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Galapagos with a smile

Read the original post and follow Die Ausreiser - World Tour's overland adventures on their website: die-ausreiser.

< ?xml version="1.0"?> We leave our mobile home alone for two weeks at the Quito airport and make a trip to the Galapagos Islands. As a highlight during his journey around the world the nature researcher Charles Darwin reaches the Galapagos Islands in…
<span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/XY9TETFl.jpg"/><br /><br />Visiting Corcorvado  National Park has been on Roel’s bucket list for years. Unfortunately,  the park recently changed it’s entry requirements:<br /><br />1. You must  make reservations 1 month out. (Initially, this seemed to be a  roadblock, but apparently it’s now easy to get around. (No problem.)<br /><br />2. You must pay a $15 entry fee. (No problem.)<br /><br />3. You MUST take a guide with you into the park. Guides start at $100/day/person. (Um, WTF. Big problem.)<br /><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/uTSuDEPl.jpg"/><br /><br />We’d  heard that the road to Drake Bay was a fun one (river crossings, some  technical climbs and lots of gravel) AND that it might be possible to  find a local who would be willing to take you into his or her backyard  at a fraction of the cost of the Corcorvado guides. <br /><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/N03nnPWl.jpg"/><br /><span><i>Lots of river crossings</i></span><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/zPfS1b0l.jpg"/><br /><span><i>Lots of butterflies... everywhere. Particularly in the road. :(</i></span><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/ZsbCB2Hl.jpg"/><br /><span><i>CHECK  OUT THE SHADOW UNDER MY FRONT TIRE!!! My first wheelie!!!! (No comments  about too much weight in the rear, now - blah, blah, blah</i>) <img border="0" src="http://d26ya5yqg8yyvs.cloudfront.net/clap.gif"/></span><br /><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/4XrSudUl.jpg"/><br /><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/zkYACcul.jpg"/><br /><span><i>Need a little help with those cows, boys? <img border="0" src="http://d26ya5yqg8yyvs.cloudfront.net/naughty.gif"/></i></span><br /><br />The  road to Corcorvado did not disappoint and I got in plenty of practice  crossing rivers. I’m still perfecting my technique, as evidenced by the  rad picture of me splashing Roel’s camera. Oops! Sorry babe! <br /><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/g0TJhmwl.jpg"/><br /><span><i>Splish splash... allllll over Roel's camera <img border="0" src="http://d26ya5yqg8yyvs.cloudfront.net/eekers.gif"/></i></span><br /><br />But  note to self: I need higher riding boots - one of my favorite sets of  photos of crossings shows at exactly what point my boots got flooded!<br /><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/aX35Kfxl.jpg"/><br /><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/RgP5wO0l.jpg"/><br /><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/KhaoJcQl.jpg"/><br /><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/WvCwmgdl.jpg"/><br /><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/cyfEuhZl.jpg"/><br /><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/5Ao4w54l.jpg"/><br /><span><i>Annnnnd I need some proper moto boots. Flooding is not fun.</i></span><br /><br />We  arrived in Drake Bay just before sunset and rode around trying to find a  place to camp during the last rays of light. Several people mentioned  that we could camp on the soccer field next to the police station for  free, but we still looked around. Accommodation was expensive, many  places were fully booked due to the Semana Santa Holiday, and places  that offered camping next to their hotel/hostel were also pretty dear.  (Sorry, we’re not paying $20 to set up our tent.)<br /><br />So we  eventually ended up going to the police station. They were happy to let  us camp there, told us not to worry, and that we could set up our tent  wherever we wanted to on the field. <br /><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/qfrzqTdl.jpg"/><br /><br />We  moved a little ways away from the station but selected a spot where we  would be in full view of the station. Seeing rain clouds and lightning  in the distance, we decided to set up the tent before the rain began,  before heading down the road for dinner. <br /><br />We stored all of our valuables in the hard luggage on the bikes, hid the dry bags under the tent flap and wandered off. <br /><br />Dinner  was delicious but it took a rather long time to be prepared. When we  had arrived, the entire family who owned the restaurant was finishing  dinner and by the time we had ordered, only two of the sisters remained.  <br /><br />With full bellies, we walked back to the police station, said  goodnight to the guys who were waiting until their shift ended at 10pm  and crawled into the tent and were soon fast asleep.<br /><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/ACngFoll.jpg"/><br /><span><i>These guys were chattering away 20 feet from our tent when we woke up <img border="0" src="http://d26ya5yqg8yyvs.cloudfront.net/icon10.gif"/></i></span><br /><br />We  awoke to sounds of birds early the next morning and while Roel was  taking the opportunity to photograph two macaws, I went for a swim in  the ocean.<br /><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/L8gXjvgl.jpg"/><br /><span><i>The BEST way to wake up! Other than Costa Rican coffee, of course. </i></span><br /><br />We’d  decided to move on to another part of the area and so we began packing  up before the sun was fully up. I was putting valuables from my top box  back into my tank bag and noticed that there were medical supplies form  the medical kit strewn all about my tank bag. That struck me as very odd  because given Roel’s first aid training, he would never leave a med kit  in such a state of disarray. And then it hit me: we’d been robbed. I  quickly looked through the dry bags and was astonished by how thorough  they’d been… Every pocket of my riding suit was open and the D-30 pads  were pulled out of their pockets. They’d taken their time, and had made  sure to put everything back relatively well. We’d used a couple of pegs  for the tent, but they’d taken the remainder of the tie-down pegs that  were left in the tent bag that was in the same dry bag as the suit.  Since they’d cleaned out my pockets, they’d gotten my custom-made ear  plugs and some pocket cash. But worse than that, my beloved Racer gloves  were also missing. :( <br /><br />Going back through my tank bag, I  realized they’d gotten two head flashlights (one good one and one that  was a give-away), my pocket knife, the thermometer from our first aid  kit, and a bag of peanuts. Really?<br /><br />In the minutes that followed  this discovery came waves of anger, self-disgust (how could I be so  stupid/naive to think that just because we were in front of the police  station our stuff would be OK) and then the realization that it had to  have been the police themselves who did it. <br /><br />I can’t say this is a fact, but this is my theory and it was further confirmed by the following things:<br /><br />1.  None of Roel’s things had been touched - and his stuff was stashed on  the side of the tent that police wouldn’t have been able to see. That’s  odd. Two dry bags of my stuff and my tank back which were on the side of  the tent that was in DIRECT view from where the police were sitting  outside of the station, were meticulously gone through. Anyone who has a  KLiM jacket knows how many pockets they have… the thief/thieves only  missed one - the passport pocket was unopened. I find it hard to believe  that unless one was a police officer or had the blessing of the police  that they would have been so bold as to have gone through everything on  that side of the tent to the extent that they did. <br /><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/27YKiGYl.jpg"/><br /><span><i>Photo  taken from Roel's side of the tent which would have been the obvious  side to rob if one wasn't a police officer or didn't have the blessing  of the police... (And on a side note: my bike was not in that position  the night before... the police would have had a clear view of the side of the tent that was robbed.) Police station is the blue building in the background. </i></span><br /><br />2.  While I was contemplating how to handle this with the officer on duty, a  guy showed up with a machete to do some “yard work” around the police  station. He went to chat to the officer on duty for a few minutes and  then walked directly to an area of the soccer field about 30 meters from  our tent where there is a path leading down to the beach. He motioned  us over a few seconds later and picked up my gloves and ear plugs as we  arrived. Hmmm. Obviously, I was grateful to have those items back. This  guy then told me that we shouldn’t have camped there. That its’ not  safe. And I replied that this was obvious now, but that we thought it  would be OK in front of the police station. He then very clearly said  “The police are bad. Two other couples have been robbed who have camped  here.” Funny, the police didn’t mention this the night before. “The  police here are VERY bad.”<br /><br />3. When I did bring what had happened  to the attention of the policeman on duty he made a show of raising his  eyebrows in surprise but almost as soon as his eyebrows relaxed he  shrugged his shoulders and said “You didn’t tell us you were going to  dinner, we thought you were sleeping.” Right. I said that obviously it  was cash and some small items and there was no way of tracing it, but  would it be possible to do anything else? Did I need to make a report?  And he just shrugged again and said that it was a shame this happened to  us because we would tell our friends and they would tell their friends  and then the entire country gets a bad reputation.<br /><br />Well, you’re  right, pal, I’ll tell my friends, who will tell their friends, not to  camp at Drake Bay in front of the police station. My friends are smart  and know not to judge an entire country by a few bad apples. <br /><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/9M0CPNRl.jpg"/><br /><span><i>Our  friends Seb and Kim (Wandering Souls) wrote a pretty poignant blog  about understanding the plight of the police in places where their pay,  (and in this case, working conditions) aren't good. While I can't help  but despise the fact that I believe it was the police who did this or  were in on it, the photo above is of their police station and the photo  below shows their kitchenette/outdoor area. Pretty shoddy, but still, no  excuse in my opinion. </i></span><br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/BjqBy0Bl.jpg"/><br /><br />It  was indeed a shame, though. It was 100% our fault for making ourselves  vulnerable. We’ve been so vigilant for the past several months, and  then, in a country where police have been extremely friendly and we’ve  felt very safe, we let our guard down in front of a police station, and  BAM. In the end, it’s only money and a few small items. But I can’t lie  and say it didn’t ruin that day and the rest of our time in Costa Rica  for me. We decided to scrap our plans of trying to get into Corcorvado -  I was done with the Osa Peninsula. Riding out of town was awful… it  felt like everyone knew we were “those” tourists who had been so stupid  and had been ripped off. It felt like everyone was in on it. Obviously,  that’s not the case, but it’s a crappy feeling when your space has been  invaded and it’s obvious that the tourist/local divide makes that  acceptable to some people. <br /><br />And the road out wasn’t fun this  time. I didn’t enjoy my rear tire skidding out (btw, I am NEVER again  going to buy a Perelli MT60 - shi+ tire in my opinion), I was tense  through the river crossings and I worried about roadside robbery  shenanigans. <br /><br />I’ve been mugged once before in Ecuador, which was a  very scary incident, and then again, there was that situation in  Australia. When your life has somehow been invaded by someone unwelcome,  there is a feeling that overcomes you for a period of time - hopefully  not for too long, but it is difficult to trust anyone and you tend to  assume the worst. After the mugging in Ecuador, I would jump a mile high  if anyone so much as shut a car door behind me loudly in a parking lot.  This wasn’t nearly as bad, since at least I knew it was my mind was  playing tricks on me. <br /><br />Still, I know soundly that 99% of the people in this beautiful country, are just that: beautiful. </span><br /><span>And I will leave Costa Rica with that in mind.<br /><img src="http://i.imgur.com/0eCnSyTl.jpg"/><br /><span><i>And speaking of beautiful: Oh, hey Sam!</i></span><br /></span>

Fooled Once. Shame On Me.

Read the original post and follow My Ticket To Ride's overland adventures on their website: My Ticket To Ride.

Visiting Corcorvado National Park has been on Roel’s bucket list for years. Unfortunately, the park recently changed it’s entry requirements: 1. You must make reservations 1 month out. (Initially, this seemed to be a roadblock, but apparently it’s now easy…

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Read the original post and follow a pat on a motorcycle's overland adventures on their website: a pat on a motorcycle.

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