04 December 2002 - Website Updated

Well, I did have to take the 1.5 hour bus ride to Flores to load my site.  But it's been a while, and I'm sure y'all are dying for updates.  So I have sacrificed my day of lazing around the Finca waiting for a transmission to bus up here.

The new transmission is supposed to ship today, then once it gets here I have to bus to Puerto Barrios (6-8 hour round trip) in order to pick it up.  I may leave the Finca tomorrow to head to Lanquin, a remote guesthouse on a river.  There are two Americans here that are heading that way, so I may go with them.

02 December 2002 - Return to the Finca; Adi's Last Day

So, yesterday I woke up in Livingston and headed back towards Rio Dulce.  I had met several German girls there at the Hotel Backpackers, where they were volunteering.  They were unhappy, stressed out, and generally pissed off.   I suggested a a trip to the Finca.  So I brought them up here last night on a bus, and arrived just in time for dinner and Adi's going away party.  All the volunteers here came down to the bar, as well as Darren and Charlie, two Americans, Angie and Astrid, the Germans, and bunch of other people.  Adi was accompanied by Astrid for his fire show, turns out she is pretty good at it as well.  Late night Pablo got into the salsa, and Jorge and Darren and Angie played guitars and sang by the campfire.  Very enjoyable, albeit a late night.  Lots of videos, I particularly like German Girl, Irish Song...  sung in Guatemala.  Also Sweet Caroline and Aye Aye Aye.

Looks like I am heading back to NH for Christmas, so I am trying to get my bike fixed within a week, then I am going to head to Utila in Honduras and hopefully take a PADI dive class..  Then back to Guatemala and fly out..  Plans are very hazy right now..  but I'll figure something out.

And, for your listening pleasure, check out this big hit that is all over Central America.  I've heard it everywhere.  Beaten into my head.  Over and over.  Ahhhhh, make it stop!  Anyway, here is Las Ketchup (as in the condiment) performing Sara Que (or something like that).

01 December 2002 - Livingston

Today I took a boat down the river to the Caribbean.  The town here, Livingston, is only accessible by boat, so it was a good place to come with my motorcycle being dead for now.

The ride out here was amazing.  About 1.5 hours on the river through a canyon, along mangrove forests, passed steaming hot springs, and near houses perched precariously on stilts above the river.  I almost can't wait to head back tomorrow down the same route.

Once here I grabbed some food and then bumped into an English couple I met at the Finca.  They are sort of on their honeymoon..  they got married 4 months or so ago in Puerto Vallarta with a few friends and family members.  Now they are traveling around.  We decided to meet up for dinner and a drink tonight.

Anyway, tomorrow I think am heading back to Rio Dulce, meeting up with a German girl, and heading back to the Finca.  The next day I am going to head to Flores, because I know I can upload the website there.  Three hours in a bus so I can get the site updated.  Am I crazy?

30 November 2002 - Rio Dulce

So yesterday I took off on the Chicken Bus for Rio Dulce.  That was an interesting event.  If I can get the video to work, check it out..  One of many passes..

Got to Rio Dulce and checked into a recommended hotel, The Hotel Backpacker, right on the water.  I was hanging around when I was told about an operation taking place.  So I meandered over, and watched a Guatemalan plastic surgeon sewing a pelican's wing back together.  He was assisted by Irish Caroline and Canadian Caroline.  So I hung around and ended up going out in Dr. Enrique's boat with the two Caroline's..  Had a beer and cruised around the river.  Nice start to a new town..

Irish Caroline turns out to be a nice sarcastic Irish lass..  Been enjoying that, as recently I've heard or spoken little of the greatest form of humor, sarcasm.  It is difficult to be sarcastic with people who learned English as a second language.

Today, at the place I'm staying at, there is some sort of adventure race that is ending here.  I was sitting out on the patio having a beer and eating some food, when several teams of athletes rappelled off the bridge and swam across the river over to the dock.  Seeing these athletes and their conditioning reminded me of my own physical condition.  Which was fortuitous, because it was then that I remembered that I had yet to have my nap this afternoon.  So I took care of that.

And two nights ago Adi the Swiss bartender at the Finca provided the bar patrons with a bit of entertainment with his fire show..  Check out pictures and videos if they work.

Also, Carole, the owner of the Finca, asked me to put up some posters for the Finca, so I'm now carrying posters and flyers to post for her in my travels.  Adds even more to my feeling that I live there now.

Might head off to Livingston tomorrow, we'll see.

28 November 2002 - The Monkey and Americans

So, I came back to my tree house this afternoon for a little nap, and was harassed by a monkey that has escaped from jail.  He wandered right into my tree house, so I had to grab his hand and try and drag him out before he started to eat my camera or something.  He thought it was a fun game and struggled mightily.  Luckily, I outweigh the little bastard.  I then closed the door and watched him climb around the tree house, checking every window to see if he could get it.  Tried to push the door in and I had to barricade it with my chair.  Cheeky little bastard.

Update**  When I got home from the bar, he showed up and tried to get in.  Spend at least half an hour whimpering outside my door.  Climbed all over again, trying to get in..

I also got what I'm taking as a nice compliment.  Adi, the Swiss bartender here, said I was one of few Americans he liked to hang out with.  Now, normally, I might be offended..  But I have only met two Americans in the last 2 weeks, and both were horrible.  One an insecure feminist from Vermont who actually told a Dutch girl that Americans don't read trashy novels like the Dutch do, and then turned to the other side and started a conversation with an Israeli couple about how Israel is being unreasonable to the Arabs...  The other was an ex US Army guy from deep woods Florida down here with a American flag hick hat and a huge machete attached to his leg.  He scared off half the bar last week.  So, I think I'll take the American comment as a compliment.

Update** The ex-Army guy showed up here..  At least he doesn't have his machete now, but I'm still staying clear.

28 November 2002 - UPDATE

Thanks to Gayle, it looks like I should have a new tranny from Josh at Partshaus in a week.  Both Gayle and Josh have gone out of their way to help.  And in the meantime, I'm gonna hop on a chicken bus and head to Rio Dulce and Livingston while I wait.  See ya.

27 November 2002 - UPDATE

Everything is much better, at least in my head.  My transmission is still broken, and I have yet to get anywhere on getting a new one... but I'm here at the Finca and there are cool people here, plenty of food, and a nice bar with fireplace down by the lake.  I have been here a total of 5 nights (between last week and this week) and I have received the free drink for being one of the first people at the bar every night.  Got a good streak going.  Last night I brought the laptop down and played some good music, including a few hours of Fela.  Tonight if I bring my laptop down again, I get another free drink plus another free drink courtesy of the bartender.  As far as the tranny goes, I will not be able to get parts here, so I am trying to get one shipped down from the states.  We'll see what happens.  Anyway, Happy Turkey Day.

25 November 2002 - Tikal and UPDATE***

Well, today was shit.  For the first time I was lonely this morning.  Had a fantastic week at the Finca and in Flores, met and connected with some great people.  But this morning, we all went our separate ways, which was when the trouble happened.

I was headed towards Belize, which was about 60 miles from Flores.  I made it about 45 miles, then I hit a bump and my transmission died.  No gears work, there is a loud whining noise, and the bike don't move.  I waited for about 1/2 an hour to try and hitch a ride, but when zero trucks passed, I turned to plan B.  Ask around the tiny village to see who owned a truck.  Found a guy, and we settled on a price to bring me back to Flores.  Once we got there, I went to an ATM, and then negotiated a price to drive me back to Finca Ixobel, which was about another 65 miles away.  We settled on a price (about $75) and headed off.  I don't think the guy could see very well, and the ride was very slow, but I made it.

I'm at the Finca now, and will either pull the transmission here and take it on a bus to Guatemala City or try to find another ride to Guatemala City, which is about 250 miles away.

Anyway, today sucks.  I'm lonely and my bike is busted, so I'm having a beer.

I'll let y'all know what happens.

End of UPDATE***

So two days ago I met up with the German girls from Finca Ixobel, Eva and Theresa.  We shared a room in Flores for the last two days.  Also in this hotel were Anne, the Irish girl from the Finca, and also the Spanish couple from the Finca, Carlos and his girlfriend.  We also met up with another German guy from the Finca, Stefan.  And he had met up with another German guy, Alexander.  Saturday night me and the Germans hung out on the roof deck and drank some rum.  Very enjoyable.

Yesterday, after the girls alarm clock went off at 4:30, the girls finally left at about 6:30 for the bus to Tikal.  I slept for another hour, then rode up.  Caught them at breakfast, and we started into the ruins where we immediately bumped into Stefan.  So the four of us spent the day hiking around Tikal, covering somewhere near 6-8 miles, and climbing four very tall pyramid temples.  I was beat.  But Tikal was amazing.  Many many great pictures.  It was huge, the temples towering above the jungle canopy, the howler monkeys screaming, and many colorful birds and fuzzy animals meandering about.

The group has broken up, with some heading to Lago Atitlan, the Eva and Theresa off to Palenque at 4 this morning, and others elsewhere.  As for me, I am headed to Belize today.

Also, in website updating news, all the videos should now work, so if you have time, check them out.  There are some new ones from Tikal as well.

23 November 2002 - The Caves...

So, yesterday, I decided to stay at the Finca another night, and spend the day walking to a cave and swimming/hiking/wading down the river in the cave a kilometer.  It was very amazing.  Huge caverns inside the cave..  and very little life, as there is no light.  At the end half the group decided to swim underwater for 3 meters or so to get to the next cavern.  It is completely sealed off from the outside air.  Very cool, and something I head never done before..

The Finca is very cool, a travelers haven.  I spent time hanging out with guys and girls from Argentina, Germany, England, Ireland, Spain, Canada, Switzerland, and elsewhere.  Conversations around coffee or a beer would sometimes switch between Spanish, English or German.  Questions would be asked in English and answered in Spanish.  A fully international group.  Tom, the English gent, is hitchhiking south and plans to hike the Darien Gap (update 01/30/03: Tom bagged the Darien Gap after hearing about land mines, and instead hiked through Mosquitia in Honduras).  The Spanish couple (Carlos and ?) and Anne, the Irish girl, are supposedly here in Flores.  Eva and Theresa, the German girls, are behind me heading here to Flores on a bus.  We plan to get together tonight..

Tomorrow a bunch of us are heading to Tikal, then returning here for the night.  The next day I plan to head into Belize.


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