27 June 2011

Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Location: Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Just a brief update here, as I have been away from the internets for several weeks and have another week or so remaining...  I am helping an American haul his sailboat out of the water Egyptian style (but with fewer Hebrews) and we are about ready to give it the old heave ho.  Lots of prep has gone into laying rails and building rollers, etc etc.  Lots of pictures to follow...

I leave you with one of my favorite quotations...

"They don't think it be like it is, but it do."  -Oscar Gamble

Catching the nightly lightning show over Rio Dulce from S/V Poco a Poco

02 June 2011

Guatemala, Sweat, and Gears

Location: Cobán, Guatemala
Estimated miles ridden through México: 3235
Price of Diesel in Guatemala: 33.79Q per gallon (about $4.10)
Final tortilla count for Mexico: just over 800
Biggest day: 150 km

I finally crossed out the south end of Mexico after first crossing the US border with Chihuahua in early January.  With 3 weeks back home for my grandfather's funeral, plus weeks off in Mazatlan, Guadalajara, Oaxaca, and San Cristobal de las Casas, my daily average is still quite low.  I really enjoyed getting to experience Mexico first hand.  The people treated me so well (for the most part) and the scenery was incredibly varied.  The food was delicious and cheap.

Now I have been in Guatemala for a week.  I am struggling to adapt to my new nickname, which will likely last for the rest of Central America.  No longer Guero, I am Gringo, which I find annoying.  Responses of Chapinito, Gordito, Guatemalteqito, etc seem to get the desired response: laughter at the silliness of namecalling OR total silence.  It is always nice to have a canned comeback.  The indigenous children playing in the roads either shriek and run away OR shriek and come chasing me.  They all look to the oldest child to decide how to react.

The plan of the minute is to cover Central America quickly, leaving the option to reach Patagonia before next May.  If I continue at my current pace, I would arrive in the dead of winter, requiring a wait of several months.  The thought of not reaching Patagonia untilñ NEXT December is too much.  So, we shall hurry along to Panama.  Stay tuned as I rack up some border crossings.

Until then, here's a slew of photos to keep you from being productive...

sunrise over San Cristobal from el Hostalito's roof

I found a Tony Little Gazelle inspired workout facility! You can dooo iiiiiiiiiiit!

Making some Canadian friends.

Mezcal does not mess around.

La luchadora de Guadalupe!

Mezcal.  20 pesos.

Lost Boy street

The mangoes in the market are displayed on these little buckets...

but careful viewing shows NO mangoes in the bucket.  Oh the flashbacks!

Sometimes, mango is just a way to deliver chili to your face!

Rainy season begins.

Rain in the San Cristobal market...

proper double top tube!

sunset over san cristobal

hauling ass in San Cristobal...

Pedalazo, a friday night group ride.

the museum of mayan medicine really just shows you that EVERY plant is a cure for diarrhea
There were various remedies for all the ailments.  Most involved burning a 1 peso candle and saying a prayer and eating some bark or something.  But, lord help you if you have diarrhea.  You have to burn 52 candles!  and eat all the plants.  I am so grateful for Ciprofloxacin.  2 pílls and I am normal again.

This birth technique is cool.  The husband holds the wife and the midwife gets the baby out the back door.

nice to know the brick cut is still an option in Chiapas!

posing in front of Dr. Pepe Poo's office...

On the roof with Luk and Gab after a day of learning about Diarrhea.

She make a man wanna speak Spanish!

Looking back into chiapas.

my last meal in Mexico, with handmade tortillas of course!

coming out of the highlands to the Guatemalan border...

Camping by the river with the awesome Speer Hammock near the Guat border.


The border commerce zone is quite colorful.

welcome to Guat, where Landcruisers are everywhere.

and tricked out Sammy's!

tire shop: Pinchazo

Ahhh  the chicken bus with Yosemite Sam mudflaps.  classic.

getting right back into the highlands with a 2 day climb

winding through the valley

burn your trash and throw it over the cliff into the river!  yay!

Land Rover 110 pickup  turbo diesel!!!

fresh spring water roadside!  i missed this so much!

technicolor mothy worms are really too much for me.  

hunting down some stealth campsites is hard when every surface is covered with subsistence farmers.  I swear this is the only place in the world you can fall out of a corn field and get run over by a chicken bus.

this one has a nice bamboo spout!

the road finally levelled out and i rolled the highlands.

Powerpoo!  definitely needs a different font...

just call it ''way-way''

chicken bus

they measure in gallons and pounds here.

i met a former bike racing champ when i spotted his series 3 land rover out back.


it gets a little busy...

chicken bus bearing down on me.

goat milk carmel and butter sandwich

the new machete rides the bars!

thumb wrestling nick from the peace corps with spidey and a walrus.

Mania sniffs my spokes. Mania is Guat for peanut.

terra cotta rofftops and corn.  this is central america

and you ain't a man unless you have a toyota

staying with Alicia, a Peace Corps volunteer was a good place to jettison gear, and orient to a new vocabulary

explore new swimming holes and pose for more fotos sexi

cold, but a good hike nonetheless

Alicia and a cool rock.

rohloff oil change wqithout the special kit...

cut a bottle in half, use your shoes and the other half to support the wheel.  remove the sprocket and drain the old oil.

add new oil, rinse, drain, refill.  I use ATF and it works great!

cruising the highlands

the rainy season means there is a lot of fog in the morning.

this sign is too much, but basically, it opposes mines and hydro plants.

small landslides were common here

zooming into the wild unknown!

political parties paint all the guardrails, giving a festive feeling.  better than zinc gray, methinks.

i will ride there.

you bomb a corner and the pavement ends, for example.  caution is a good idea here.

enticing valley that smelled of onions.

political advertising.

the women carry lots of stuff on their heads here.

technicolor popcorn balls are really too much for me.

that is a lively cemetery.  ......

the light was cool that day.  really clear.

i peed colors for 2 days after this.  i hope it was the die....

rainy season and guatemalan countryside...

the mercedes bubble nose trucks seem to collect badges, and apparently ford grilles.

the hammock is wonderful in a downpour, plus the bike fits under the huge tarp.

the road curves down and away...


irresistible downhill

Tatanka looms large

this boy and his brother earned a rfee ride to school on the back of tatanka in exchange for taking this pic.

steel grate bridges...

it's all about presentation...

danger, landslide zone...

the road was torn away.  300 dead

a new path has been cut, but it is not the place to dilly dally.

the caterpillar excavator is in the picture for scale.

lots of defenders missing parts down here.

riding in the rain...

hanging out with some germans and guatemalans working to help the families that live at the town dump.

Coban rooftop scene...

my philosophy, written on the wall.  i found it AS I was thinking it.  i took it as affirmation...

chilling on the roof...

Semuc Champey, best swimming hole since Tolantongo.

an inviting dip while a whitewater river rages underneath the ground

the fishies eat your dead skin.

the river drops down...

serious river...

there it goes!

so cool!

worth the effort

and a calm river comes back out the bottom

cave exploring with some seriously sketchy safety rigging.  and just candles

me with the guide and the Dutch guys.

climbing a waterfall by candlelight.  awesome.

catching a lift back to town in a pickup.

view from hotel Zephyr.  2 bucks a night for a hammock.

sweet view.

this is how the women dress here.  every village has their own style...

Lanquin after the rain...

hotel zephyr

suzuki lj-81

axle housings make good parking bumpers!

german with kitten working on his VW bus

tools in the back means a long way to go before the Honduras road trip begins...