T – Granada is a nice little city, I would rate it as one of my favourites since Mexico. It was full of life and charm. A beautiful place for sure.
We checked out of the hotel pretty early as we had decided to cross into Costa Rica today. Both of us are keen to get to South America now. So we said catchya later to Aaron and hit the road. The border was about 100km’s away.
The ride there was pretty uneventful and we just sat on the Pan Am as trucks and cars whizzed by at crazy speeds. One truck came flying up behind us, swerved at the last minute, overtook us on a blind curve and rattled off into the distance. 10 minutes later we caught up to him. He was stopped in the middle of the road and there was a small crowd forming near the cab. Initially I thought it was maybe a road block and already was preparing a way to talk our way through.
As we got closer though I saw a very bent bicycle laying in the road, it was twisted and buckled quite badly, and in the centre of the crowd lay a man. Face down on the bitumen and not moving. Crap. It looked bad. It appeared the truck had hit him.
Chantelle and I have had some very basic Ambulance training in the past and we spoke quickly about stopping to help the guy. But being as there was 20 or 30 people now crowding around, some filming, and more running towards the scene plus the wail of an ambulance coming down the road, we thought it best if we silently moved past and carried on our way. The guy wasn’t moving and by the looks of his bike I suspected he may have been quite badly hurt.
We both rode along in shock for a while. That stupid truck driver could just as easily have taken us both out. The locals weren’t letting him go and were trying to get him to park off of the highway. Some of the drivers in Central America have been downright stupid.
Eventually we made it to the Nicaraguan exit point. It took 1.5 hours to exit. The longest so far. It was just a lot of waiting around, collecting stamps and signatures, and just generally trying to be patient. It was without a doubt the most inefficient process I have seen. Until we tried to get into Costa Rica.
C – It was such a ridiculously, ridiculous exit procedure for the bikes. Find a policeman in a light blue in the uniform, wandering around in the carpark and market somewhere. Get a form from him, fill it out. Find him again. Get him to check your form and your vehicle import and stamp both. Then go find another policeman, but one wearing a black uniform, and get him to stamp both of your documents as well. Then walk through the incoming immigration counters (this is just a weird border control situation) and into the baggage scanning area for incoming people. Thats where the exit customs desk is?? We laughed a lot through this crossing!
T – The process to get us into Costa Rica was easy and straight forward. Line up, get a stamp, done. Plus it was free. The we had to tackle Customs for our bikes. First we had to go to one customs office to get our documents checked, then copied, then rechecked. Then to another building tucked away from the others where we had to fork out $30 each bike for mandatory insurance, then another customs office to import our bikes temporarily. This process took just over 2 hours. It was crazy and made no sense. There was no signs, no directions, no smiles, nothing. I rate this as the worst border crossing I have ever done to date.
Finally though. We were free to ride into Costa Rica! After we had stopped at a gate and shown another man our papers again so he could recheck them all.
Costa Rica was green and cool and the road from the border had a few nice twists in it as we climbed a little bit. We decide to head for the town of Liberia today, just 80kms away, from where we could make a plan for getting our yellow fever shots in the city and ride some twisty roads.
C – Upon approaching Liberia, we noticed how much more modern Costa Rican cities are. There was no rubbish and modern buildings and roads. But it is a little bit lifeless.
T – We were soon checked into our very expensive but very basic room and wandered off in search of food.
I have some repairs to do in the morning on the two bikes, Mabel is spewing oil out of an oil seal on her stator and Rosie needs her new clutch plates.So after that we will head for the city of San Jose for our injections before moving ever southward to Panama.