Monday, 4 February 2008

Costa 'fortune' Rica..Viva corrupcioné!!

Setting off from San Juan del Sur was done in a good frame of mind, no regrets, no desperation; pure equanimity! I was ready, the days of fretting were worth while. I knew I was being true to myself by continuing, but thanks for those who enforced an extra spell of comtemplation. I need those, they allow me to double check my motives and rationale. I shared breakfast with Peitr, got stoned, then set off for the frontera. For all the warnings I've had, about every country I've passed through, Costa Rica was meant to be the least to worry about. As it turned out, the only bloody one to cop me for a bribe. $50 too, if only it had happened before, it would have been much cheaper in another country. Ok, so I was speeding, only by 44kph though, and I paid the bribe not the fine. I won't insult their mother's, they can't help having filthy, currupt coppers as sons!

The ride across Costa Rica was my first time following the TransAmerican highway, there was no other way. So it was purely a matter of riding straight through, barring the odd occasion to chat with the lovely policia! Prices are very high compared to all the other Latin American countries I've visited, $20 for a single room was cheap here. It really has been developed well beyond any of it's neighbours, and the prices reflect that. It was nice to discover the Trans-Am is not a multi lane monstrosity though, in fact through CR it was only a few stretches, through cities, that succumned to any definition of modernity. The journey took me up and over the mountains, riding many hours through the cloud base, and spending almost a whole day constantly wet. The morning session was spent in the clouds, and I mean IN the clouds.

Most of us have experienced that stillness of heavy mist, little apparent movement, unnaturally quiet; a surreal experience! Now, my after market exhaust hardly qualifies for being unnaturally quiet, more like damned raucous; but it didn't detract from the experience, it was strange, eirey! There was no way I could tell I was amongst the mountains, only the constant ascent and the twisty turns gave any indication as to the topography. The clouds were thick and heavy with water, the trees vanished within 3m of their base, nothing could be seen to the sides of the road and mist rose from the surface of the tarmac. I could have been anywhere! From the clouds emerged Bromeliads, hanging down, as though trying to entangle the innocent as they passed below. Day of the triffids, be damned, this was the real thing! I daren't even stop to photograph the worst of it, too dangerous to be still at the edge of the road.

Eventually descending out the cloudbase displayed the type of coutryside I'd been missing, it was similar to the rain forest in Guatemala, but distinct. For one thing there were not the gorgeously dressed indigenous people, nor was there constant signs of abject poverty. The housing appeared reletively new, modern in design with well kept gardens. Note the use of garden here, no longer a plot. Whilst many did grow useful produce, it was not their main purpose. And I am not talking about urban housing here, this was right in the sticks. It smacked of the American influence of many places, fancy iron railings at least two metres high, nice gleaming vehicles parked outside; it didn't seem natural for this part of the world. At least San Jose showed itself to be typical of Central American cities, squalid areas of poverty, heaving traffic all day and night, perpetual smog and asphyxiation!

The roads were good condition generally, no torn up sections, no-one determined to wipe me out. In fact i think I done my fair share of bullying on this ride, I pushed past everyone, overtook on bends and refused to hang around. I was on a mission to get to Pananma and sort out my passage to Colombia, am I really that keen on being kidnapped? Of course not, I'm that convinced there is nothing to worry about at all! Two nights I stayed in Costa Rica, I didn't enjoy the city of Sam Jose, nor the guest house near the border, Las Palmas. They suddenly added another $5 to my bill after they had my money, maybe there is something wrong with me after all, I didn't even bother to argue about it!

Costa Rica is also the only Country so far who would not accept my copy of the bike title, they insisted on the original. A couple of enterprising locals said they could bribe an officer to get over this problem, when they suggested $100 I told them to swivel. I went through the whole process myself, explained I was only passing through and would they please allow me to get to Panama. I had to get a public notary to countersign the copied title and write a letter, stating it was in California for safe keeping. Total cost $30, time consumed 4 hrs; but what a lovely way to spend the morning. And now you can see why CR started on a bad footing! But it's done and dusted, I'm out of there!

No comments: