Trip Start May 22, 2009
197Trip End Feb 16, 2010
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Armed with my map and handy-dandy-notebook I was ready to try and figure out some sort of bus route that we could take. But I didn't even have to open my mouth and men were hollering for the English-Speaker of the group to come over. He was extremely annoying and I didn't really want his 'help'. All he would do was repeat the bus schedule of stops over and over again for me. He even called me around into his office to look at a map, as if the one I was holding was somehow inferior. I showed him were I was interested in going and he named the towns along the way (yes, I see that thank you) and continued to name the route past where I wanted to go.
Time to move on. What about the bikes? Can we take them on the bus? Whenever I mentioned the bikes, all he would say was 'problem, problem' over and over again. Then rhyme off the bus stops with different times while pointing to his legs...I couldn't figure out the problem. We would lift the bikes into the storage compartment. These are monster buses with enormous storage capacity. After much frustration and a few too many 'problem, problems', I decided to hang his 'problem' and buy the tickets anyways. We'd deal with the 'problem' in the morning.
Seems that buying the tickets and not camping was a very fortuitous move. All through the night it pissed rain and the morning showed no sign of stopping. Even the 250m to the otogar was far enough to soak us.
Turns out that we boarded a minibus first which would then take us to a larger station. This was a bit o a 'problem' since our luggage took up the majority of the van. Good thing there was only one other passenger and we could heap bags up on the seats and by the door.
Arriving at the other station, our bikes and bags were quickly whisked away by the multitude of workers and stashed under the bus without a word of a 'problem' whatsoever!
We were quickly seated in comfy chairs and served hot tea by a waiter in a bow tie and vest! Bus service takes on a whole new dimension here!
As we drove along I started to get an inkling as to the 'problem' annoying-english-guy was talking about. Whenever I'd pointed to my picture of the bikes to see if we could take them on the bus, he must have thought I was talking about cycling rather than busing. 'Problem, problem' while pointing at his legs and trying to describe the long hard ride that would have been ahead of us.
Directly at the edge of town there were signs stating the start of a 7km hill rising up out of the town. Ouch! That was one of many, many we passed today. Hard cycling at the best of times. Absolutely miserable in the pissing rain. What would have taken maybe 4 days of pain, we finished in about 4 hrs of comfort.
Brian must have been feeling better about our mode of transportation today. With his steaming cup of cay he toasted the hardest hills we've cycled yet.