Guatemala, 22 Nov '02
January 10, 2003 GMT
Derrumbes en la via

I drove right by the Mexican migration! Before i knew it the bike was being fumegated at the Guate border.

I drove right by the Mexican migration! Before i knew it the bike was being fumegated at the Guate border. I was in two minds to go back or not. Never say never.... I went back. After seeing the chaos that is La Mesilla, I had a quite lunch to spend up the last clanky pesos in Mexico.
No need for re-spraying. One cheap hour for the paper work and off for an afternoon ride through the mountains. The "chicken" buses sure spew out the black smoke!
One night in Huehue; one night in Panachel. The road out of Pana was quite fun, it twisted up for views over the lake and the volcanoes; and then it narrowed and became a corkscrew of tight, steep hairpins!! yeeha.
In Guatemala City i took a nice hotel in the centre where i could bring the bike through the lobby and down the hall to the laundry area. The cheaper rooms were up on the 3rd floor and the stairs shrunk down to a four foot clearance!
Out to do the sunday Plaza stroll. Around the corner from the hotel I walked up a urine soaked street. The homeless young men had the luxury of double sized foam pads! And they weren´t shy about running over for money.
A few blocks, but a world away, is the Plaza Mayor; filled with families and lovers and tourists. An ice cream van played "Do Your Ears Hang Low" (Joanna and Michelle are laughing right now if no one else is)
Directly to the BMW shop on monday morning. Veronica, the pr woman, spoke english and helped me talk to the mechanic. The bike work shop is in a lock-up a couple of blocks away. Not as swanky as the car workshop, but there were a variety of new and old bikes in for service and the mechanic himself was an older, capable looking man: i had to trust him.
I had been doing adjustments on the chain for the last 2000km through Mexico so put the new one on. The front tyre was desperate. And a 10,000k service.
Veronica gave me a ´goodie bag´- tshirt, cap, pin, pen, sticker and a packing cube. How nice, muchas gracias!
The ride back to the hotel at rush hour, in the growing darkness, was mad. Pushy buses squeezing in; lame little pips from my tooty horn! Filtering through the congestion i wacked a side mirror--ooops! Heard the glass break, that pissed someone off. Lo siento, adios!
After a couple of days i was ready to head out of the City. I took a scenic detour through Jalapa, to get off the CA-9. It soon turned into a hard days work! Construction and gravel led to rocky tracks; then of course the usual Guatemalan landslide zone. Derrumbes en la via! A wrong fork took me down a riverbed of a "road". A farmer set me straight and i had a wicked bouldery hill climb to get back!
After 4 hours on the pegs i had clocked 80kms, with another 40km to Chiquimula; so stopped for the night in San Luis. The family at the hotel came over to the bike when i brought it in the yard. They all patted the boxes, Grandma asked if they were full of food.
I could´ve gone on to the border but stayed a few days in Chiquimula for the swimming pool at Hotel Hernandes.
And that my friends is my week in Guatemala!!
I must tell you about a nightmare i had while camping Mexico:

Before i fell asleep i heard two people pass, their footsteps crunching on the gravel. They must´ve been crunching back and entered my dream.....
I pictured the steps to be coming along both sides of the tent, and then someone unzipping the entrance at my feet. Semi conscience panic set in. I tried so hard to pull myself from a deep deep sleep to no avail. I felt myself siting up and snarling and growling like a guard dog to scare off the intruders; but i know i was still lying down "sleeping". My noises woke me up and scared me to do a silent little scream. I started laughing when i realized it was the walkers, still crunching by; what they must´ve heard coming from my tent!!!

I put my boot beside me ready to wack anything that entered and went back to sleep!

Posted by Jo-Anne Smith at 12:38 PM GMT

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