14 November 2002 - Field trip...

I went on a field trip with my school today..  Over to a neighboring town where the women do a lot of weaving.  They told us about the weaving etc, then served us some good food with a killer mole.

Got some good pictures of people.. which y'all have been asking for.  Also, we got to ride in a bitchin' bus.

Also, as some of you who have been following along know, I've been having trouble uploading videos.  I'm not sure what the problem is, but I've set a new page up so you can check it from time to time to see any videos you may have missed.  On the videos page is a list of all videos that I have posted or am trying to post, also with sizes, so you know what you are getting into before you download.  This helps me keep track of them, and hopefully you too.

13 November 2002 - Iglesias San Francisco

This afternoon both my teacher and I were sick of sitting around, so we walked a few blocks over to Iglesias San Francisco. That is a church for you gringos and gringas. Anyway, pretty impressive church built in 1500 or so. Amazing artwork, of which I got some pictures that don't really do it justice. Next to the church are the ruins of the nunnery. Pretty amazing ruins, apparently most of it came down in an earthquake. Amazing architecture and stone work etc. Check out the pictures.

I also met two dudes from San Diego. They saw my bike at school and were hanging around waiting for me to return. Turns out one was visiting his in-laws who live in town, and the other was a buddy who just came along to ride down.. They were on both on 11GSs. One of them was gonna head to Guatemala City for oil tomorrow, so I asked him to pick me up some, save me the trip into that smog den.

I'm probably gonna head up to Lago Atitlan this weekend, then come back here for a few more days of school next week. I'm waiting for a care package from Fanch and also Jonty may try to catch up and we'll ride through Honduras and Nicaragua together. We'll see.. he is up at San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico now.

12 November 2002 - Light, Architecture, People

So I had some requests via email today.  More pictures of people, more pictures of the amazing light, and more pictures of the architecture.  So when I got home from school I ran up to the roof deck and fired off a few pictures of sunset.  Not bad.  As for the architecture, no problem, plenty more to come.  And as for people...  I would like more shots of people as well, but many locals are sort of touchy about it..  There was even a big incident two years ago when a group of Japanese tourists took photos of a child..  A mob of locals converged and beat one tourist and the bus driver to death.  So, I'm a bit reluctant.  Once my Spanish is a bit better, I will be more comfortable asking if I can take someone's picture.

I heard from Brit Jonty yesterday, and he bumped into Tequila Pete in Puerto Escondido a few days back.  I am trying to find out where Pete is, but I am afraid he is on his way back north...  I hope to hear from Jonty with the details.

Hasta la vista.

11 November 2002 - Escuela Espanol

So this morning I started Spanish school.  Went over some of the basics, which I knew, then charged into the irregular verbs.  Got to get those down tonight, plus about 100 new words, and remember how to conjugate the regular verbs.  Piece of cake.

That's about all I did today, over 6 hours in the classroom, or cube, as they call it.  Man, I left Silly Valley and here I am back in a cube..  But then, the cubes in the states don't look quite like these cubes.  Check out pictures for my place of learning.

I also remembered why I'm not the biggest fan of school.  You got to sit there forever..   I need a bit more activity in my days.  Oh well, four more days and I should be fluent.  Ha ha.

Oh yeah, at lunch I'm pretty sure I got hit on by a local.  Ruby red lips, milky brown skin, and baby brown eyes.  Name was Russell.  Actually, his name was Gonzalo.  Pretty damn funny.  He wanted to be my 'friend'.  The other local down the bench was trying not to burst out laughing, as he kept looking over to see my reaction.

10 November 2002 - Antigua

Found the good coffee shop today. Good lattes, cappuccinos, etc with excellent Guatemalan coffee..  Had one and sat in the park for a while watching the tourists and locals wander around.  One thing I did notice was where the water was coming from in the fountain. Check it out in the pictures.

I walked around a ton today, my feet are killing me.  I tried to buy some sneakers, because neither my boots or sandals are cutting it for the amount of walking I am doing.  Problem being is no one has sneakers for big people.  Biggest I found was 44 (12ish), but they were too small.  I guess there's not too many Guatemalans with size 13 feet.

Went to the cemetery today, ignoring the warnings of the guidebook to not go alone.  I figured it was broad daylight, and I outweigh and tower over every Guatemalan here.  Not a high mugging risk.  Anyway, walked around the cemetery and checked out the tombs.  They have huge family tombs that house several members.  Most dated from the mid 1800s to early 1900s.  And they are mostly well taken care of, with fresh flowers etc on many of them.  Pretty cool to walk around this old cemetery with impressive tombs everywhere.  And I didn't get mugged either.

Then I came back to the hotel and had a long conversation with Christopher, the hotel guy.  He lives in a town about 10 miles away, but spends nights here.  His wife and two ninos stay at home.  His dad is dead, he has one sister, and he doesn't speak a word of English except for 'fuck'.  Good to see we are passing along the important words.  Anyway, it was pretty funny talking to him, as we both had to keep looking in my Spanish dictionary to figure out what the hell we meant.  We managed, I think, to get most of our points across though.  Good practice prior to school.

Early to bed tonight, school starts at 8am tomorrow.  Oh yeah, I went to the market today and picked up an alarm clock..  $2 and I should make it to class on time.

09 November 2002 - Antigua

Well, I moved hotels this morning.  I now have to pay $9 a night, but I can sleep on the mattress, the place is not nearly as much as a dive as the place last night.  Last night I had to sleep on some sort of medieval torture rack masquerading as a mattress.  Not fun.

Went down to the main square tonight, and they had a bunch of opera performers belting it out.  So, with nothing else to do I sat down and watched and listened.  Some were good, some not so good.  Not that I'm a big opera critic or anything..  but you can kind of tell.  Either way, it was enjoyable.  These Central Americans like their music, and they like it outdoors, and they like it frequent.  Anyway, more pics are up (I have vids, but have not yet figured out how to post them reliably).

08 November 2002 - Julio, Roberto, and Antigua

So this morning I got up to meet Julio.  He had invented a little metal thing to allow you to put out the side stand on the GS without getting off..  which is impossible.  So he wanted to put one on my bike, which I agreed.  I followed him to his riding buddy Roberto's shop.  One of Roberto's guys welded the thing on and added some height to the bottom of the side stand so it would hold up my bike.

Roberto then hooked me up with a BMW Motorcycle Owners of Guatemala sticker that I added to my helmet, and he gave me a sticker from the BMW rally in Oaxaca last month..  So I added that to my bags.  They were very cool, and they want to accompany me to Mexico when I come back through..

After all that I took off and headed to Antigua.  I'm at a major dive hotel, my room is like 6 by 8 feet, and the bed looks like a hammock, but not as comfortable.  I think I may move tomorrow.

However, I have signed up for Spanish classes, starting on Monday.  8-12 and 1-4 Monday through Friday.  Then we'll see how I'm doing, but I have a feeling I'll be itchy to move on..  If not, I may stay for another week.

07 November 2002 - Website frustration

So I woke up this morning planning to load my site and head off to Antigua.  After the second internet cafe and about 3 hours..  I decided maybe I needed a hotel with a phone.  So I looked in my handy Lonely Planet book (these by the way, are indispensable) and found the cheapest, closest hotel with a phone.  Showed up, checked in, went to my room to work on the site..  But it didn't work, so I went to the lobby, and used their phone there.  Now, most of the vids should work, but there are still a few that don't.

Anyway, the good part of the story is that I met the owner of the Hotel Modelo, Julio Miralbes.  Turns out he is a BMW rider from way back.  He has a R80GS, R100RT, R90S, and R65.  He has been to Alaska three times, Boston, Wyoming, Florida, and generally all over.  He got the long distance award at the MOA rally a few years back, having ridden from Guatemala.  He just got the oldest rider award at a  BMW rally in Oaxaca.  Because, you see, he's 82.  And he's headed to Alaska again next year with his buddy from Huehuetenango (just up the street 30 or 40 miles).  Pretty impressive.  Anyway, we talked bikes for a while with his ok English and my horrible Spanish.  So, even with my frustration this morning, everything worked out for the best.  Julio is taking me to his welder buddy tomorrow morning to hook me up with his custom side stand fix..

Staying here tonight, heading to Antigua tomorrow.


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