Monday, January 25, 2010

Leaving Guatemala

Jay and I had several long talks. He decided to stay at San Pedro de Atitlan for another week or two to become more fluent in Spanish. I have about a month less than Jay in my time budget and less money as well. I decided that I was going to continue on and explore La Mosqitia which is a vast wilderness that takes up a quarter of Honduras.

La Mosqitia is a large Amazon like jungle with numerous rivers that flow through it. There are indigenous tribes that live on the shores of the rivers and ply the waters with dugout canoes. I’m going to go in that direction and explore.

I left San Pedro this morning at 8am. I would certainly like to return to this quaint little town when I have the chance. I enjoyed the ride out of the lake basin. The narrow road climbs and switch backs up the mountain and the view of the lake during the ride is spectacular.

My journey today took me east towards Honduras. As I approached the city of Guatemala many fast motorcycles began to appear. They were weaving in and out of traffic and spitting lanes. My bike is too wide and slow for the stunts that they were pulling. Guatemala city is known for it’s dangerous streets, so I drove defensively and chose the people I asked for directions from carefully.

The highway enters into the heart of the city, but then the thread disappears. I knew that I was headed generally east, so I just kept riding and kept the sun over my right shoulder. It was noon. I asked for directions several times and eventually ended up on the main road out of town. It was quite an adventure, and Guatemala City is bustling and face paced .
Later, I followed notes I had take from Jay’s map of Guatemala. I was headed towards the Honduras Border, where I hoped to find a Hotel. I turned off the main road towards the next town and the scenery changed dramatically. Instead of trash, trucks and fast roads I was riding a curvy road through mountainous hills that were covered in tall grass and occasional trees and bushes. It was stunningly beautiful. Unfortunately, my camera battery was dead.

This road, however, became rough, turned to dirt and I decided that I was going to turn around. I had seen a hotel back a ways that I had thought could be a bailout plan if the route didn’t work out. The last person that I asked for directions from was a wonderful middle age and thin man. He had a rubber owl that he hung from some string. He bounced it as he talked.

I smiled, because the owl had significance to me. That was the moment I decided to turn around. The grasses were back lit by the low sun on the way back. I found a different hotel that had parking for the motorcycle and dinner downstairs. Tomorrow, I’m going to take the main roads to the Hoduras Border.

By the way, the maps that Jay and I have are fairly terrible. Some roads just end on the map. Others are not even on the map. There is significant differences in city locations between two maps. This certainly adds to the adventure, and hasn’t been much trouble yet.

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