I’m so sluggish today. I just want to go to sleep. I don’t think we’re sleeping well at night. It’s too hot. Our nights are more like a series of short naps. We lay in the tent on top of our silk sleeping bag liners, in standard anatomical position, wearing little to no clothes, taking care that our bodies do not touch ourselves or each other. Yet, we are still sweating. After just a few nights, Scott’s liner and ground mat smell like ammonia. No matter how much we drink, we are in a constant state of dehydration. I think we are pushing the limits of our heat tolerance.
By 8:30am it’s already unbearably hot. We take a break in a bus stop shelter with some people waiting for the bus to take them to church. I lay down on a bench. I probably look half-dead. I feel half-dead. We drink a rehydration drink but it does little to change my mood.
While I’m passed out in the bus stop, Scott chats with a guy about our trip. The guy tells a story about the time a Dutch cyclist camped at his house on his way through to Panama. That got me thinking, how many people are going to be unexpected hosts to a passing cyclist tonight? I wonder, over the years, how many families along this route have hosted a cyclist.
When we talk with roadside merchants they usually say they see a bicycle tourist at least once a week, so there’s a handful of our types passing through. Scott and I usually stealth camp, but people cycling solo tend to knock on doors and ask to camp near a house, for the added security. We’ve done this a few times and have experienced warm welcomes.
I wonder how this would be received in the United States? We never had to do this in the States because we either had a campground to go to or we snuck off the road into the woods somewhere. If a stranger showed up at your door around sunset asking to camp on your lawn (in broken English, because our Spanish is broken at best), would you let them?
People are particularly enthusiastic today. Maybe it’s because it’s the weekend, everyone is in good spirits. We get a lot of shout-outs as we pass by houses and fields, as if people sense we need the extra encouragement. We receive a bunch of thumbs-up and honks from drivers and one “You Can Do It!” a la the movie Water Boy. We’re not far from the border. Tomorrow we’ll cross into Panama.
Birdwatching at camp: