Friday, April 29, 2011
4/23/11: Cartago - Alajuela, CR. 30 miles, 2 hours.
So, I get up and have to start dealing with shit I really don't want to. After a quick breakfast, a little bit of sightseeing, and the realization that there is no way I'm going to get my camera fixed in this town, I head off to go get my pannier frame welded. The one way streets are annoying, especially when I have no idea where I am going. I stop at an auto shop and ask how to get to an aluminum welder. A blur of directions is hurled at me, and between being tired and not feeling like doing any of this, my Spanish speaking and comprehension is taking a nosedive. One of the guys is a cab driver and I tell him to just lead me there and Ill pay the cabfare. We stop by a shop and I ask if they can weld aluminum, and they give me a covoluted answer, leaving me not knowing whether they can do it or not. Its like they can, but there is some reason they cant right now or something. The cab driver then goes in and asks and he comes back out and confuses the shit out of me, telling me they weld here, but do I want to go to another shop? I slap the tank in frustration and follow him to another shop, not knowing what the fuck is going on. They are closed. So back to the other shop?! The meter is running the whole time. Back at the othwer shop, no problem, they can weld. Cab fare is 12 bucks. Nice. Average wage here is a dollar an hour or something like that. I pay the guy and just look forwards to getting this little obstacle solved, for the hundredth time. The welder is good, he hooks it up, and charges me 8 bucks after 30 minutes of aluminum welding. Makes me feel even more ripped off by that cabbie, but whatever, I caught a break with this cool welding dude. Back at the hotel, I saddle up and climb way way up to Volcan Irazu. Finally after 2 days of trying to get here, Im here. Park next to a Suzuki V-Strom at the top (you can ride right to the crater, another reason I wanted to go, no suck-ass hiking), and the couple beside it tell me the crater is clouded over, but will probably dissipate. I head to the crater, and after a while, the clouds blow away. It is pretty damn cool, a deep ass crater with a turquoise blue lake at the bottom, looking beautiful but really poisonous, sulfuric nastiness. Me and another couple hop the saftey fence to take a better look and some photos. head to the visitor center/gift shop, talk to a few folks, and head back down the mountain.
Because of my late start to the day, I realize once again that I am going to fall short of my final destination for the day, which is La Fortuna, with a stop at Volcan Poas. I decide to make it a short day and head 30 miles to Alajuela, the 2nd biggest city in CR and on the other side of San Jose, right by the airport. I do the 30 miles pretty quickly, driving through familiar sights through downtown San Jose, and after a few stops at some different hotels in town, I settle into a cool place. I notice that one of my gloves is missing, I had set them on one of my cases while checking out another hotel, and taken off without putting them on. I head back out on the bike and retrace my last moves, but no glove. I really have to snap out of it and start paying attention, it seems I am losing and breaking shit all the time lately. I don't want to get lazy when Im on the bike, thats for sure, so snapping out of this lazy-minded shit is essential. I take an evening walk around town, food at a Caribbean spot. and back to the hostel. Once again, I plan on leaving for Volcan Poas in the morning, and ending up at La Fortuna at night. I am also going to try to squeeze in a tour of a coffee plantation close by. I have been wanting to do this for a while, and the one right outside of town is supposed to be a good one.