Huehuetenango to Antigua, Friday, 2 November 2012, Day 122

Lago de Atitlan

For some reason I am always getting lost on exciting towns this time the cause of the problem was my GPS. Last night I had swopped my North Americas maps for South America maps what I had forgotten was that for some reason Garmin have no maps available for Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua and the South America maps only start at Costa Rica so it looks like I will be flying blind for the next 3 countries. I knew this but and I was going to do some research closer to the time well it looks like I have left it to late as usual however not to many roads here and if I keep heading south I should be fine 🙂

So my GPS only has the odd main road on it for the moment and when you type in a town in this instance Antigua it comes with the message go to CA01. Which is fine but where the hell is the CA01 as road signs here are non-existent. So the plan is to try and find a sign for the road to Guatemala City, which I finally find, and as a celebration I pull over into a nice roadside café and order breakfast fried eggs beans and some other unrecognisable vegetable to me (was never any good at veg) cup of coffee and a newspaper. Excellent service probably because I am the only one in the place.

Excellent Breakfast

So after a relaxing breakfast and with a vague idea where I was going I hit the road again. Scenery still very pleasant not to hot and when I hit the CA01 this turns out to be a quite well maintained duel carriageway that twist and turns through the mountains. Turning out to be a good day and the good news is that the speed bumps are still around however there are not as many of them as in Mexico on this stretch.

Roads are empty and twist and turn through the mountain I am enjoying watching and following the colourful chicken buses. Old American School buses painted all sorts of colours. They never seem to stop I was watching a couple and one slowed down to pick up a family it never really stopped a bloke jumped out picked up the kid and practically threw him on the bus and returned for grandma. So that was a family of 3 was loaded in a blink of the eye and I am certain the bus never came to standstill. Another bus I was following through the mountains I spotted a chap on the roof tying down the luggage and after he had done that he climbed down the ladder at the back of the bus opened the door waved at me and entered the bus. So what so amazing about that you all ask Well this was this was all done at 90km an hour plus on a seriously bendy bit of road with the occasional speed hump thrown in for good measure. For all this I had ringside seat and I was loving it.

I finally pulled into Antigua at about 4pm purely by luck not judgement and after having to stop a couple of times to make sure I was on the right road as mentioned very few signs here. I headed for a language school I had found on the Internet and before I knew it I had signed up for 5 mornings of 4 hours of Spanish lesson and 7 nights staying with a local host family.

So with that sorted I then followed one of their staff Marta on her Motorbike to the host family house through the streets of Antigua. The roads in the town are atrocious cobbled and not very well cobbled so it was difficult to keep up with her then she disappeared up the a hill and into a very narrow alley which my bike with all my luggage on could just about fit through I did take a large chunk out of the wall though oops.

We made it to the house and waited for the son of the host to turn up and the next fun and games started as he suggested I put the bike in the back yard as it would be safer there the problem was that the backyard 60cm plus higher than the road there was a ramp but this was at a weird angle and then a tight gate. Somehow he persuaded me to do this so after unloading the bike I went for it crawling up the ramp trying to keep one foot on the ground on the road then jump with the other foot on to the pavement and negotiate the gate well there’s is another set of undies ruined. Fortunately Sergio was also helping on the balance front and we got her parked safely in the back yard. I have no idea how I am going to get my bike out when I leave!

So I have a nice room in a nice house overlooking Antigua and the volcanoes surrounding Antigua and I will be here for a while and I am looking forward to it.

The house is owned by Cornelia an elderly Guatemalan lady and is run by her housemaid Irma. Not quite the homestay I was expecting, as there are 2 other girls a Canadian called Hayley and Dutch girl called Wendy as well as an American couple called John and Jerry. And I nearly forgot a mad little puppy called Duar. So quite a full house but very pleasant. Dinner was served at 7pm and it was us 5 eating which was quite a shock for me as I have not really talked to anyone for a couple of weeks and here I was surrounded by people and a lot of talking. After dinner we all headed into town to a bar where we met up with some more people so I guess I am in the right place for meeting and talking with folk but it is strange as I had got out of the habit. A very enjoyable evening I got in quite late and have to be up at 6.30 am as breakfast is at 7 am and I have my first Spanish lesson at 8 am which I am also looking forward donde es la baños and all that bring it on.

The Ramp! and Marta

Not sure how I will get my bike out !

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