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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Brian & Deya met in Vancouver Canada. After a few years together we were married and made choices. One was not to have children the other was not to take life for granted. The rest is yet to come.

June 15, 2011

One Year Anniversary

I just noticed that most of the blog I’m writing has to do with stuff we are doing and I realized that I need to pay my respects to the un-sung heroes of the story, the Bikes. The fact is the motorbikes are at the centre of everything we do. They carry us to all these places where we meet good people and enjoy good food. They take us into challenges and then take us out of them again. They connect us with people and places, break the ice and sometimes are the only thing worth talking about. They represent us and our ideas, the journey we are on and the goals we are trying to achieve for ourselves. I often talk briefly with my bike and affectionately lay a hand on him (yes him) to thank him for carrying me safely along and taking the beatings I sometimes dish out. I give Deya’s bike a pat on the back sometimes too because she doesn’t seem to do so and I feel bad for her. They are ever present and demand our attention every day, so even though we may not talk about them or take many pictures they are the reason for the stories and I’m grateful for that.

Our goal was to head back to the farm and meet up with the Family and say farewell to our Alaskan buddies. We made it back to the farm for the night and headed out towards Heredia near San Jose along an easy route that Deya found out later was known unofficially as the “Route of Death” because so many people get killed there. I laughed because I though it was really nice but I can see why people get killed. The conversation about motorcycles being dangerous came up in this regards, as it often does among non riders, and I had to use someone’s quote, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” I don’t believe that motorcycles are dangerous, though the statistics are clear about the high rate of injury and fatalities the reality is people drive like animals, they don’t exercise due diligence and caution or use safety equipment. The biggest threat we have on this trip or the commute to work is not the other cars on the road, it’s the drivers of the other cars on the road. It doesn’t seem to matter what part of the world you are in, what race, religion or class you are from, as humans we all share one common bond, we all think we’re good drivers. Oh the Irony!

We made it to Heredia and met more family; I have to say we were treated so well and really appreciate everything they have done for us. Not a new experience for us but it certainly never gets old and we really enjoyed our time there. The stay was short as we were headed to Manual Antonio for a short stay at a beautiful beach then onto San Vito to deal with some business matters.

We ended getting a little lost on our route despite excellent directions, skipped a toll road by taking a rough dirt road past the toll, ha, and circled our way in via loose GPS coordinates. We got to the beach in good time and searched for a place to stay. What is striking and never fails to confound me is how Hostels cost more than hotels. We look for secure camping, in its absence we are forced to hotel, but we always look for the hostels first. Every time it is the same thing, with two people, often there is no place for the bikes, you have to stay in a dorm and your kit is not very secure. At the end of it you can expect to pay about 10-15 bucks per person. Conversely you can find a hotel room with air conditioning and secure parking for 20-30 bucks, odd, I would say so, but this is how it has been.

Manual Antonio is absolutely beautiful, the surfing is good enough, the place is clean and you can find good food and night life. The park is fantastic too though more expensive than the first time we went there. As luck would have it I rolled over 50,000 Kms on my bike here at the same time we would be celebrating our 1 year mark on-the-road. We stayed at a place called Verde Mar for 20 bucks, it was good and they had Chef Omar on staff who prepared a Casado with Mahi-Mahi for us. It was fantastic and Deya and I shared it, there was plenty for two, for about 10 bucks. Note, the time at the farm help our budget out a lot, otherwise we would be struggling in Costa Rica, it’s not super expensive but it’s not inexpensive either.

After exiting Manual Antonio we headed South East towards San Vito. The road from Palmar Norte to San Vito was pretty broken up. Landslides and caved road was a constant, though the riding was fine and even enjoyable the reality is this road should be avoided if there is much rain. Literally the road could disappear in front of you and the mountain could come down on you all at the same time. Other than that, it’s good. San Vito itself has changed a lot since we were last there and other than the town centre many things have changed. A lot of buildings exist where there was just jungle in the past.

Our primary reason for attending San Vito was for a piece of property we bought back in 2005. To cut the story short, we met with the Municipal President (Alcalde) and his lawyer, found out that the property that was sold to us was never ours and could never be sold to us. We determined that the government agency called IDA that was responsible, specifically the guy in charge, had lied to us, to the seller and to our lawyer about the status of the property. At the end of all this we lost our investment but the stupid thing is that the community lost a hell of a lot more than that, talk about near sighted!

The other reasons for San Vito were to visit more Peace Corps folks, Hanna was one of the teachers we had heard about and her story of getting recruited by a local boxing club to fight a boxer from Panama in an upcoming competition, she had no previous experience. She didn’t really know what she was agreeing to when she nodded her head, the pressure of the community cheering her on…lol…Good job Hanna, She won! We got to meet her after all and she is as dynamic and interesting as her story, the community is lucky to have her.

San Vito sits on the path towards Rio Sereno border crossing. The route from San Vito to Rio Sereno is not exactly easy to find. We took a left at the fork in the road when we got to a high school and traveled on somewhat rough dirt road for about 4 kilometres. This road would likely be messy and slow going if it was raining a lot so keep that in mind if you go there. It is worth going there by the way, it’s a nice ride, very little traffic and tranquil. The signage is poor and we drove into Panama without even noticing. The Aduana chased us down and helped us get back to Costa Rica Customs and Immigration. If you get there and enter the little town thinking you are close, you’ve already entered Panama. It doesn’t matter though this is a really nice border crossing with good people and no helpers there to lead you astray. It didn’t take too long to clear the border: immigration, customs, insurance and bug spray and we were on our way to Boquete in Panama.

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