Still no petroglyphs, in spite of several miles cycling in search of
them. My improvised luggage rack swings a bit side to side as I go;
loaded with luggage and on gravel, this becomes dangerously unstable.
Maybe tolerable, but I think the centralization of weight above the
back tire is giving me more frequent flats. After my second flat in
less than 5 miles, my proud driftwood luggage rack gets tossed into
the woods and the luggage goes onto my back. Less comfortable but
more stable and, hopefully, less flat-inducing.
Some old French Canadian dude provides a lesson in what we should have done: decked-out mountain bike with bright light system and fancy, tow-behind, one-wheeled luggage carrier. Smoking a cigarette and flashing several gold teeth, we learn it's lasted him the over 8,000 km he's rode from Canada to here. That is how you do it.
Especially the mountain bike part: I should have taken "Nicaragua has the best-maintained roads in Central America" relatively, meaning "there are roads. Although most don't have names, some are navigable without 4-wheel drive."
The rest of the ride's sweaty, some near falls and my THIRD flat of the day. We grab much-needed hydration and sugar at a roadside house / bar with a jukebox, dozens of roaming chickens, and a monkey on a chain. He hisses when we get close and supposedly bites. The men's bathroom is a tile trough, with walls lacking a roof. At first I think they're collecting the urine for fertilizer (Mixed with 2 parts water, it's supposedly "liquid gold" for plants. See a book with the same monetary name for a permaculture-esque explanation), but then I look outside: the urine flows out through a hole attached to nothing, soaking into surrounding soil. I feel robbed of an open-air piss.
More reminders of relative quality again with our arrival at Hotel Azteca after riding over 25 miles from San Juan del Sur to San Jorge on shit roads with road bikes plus too much luggage, missing the last boat to Isla Ometepe, and having a shitty dinner at some dockside shadiness. The pool, hailed by our Lonely Planet travel guide, is a little bigger than but otherwise indistinguishable from typical U.S. suburban fare. And the food, supposedly even worth checking out if not staying here, is the exact same menu as the dinner place. Same owner or, more likely, smart English menu salesman.
Asleep early with weirdly-dubbed Los Simpson and our first air conditioning since Managua. Doing without helps you realize how much is unnecessary. Of course, I'm referring to the A.C. and not The Simpsons.