April 07, 2005 GMT
Almost 1 year on the road - Guatemala 07.04.2005

English Version .....deutsche version siehe unten.....

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Almost 1 year on the road - Guatemala

We entered Guatemala from San Cristobal in Mexico over a beautiful road down the mountains. The border crossing was much easier than we thought, the mexican customs officer shook our hands to say goodbye and wished us a great trip, his guatemalan colleague welcomed us showing his scars from drunken offroad riding and welcomed us to his country- funny folks.

In Quetzaltenango called Xela spoken Scheela we met our friend Oliver again whomwe met last time in Creel, Mexico, spent a few days and beers together before Katja had to start her language school. Studiing in the morning, sightseeing the city and nearby villages in the afternoon and talking traveller tales to other traveller at night, we spent a wonderful week in Xela. Then we met Astrid and Didi, two german travellers coming up from South America in a Toyota Landcruiser where they have done some of the toughest routes you can find. They convinced us to climb up Vulcano Tajamulco, with 4220 meter the highest peak in Central America. After a bumby bus ride in a chicken bus, we started to climb at 2500 meters up to 4000 where we arrived exhausted 4 hours later and pitched our tent. Headache, earache and the thin air kept us awake that night, before we got up at 5 in the morning to climb the last 200 meters to watch the sun rise. It blew our mind. It was unbelievable to stay there watching the sun rise over the Highlands, while trying to get the frozen camera electronics working. The descend was even more beautiful, all the pain was gone, the clear weather gave us a 3 hour lasting view over the highlands - we were so happy that Didi ushed us up the day before.

Togehter with Didi and Astrid we spent another wonderful week at Lago Atitlan, where Didi - expert in rebuilding his own Africa Twin for several Cross Sahara and Africa trips - helped us wit a needed maintenance check of the bikes. But everything was fine. Here we also met Lothar and Petra again, a german couple we spent some wonderful days with visiting the ruins in Mexico. Unfortunately we spent the easter days on a campground where we owner treated his dogs very bad, lashing them to trees without food and water - so that we had to feed them and take care for them. as if the situation with the street dogs is not bad enough...

We let the easter days pass by with its ceremonies and parties before we decided to go to Tikal. Following Didi and Astrid in their landcruiser while dying in the heat in our full bike gear, we rode thru the Central Highlands where Martin was able to stop his bike and take off his helmed before puking his breakfast over the little dirt roads. Without any chance to move or even keep some water inside, we rented a little cabin closeby where we stayed 2 days to recover before we visited the pools of Semuc Champey. Without the support of Didi and Astrid we would have been in big trouble. We cannot thank them enough for their help and friendship. Heading north over a little dirt road to Sayaxche before meeting the paved stretch to Tikal again, we arrived there after an exhausting 10 hour ride in the sizzling heat - we promised ourself to skip riding those distances if we want to survive. After visiting Tikal which was great, but after all the ruins we saw in Mexico not as impressive as we thought, we had to say goodbye to Astrid and Didi,who had to head north thru Belize and Mexico and rode south to Poptun where we relaxed some days on a nice Finca before meeting Oliver again to leave Guatemala to Honduras after 4 great weeks in this wonderful country, with its lovely people and beautiful mayan girls.

Now after almost a year on the roadwe feel still this positive restlessness inside, keen on experiencing new things, looking forward to South America, willing to get on the road again for the rest of Central America which we have to cross pretty soon before the rainy season starts in 4 weeks. We are happy about all the experiences we make, people we meet, lucky that we are in healthy condition and stronger than we have ever been. Life is so good!

Katja and Martin


.....Deutsche Version.....

Fast 1 Jahr unterwegs - Guatemala

Wir fuhren nach Guatemala von San Cristobal ueber eine wundervolle Bergstrasse, die in ein Tal zwischen den Laendern fuehrte. Der Grenzuebergang stellte sich als weit einfacher heraus als wir uns das vorgestellt hatten, der mexikanische Grenzbeamte schuettelte uns die Hand und wuenschte gute Reise, sein guatemaltekischer Kollege krempelte seine Uniform hoch um uns stolz seine Narben zu zeigen, die er durch angetrunkenes Motorradfahren erlangt hatte, was in anscheinend sowas wie besonders mutig machte...lustige Kerlchen.

In Quetzaltenango, von allen nur Xela, sprich Scheela genannt, trafen wir unseren Kumpel Oliver wieder, mit dem wir nach weihnachten schon in Creel ein paar schoene Tage verbracht hatten, verbrachten einige Tage das Nachtleben und die Maerkte Xelas erkundend miteinander, bevor Katja sich am darauff. Montag ihrer Sprachschule widmen musste. Morgens studierend, nachmittags sightseeing in der Stadt und den umliegenden Doerfernund nachts mit anderen Reisenden Geschichten erzaehlend,verbrachten wir eine wundervolle Woche in Xela. Dann kamen Astrid und Didi. Diese beiden deutschen Reisenden hatten ihren Landcruiser bereits durch Sued und Mittelamerika getrieben und wurden in den naechsten Tagen nicht nur eine unerschoepfliche Quelle von Informationen und Anekdoten sondern auch unsere Schutzengel. Aber erstmal ueberredeten uns die beiden auf den Vulkan Tajamulco zu steigen, mit 4220 metern dem hoechsten Berg Mittelamerikas. Nach einer langen und ruppigen Chicken Bus Fahrt begannen wir amfolgenden Tag unseren Aufstieg von 2500 auf 4000 meter, wo wir nach 4 quaelenden Stunden, in denen Didi uns motiviert und getrieben hatte, unser Camp aufschlugen. Kopf und Ohrenschmerzen sowie die duenne Luft liessen uns die Nacht nur bedingt schlafen, so dass wir am naechsten Morgen als um 5 der Wecker klingelte zwar muede aber froh unseren aufstieg auf die Spitze begannen. 1 Stunde und 200 Hoehenmeter spaeter erlebten wir einen traumhaften Sonnenaufgang ueber dem guatemaltekischen Hochland, waehrend wir versuchten unsere eingefrorene Kameraelektronik wiederzubeleben. Der Abstieg war noch beeindruckender, die Schmerzen waren weg oder vergessen und wir konnten Didi nicht genug danken, dass er uns am Tag davor hier herausgescheucht hatte.

Zusammen mit Didi und Astrid verbrachten wir eine weitere Woche gemuetlich am Lago Atitlan wo Didi - Experte in Sachen Zerlegung seiner Eigenen Africa Twin fuer diverse Trans Sahara und Africa Trips- uns bei dem notwendigen Wartungscheck der Motorraeder half...aber es war alles in Ordnung. Hier trafen wir auch Lothar und Petra wieder,mit denen wir schon in Mexico einige schoene Tage in den Ruinen verbracht hatten - siehe letzte Mail. Es war eine schoene Runde. Leider mussten wir die Ostertage auf einem Campground uebernachten, auf dem der Besitzer seine Hunde ohne Futter und Wasser in der prallen Sonne mit einem viel zu kurzen Seil an die Baeume band - so dass wir das Fuettern uebernahmen. Als wenndie Situation der Strassenhunde in diesen Laendern hier nicht schon schlimm genug war, musste er die armen geschoepfe auch noch quaelen.

Wir liessen die Osterfeierlichkeiten an uns voruebergehen, bevor wir nach Tikal aufbrachen. Waehrend wir Didi und Astrid in Ihrem Toyota durch das Centrale Hochland folgten, stiegen die Temperaturen auf ueber 40 Grad - unser Goretex Anzug und der Helm stauten die Hitze so sehr, dass Martin einige Sekunden nachdem Abstellen seines Bikes gerade noch den Helm abnehmen konnte, bevor sich sein Fruehstuck einen Weg ins Freie bahnte. Unfaehig sich einen Meter weiterzubewegen oder auch nur das angebotene Wasser bei sich zubehalten, mieteten wir eine Huette in der wir uns 2 Tage erholten, bevor wir zu den Sinterterassen von Semuc Champey aufbrachen. Ohne die Hilfe von Didi und Astrid haetten wir uns indiesen Tagen sehr schwer getan.Wir koennen den beiden fuer ihre Hilfe und Freundschaft nicht genug danken.

Ueber eine Dirt Road gingn es weiter nach Sayaxche durch untouristisches Bergland, bevor wir die Teerstrasse nach Tikal erreichten, wo wir nach 10 Stunden Fahrzeit in der gluehenden Hitze speat abends ankamen. Nach dem obligatorischen Ruinenbesuch am naechsten Morgen, der zwr sehr schoen, im Vergleich zu den anderen Anlagen in Mexico fuer uns nicht mehr so beeidruckend und vor allem viel weniger gepflegt war, mussten wir uns von Didi und Astrid verabschieden, die ueber Belize und Mexico weiter Richtung Norden wollten und fuhren selbst Richtung Sueden nach Poptun. Dort verbrachten wir einige relaxende Tage auf einer Finca, wo wir die letzte Woche in Guatemala in der Haengematte auf unsere Freund Oliver wartend, verbrachten, bevor es nach Honduras weitergehen soll.

Guatemala ist ein wundervolles Land, landschaftlich und menschlich. Die Menschen sind freundlich, hilfsbereit und zuvorkommend und trotz ihrer Armut immer froehlich so scheint es- weit aufgeschlossener als wir dachten und die indigenas ausgesprochen attraktiv.

Nach fast einem Jahr unterwegs fuehlen wir immer noch diese positive Unruhe in uns, die uns weiter treibt, wir freuen uns auf den Rest Mittelamerikas, den wir aufgrund der drohenden Regenzeit wohl etwas schneller bereisen werden, freuen uns sehr auf Suedamerika und das was uns im kommenden Jahr erwartet. Wir sind gesund, einigermassen fit und staerker als wir je waren. Das Leben ist gut zu uns.

Katja und Martin

Posted by Martin Wickert at 06:18 PM GMT
 


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