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"To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower; Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour." William Blake


Streets and Numbers

April 23rd, 2009 by sunflowers

HarleyAddresses in Nicaragua aren’t done by street addresses. Instead they use reference sites like 3 blocks north of the National Stadium.

On the way back from Managua I stopped at the Harley Dealership and had a silent homage for Colin the Harley rider from Shetland (see Blog Entry, Heartfelt Thanks) who was really encouraging about my trip and passed away before I made it.

Posted in Nicaragua | No Comments »


Casa Alianza, Managua

April 22nd, 2009 by sunflowers

I did my last visit to Casa Alianza in Managua (Nicaragua’s capital city that doesn’t have a downtown area due to being destroyed in an earthquake in 1972 and was never rebuilt as the aid raised by the international community was stolen by the US backed government) so instead it is it is a bunch in buildings in various fields (or the bits I saw which was around the various ministries (eg Department of Transportation) and some housing areas that I would not want to get lost in.

At the the children’s charity I was taken under the wing of a guy from the Garifuna coast who spoke English and two sisters from Cambodia who had lost their family. Then I was taken to the teenage mothers house where they learn to look after their children. It is really nice to see that the money I raised look after these children.

Casa AlianzaCasa AlianzaCasa AlianzaCasa Alianza

Casa AlianzaCasa AlianzaCasa AlianzaCasa Alianza

Posted in Nicaragua | No Comments »


Disappearing Bees

April 21st, 2009 by sunflowers

GranadaIn Granada I stayed with a really cool guy who had an amazing place. I wish now I had taken photos as I have never slept on a couch in a place that posh. I spent a couple of days watching conspiracy videos about America. How do they get away with the things they do? And might have found out why all the bees are disappearing (see Blog Entry, Bees and Bats). It could be because cell and mobile phone signals cause them to lose their direction (see article from the UK Independent).

Posted in Nicaragua | No Comments »


Couch Surfing

April 20th, 2009 by sunflowers

NacatamaleDoubling the length of my trip has effectively halved my budget so I have started to use www.couchsurfing.com though it isn’t really so much about saving money as the ability to meet up with people who live in the country you are visit.

In Leon I met up with a local guy for a couple of drinks who introduced me to nacatamales a delicious cornflower dumpling stuffed with pork and vegetables and boiled in banana leaves.

The hostel I stayed in which did put my bike in the hallway said that I was the first solo female long distance motorcyclist they had seen in the five years that they had been there.

NacatamaleNacatamaleNacatamaleNacatamale

Posted in Nicaragua | No Comments »


Honk for the Hell of It

April 19th, 2009 by sunflowers

NicaraguaArriving in Esteli I ended up riding around the city for a couple of hours trying to find a place that had secure parking for my bike and eventually ended up in this roadside hotel for $20 where they didn’t lock the parking area anyway and I had to wear ear plugs due to the trucks changing gears coming in or out of the town.

NicaraguaI really dislike arriving in towns and looking for accommodation at the best of times but in Nicaragua there is the added bonus that they are constantly honking at you. I found it really aggressive until a local explained to me that they honk just to let you know they are there and about another 150 reasons. He said if their horns where disengaged they would know how to drive the cars.

I was impressed by the larger size clothes dummy though.

Posted in Nicaragua | No Comments »


Nicaragua Border Crossing by Motorcycle

April 18th, 2009 by sunflowers

Arriving at the border Honduras Nicaragua on Friday morning I was surrounded by a pack of kids all screaming at me in Spanish offering their services to ‘help’ me. It was quite intimidating so rather than use one which I wouldn’t have minded doing I asked them to leave me alone and after about 10 minutes they finally did. In the end it wasn’t that hard to cross over. I checked my bike out of Honduras, paid $3 to leave, $7 to enter Nicaragua and purchased the compulsory insurance for $12.

My first impression of Nicaragua is how dry it all seems to be after the green of Honduras.

NicaraguaNicaraguaNicaraguaNicaragua

Posted in Nicaragua | No Comments »


Casa Alianza, Honduras

April 17th, 2009 by sunflowers

Casa AlianzaCasa AlianzaI managed to ride into the Tegucigalpa and find Casa Alianza only stopping to ask directions once which I was pretty pleased about. When I got there Juan the director gave me an overview of the organisation’s programs with the help of Lucy (a Hungarian volunteer) translating.

Casa Alianza have between 160-180 street children in residence at any one time and manage to integrate 50-60 of the kids per year back into their families. Most children are there due to extreme poverty, drugs or sexual abuse.

After spending the morning looking around the complex and having lunch and chatting with the kids I went out on the streets with the outreach team. We walked around the corner from Casa Alianza to a inner city football field and then a bridge which a lot of children sleep under.

Casa AlianzaCasa AlianzaAll of the kids we met on the street were either inhaling glue or sniffing insolvents. It is hard to see in the pictures but most of them had a soft-drink bottle of glue under their shirts. The smell of where they were surrounded by rubbish was overpowering. A lot of them also have HIV due to passing it on between themselves. A couple of them had scars from where they had been shot and it was very upsetting to see a pregnant girl inhaling glue out of a bag.

That amazed me the most was the difference between the kids on the street and the ones that Casa Alianza are able to help. The children in the program were happy, smart (again some had better English than my Spanish) and a world away from where they had started.

It was an amazing opportunity to see where the money that I have raised has gone and I wish I my words could do justice to have touching an experience it was. I want to thank everyone that donated. And ask that if you are able to donate it would be wonderful if you could.

Casa AlianzaCasa AlianzaCasa AlianzaCasa Alianza

Casa AlianzaCasa AlianzaCasa AlianzaCasa Alianza

Casa AlianzaCasa AlianzaCasa AlianzaCasa Alianza

Posted in Childrens Charities, Honduras | 3 Comments »


Sleep helps Sanity and Banking Bothers

April 16th, 2009 by sunflowers

SiguatepequeI checked into an ‘expensive’ hotel with a toilet that doesn’t flush and a cold, leaky shower because I wanted wireless internet so I could sort out the fact that Barclays will no longer allow me to log into my online account with this stupid card reader and I won’t be able to until I can access a Barclay’s ATM.

SiguatepequeWord to the wise if you are going on an extended trip get an extra card and set up telephone banking as that is the only way I will be able to transfer money to my travel account at Nationwide (which used to have charge free foreign transactions but I have read it now charges but is still the cheapest in the UK) is through telephone banking.

I was very close to deciding to skip Tegucigalpa and not see the children’s charity but after a good nights sleep and figuring out where Casa Alianza is on the map I am ready to tackle it even though I just read about a fellow biker being stopped by a crooked cop in Tegucigalpa. Btw if you want to read a much more eloquent blog about this trip check out kwaktour.wordpress.com I totally identify with what he saying but just couldn’t write it the way he can. Between my pictures and his writing you would probably have one full trip report 😉

Oh also can my friends please pop me some emails as I haven’t had any in ages and I know that I am not writing to you but I spend all my time online sorting out administration and writing this blog.

Posted in Honduras | 1 Comment »


The Case of the Missing Tourist Bus

April 15th, 2009 by sunflowers

GraciasGraciasI am suppose to be going to to be going to Tegucigalpa (capital city of Honduras) to see Casa Alianza and I have been worrying about riding into the city for the last couple of days. I am really scared that I will get lost and end up in a bad part of the city. And I read a couple of blogs where people had accidents in the cities or were mugged at the lights. But I really want to see the children’s charity so I am going to go in.

On my way to Tegucigalpa I was worried that the road I had chosen to take wouldn’t be very good so ended up talking to a bus full of tourists who said that they were going the same way and I could follow them. So I stopped in Gracias and looked at a couple of churches (though I could have done without hitting my head on this cage of metal balls) with them and then followed them out of town.

SiguatepequeSiguatepequeThere was about 40kms of rough road (including this dust that is like riding in sand) so they said to go ahead of them so got slightly less dust in my face. After about half an hour I lost sight of the bus so stopped for 20 minutes and waited for them but they never turned up. Then went into the next town and waited another hour. But finally had to go in order to make it to Siguatepeque so I could spend the night and still make it to Tegucigalpa in the morning.

I hope the tourist bus guys are all right and thanks for showing me the way.

Posted in Honduras | 3 Comments »


Hot Springs and Really Great Riding

April 14th, 2009 by sunflowers

I reckon that Honduras is my favorite country in Central America for riding. Most of the roads are in fairly good condition (except for just north of the border crossing El Poy) and there is almost no traffic. The countryside is lovely and green reminding me of Northland in New Zealand.

Every time I stop someone comes and helps me and four times I have had people take me through the town (maybe because they realise I am not really understanding what they are saying). The downside is that the service sucks compared to the rest of Central America.

20km outside of Copan was the most amazing hot springs I have been to. It was amongst the trees and there was a place you could give yourself a mud pack, walk cold and hot water to massage your feet and sit under a massage falls.

CopanCopanCopanCopan

CopanCopanCopanCopan

CopanCopanCopanCopan

CopanCopanCopanCopan

CopanCopanCopanCopan

Posted in Honduras | 2 Comments »


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