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flores again

After three weeks of living in San Jose and speaking only Spanish, Flores seems like a bustling cosmopolitan place.

As I cross the bridge on my way onto the island, I am hailed by Vinko and Collette, a young couple I met a few weeks ago leaving Flores on their cheap Mexican bikes. Their plans for continuing their journey have shifted somewhat in the meantime and they are now divesting themselves of their bikes and some of their camping equipment. They very kindly give me a fuel bottle for my Primus stove, filled with white gas – a precious resource. My stove has been behaving increasingly erratically on a supply of the locally available unleaded petrol and the MSR fuel bottle I’m carrying is larger than the equivalent Primus bottle which Vinko and Collette are carrying.

Apart from the fleeting meeting with Vinko and Collette, a month ago, I have only met one other touring cyclist since I parted company with Cass, Jeff and Jason in Zacatecas almost a year ago. However, today Flores seems to be heaving with my kind of cyclists. At Los Amigos, Vinko and Collette introduce me to Paul who is riding a Surly Big Dummy from Cancun to Brazil.

Paul and I decide to wander to the market in search of lunch and, as we are crossing the bridge, a couple of loaded bikes whizz past and I jump up and down and scream “Stop! Stop!” making a total spectacle of myself until the riders pull up ahead of us. “Are you cyclists, too?” they query, slightly bemused.

The four of us stuff ourselves with fried chicken, salad and tortillas at the market and discuss bikes, routes, and other cyclists. Sarah and Evan have recently encountered another solo woman cyclist and I am intrigued. Wheels start whirring in my brain – I hope to orchestrate a meeting

I am so excited to meet these folks. I must have been feeling cyclist deprived without really realizing it. I like these guy's style - their bikes are cobbled together with a ragtag assemblage of old but sturdy parts.

I spend most of the day at Los Amigos. It’s the place to stay in Flores among the hip and hippie backpacker crowd. I appreciate Los Amigos for its fast and free wi-fi connection and eclectic and eccentric resident zoo and the odd cool person (my pick, a member of management, confidentially estimates only 3% of the guests actually fit this description) but almost nothing would induce me to overcome my dread of dreadlocks and fire twirlers and actually spend a night there. However, the food is relatively cheap, the servings gargantuan and there are vegetarian options. You could do worse.

Los Amigos is home... a wide array of animals. It pays not to leave your shoes lying around: the three dogs are partial to chewing such tempting offerings.

These beasts are trouble...

...when they are not sleeping.

To sleep, I retreat to Flores' skid row hotel. For less the price of a dorm bed at Los Amigos, you can score one of two tiny rooms under the stairs here. The share bathroom boasts cryptic Spanglish messages but overall I like it.

{ 2 } Comments

  1. Paul Joseph Park | January 28, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Hey, Anna, nice post. I, too, was pleasantly surprised to run into so many touring cyclists in Flores. I hope you get in touch with the solo female touring cyclist, and meet up if that works into your plans, or even if not! Hope to see you “down the road”!

  2. Tom | January 28, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    We know how you feel about other cycle tourists. We last saw some in Silver City NM only 2-3 months ago, but it still feels like a long time.


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