|Wonderful memories from Costa Rica|
I had been feeling pretty low this last week. The heat and humidity was getting to me, my energy levels were low, my joints ached and everything was breaking. 18 months on the road and I was tired! This - in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. All you can do is rest, smell the flowers and then carry on. Ride on! Slowly the brain starts functioning again and something reminds you why you are doing it in the first place. For me it wasn't the beautiful scenery, or the amazing wildlife I had seen recently. It wasn't even the kindness of fellow bikers on route who had put me up (although that helped a lot, giving me time to rest). Perhaps it was a combination of those things. I have seen and experienced some wonderful things here in Central America - but what really snapped me out of it, was a little old man in a workshop in Nicaragua. This is not your usual happy ending story but it certainly made me smile.....
During my last stop for coffee I had realised that my chain was very loose. Rather than attempt to tighten it there and then, in the full glare of the midday sun, I decided to potter on slowly to see if I could find a garage with a jack to make life easier. I just didn't have the energy to do this simple task. Within a couple of miles I found one. Sat in the shade on a plastic chair, reading his paper, was an elderly man - lets say at least 75 if not more. I pulled in and pointed to my chain. He saw it was loose and gestured for his son to come and sort it while he insisted I take his chair in the shade and ran (ok ambled) off to get me some water. He could see I was dripping with sweat and cooking in my full riding gear - AGAIN!
While the son cracked on, under my watchful eye, I smiled at how much easier it was, rather than doing it myself on the side of the road in the heat. I smiled at the lovely old man who was now reading the list of countries on the front of my bike.
The son finished quickly, getting the perfect tension, and then wacked a load of grease on to finish the job. I got up and thanked him very much. Then, I turned to the old man and asked 'Quanto?' (how much). Quite openly, and without shame, he suggested that I keep my money and accompany him to the back room instead! I smiled and said 'No entiendo' (I don't understand) - but I did. He rubbed his fingers together in a way that depicted what he had in mind and took my elbow. I pulled away gently and said, as best I could 'I'll pay with cash if it's all the same to you'!
The old man took no offence at my refusal and stated his price - in cash this time. It was the equivalent of £2.50!!! That was what really made me laugh! Was that all I was worth? I like to think he would have given me change, had I opted for the other form of payment!
This moment really did brighten my mood. There was no cloak and dagger, just an offer! Hey, if you don't ask you don't get right? You don't get anyway in this case but you never know! I've always lived by this rule and in a way I respected him for his honest approach! We parted, both with smiles, and he waved as I rode out, and onwards to my next destination.
I giggled all the way. £2.50??? A girl could be offended at that! I was grateful for a little bit of craziness in this rural part of Nicaragua. It reminded me why I travel - Because you just can't make this stuff up! It's the little things that make the journey. That is what I needed reminding of. It was enough to give me the little boost I needed, and enough to restore my motivation.
I have flown through this country. It's a shame really as there is a lot to see. However, sometimes you just want to ride. Sometimes you just need to move forward and sometimes you need to get to a city that can repair all your failing electrical equipment!
The Nicaraguan border from Costa Rica was confusing to say the least. It was also expensive (around $40). Tomorrow I face the Honduras border and the next day will be the border in to El Salvador. I'm looking forward to getting these out of the way before meeting up with a local biker in San Salvador who is going to show me some of the sights over the weekend. Neither of these countries have a great reputation of late, but I'm recharged and ready to face whatever the road brings!
Sorry for lack of pictures but my camera and laptop have been broken. Normal service will resume shortly!