20 November 2002 - MCG and Dirt!
I started off yesterday dropping in on the Moto Club Guatemala's breakfast. I thought it was the BMW club, but it is a general club. Lots of Beemers, Ducks, and Yamahas (R1s, R6s, Fazers). I hung out, said hi to a few folks, and took off.
Made it through Guatemala City without getting lost, at rush hour, without looking at a map. Very lucky or very good. I then headed for some dirt roads to take me towards Tikal. What I didn't realize is that the dirt roads were horrible, and it had rained, so the roads were very muddy. It soon became apparent that I was racing the sun to make it to pavement before dark... I just barely made it, spending about 5 hours on the bike without getting off.. Stopped to look at the map occasionally, but never got off. I saw some things in Guatemala most people don't see.. Mayan villages 50 miles in on single lane rough dirt roads.. Unfortunately I did not get any pictures as the Mayans are not fond of them, plus I didn't have time to stop. I did get a few of the road though.
I made it to Finca Ixobel about 1.5 hours after dark, which was an interesting 1.5 hours. Tequila Pete told me to stop here, and I'm glad he did, although I probably would have ended up here anyway. This place has 400 acres in the jungle with all sorts of housing units. I have my own tree house, up in the trees, looking out over the field and jungle. Pretty amazing. Also, this whole place is on the honor system. You get a page in a book, and whatever you want (drinks, desserts, internet, meals, etc) you write in the book, and when you check out you pay for it.
Spent the evening with a guy that worked here until today.. He has been traveling in Guatemala for a few months, and working here for 6 weeks. And he's 16 years old... So Mom, don't worry about me, worry about his mother. Pretty interesting kid though, from Sebastopol..
Oh yeah, and major kudos to Sony laptops. I thought for sure this thing was going to die yesterday... Many rocks and many potholes.. I just hope the BMW holds up as well as the computer.
And a question.... is it wrong to wheelie a fully (over) loaded Airhead on rough cobblestone streets through the central square of Antigua, Guatemala???
19 November 2002 - Family Life
So, I was showing Fernando the video feature on my laptop yesterday (he is enthralled with all my toys.. see the video). And I thought hey, Gladys has a son in Canada... And she can record a video and email it to him. So I offered, and we recorded a few of her and the family. I just sent them to her son.. And then I was thinking, hey, I can do the same thing and send them home to my folks...
And also today Fernando got a quick ride on the moto. (P.S. Those of you with little ones, I feel for you. Fernando apparently never stops running around.. except when he's in bed at 6:30 in the damn morning yelling at the top of his lungs for his mama.)
And I had a problem with the bike.. I changed the oil yesterday, and when I went to tighten one of the bolts that holds the oil filter cover it didn't tighten. Uh oh. I thought it might be ok, but after running around this morning it was puking oil. So I rode around to several different "taller mecanicos" until I found one who could tap a larger hole. Finally got it done for Q90, about $12.
Then I had to send some stuff home so I went to the post office. They didn't have boxes so I went to the supermarket and stole one. Then I went back to the post office. But then they said I had to have it wrapped in paper. So I went to the "libreria" and bought some paper. Finally, they took it. Took me about 1/2 hour to send one stupid little package.
Found out a weird coincidence and a bummer too yesterday. Turns out Tequila Pete was in Oaxaca the same time I was.. we just never ran into each other. He is home now after 7 months in Central America. Gave me a few tips of some cool places..
18 November 2002 - Panajachel and Lago Atitlan
Well, I have not posted for a few days. I was going to post yesterday, but the electricity was out all day in Panajachel. I'm back in Antigua now.
Spent the weekend on Lago Atitlan.. which is beautiful. Come check it out. Met John and Ae, an Irish/Canadian guy and his Thai wife. He has been traveling the world for over 5 years on a Ural sidecar. She joined in a few years back. He is a tattoo artist, and hangs up a shingle in every town, which is how they have afforded to travel for so long.. Very interesting people. They are heading north, spending 6 months or so in Mexico, then into the states. I told them I'd buy them a beer when they make it to San Francisco..
Anyway, I am back in Antigua now, staying with my teacher from last week and her family. Fernando, her 6 year old, wants a ride on my bike. He apparently has been harassing her for a moto for some time. I'm not gonna discourage that!
I'm staying here for breakfast with the Guatemala BMW Riders club on Wednesday, then off to Tikal.
16 November 2002 - Moving on..
Yesterday I finished up a week of school. I can definitely understand and speak more Spanish. Still a long way to go.. but it's start.
Hung out with some other students. Had lunch yesterday with Reiner, a retired German guy who is traveling with his wife in an Airstream trailer. However, the wife and the trailer were in LA, and he was in Antigua learning Spanish. Pretty interesting fellow. Also had some drinks and went to a concert with a Swiss girl last night. She is transferring from Toronto back to Zurich, and took a few months off in between. Went to see a pretty damn good guitar show last night featuring Alfredo Caceres, Rolando Lopez, Alejandro Erdminger, Pedro Gonzalez and Fernando Perez. It was at times very reminiscent of Carlos' band.. Same Latin flair with great percussion and pretty good guitar work.
This morning I got up, picked up some oil bought by the guy from San Diego in Guatemala City, then headed out to Lago Atitlan. Pulled into town and within seconds was found by an Irish Canadian guy who is traveling on a Ural sidehack with his Thai wife. He has been on the road for over 5 years, paying his way by being a traveling tattoo artist. Interesting couple. He is heading north, spending 6 months in Mexico, then into the US. Look for him next summer. Anyway, he showed me a great hotel and here I am. This place has brand new mattresses, I can't believe it. And all for about $6.
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