recommendation for a good restaurant that was not too expensive.  His first response was to go to the top of the Cero Monserat where we could have a magnificent view of the city; however, we didn’t want to go so far so he took us instead to Restaurante El Pozzetto, an Italian restaurant on the north side at Calle 61 and Carrera 7a.  It was a small, very nice restaurant with an excellent Italian menu; the mixed appetizer of prociutto and melon with salami, cheese, and tomatoes would have been enough for dinner all on its own. We couldn’t resist though, and ordered entrees of chicken cacciatore and spaghetti ala Pozzetto, with ham and salami. We spent a couple of hours over dinner, at which time our cab driver returned for us and took us back to the hotel.  Tomorrow we continue our search for a Laundromat, and a place to wash Tiburon (the bike) also.

We are in Bogota at:

Latitude: 4.6104

Longitude: -74.0722

Nearest Town from unit Location: La Merced, Colombia
Distance to the nearest town: 1 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 01/27/2008 02:19:25

Click on the link above to view satellite photos and map of our location tonight.

Bogota, Columbia (Day 2) 0

Click Here To View Today;s Photos

Success at last!  The Laundromat that we called yesterday is a self-service style that is open 24 hours daily; we learned that these are called Lavanderias tipo Americano”American-style laundries.  We took a cab to the Granada Hills shopping mall in the north, about a twenty-minute ride for which we paid the equivalent of $4USD.  Sure enough, there was the laundry, with a small supermarket next door where we could buy soap, and a small cafe where we could have breakfast.  What more could we ask?  We purchased machine tokens from the barista at the cafe and the security guard and proceeded to complete the laundry, taking turns watching over it and exploring the mall.  Dave brought back breakfast in the form of coffees and wonderful arepas stuffed with sweet farmer’s cheese.

When laundry was done, we asked the security guards to get a cab to go back to the hotel; one of the hailed a cab from the street, while the other one wrote down the cab’s license number.  We soon arrived back at the hotel, where Dave learned of a car wash nearby where he could take Tiburon.

It seems that on Sunday most businesses are closed.  After a meeting with the bell boy and one of the cab drivers Dave agreed to follow behind a cab that would lead him to a car wash that was open on Sunday.  The Suzuki was washed as Dave cringed watching.  High pressure water hoses, a complete scrub down followed by a compressed air gun that shot some kind of degreaser fog was followed by what Dave was told was a spray down with some kind of graphite to make a smoother finish.  The bike was definitely clean now, all of the grease from around (and on) the chain was gone; this was followed by a wax and polish.  Dave only drew the line when the employee attempted to armor-all the tires, not good for motorcycle traction.  The whole job took about an hour and cost a little over $4.00 US.  We were looking good now but on the drive home the brakes seemed somewhat weak.  Back at the hotel an inspection revealed some sort of grease or oil on the brake disks (graphite?).  Dave cleaned the disks with some paper towels but wanted some brake cleaner to make them just right.  The shops that sold that sort of thing were all closed on Sunday, we finally found some aerosol electrical contact cleaner at the supermarket near our hotel.  That did the trick and the brakes were OK again.  While looking for a shop that sold brake cleaner we were shown an entire neighborhood with several blocks of just motorcycle shops.  The big ones were all closed, but many small cycle tire repair, detailing and chaleco makers were open.  Dave wished he were going to be around on Monday when it all opens up.  After Dave got back, we went to dinner.  It was early and still light, so we walked up two blocks to the Candelaria district once again to peruse the eating establishments.  We finally settled on Punto Rapido, a cafeteria-style restaurant, where we had something similar to Swiss steak with lentils, rice and oven roasted potatoes.  There was a coffee and dessert section, so after dinner we had some great dessert and Cappuccino.  After a short walk back to the hotel, we packed the bags for tomorrow’s trip.  Rested and clean (Tiburon too), we start in the direction of Quito, Ecuador by way of Cali, Colombia.

Tonight we were in Bogota:

Current Weather Click Here.

Latitude: 4.6104
Longitude: -74.0723
Nearest Town from unit Location:  La Merced, Colombia
Distance to the nearest town: 1 km(s)
Time in GMT the message was sent: 01/28/2008 00:01:49

Open / Close


Your List

  • Your list items
  • Your list items
  • Your list items
  • Your list items
  • Your list items