Sunday, December 28, 2014


Since we are spending so much time in one spot, we thought we would run an experiment, and rent mountain bikes for a whole month.  The bike shop is near by, and they agreed to store the bikes for us when we aren't using them.  This avoids having to transport the bikes back and forth to the boat, or risking theft or damage if we left them locked up on the street.

So far, I'd say the experiment is tending positive.  Economically, we are probably paying a bit more than we would have if we'd just done daily rentals when we wanted a bike.  Offsetting this is the fact that we are certainly using the bikes more than we would with daily rentals, for example for relatively short trips into Kralendijk.  Plus, we don't have to deal with rental paperwork for each ride.

Yesterday, we took our longest bike ride ever.  We rode to the village of Rincon.  This is the oldest community on Bonaire.  It was established relatively far from the seashore, as a means to reduce attacks from pirates.  Rincon was the home for most of the slaves who were brought to the island, even those who worked in the salt flats an 8-hour walk away.

We visited Rincon to attend the monthly Cultural Market at the Mangazina di Rei (warehouse of the King) culture park.  This is a park built around the second oldest stone building on the island, where provisions for the slaves were kept by the Dutch government.  The park is a work in progress, with only a small fraction of the land area developed to date.  The Cultural Market was mostly a chance to eat local foods, with some fairly corny live music.  There is a small museum that documents some of the artifacts used in daily life on the island, and a terrific playground with lots of things to climb on.

Our route on bike to Rincon was a bit of an adventure.  We had found a designated bicycle route on the island map, and thought we'd give it a try.  It was an unpaved road, and it must have been a long time since it saw a road grader.  Very bumpy, with a rough washboard surface.  The first kilometer or so was nicely marked with blue-painted stones, but then we were on our own to find our way.  As we got nearer to Rincon, we had to ask for directions.  There were lots of steep up and downs to challenge our fitness, and the hot temperatures didn't help any.  But we made it the 14 km to the market.

On the way home, we decided to use the main road.  The first half was mostly uphill, across the backbone of the island.  Traffic was speeding by us very fast, but the drivers were quite polite and gave us plenty of room.  By the time we reached the boat, we were certainly tired, and very much aware of the small bicycle seats.

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