Did you ever wonder what happens to all the old school
buses in the US? No, neither did I, but we found the answer here in Central America.
They all get retired to this part of the world, painted lavishly like the old
hippie buses of the 60's, and used for public transportation.
Wednesday, January 22nd: The parts for Chris shock arrived last
evening by DHL and in the morning he brings them to Larssons shop to start the
repairs with Esteban. We are planning our departure from San Jose already when, in the
afternoon, we discover that I have a seized bearing on the wishbone connecting piece of my
shock, and Chris has a crack in the crash-bar frame under the engine, which is causing
vibration when he rides. Well, all this means that we are forced to stay an extra day to
get these fixed while we have the resources at our disposal.
That night, Norval picks us up (Chris, Jo Ann, and I) for a dinner with some of the
club members we have gotten to know over the weekend. The restaurant is high up in the
mountains with a striking view over San Jose. It is a restaurant known for its great local
cuisine, as well as a cultural show on Wednesday nights. There is much music, dancing and
singing (yes, we joined in). At the end there is a carnival type dance with masks and
costumes, and a fireworks display off the outside patio.
After the music and dancing end, we are all staring out at the twinkling lights of San
Jose below. Norval tells us a few interesting stories, unique to Costa Rica. We found them
so interesting we had to pass them on. Here is a sampling:
- When Costa Rica finally decided to replace its lovely painted oxcarts with
motorcars, it began with a bang. The first two cars in all of Costa Rica, both out for a
drive one day, somehow managed to ram into each other head-on, killing both drivers and
demolishing both cars.
- San Jose was the 3rd city in the world to get electricity. A local engineer
went to the US and bought a generator. He returned back to San Jose and connected it to
the street-lights illuminating the 4-block downtown area.
- Charles Lindberg, the famous flier, decided to stop in San Jose during one of his
flights. The locals came out to cheer him on, crowding the runway. After making several
passes over the runway, trying to wave away the excited people below, he was forced to
drop a note into the crowd telling them to clear a path so he could land!
- There are many small suburbs surrounding San Jose. When people go into town to go to a
celebration, often the whole village goes. One day the whole village went by train into
town. When they returned that night, a bridge collapsed and the train overturned down the
side of the mountain, effectively wiping out the whole village. For many, many years it
held the grim world record for worst train disaster.
Thursday, Jan. 23rd: Fixed up the bikes first thing in the morning. That
night, Norval had us for dinner at his home where we had great home-cooked
"Tico" meal and said our final good-byes to he and Jessica.
Friday, accompanying us on our ride to the border was Peter, a BMW club member and
fellow F650 rider. We stopped at about the halfway point to have breakfast and chat about
what Peter does for a living, which is creating and producing Latin shows for American
television. It was a nice ride, although heavy with traffic, to the border town of
Liberia. While we stopped here to say goodbye to Peter, (we will see him again in
California) --- Merv and Ruth turned up in the car they rented while family visited. They
happened to be coming down from the volcano Arenal and stopped at the same place!
We finally got to the border just before 2pm, later than we would have liked. The
Nicaraguan side of the border is notorious for taking ages with the paperwork. As we
pulled up to the Costa Rican side, we ran into 3 4-WDs from Estonia (on a world
tour), and several motorbikes of a Pancho
Villa tour group. We all had to wait until the lunch break was over, and the
offices re-opened at 2pm. The Pancho Villa group were very nice and let us cut ahead
of them in line. I stayed by the bikes and had a nice chat with members of the tour
group. One of the couples we had actually met this time last year while they were on their
PV tour on the Caraterra Austral in Patagonia, Chile! Talk about a small world. 17 days
into their 30-day trip they only had one casualty so far---- a brand new goldwing had
broken its suspension and had to ride in the back of the support truck. All of the guides
were very nice and offered to help us with spare parts or fluids if we needed it. We might
see one of the guides again in Mexico City, where he lives.
And after a $0.60 departure stamp, we bid Costa Rica a fond farewell and drove north to
the Nicaraguan border