Monthly Archives: January 2020

Costa Rica part 1

9th Jan

Costa Rica round one travel day

We cuddled Hayley goodbye at the airport even though she dislikes cuddles from her Dad.

Ginette – Hayley has never liked to say goodbye when she was little she would run and hide so that she wouldn’t have to give us cuddles when we left.

Our first leg of the journey was a three hour flight to Mexico City, we had a 4 hour layover then a three hour flight to Costa Rica. We arrived after a short taxi ride at our hostel at 2.30am.

Ginette – What a contrast this hostel was to our luxury, executive accommodation in San Jose. I think on reflection I would prefer to be travelling 5 star (on the bikes) rather than budget style. I suppose on the upside it makes you appreciate the little treats rather than taking them for granted.

10th Jan.

Alajuela

We had a walk around the town, it was warmer and I enjoyed the vibe of the place as I felt that we were in a foreign area, compared to the very western feel that the Cabo peninsula had, although the town was modern and old with mixed architecture with some westerners around.

We found a free museum with a confusing history about a William Walker, I had to research him again later to get the missing information. We have come across him before but he is only mentioned in passing in a museum in Leon, Nicaragua. It would seem he had a fair part to do with Nicaragua troubled past but he was barely mentioned in Leon’s museum.

San Jose.

We took a bus into the city of San Jose to a hostel Del Paseo where we had a couple of beds in a 6 bed dorm. The hostel was clean and modern and over 5 floors. The top floor was a large open space games and tv room, the kitchen was however tiny, so we decided to eat out.

Ginette – we had dinner in the local Pizza Hut, we chose it because of the free salad bar only to be told to have food from the salad bar we would need to pay an additional £3 each.

San Jose central area was closed to traffic so there was a nice shopping and cultural area to walk around. We sat in a park in the sunshine watching the parrots in the trees then had a couple of beers. We get the impression that Costa Rica is not going to be a cheap area to travel through as the National parks seem to charge $40 dollar entrance fees however the beers we had were £1.80 each for a small beer and the hostel rooms were £6 each so it may not be all bad.

11th Jan

Travel to Nicaragua.

The hostel last night was very clean and modern but due to all the tiled floors and open areas it was hard to get to sleep until everyone else was asleep due to the noise travelling around the hostel.

Ginette – I had no problem, I was knackered and as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out for the count.

Caught the 7.30 Tica bus , these are air conditioned 52 seat coaches so the ride was comfortable. We met a lass from Manchester only 2 weeks in on her trip, she was travelling alone and with no fixed plan.

Ginette – We spent 9 hours on this bus, which had very little leg room so I am not sure I would use the word comfortable. Fortunately the time went by relatively quickly. The Tica bus runs throughout Central America, jumping from one city to the next.  It is a well set up operation, they process what ever visa requirements they can in advance for a small fee and are at the border control with you so if there are any issues they can assist.

It took about an hour to get through the border and we arrived in Rivas at 4.30pm. We opted to ride a cycle tuk tuk to the hotel we had booked, this was Murphy’s shack, which turned out to be Julieta Hostel where we stayed before, but slightly cheaper (£11).

The Rivas plaza was just as busy as it was before Christmas, there was a dance demonstration going on by lots of groups of young girls in long flowing bright dresses.

Later the same area was set up with a karaoke machine and the locals where belting out some songs.

It’s nice the way the plazas are so well used by locals, and the old dance customs are being kept alive.

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12th Jan

Reunited with our bikes.

We took another cycle tuktuk to the Rivas bus stop and caught the local chicken bus to San Juan de Sol.

We had a bit of confusion over the various currencies, we had just changed from Mexico, Costa Rica and into Nicaraguan in 3 days and the currency conversion for each was very different.

In Rivas Nicaragua the tuktuk man wanted 4 American dollars but we wanted to pay in Cordobas. Then at the bus station we had to deal with the 8 year old conductor to pay our fares. We struggled to understand the fee and then to get our heads around what we were actually paying. This part of travel can be frustrating, you don’t want to be ripped off but this morning we felt a little overwhelmed. It’s easy to think that all you need is to know the currency conversion but it’s not always that simple, the actual notes are also confusing. For example we have a note which states it’s 10 mil. But is actually 10 thousand , and is worth approx £14.  Once we have been in a country for a while it becomes easier but today due to the many quick changes in currency we have been left a bit bewildered.

Ginette – It is my role to manage the money and usually it is not a problem, but on this particularly day I confess to feeling flustered. We didn’t order a tuktuk it stopped outside of our hostel and offered to take us to the bus stop. He refused our American dollars because they had slight tears in them and I couldn’t remember the Nicaraguan conversion rate. Later on the bus, as I didn’t understand the conversion rate I had no idea if the young boy was asking for change for helping us load our bags or the fee for the bus. Fortunately, we were able to laugh about the situation but it was frustrating. It would be so easy to be ripped off in these situations.

Arriving in San Juan de Sur we booked into our hostel who kindly looked after our bags until a room was ready and we set about retrieving our bikes. With a gift of cake and $10 we thanked Wouter and his friends for keeping our bikes safe.

The day was then spent checking the bikes out and repacking the panniers.

Some sunbathing and beer time was also had, it’s a hard life.

13th Jan

Blown off course.

After a windy night and still a very windy morning we decided to take another day off the bikes, this gave us a bit more time to look at our route through Costa Rica.

A walk along the beach was a blowy affair, not too pleasant when the sand was blasting our skin but at least it was still warm.

We hoped to move on the following day as we were getting restless, the forecast was not great in fact there were warnings in place that by this time next week the winds will be even higher and at dangerous levels by Monday.

We can alter our route and divert to a town if needed, the following day was the only day where we had planned to wild camp so hopefully the winds will be kind to us.

It’s not just the effort involved in cycling in high winds that’s the problem, it’s trying to keep the bike straight in the cross winds especially when traffic comes past and creates a mini vacuum, which sucks us into the road.

We moved again to another hostel, it’s cheaper than last nights and smaller, but a little cleaner. In our previous hostel I had two mice encounters with the little scamps running right across the top of the kitchen worktop.

14th Jan

Blown to Costa Rica.

Breakfast took ages to prepare this morning as the gas stove in the hostel kitchen had such poor output it took 30 minutes to boil our water.

It was very windy again and there was a weather warning on one site that the winds are going to get worse, but not all the weather sites agree.

We opted to set off as we were both restless, we stopped for a bit of shopping and bumped into our Belgium friend again so managed another set of farewells.

To get out of town we had a hill climb to do, this was all into the headwinds making it hard going, the bikes were buffeted sideways so keeping control was not easy at least there was not a great deal of traffic to worry us.

Ginette – I was blown into the barrier twice, there is a fine art to cycling in the wind, and it took me a while not to overcompensate for the 50 mile an hour gusts.

The border crossing was straight forward with only a short queue to deal with.

I found the afternoon hard work with weary legs and my feed stops all out of sync.

After one short break I had a flat on my back tyre so replaced it with a spare tube.

We camped in a cabin and camp site area called Finca Canas Castilla, we arrived just before dark but first impressions were good. The area in the jungle and had cabins and camping spaces.  We had not long been set up long before we were entertained by a woodpecker and as it got dark we could here the jungle coming alive with lots of noises all around us. I think the noisiest was probably the frogs calling to each over, it’s sounds a little like a load of jackhammers working in the distance.

Ginette – when we arrived on the site we were met by two German Shepherds, you would have thought they would make excellent guard dogs but instead they greeted us with wagging tails. The older of the two took a liking to us and followed us everywhere, he even slept by our tent and barked if anything came near us. As soon as we moved in the tent he would try and get in the tent, he was adorable but I wouldn’t have wanted to upset him.

15th Jan

Wildlife encounters and never smile at a crocodile.

It rained a lot in the night, not that Ginette would know as she slept like a snoring log.

She woke me up around 6am declaring this was the best time to spot wildlife so off we went, with no breakfast to hunt.

We did the shorter yellow route, it wasn’t the easiest to follow at first but we managed it after a few wrong turns. We spotted lots of monkeys, mostly spider monkeys but also heard the very distinctive sounds of howler monkeys. There was a lot of bird life as well, all in all these walks are great due to the anticipation involved in the search for the exotic wild animals.

I was still pretty tired from yesterday, all this non cycling rest has worn me out, and I ended up going back to bed.

Once up we set off on another walk this time on the red route, much easier to follow but a longer route. We spotted more monkeys in the trees, they are fascinating to watch and they sometimes just sit and watch us, like we are the exhibits in a zoo.

We bumped into a young couple with their baby, the lady was a little distressed as she had just been shat on by a monkey and wanted to clean the mess off.

We walked slowly in the hope we would spot a sleeping Sloth but no joy today.

Back at camp I got the fishing gear out, my gear is now depleted as we had to lose some weight for the flights we have taken and it’s a long time since I tried to use it. The spool is not running free so I have tried WD40 to see if it will improve. My fishing attempt saw me spendings more time trying to get the tackle together than actually fishing ( Not that I ever catch anything) when I finally started training the bait how to dodge fish the nice German camp owner came and politely mentioned that maybe I should fish a little further down off a higher bank so that the crocodiles don’t see me as prey. It made the fishing more fun, not such a boring sport when you are on crocodile alert.

We spent the evening chatting to a French couple that are currently living in Canada, they have done a fair bit of travelling and had a good attitude to life, it was nice spending time with them.

16th Jan

A Slothly day, not.

We moved our tent yesterday to a spot under a tin roof so the tent would be dry to pack away in the morning. We did this by carrying it across the track with all the bedding still inside so it was a quick affair.

This morning we took the last loop walk by the river, the white trail. We were hoping to find a sloth and luckily we spotted a well hidden, fast asleep sloth in a trees branches.

Following this encounter one of the camp Alsatian dogs disturbed a crocodile that was sunbathing right near where I was trying to fish yesterday. Then a troop of spider monkeys paraded acrobatically across the trees in front of us.

With all this going on around us we decided to stay another day, we had already packed the tent away so needed to put it back up again.

Ginette – We wanted to see the sloth when it was awake so needed to wait till dusk. It seemed a shame to rush off when we had so much wildlife around us.

After chilling for a while we took a cycle ride out into the hills with no luggage, the owner of this ranch had no English but had encouraged us to cycle to a view point.

This route was hard going, all on hard packed soil and stone roads with some very steep ups and downs, too steep to cycle, it’s just as well we didn’t have our bags. The last 1.5 mile to the view point was a return route so we locked our bikes to a tree and walked to the top. Ginette didn’t do the last stretch as the track had stopped and she wanted to avoid any snakes that could be in waiting.

So a typical rest day, spent tiring ourselves out.

Ginette – a day of taking our bikes for a walk, I don’t think the German owner understood us and was encouraging us to walk the trail not cycle it!  We pushed just as much as we cycled. As we have been sitting around the camp site we have been reading about Costa Rica and it’s wildlife including numerous deadly poisonous snakes. So when Gary decided to walk across a remote field with high grass I decided to give this a miss. To be honest I thought he was bonkers, he had shorts on, which meant he had no protection for his legs. I expressed my concerns but he was determined to walk to the top of the hill, and anyone who has met Gary will know that when he sets his mind on something there is no stopping him.

Back at camp we did get to watch the Sloth make slow movements through the tree and was shown another Sloth, a smaller female sloth with her baby and this was right in the campsite.

Ginette – We spent most of the day looking up at the trees trying to find the sloths, we were really excited when we found them but unfortunately our camera was not sophisticated enough to photo them.

This place was a great find, so much nature all around.

17th Jan

Windy start, rough afternoon and lost wallet.

A fairly leisurely start to the day, we went on another hunt for the Sloth we spotted yesterday but it was in vain but the one in the camp was still nesting in the same spot.

Ginette – We met a couple from the UK who are touring Costa Rica on a much bigger budget than us, we haven’t met many British tourers so it was great chatting to them. They share our ambition of being able to work 9 months and holiday 3 months a year. They own a guest house so are a little closer to the dream than we are.

The wind was really strong in the morning, it blew me into the verge a couple of times, we had about 10 miles on the PanAmerican highway then turned off onto route 4. We weren’t sure it was fully pathed so was pleased to see it was tarmac.

The traffic was less on this road but the wind was very strong north eastly making it really hard going.

Ginette – I wish in hindsight, I had stopped and videoed Gary, I had to stop several times as I thought it was reckless to cycle on this stretch of road with the strong winds. At one point we were both blown off the road, to avoid landing on Gary, I swerved back into the road, had there been a vehicle behind me, I dread to think what would have happened. I couldn’t stand the thought of seeing Gary being blown under a truck so in fear/anger I cycled ahead and stayed in the middle of the road. Every time I saw a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction I would check to see if there was anything behind me, if there was I cycled to the kerb and stopped the bike. At one stop I turned round and couldn’t see Gary, it was probably only a minute or two but my heart stopped, had he fallen off? had he had an accident? Our last words would have been Gary ‘this is exciting isn’t it’ – Me ‘No this is STUPID’. Fortunately the wind died down and by anger/fear with it.

After reaching Santa Cecelia the road changed direction and fortunately the wind also died down, the road surface however had become just hard packed mud and stone. It wasn’t too bad to cycle on but no where near as easy as tarmac.

The route took us toward the Caribbean side of Costa Rica around a large volcano that was fully shrouded in cloud so no scenic views. We passed fruit tree plantations mixed in with rainforest, some workmen were trimming the verges and there where Howler monkeys competing with the noise and winning! They are incredibly loud.

This route was off the tourist track and the small towns were few and far between. At one of the towns we stopped for a drink and while we were chilling a cheeky dog pi**ed all over one of Gary’s panniers, I tried to suppress a laugh to shout at him when much to my amazement he wandered over to my bike and promptly pi**ed all over my pannier.  Gary and I were in stitches, the cheeky mutt.

Later we stopped for another drink only to find the wallet was missing.

Ginette – I am in charge of money, so this was fully my mistake. At the last stop I had checked the currency exchange rate and had left my wallet on the top of my pannier. I felt so silly, but it is an easy mistake to do, we have cycled off on numerous occasions with helmets, glasses, drink bottles all left on top of the panniers. Fortunately we usually hear them when they land on the ground. However the road condition was really bad, with lots of ruts and loose stones so I simply didn’t hear it when it fell off.

I left Net with all the bags next to a shop and cycled back the 9 miles to where we knew we last had it. I searched the road and ditches but no wallet. Luckily we later found all the credit cards in another wallet so we only lost about £40 and possibly Ginette’s driving licence. It was a worry as we thought we had been left with only one card and we weren’t sure how we would go about getting new cards from the UK.

Ginette – Fortunately I don’t keep all the currencies in the same wallet and I separate the cards so that in circumstances like this we are covered. I also keep all the loose change in a separate purse which meant we could at least have a drink.  When Gary returned empty handed, I asked the lady if she’d accept American dollars which she kindly agreed to and gave us the change in Colones. If we had lost the cards it would have simply meant waiting in a town for a week or two, not the end of the world but not ideal either.

It was now getting dark so we managed to get the locals to agree to us pitching next to the shop and an empty house, we cooked boiled potatoes, carrots and broccoli and spooned in some soft cheese all in the porch of the disused house. It was pitch black, raining intermittently and the mozzies were buzzing around us. All in all a poor end to the day and the camp spot a stark contrast to the beautiful camp we left that morning.

Ginette – this was awful, as Gary prepared dinner, I couldn’t help the tears from falling, we had no wash or toilet facilities. The locals sat outside the shop drinking and talking which meant we had no privacy and we were surrounded by long grass and discarded rubbish. All because I had been careless. We had intended to cycle a further 20 miles and find a secluded spot to wild camp instead of being the local attraction, in the wet discarded waste land.

18th Jan

5 punctures and heavy rain.

Up very early, the site we had blagged was in a small town, so going for a poo was not possible in the open. We found a nice wild poo site a little further down the road.

Ginette – By ‘nice’ Gary means a very wet muddy field, with lots of flying insects. I later learnt one had bitten me and it was not on my bum.

No wind to battle but we had lots of heavy showers, the sun dried us off but no sooner were we dry and it would pour down again.

I had 5 punctures on the back wheel, I had run out of new inner tubes and was finding the patch repairs were failing, we had a similar issue in Turkey. I even changed the tyre for the spare in case I was missing a thorn but had two more punctures, one was a hole next to the valve on the inside of the tube, the other was actually a thin tire wire puncture so neither were related.

The route 4 road turned back into a tarmac surface after 15 miles so the cycling when the tyre was up was quite good. We spotted and heard lots of birds , one black colour bird had a beak like a Toucan.

Ginette – I enjoyed the ride, there were so many different brightly coloured birds. This would be a twitchers paradise. Although it was very wet, it was warm so it wasn’t a real problem.

We managed to get some cash in Upola after trying 4 banks, we sat and discussed the afternoons route and opted to continue along route 4 instead of heading up the hill to Bijagua.

Ginette spotted a cycle shop along route (a lucky find as there is really not a lot along this road) so we now have 4 new inner tubes, well we did until the 5th puncture meant I needed to use a new tube already.

We have treated ourselves to a hotel room at 10,000 colones (£13) a night, the manager wanted a further £6 to use the kitchen so we opted for a cold supper. We had a big breakfast at about 11.30 and neither of us felt very hungry.

19th Jan

Very hilly and wet day.

We set off from San Raphael heading inland to Lake Arenal, we knew we had 15 miles of uphill to contend with. The climbing was OK but some sections were too steep and even to cycle so we had to push the bikes. The road was tarmac for only 50% the rest was gravel and dirt, unfortunately the steeper sections had the worst stones.

When we set off it was 28 degrees but cloudy, by the time we finished it was 17 degrees pouring with rain and we were cold and wet but still in tee shirts and shorts.

We called into one of the many cafes at the small town of Arenal and used the internet to book a room for £23 as camping would be no fun.

Airlibre homestay turned out to be a great find, it looked poor from the outside but inside we had in effect a shared home with three bedrooms for guests and a large lounge and kitchen. The owner María was a friendly and knowledgable host, she was most welcoming and once we were settled in gave us lots of useful tips for our stay in the area.

The garden was a real treat as there were humming birds hovering within a few feet of us, we’ve had lots of hummingbird sightings but none this close and for so long.

We had a walk around town and down by the lake while the rain stopped for a while, the town had a mix of Tico (the term used for locals) and gringos, some of which have made this town their permanent home. It’s a small town but well equipped with lots of cafes and grocery stores all in a short walking distance.

Monday was pouring with rain and we decided to book another night in Casa Airelibre as the accommodation was really nice and the host equally so.

On our host María’s recommendation we took a short cycle ride and walk to Laguna de Cote, this was pretty much a wash out with pouring rain and misty clouds restricting what is supposed to be a beautiful view of the lake.

This lake is famous for a UFO photo that was taken while a geography aerial survey was taken, it’s recorded as the best UFO photo ever taken and is easy to research on the internet. We couldn’t even see the lake let alone the UFO.

Our thoughts have turned back to the return to the UK so we took the afternoon to do a little job seeking.

Ginette – we have phone issues again so limited capacity to take photos, but we couldn’t resist taking pictures and video clips of the humming birds they are amazing to watch.

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20th Jan

We set of with 32 miles to cycle around Lake Arenal over to Fortuna. The route was on good tarmac roads and was very up and down around the lake. The road was slightly inland from the lake edge and as it’s a volcanic area there were not a lot of flat areas, the area between the lake and road was fenced off and still jungle so we had a ride of anticipation searching the trees for Sloths and monkeys, we didn’t spot any by the lake but could hear the howler monkeys distinctive calls.

We passed a large group of cyclists going the opposite way, the first we have seen for a while, they had no luggage and a bus was following from behind.

Once we left the lake it was more of a downhill section with still a few short climbs to punish us. We cycled past the entrance to Arenal volcano park, even this close to the volcano we couldn’t see it as the whole area was covered in cloud, we are at a high altitude so actually cycling along inside the cloud cover.

We past several hot spring resorts, very expensive looking places. We knew of a free hot spring the locals used but didn’t stop as we hadn’t set off till early afternoon so didn’t want to run out of daylight.

Ginette – added to this it was pouring with rain

As we neared Fortuna we did have a Sloth sighting, several tourist buses had pulled other and the passengers were free gazing, so we stopped as well and was pointed towards the Sloth in the tree. As we descended we broke free of the cloud cover and even got a view of the bottom of the volcano, it’s middle to top still fully buried in cloud cover.

The road from the hot springs down to Fortuna was much busier with traffic and the bill boards, hotels and cafes were in abundance, this area is a big draw for tourists visiting Costa Rica.

Our accommodation was booked for two nights, we have a nice room and a shared kitchen and lounge, it all looks nice and tidy but with the other guests using the kitchen late and sitting in the lounge it is not a quiet place to stay.

The weather was wet, yes it’s a rainforest area however there was a big problem in the area which meant a storm on the Caribbean side was passing through and another storm on the Pacific side was hitting the area. This is supposed to be the dry season so the weather is unusual for this time of year, it looks like we have at least another 4 days of miserable weather to endure. Camping and cycling in this weather is not a lot of fun, plus with the poor visibility we are not getting to enjoy the area.

We are thinking of settling somewhere for a few days as they say ‘to weather the storm’.

Ginette – we cycled to this area so that we could see the lake and volcano but we have not seen much of either due to heavy cloud cover. It is a little disappointing but still better than being stuck in an office 9 to 5.  On a positive the area is very clean, Costa Rican’s have nailed recycling and waste management, we have not seen any of the usual piles of rubbish by the side of the roads which is a real bonus. However there are lots of biting insects and we are covered in itchy bites.

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Our shoes are wet through, so each day we are cycling with wet feet, yuk and ouch!!

 

Wed 22nd Jan
Had a day off the bikes mainly due to the bad weather forecast, there is a lot to do around the area of Fortuna. White water rafting for $85 each. Walking the base of the Arenal volcano, entrance fee $15 each. Short walk to Fortuna waterfall $15 each. Loads of other things but all for a big fat fee.
We are not saying we have seen it and done it all but we have completed similar trips to the ones above above for no fee and with better visibility. We opted to just go for a walk around the town and local area.
We headed over to a spot on the Rio Fortuna which has a rope swing for the locals and hardy backpackers. No one was in the water as the river was in full flow, the swimming area and swing were under a small waterfall drop, it was easy to access just off the road and down a short muddy path.
We then walked a loop back up the hill and around into Fortuna. On route was a chocolate plantation with a welcoming sign, we popped in and and read the many information boards. We now know that the small black bird with the bright red back is a sergeant bird. Just as we went to venture into the wooded area a lady came and called us back, it turned out that the tour was not free, it was a whopping with $25 dollars a head, bugger that.
The walk around the town was actually quite nice, a mix of locals homes and small hotels interwoven in the forest. We got to see squirrels, Toucans, sergeant birds, turkey vultures and many other colourful exotic bird species.
Fortuna town has loads of bars and cafes and tourists shops, we stopped in a local cafe for some lunch.  I was offered some of the best cocaine in the area but declined the kind gentleman.

Ginette – Even without the beard Gary is offered drugs everywhere we go, I’m not sure what this says about him…

Thursday 23rd Jan

The weather yesterday was not as bad as the forecast so today we chose to do a 32 mile stretch along our plotted route, it was downhill and flat for the first half then up hill for the second half ending in a large town called Ciuadad Quesada.
On route we spotted toucans, or as there were three in a tree threecans. We saw a sleeping Sloth and also a huge Iguana resting high in a tree branch.
As we climbed to to the town we disappeared into the clouds again and the drizzling rain soaked us through.
Our IT systems are playing up again, I think this damp weather is getting into the devices.   The iphone won’t hold charge and the volume is going up and down on its own, you have to force it to shut down as the normal button has no effect.  I have bought another couple of charging cables, these cables don’t seem to last very long. The I phone is now packed in rice to hopefully dry out.

Ginette – apologies for the lack of photo’s we are unable to download them from the iphone.

The room in the current hotel Casa Mariana was really nice, a big room with neat decor and full wet room.

24th Jan 

Ginette hit by a lorry.

Today we were headed up and over the central mountain range with a view to make it to the lower hills on the other side.
We had a morning of climbing, we cycled for 10 miles all up hill having to use our lowest gears to plod up the steep climbs. The weather was wet and misty with very poor visibility at times. This was a great shame as the 10 miles up hill could have been just as well been a hard workout on a tread mill as there were no views to enjoy.
The traffic was busy with some large lorries using the same road, you could hear them well before they passed us, most gave us room but some of the winding bends meant the longer lorries had to take the bends using both sides of the road.

We reached Zapotec when the traffic slowed to a near halt, but one of the long lorries pulled back in too early and swiped Ginette with its rear wheels.
She wasn’t knocked off the bike but was thrown to one side and a saddle bag was ripped from the bike. Ginette forearm came up like a balloon instantly, the truck driver stopped but we didn’t need his assistance so sent him on.
As we were  opposite a local shop Ginette went over to get some ice for her arm. The lady shop keeper was very attentive and concerned, she called in the local nurse to take a look at Net. An English speaking lady, Beatriz, helped translate for all concerned.
We agreed that Ginette should go to the hospital to check her arm, it swelled up the moment she made contact with the lorry.  Ginette and I didn’t think it was broken but as she would be cycling with this injury we needed to be sure. The nurse was keen to order an ambulance but Ginette would not hear of this, she was fairly certain it was simply bruised.  Beatriz found a taxi that would take us and the bikes but it was going to be $45 and we did want to spend that much. Beatriz kindly offered to take us to the taxi reducing the cost to $26 dollars.
Beatriz left and returned 1/2 an hour later with her pickup and all of her family, Ivan her husband and her 10 year old Daughter and 6 year old son.
This family then loaded us and our bikes and took us all the way to the hospital in San Ramon (approx 15 miles a way).  The kindness of strangers is a wonderful experience and makes this trip all the more worth while.

I left Ginette in the hospital whilst I found us a hotel, by the time I got back she was all done and waiting for me, no bones broken.

Ginette – the things I do to keep this blog lively, my arm is very bruised and swollen but no serious harm,  I was really impressed with the hospital,  I was in and our within an hour at no cost to us at all.  
The kitchen in the hostel was poor so we ate out but it was not great our Chinese meal was covered in some sort of gloopy gravy.  When we got back to the “villa hostel” the gates were closed and it took 10 minutes to get anyone’s attention.
All in all a pretty miserable day other than meeting Ivan and Beatriz.

We didn’t even get to cycle the 15 mile downhill section.

Ginette – as they say tomorrow is another day, hopefully we will make the seaside and the sun will shine.  We hope you are all well and enjoying 2020.

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Christmas and New Year- Central America

Christmas Day in a hotel in San Jose los Cabos and on the beach sunbathing, we cooked our own dinner and swapped the few presents we had for each other. I am really pleased with my two new tee shirts, one is covered in tweety bird cartoon pictures.

We split on Boxing Day, Ginette to the airport to meet Hayley and me to the next apartment in los Cabos up on a hill.

The apartment was in a complex with a small gym that didn’t work well and a very cold but pretty swimming pool.

We spent the 5 days here walking, sunbathing, swimming and window shopping.

Ginette – Hayley and I struggled to find the apartment as our mapping systems would not work. We decided to jump off the bus in the town and flag down a taxi, this step was easy but it took the taxi driver a further 40 minutes to find the apartment. this was in despite of the fact we had the address and a map.

Ginette lost on New Year’s Eve. 

She left Hayley and I on the beach while she went back to the room for a kip,  hours later we arrived with no Net in sight. I found her at the marina and guided her back. She wasn’t lost she says, she just couldn’t find the accommodation?

Ginette – I wasn’t lost, I knew where I was, I just couldn’t find the apartment. I realised after about an hour of wandering up and down the streets from the beach that Gary and Hayley would be worried about me. So i gave up the search and headed back to the beach where I was sure they’d look for me.

New Year’s Eve spent in a restaurant with audience participation liveshow, Hayley was hung upside down and fed tequila shots, we saw the new decade İn one the beach with thousands of others watching a huge fireworks display.

On News Day we paid for a Boat ride to lands end to see some rock formations and arches, also some sunbathing seals, this is where the Pacific Ocean and the sea of Cortez meet.

Cabo San Lucas is very tourist with lots of North Americans either on holiday or living as expats. It’s not really to my taste but I can see why people would use this area for holidays. In the marina entrance boats of all sizes make the way in and out all day, the fishing charter boats have Seals jumping on the stern for a sneaky fish feed and camera shoot.

We hired a car so we could explore further afield plus we could reach wild camping sights to keep the cost down.

Chaco hot spring is down a dusty washboard back road and has camping near a hot spring. The hot spring is fed from under the sands so there are a few pools of warm water but the rest of the stream is pretty cold there is a walk further up the stony riverbed to a waterfall, we tried to find the waterfall but couldn’t find a safe way up past a narrow water filled gully so turned back.

In the lower stream under the small dam I saw a snake in the water and later we all bathed our feet in for a fish foot spa.

The camping was a better experience as we were allowed open fires and there was plenty of firewood around, we cooked all our food this way as well.

Unfortunately I lost one on my hearing aids here, we searched for ages but it’s gone.

Ginette – this was my fault, Gary gave them to me for safe keeping and I put them in my pocket. I felt so guilty I spent the best part of the morning trying to find them amongst the beach and wooded areas we had camped on the night before.

We then moved onto Cabo Pulmo National park which was down about 10 miles of dusty washboard roads, we visited the tourist information and were directed further down the coast to a sheltered free campsite Frailes playa

To reach Frailes Playa there was a pretty bad stretch of potholed road full of water, if it wasn’t for the fact we had seen two wheel drive cars come back the other way we may not have attempted to drive through. 

This area was great with a long sheltered bay and no facilities, we had to improvise a bucket and rope to access water from a deep well.

We went on a Hill climb walk which was a bit hazardous, we had been told about the route but we never found a path so scrambled up and other the rocks and cacti to the top of the hill. Hayley found some of the sections especially hard as she has been trained to climb with harnesses and guy ropes, we were free styling which was rather silly.

The snorkeling was good with plenty of large and small fish of numerous species.

Again we had open fires which does add to the adventure of outdoor camping.

On the way back we again made it through the puddles to playa sirenas. We didn’t camp here but walked along the small cliff tops to a sheltered snorkelling area which again had a large number of large and small fish, the Barracudas where about 3 foot long. We chatted to a family with two kids around 8 years old from Minnosota, they were a lovely family.

We headed out of the washboard road areas back onto the main roads and ended up camping in posh beach side site at Los Braille’s, this is a windy beach so has been adopted by all the kite surfers.

We went to a pub and after just two margaritas I was struggling to stand and by the time we got back to camp was sick and crawling so as not to fall over, I am not sure if my drink was spiked or it was just really strong but either way my body didn’t like it.

Ginette – it was really worrying watching Gary in this state it was like he was paralytic but his speech was not affected and he suffered no hang over.  I am sure his drink was either laced with something or spiked. Hayley had the same drink but although tipsy she seemed less affected.

The next day, slightly jaded but not hung over we headed to La Paz.

On the way we stopped at El Triunfo, an old mining town. We looked around the mine ruins with its large chimney and had a packed lunch in a nice churche grounds followed by ice creams.

La Paz is a clean city, it is by the sea and quite, which is unusual for a Mexican city. We had hoped to show Hayley a more authentic side of Mexico but La Paz was not like any other Mexican cities we have seen on the mainland.

We stayed in a hostel in a 6 bed bunk room with all beds taken.

In the morning Hayley went on a boat trip to snorkel with whale sharks which I think she really enjoyed. 

We drove to Todas Santos and spent some time looking around the gift shops and galleries, then made our way to a free camping beach area that I overlander had on its map.

We camped near the beach, again we had an open fire. Unfortunately the area around us was littered with waste, the area seemed popular with surfers that seemed to have made temporary homes for themselves but had made no attempt to dig a latrine.

There was a beach bar, we met a nice couple. A Mexican man and Danish lady, it was good chatting with them, we had a really pleasant evening.

Hayley didn’t feel too well in the morning so we skipped the planned body boarding and headed to San Lucas to a really nice condo apartment so we could relax, Wash clothes and get ready for the next days flights. The condo felt really luxurious (as it was luxurious) especially after the camping and hostel stays.

Ginette – Hayley coped really well with the holiday, it was quite demanding on her poorly body. We did contemplate two weeks on the beach but she would have been bored to tears. She is definitely Gary’s daughter.