Category Archives: Central America

Santo Domingo Zanatepec to San Cristobal de las Casas, Wednesday, 31 October 2012, Day 120

who is a pretty boy then!

Today’s destination is San Cristobal de las Casas a reasonable short run and I was planning to get there early in the afternoon to give me some time to take in the town.

It’s extremely hot and the sun is shining so need to get rolling quickly before I melt.

Head back up into the hills looking for a place to get some breakfast. Spot a ramshackle little place on the side of the road run by a little old lady.  One old table a couple of old chairs all plastic and an a gas stove in the corner, so I get out of the sun and order some cheese quesadillas and a cup of coffee and relax and watch the world go by. Not much goes buy as there is little to none traffic on this road and there are a couple of police or I think they are police sitting in a van patrolling the empty road. Under the van is a puppy having a snooze. When the cops want to move they know its there so are tooting the horn trying to wake it up and to get it to move so that it is not squished as the drive away. So when they leave it comes and lies under my bike and is joined by a cat as well so I am sitting relaxing having a great little breakfast watching the show.

not much shade to be had this will do

Joined by a Cat sharing the shade from my bike 🙂

  

Easy run into San Cristobal except my GPS takes me straight through Tuxtla GT which is extremely busy and a lot stop start riding in the heat which is not that pleasurable. I finally I hit a toll road to San Cristobal and it cools down and even starts to rain as I head up into a mountains. Last time I was here it was also raining so must be something about this place that it rains a lot.

Go straight to the center and then work my way out looking for the first decent looking place to stay with parking which is easy and I found a cheap and cheerful posada a couple of blocks from the center and I check in there.

They say they have WIFI which is sort of true only problem it is only in one certain specific spot in the hotel where it works and I needed it to do some research on crossing the border into Guatemala but I decide to put the research of and head into town first. I spent the rest of the day and evening just wandering around. I only recognised a couple of place and for the rest it did not look familiar at all so a pleasant afternoon walking all over the place. I am in need of something familiar and greasy for my supper so I ended up at Burger King having a burger. Also I walked up a load of stairs to a Churches and when I got the top I was gasping for air. Christ I am out of condition amazing how quickly you loose it. (Did I ever have it :-)) Going have to figure a way on getting my fitness levels back but I am not sure how to do that whilst on the road.

San Cristobal

Todays is Halloween and I noticed that loads of folks are lining the streets so I am guessing that there is going to be a procession and turns out to be one loads of people dressed up as zombies and scary monsters. A quite entertaining, and most enjoyable day and evening.

Advertisements

San Cristobal de las Casas to Huehuetenango,Thursday, 1 November 2012, Day 121

No mans land between Mexico and Guatemala Gorgeous!

Today I was in two minds as whether or not to cross the border into Guatemala today. It was about 180km away so I was not sure how long this would take to get there and I did not want to turn up to late not knowing how long the process will take and arriving in a new country late in the day. To ensure I was ready for both options in the morning I went on the Internet to do some research on the border crossing this entailed me perching on a corner of a balcony, as this was the only place I could get a signal. So after this I have a vague idea on what the process is the next thing I wanted to do was get some Guatemalan Quetzals, as I do like being hassled by the money changers at the border and I seen a place last night that was selling Quetzals in town the exchange rate not to fantastic but probably better than what I would be getting at the border so I loaded the bike went the exchange place and then as usual got lost trying to get out of town which you would think be nigh on impossible with a GPS but I am not sure how good the coverage is of Garmin is in Mexico it always seems to be a bit off. Whilst trying to find the right road out of town spotted an OXXO (Mexican 7/11) so decided to have breakfast there before hitting the road. So it was quite late when I left San Cristobal so had already had my mind set on the fact that I would be spending another night in Mexico. Nice road not to hot when I was in the mountains and before I knew it I was at the crossroads to the town I had planned to stay for my last night in Mexico.

So I filled up with petrol and asked how far to the border and it was just down the road. It was 3pm so I thought sod it lets go for it and get this border crossing out of the way and it turned out to be a lot easier than what I was expecting.

  • First on the Mexican side find the banjacito office to get my deposit back for my bike as I was leaving the country. Very easy guy took my forms did some paper work and came out checked my VIN number and I was good to go (Note to self double check credit card to see if they put the monies back)
  • So the bike is officially out of Mexican but I am not so next stop immigration to get me officially stamped out of Mexico also no problem adios Mexico
  • Ola Guatemala, short drive through no mans land which is so gorgeous that I have to stop and take a photo probably not the wisest thing to do stopping and taking photos at a border crossing but it really was spectacular scenery that needed capturing
  • I rolled up to the Guatemalan side and was directed to the immigration and in out within minutes no queue no hassle I am officially in Guatemala and have been given 90 days. It seems I am the only one crossing the border today so the nice chap comes out with me and points me to where I need to go to get the bike temporally imported which is 20 meters further down the road
  • So move my bike from immigration to import place and park my bike in front of the kiosk a couple of money changers ask me quite politely if I would like to change any money and I politely declined and they did not bother me again
  • Young lad at kiosk spoke some English so he asked me for
    • Passport
    • Driving Licence
    • Registration Papers for the bike
    • Exit papers for Mexico

As he needed to make copies, I told him I had copies he could have but he insisted that he made his own (nice little money spinner) so easier to let him just do this. So he did all the admin and filled in the forms, which took a while. Trying to find the Netherlands on his list on his computer was the 1st stumbling block but we found it eventually. When forms completed he showed me them to check them to see if all info correct. This is when I noticed that he had the Netherlands for the bike, which was correct, but he had me down as a Dutch person which was wrong but an easy mistake to make as how many English blokes turn up at the border on a Dutch registered bike with a Dutch driving licence. So this set of paper work went in the bin and we changed it the UK, which also took some finding this on his computer. This time paperwork correct and complete so I sign all 3 copies and so does he and then he makes up the invoice and gives me all my paperwork. The cost was 60 Quetzals for the copies, which was not really necessary as I already had copies but hey it’s only 6 EUR so I can live with that and 100 Quetzals for Import Costs. This I challenge as I read this morning it should only be 40 Quetzals but he tells me this is last year price so I joke about that is huge inflation but I accept the charge as the chap has been pleasant to deal with and I have a fully itemised officially looking invoice that is signed and stamped and 16 EUR seems a reasonable price to me.

  • So directed to the cashiers kiosk, which is next door to pay the fee. Walk into the door expecting it to open but it was locked and needed to be open by an armed guard from the inside ouch! Paid the cash having another go at getting a discount or the 40 Quetzal rate in there but the cashier spoke no English
  • Back outside to the import kiosk there were a couple of other people there now and the young chap was dealing with them. So waited for a while it getting hot about 30+ degrees so starting to sweat a bit. I was expecting him to deal with the other folks in the queue first but he called me in front of them and we finished of the paperwork and I had my temporary import sticker.
  • Showed this to another guard/official for his records and I was in Guatemala and it was just after 4pm so this whole exercise only took about a hour so quite efficient.
  • So thanked the young lad and other official sorted my paperwork out and drove into Guatemala
  • So no hassle with folks trying to offer there services, no hassle from the money lenders, officials I dealt very pleasant and courteous, no fumigation needed and no fumigation fee very efficient all things consider and only 160 Quetzals so considering all the horror stories I had heard and read about on the Internet I am wondering if I am just lucky or if folks really do have the experiences I read about!

Border Crossing

So should I find a place for the night or move away from the border. It was stunning scenery and I had itchy feet and was feeling good about how easy the border crossing had been so I hit the road. I was heading for a town, which was about 80km away called Huehuetenango, and if I saw something nice I would stop before then and in theory it all should be doable before it got dark.

For about 5km I had not hit any speed humps and was just starting to celebrate as I was lulled into thinking that they do not have them in Guatemala but nope bugger they do have them here as well.

As I moved into Guatemala my GPS started loosing detail as the maps I had loaded where only for North America and Mexico and my South America was buried in one of my bags so I went back to old fashion map reading and looking at the signs. Two problems here was the map I had I had borrowed of my mate John in Houston who had borrowed it of a Dutch college of his and this was in the 90’s so it was very old and two there are little to no road signs in Guatemala.

  

So doodling along enjoying the road and the scenery bit concerned as it was getting dark and I had not seen any places to stay since I left the border I had no idea if I was even on the right road or how far Huehuetenango was away. I finally saw the sign for the turn off Huehuetenango and before I knew it I was in the outskirts when I saw a fair and or fiesta and just after that a hotel with secure parking so pulled in there for the night. Hotel run by a couple of young Guatemalan lads so I have some fun with them checking in and also later trying to get the Internet to work (seems to be common issue).

I headed back to the fair/fiesta a small affair but it was nice wandering around there and I went the Guatemalan equivalent of KFC for my tea. One thing that struck me as strange why they had the fiesta right in front of the cemetery but later I found 1st November was day of the dead celebration so location made more sense to me now.

So another great productive day easy border crossing nice biking roads (except for them damned speed humps) fantastic scenery, a couple of days ago was feeling a bit down and lonely and needed to do something about this. So the plan is tomorrow to go to Antigua and sign up for Spanish lessons at a language school pretty sure that will involve lots of talking 🙂 and at the end of next week I will be craving for the solitude and wanting to be on my own and bitching about that in this blog 🙂

 

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 !

Antigua, Saturday, 3 November 2012 to Sunday, 11 November, Day 123 to Day 131

Antigua Guatemala

Studying Spanish at Antiguena Spanish Academy back on Monday 🙂

Hi for those of you that where worried that there was an earthquake in the region measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale. Here in Antigua we only had the earth shaking for about 5 minutes. My first experience of an Earthquake which I thought was cool at the time, however what was a cool experience for me was not the same for the 40 plus people who died and many more that are suffering due to this earthquake it makes me feel guilty at the pleasure and excitement I had when it was happening as you do not realise how serious these things are till later my condolences and thoughts go out to those effected by the quake. I am safe and well.

So have not touched this for more than a week so I guess an update is required 😦

So what have I been up in the last 9 days in Antigua well here is a short brain dump in no particular order

  • The plan was to try learn Spanish so I have spent the last 9 days getting up at 6.30am in the morning doing 4 hours of Spanish a day and I can tell you it is exhausting. Can I speak Spanish well considering I cannot speak English that well and my Dutch ain’t so hot one could say I have a vague understanding of the lingo but I plan to do some more even though it was knackering I thoroughly enjoyed my self. I had two teacher Iliana for the 1st two days at the school then Mary for the next 7 days which we spent outside in a gorgeous garden which was a very pleasant environment for learning. Both teachers wonderful folks with the patients of a saint as I stutter and stumbled through my first lessons in Spanish.

Mary y Iliana gracias por sus pacientes en ayudarme a aprender a español muy apreciados 🙂 For those thinking my Spanish is that good its not I just used a translator on me computer.

Philly learning spanish in the garden with Mary

  • Do you recall I mentioned that my fitness levels where not as they used to be and something needed to be done about it so not being one to do anything half-heartedly I spent and afternoon doing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_(sport) Ultimate Frisbee. Great fun but bloody knackering for an old geezer like me. Every Sunday the local expats in Antigua organise a game and all are welcome. Met a bloke called Chris who worked as a motorcycle tour guide in town who was a wealth of info so cheers mate and an honourable link to your company http://www.catours.co.uk

Ultimate Frisbee Antigua

  • While I am on the fitness binge I played basketball as well this week and did not do to bad since is was about 30 years ago since I done any dribbling (Insert inappropriate joke/pun here) Also very amusing but it is strange how folks can take a 3 on 3 basketball match so seriously it was amusing to watch if not a little sad. Our Team Me Jamie and Haley where playing for laughs and the other team seemed to be playing for life and death and we still thrashed them so the tall Aussie the nippy Canadian and the wily old crafty tubby English bloke from Holland whooped ass

    Basketball

      

  • I guess as I have mentioned Jamie and Haley and they where insistent that they get a mention in this blog. Along with Ali an another Australian girl these are the folks I have spent most of the time hanging around with this week and very pleasant company they where to as they where mostly drunk and I was sober which was entertaining for me to be the sober one for a change.

Ali

  • I spent a pleasant afternoon learning how to make Chocolate at Chocolate Factory and learning about the Cocoa Bean. Fascinating and to top it all I got to sample loads in liquid form and they like there chocolate with spices and pepper and I must say I am rather partial to it to 🙂

    • Spent many an hour just wondering around Antigua which is a beautiful city with a really cool vibe surrounded by volcanoes one of which is active so every now and again you see a puff of smoke coming from it. I spent an afternoon trying to locate some specific oil for my chain oiler I was not successful but pleasant afternoon trying in my best Spanish in a cool bike shop whose address I had got from Chris. While wandering around I stumbled into a gorgeous cemetery just as it was getting dark really beautiful and interesting place not sure on the protocol on wandering around taking piccies in a cemetery at dusk but I tried to be respectful. Another amusing session while getting my glasses fixed me teaching the optician English him teaching me Spanish as it took him ages trying to get the fiddly tiny little screws done up. Antigua was a great place to stay for a while I really loved the place

      

      

      

      

      

  • Its official Philly has no Latin blood in him at all and he also has two left feet. How do I know this well I tried a lesson in Salsa Dancing, which is great fun, but I do not have much talent or the hip movement to be any good at this. There was a free lesson so about 30 of us crammed into a tiny dance studio first we did the merengue and then the salsa. Changing partners every 5 minutes so I got to dance with loads of different chicas and fortunately for them they could move on to the younger more talented chicos down the line. I did a bit of practice with Haley during the week whilst playing basketball but I am still not getting the hang of it so Friday night another Salsa lesson and later to a Salsa bar where I realised I got a long ways to go if I am ever going to be able to get on a dance floor in Latin America but I am willing to give it a good old go as its really loads of fun.
  • As mention yesterday staying a Guatemalan family who has a puppy this we took for a walk a couple of times which was fun as it had no training what so ever and practical dragged whoever who was walking him and strangling himself in the process. Totally loopy

    I thought he was called Deure but found out it was something completely different!

  • The Darker side of Antigua one night me and Hayley were walking home from the pub when we went down a street with few people hanging around with an eerie silence. At the end the road were the police had cordoned it off so we could not get through. So I ask what had happened with my weak Spanish and was told that someone had shot themselves in the head so a suicide. So we go back to get to our house and it there a real strange uncomfortable vibe on the street as we get to the other end of the street a women comes racing along the street screaming and crying I guess she just heard the news. We were quite shook up by all of this and the walk back to the house very subdued. In the following days we found out it was not a suicide but the bloke had been shot in the face 5 times the owner of the bookstore opposite the school I still do not know the reason why but one can make an educated guess that there is a darker side to this lovely city.
  • And finally Jackie if you are reading this I gave you the wrong name of the boat from Panama to Columbia it is http://stahlratte.org oops sorry.

Jamie and Jackie

So I had great time in Antigua and I will miss it the bicycle bells for the ice cream the whistle for the paper man. Fresh tortillas delivered everyday for lunch cool bars with wonderful views great little Spanish school which I highly recommend to anyone wanting to learn Spanish however it is time to move on. First Brand new country for me of this trip Honduras here I come.

Antigua to Copan Ruinas, Monday, 12 November 2012, Day 132

Bye to my Antiguan Home and Hosts Cornelia and Irma and whatever the dogs real name is Muchas Gracias

On the road again I have not touched the bike for a good week and I needed to get it out of the garden which was concerning me as considering how difficult it was to get in but getting it again was lot easier which was a relief. I had breakfast with the new batch of students, as there had been a change of guard over the weekend and then packed the bike and slowly hit the road. Tata Antigua it was fun 🙂

First thing I did was get some USD from the ATM for the upcoming border crossings and filled up the bike just outside the city and I was heading into the hills towards Guatemala City and it was only about 8.30am wow never been away this early before!

As mentioned before my GPS only has very limited maps of Guatemala so I had brought an old fashion roadmap and it was weird not knowing exactly where I was and with the Garmin I had plugged in my destination but it never seem to be on the route even though I knew I was so was just like a computer game trying to keep the route on the small screen entertaining and frustrating at the same time. I was in Guatemala City in no time and then got lost trying to cross the city as I have said very few road signs and a temperamental GPS so I got across by good old fashion compass bearings. I missed a lot of turnings or if I did like the look of a turning so added a few more miles to the trip by sticking to the main roads. Enjoyable day even though I was bit concerned about the hassles awaiting me at the border.

Guatamala City

Driving along gorgeous scenery not sure how far away the border is I am in the middle of nowhere no one around considering this is supposed to be a major border crossing or maybe I just made that last bit up as to be honest because as usual I had not got a clue.

I finally hit the border at 1.50pm was directed to a parking lot and then to the first kiosk. Parked the bike and a couple of money changers turned up with huge wads of money I am not sure why it is but they always have loads! Enquire about the rates and they give me them as usual a low rate so I tell them I will get back to them after I cleared Guatemala Customs as I know what the rate should be and I am going to get as close as that as possible with some haggling later.

  • As mention is was 1.50pm so of course I had arrived bang on lunchtime so the customs official did not turn up till 2.10pm so me and about 5 lorry drivers and a security guard just hanging around waiting. I put my helmet in front the window of one of the kiosk so when they opened it knocked it of and fell to the ground so a bit of commotion but it broke the ice. After the 5 lorry drivers who where there first it was my turn bit of a joke about the helmet then to business. They wanted 3 copies of
    • Driving licence
    • Bike Papers
    • Passport
    • Guatemalan Temporary Import Papers

Bloody ridiculous as I had given them copies when I came in but nope they needed more. No problem as I had copies except the Guatemalan Temporary Import Papers so sent the photocopy building. 3 copies so that’s 3 QZL only have a 100 QZL bill okay no problem no charge! Back to my new girlfriend at the first kiosk as I have all the documentation. We then go and check the VIN number on the bike and at the same time being hassled by some creepy guy asking if I need accommodation in Copan Ruinas. I have a joke with custom chica about this and then back to the kiosk for the filling in and updating all the forms. Well in the end they only needed 1 copy of the Temporary Guatemalan so had 2 spare. My theory is it’s a nice little earner on the photocopying front but this time no score with Philly.

  • So bike is out of Guatemala so now me so off to immigration. Hand my passport to the guy he does his stuff and then says that will be 10QZL. My response in my new Spanish says that’s not normal in a stern voice and he says did I pay to get in and I say yes and he says that’s fine and I can go so he saves face and I do not pay and no I did not pay coming in either so another little earner for the customs guys who try it on all of the time.
  • So me and the bike are out of Guatemala next change some money get a reasonable rate for my QZL but they will not move any closer on my rate for USD and MXN peso rate is a joke so I change my QZL to HNL and will try my luck on the Honduran side for the rest

So bye Guatemala like the last time I was here I really enjoyed myself 🙂

Honduras is a complete new country for me, and the first one of what I hope is many on this trip. I had read multiple horror story’s about this border crossing so was planning for the worst case scenario in reality it was quite straight forwards and it seems quite legitimate what I had to do and pay and I got official looking receipts and proof of payments with values signatures and stamps. I had learned all the vocabulary in my Spanish lessons so was ready and challenged everything I felt was dodgy in a firm but polite respectful jokingly manner.

  • So 200 meters from Guatemala to a modern looking building which was Honduran Customs. I was approached by money changers and they are offering the same rate as on the other side but I manage to squeeze a bit more out of them as they claim they are loosing on the deal. I do not mind paying a little over the odds at times like this but I am not going to be screwed so knowing the rates and playing the field can help in reducing the odds in your favour. I change some USD but no one is shifting on the MXN peso so I hold onto these.
  • First immigration for me that is USD 3.00 with a big sign saying this but I challenge it anyhow as I thought that is for exit only but I pay and I probably be charged on the way out as well
  • Next to get the bike imported nice bloke came out to see the bike he did not check VIN number and or number plate just looked at it and then back to A/C office to the paperwork. He opens with the price HNL661 or 36 USD seems reasonable and I insist on a receipt signature and stamp on this. He also needs 3 copies of
    • Driving Licence
    • Bike Registration Papers
    • Passport
    • Guatemalan Import papers!

So as mentioned had all of these except only 2 Guatemalan Import papers and I wanted to keep one of these for my records so he sent me off to get copies of this and I argued this was ridiculous and in the end he only got my one spare one so no copies purchased here either. All the forms filled in manually on paper and this is slow then after this filled in on the computer with one finger typing so this also slow. Whilst this was going I noticed an envelope where the money was going to put in and quite clearly it said HNL 135 for Consejo Hondureno de la Empresa Privada so I again challenged the 661 again and he goes and gets another one he has done before and there are 2 charges 135 plus 525 for Forma 9A-1 and charge for admin so that is the 661 so as long as I have receipt stamped and signed I am okay with this.

So after matey boy had filled in the forms and the another one had put it into the computer of to the bank next door to pay then back to finish it all off. I got all my paperwork together shook everyone’s hand and joked about being a pain in the arse and said goodbye to my new friends and went back to the bike. A bit of a panic when I got back to the bike as I could not find my passport so back to the office to see if I had left it there nope but it was in my trouser pocket not the usual place for it so panic over more jokes with the custom guys who think I am of my trolley but I do not care as I am in Honduras.

Final hurdle completed and I check out  at the gate and it is only about 10km to Copan Ruinas my home for the night so the above exercise had taken 2 and half hours the joys of travelling 🙂 its just like work.

New home another kerb to negotiate and a bar to drive though

Bike safe and sound hiding in the bushes!

I had been giving an address of a Hotel called Viavia run by a Belgium biker called Geraldo so I headed straight there as it was getting late. I could park the bike in the courtyard for safety, which was excellent but meant driving it through the bar and up another high kerb. But no problem as Geraldo did all of this for me so I was settled in a nice hotel nice bar and restaurant in a new country tired but content. I grabbed some food at the bar Nasi Goerang mmm lekker fresh lemonade chatting to an Interesting Canadian chap called Paul who was a fire-fighter in the Canadian bush in the summer and a ski guide in the winter and who travels in between so a pleasant evening watching the Monday football (American) I was not much company as I was totally wacked from 9 days hard studying in Antigua long border crossing as well as 300km on Latin American roads so I was pretty gaga. A sleep into tomorrow and then to the ruins yeah 🙂

Copan Ruinas, Tuesday, 13 November 2012, Day 133

Copan Ruinas Honduras Cool place

I sort of slept in but guess I have lost the knack. I must of being tired as I slept through the loud music coming from the disco next door it was cool to go to sleep with all the latest disco hits. I had a long relaxing breakfast and then I walked to the Ruins, which turned out, to be fantastic Mayan site so I spent most of the day taking loads of crap pictures and just taking in the sites. The place is pretty deserted so I pretty much have the place to myself which is cool. At about 3pm I find out there is another bit to this site about 2km away so I made tracks there as it was shutting at 4pm. Absolutely no one here at this part and here there was the ruins of the houses where as the main part was temples this was also cool but I had to move fast, which was a shame. Note to self-do more planning! I walked back to town so I have done a lot of walking today I then went to the ATM and on my way back to hotel bumped into Wendy a Dutch girl who was at the house I had stayed at in Antigua so we arranged to meet for dinner.

        

      

      

      

Pleasant evening at Viavia with Wendy, Paul the Canadian chap and another English girl called Becky.

Wendy was flying back to NL but I have arranged to meet her in Panama City in December gezellig  🙂

macaws flying around the ruins

      

Hey Tads you opened a place in Honduras

Copan Ruinas to Gracias, Wednesday, 14 November 2012, Day 134

A total cleaning solution me bike is needing a clean!

Another good nights sleep. Last night I was speaking to the owner Geraldo a Belgium motorcyclist and he had given me a couple of pointers for routes through Honduras. This morning another leisurely breakfast and then Geraldo helped me get the bike out through the bar when I say he helped he actually did it for me and I supervised 🙂 So another recommendation coming up ViaVia in Copan Ruinas run by Geraldo all bikers welcome and here is his number if help is needed 00504/98400292 blond large breasted 18 year old chica’s are also welcome so this chap has a broad taste.

I filled up just outside town after getting lost in the one-way system which seems par for the course on leaving any new town and I hit the road. The weather here is wet and overcast and it was the same yesterday threatening to rain and when it did rain not enough to stop to pull your waterproofs on. Lovely road out of town I passed an elderly couple also on a motorcycle so I waved but they ignored me as he was focused on riding I passed them about 4 times during the day as I kept stopping to take photos and they finally got used to me passing them and I was getting a wave now 🙂 Later in the day I came across what looked like a landside and the road was covered in brown treacly mud and there where a lot of vehicles stopped and I noticed a little older lady with a rucksack walking on the side of the road with a helmet on then I noticed a bloke in brown leather jacket waving at me. I was trying to keep the bike upright as it was like riding on ice but as I went past I realised it was my new friends and they had gone down in the mud and that is why everyone had stopped and was helping he signalled to me to take it easy but I was already totally focussed on getting through the mudslide follow a truck through trying not to touch the brakes and to keep rolling forward. It was not surprising that my new friends had gone down as there was absolutely no grip and I only got through by pure luck and the fact that I had slowed down to a walking pace because of the commotion. They where both on there feet so I hope they are both okay I did want to get involved but as a foreigner here I am not sure what I could have done to help.

It was damp and the roads were greasy and after the scare above my pace dropped considerably.

The roads here are not to good potholes everywhere. The locals make an attempt to fill them and fix them and then they ask for money to do this you have got to admire there entrepreneurial spirit but I think they are making it worse rather than better and I just wave and smile as I flash through. Got to Gracias at about 3.30pm problem is when you arriving in a town early you are less likely just to take the first place that you rock up to. I was looking for an address that Geraldo had given me but could not find it so went to about 4 different hotels which were either to expensive or too much of a dive even by standards. I normally I would have taken one by now. I was doing a U turn and a bloke in jeep asked me if I needed any help and I told him I was looking for a hotel and he said expensive and I said no so he said to follow him which I did and he took me to a place right in the center of town and then drove of. Thanks mate turned out to be reasonable so I checked in there. I went for a wander but not much to do in this place so I am not sure why it had been recommended. A one horse town but it did have a Chinese restaurant so I fancied a change so that is where I had my tea Chicken Chop Suey and it was huge no way I could manage it all on my own but very good I needed a change for me taste buds as there only so much beans and rice you can eat before it gets old. I was chatting to the Chinese girl there and it turned out she was from just outside Hong Kong so I was trying to remember any Chinese I knew but blank and my Spanish not so great either but it was entertaining.

Back to the room as was not the kind of place for wandering around in the evening I think I was the only tourist in town so another night in with my faithful computer and me oh the joys of travelling 🙂

Fireworks anyone!

Final thought for each town you come through there are loads of stalls either side on the side of the road selling whatever the town speciality is today it was fireworks loads of them just on the side of the road if one of these went up there would be one hell of a spectacle as no Health and safety here.