(April 13 – written by Dave)
Happy Friday the 13th – always good to have finished a ride on Friday the 13th – safely!
No brekkie at the truck stop this morning, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. We thought that they opened at 5 and headed over at 5:40. Nope, they open at 6. Back to the room and make our own. Oh well, Nancy was not remotely excited about having fried plantains and rice again – I think she may have secretly had the girls open late today. That would be plausible, had her Spanish been remotely close to their level. I’m giving her a pass simply for the language barrier. Oatmeal probably keeps us going longer anyway – so it was an ok result.
Being a truck stop hotel, we had about 50 metres to ride to reach the highway south. We took Highway 90 again today but the road was much narrower and there was not much of a shoulder. Everyone gave us plenty of room however so we didn’t feel unsafe. We had about 20k of road construction to get though but this was no problem as all that we could see being done was prep work for widening the road. It could be a mess here next dry season – I suspect that repaving work would not start now as the wet season is just around the corner.
The scenery today was much like yesterday – lots of open fields and what appears to be grazing lands. We had a few little hills to get over but nothing major. We didn’t see much in the way of livestock but we did see a lot of milk cans on the road – waiting for exchange with the pick-up guy. There must be a lot of small dairies around. The deal seems to be that you take your metal can to the road and a truck comes by giving you an empty. We got behind the truck at one point and saw some robust discussions taking place. I’m not sure if it was the bush telegraph to catch up on the news or if they were haggling over the price.
We had a couple servo stops but made good time to our cut-off road. We knew of a dirt road that cut about 30k off the route to our final destination but were not sure what shape it was in, how easy to find it would be or if it was safe. We needn’t worried. The turnoff was not marked but a couple motorcycle taxi guys standing at the corner told us that it was the right turn. The surface was very smooth all the way to Tolu so that was a non-issue as well. Finally, the biggest security risk we had was that we passed just as school was getting out and there were heaps of kids – some that even chased us on foot for a good distance. I got a couple photos but they got all shy when the camera came out.
We reached Tolu about 12:45 and found a cafe where we could have lunch – well, second brekkie actually. Tolu is right on the Caribbean and has a real calypso feel. There is a main beachfront street with lots of hotels, bars and cafes. And many of them are blasting out loud Bob Marley or the like. It was not my day to do the motel search but I was in the mood and didn’t mind. Nancy sat and people watched while I checked a few places out.
We are a little out of season but we didn’t expect to find beachfront hotels with great views for so little money. I only looked at two places and came back to report that the search was over. They say that Tolu is an up and coming tourist destination but most of the hotels are a bit tired and nothing is fancy. Tonight we are paying $22. For the $9 dollars more than last night, we get an ocean view, art on the walls, two towels but still no showerhead (last night we were told that rooms were only allocated one towel). We ate so much food at lunch that we are now going to have fruit and yogurt only for dinner. Naturally, dinner will be taken on the balcony overlooking the setting Caribbean sun – life is good.
We can hear at least three different and competing Calypso sets being blasted out currently. And can only hope that a truce is declared in the early evening tonight. We are both a little tired from the longer day and all the sun we got today. I’m sure that sleep will come easy. In fact, Nancy had a wee bit of nap this arvo while I headed out for photos.
Tomorrow we head back out on Highway 90 and down the coast for a bit. We won’t see the Caribbean again on this trip so I’ll post the last pictures of the sea today. Infact we may not see the ocean again for a good spell, the mountains await….