A BC Buell goes South

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by BC Brian, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. BOBaloo22

    BOBaloo22 RIP Baby Girl

    Joined:
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    Hola Brian,
    Your trip is amazing! I look forward to your posts and pictures and yes I am living vicariously through you. :rofl
    Vaya Con Dios,
    Bob
  2. BC Brian

    BC Brian Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Fort Fraser BC

    Muchas Gracias rschutte
  3. BC Brian

    BC Brian Been here awhile

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    Hola SoSlow
    los leccions de espanol van bueno.
    yo no se mucho, pero yo aprendo mas de todos los dias :D
  4. BC Brian

    BC Brian Been here awhile

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    Thanks Turk34

    There is so much to see here and I am only reporting on a tiny portionof what I see and do.

    If you are planning a similiar trip, I highly recomend it :D

    the food alone is worth it!!
  5. BC Brian

    BC Brian Been here awhile

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    thanks BOBaloo22

    I am glad you are enjoying my RR

    Maybe one day, when I am back to the real world, I can live vicariously through a RR by you??!?
  6. BC Brian

    BC Brian Been here awhile

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    I was getting pretty tires of studying, so I figures I would grab my camera and go look around Xela. I headed out towards town. Here are some of the things I saw on my walk.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    Taxi hasn’t moved for a while<o:p></o:p>
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    Sundays are pretty slow in this part of town.<o:p></o:p>
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    Almost all the streets are one way……sorta….<o:p></o:p>
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    Lots of color in town.<o:p></o:p>
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    Overlooking part of town.<o:p></o:p>
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    I walked by a futbal field. These guys play serious futbal.<o:p></o:p>
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    Then over to the Minerva Market<o:p></o:p>
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    I wandered over to the “big assed, modern, too expensive for most people” type mall, and that when I met Billy.(pronounced Beelee)<o:p></o:p>
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    Billy was parking his bike while he waited for his wife at the bank. We got talking, and we probably BS’d for close to an hour. He had lived in the US for 4 years ( San Francisco) but had picked up squat for English. I figure my Spanish lessons were paying off, as it was probably the best conversation I have had outside of the school. I’m not saying it went perfectly, but Billy was really interested in talking with me and was very patient with my Spanish, and I was getting a lot more out of the conversation than any previous ones.<o:p></o:p>
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    After the mall, I walked over to the zoo. I looked around for someone selling, or taking tickets, and apparently its free admission . How cool is that?( I told my host family it was free admission and they seemed to think I was supposed to pay. I told them I tried so they teased me about sneaking in.)<o:p></o:p>
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    Then I headed home for more studying…………………………..
  7. SoSlow

    SoSlow Having fun

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    Nice photos! I really like the contrast in colours - some of those buildings are painted in really interesting ways!

    Neat to see that row of bikes, too - glad your language lessons came in handy!
  8. Cal

    Cal Been here awhile

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    Excellent report Brian! Quetzaltenango is one of my favorite cities. Can't tell where you are staying from the pictures? I never made it to a big mall it must be a bit away from the plaza? The panteon is worth a visit. The commerical building at the south end of the plaza has nice Guatemala stickers, they are on the second floor in a gift shop, the lady keeps them in a drawer behind the counter.A ride up into the highlands to visit Departemento San Pedro,San Marcos would be a highlight for you, this is different than Lago Atilan. I built houses for Habitat para La Humanidad in San Marcos, pm me if you want some more ideas for Guatemala.
    Saludos Cal
  9. BC Brian

    BC Brian Been here awhile

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    It has been a pretty good week here, and I have been busy with school and studying. But there has been some stuff going on…..<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    On Monday morning, I got up at my usual time, ate breakfast with my host family, and headed off to school. When I got to school……. It wasn’t there. I mean, the building was still there, but it was cleaned out. A couple of family members were sweeping up some garbage, but everything else was gone. No desks, no chairs, no blackboards, nothing. Hmmmmm……..<o:p></o:p>
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    Turns out they were tired of the noise from the night club next door (the school owners live in the school) and decided to move. But to where? They told me not to worry , it was real close. So all week we have been having school in a local restaurant. Today, finally, I got to see the new school…and it’s not that close J<o:p></o:p>
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    On Tuesday, on the way to school, I noticed that the streets weren’t very busy, no kids going to school, and the usual honking of cars trying to push their way through traffic wasn’t happening. I got to the town square, and I heard motorcycles and a real loud speaker blaring something I couldn’t understand.<o:p></o:p>
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    Turns out there was some kind of bike meet going on, a ride to a nearby lake, and everybody was invited. I seriously considered skipping school that day and joining in, but I figured I had better work on my spanish some more.<o:p></o:p>
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    Turns out May 1<SUP>st</SUP> is some kind of National Holiday, and the only things open were a few restaurants, the occasional tiende, and our school (still IN the restaurant)<o:p></o:p>
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    After school on Thursday, I went home for lunch, then headed back down town for a bit. I was doing my usual sit in the park and watch the world go by, when this old wizened looking fellow sat down beside me on the park bench. That’s when I met Felix. Felix is an………..interesting…….guy, and he asks me my name, where I am from, and what am I doing in Xela. I tell him my name, where I am from and that I am in Xela to study spanish (All in Spanish) He tells me that to learn spanish, I will need lots of practice, and that he would like to help me learn spanish. Well, isn’t that nice? So we get to talking, and he asks me if my family is with me, and I tell him they are in Canada, and he says “You are here by yourself?” Then he asks if I have been to the hotsprings here. I tell him no, but I have been in Canada and in Peru. So he tells me how nice the hotsprings are, and how healthy they are, how good for the muscles and respiratory system, and lets me know that he will take me……… after hours……. when it is closed………….. and we can soak in the hotsprings…………. Together……… when there is no one else around…………. ………………..hmmmm………….<o:p></o:p>
    So I am thinking, well, at least I am getting to practice my spanish…… <o:p></o:p>
    After a bit, the conversation turns to massages, and whether I have had one in Xela. I am being pretty careful with what I say now, so I tell him there are many massage parlors in Canada. So he asks if when I go, if go naked, so I tell him I wear my underwear,(I have never been) and he is quite surprised I wear ANY clothes at a massage parlor and suggests next time I would enjoy it much more if I was naked……… hmmmmmm………….<o:p></o:p>
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    Well, practicing spanish is a good thing……………………<o:p></o:p>
    So he tells me if I want to go to the hotsprings with him, he can take me next week, and offers his phone number to me. I tell him that my cell phone is from Canada and doesn’t work here.(BS) I told him I had to go home and thanked him for the spanish lessons.<o:p></o:p>
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    My spanish still isn’t that good, but I think I have a date with him next week………<o:p></o:p>
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    My Homestay has been really good. The people are really nice, there are lots of them, and no one speaks any english. There are family members in and out all the time, sons, daughters, sons in law, daughters in law, grandchildren, great grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces nephews. I still haven’t figured out completely who is who, or who actually lives here.<o:p></o:p>
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    The food is authentic Guatemalan food. Many meals I have no idea what I am eating, but it’s really good, and there’s lots of it. One day, Blanca, the lady of the house, tells me we are having papas y carne (Potatoes and meat)<o:p></o:p>
    So I eat, and the potatoes are kind of mashed potatoes with vegetables in it and some kind of spices I can’t recognize. The meat looks like beef, but is cooked in a sauce with, again, undefinable spices ( I recognized garlic and salt, but there was more there than that) So I ask her what the meal is called in spanish, and she looks at me like I am stupid and says “Potatoes and meat”<o:p></o:p>
    I have been eating a lot of beans and rice, and, although it tastes real good, I might lay off the beans and rice for a while J<o:p></o:p>
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    Garage/Living room<o:p></o:p>
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    Don Fredrigo, Blanca and me<o:p></o:p>
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    Don Fredrigo, Thelma and Hiro in the Garage/Living Room<o:p></o:p>
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    School has been great, and a lot of fun. I have learned about 200 verbs, about half I know, half I still need to learn, and half that I will never use.( really, when am I going to use “Afligir”(to Afflict) or “Espiar” (to Spy) in a “me Tarzan you Jane” conversation with someone I meet on the street?(ok, now it’s more like “me are Tarzan, you am Jane”))<o:p></o:p>
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    But I do know how to conjugate regular verbs and a lot of irregular verbs, and my vocabulary has increased greatly. I still have a lot of memorizing to do (I have 130 words to memorize describing parts of a motorcycle alone) plus tons of other palabras.<o:p></o:p>
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    But I now know the difference between “Yo Tengo Hambre” and “ Yo Tengo Hombre”<o:p></o:p>
    It was explained to me over and over until I learned to pronounce it right.<o:p></o:p>
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    My teacher (Gersan) is a young university student, who, whether planned or not, uses a lot of laughter in his teaching methods. He is constantly using his coworker (Byron) for examples in his teaching. And not really flattering examples either. But, I can now say “Byron is a really a girl” or ”Byron sells a lot of drugs to children” in spanish. Byron being a drug dealer, transvestite or a girl were the main “Byron” conversation topics, but there were others. I had a lot of fun telling him stories in spanish, like how we would send people to the store for a bag of spark plug gaps or that their bike needed the muffler bearing looked at. I had him almost crying with laughter at one point with my stories. And he wouldn’t let go of the term after I explained what a “nooner” was.(If you don’t know what it is, google it. It’s a real word……sort of)<o:p></o:p>
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    Gersan and me in the new school.<o:p></o:p>
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    I think I mentioned a few pages back, while I was still in Mexico the first time, that being away from my family was tough and we were going to change how I travelled. After much discussion with my understanding yet somewhat frustrated wife at home and in Peru, we figured out what that might look like. We decided that I would try to be home by the end of June for the kids’ summer break. Simple. Now all we had to do was figure out how to do that. I could carry on to South America, fly home for 2 months and carry on in the fall for a while. I could Ride as far as Chile, put my bike on a plane and be home in time for summer vacation, or I could make my trip a North America only trip (Ok I have been in Central America for 2 weeks, but that doesn’t really count) and ride home for their school break.<o:p></o:p>
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    The Beauty of not having a plan is that it’s pretty much impossible to go off plan. After much deliberation, we decided on the North America only scenario. So tomorrow I head back to Mexico to visit some friends there ( the folks riding the beemers I met on the Baja camping on the beach) and then head back towards Home (the long way, like, via Newfoundland) I won’t get to see South America this time, but we are in the midst of making a plan for the fall to get me through to the “year” we had originally planned on. We aren’t really sure yet what that will look like, but we are pretty sure it might possibly be on a continent that begins and ends with the letter “A”……..maybe J<o:p></o:p>
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    The Ride Report will continue as normal until I get home, and then carry on again in the Fall.
  10. BCT

    BCT Adventurer

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    Hey I was there for a month in '99 with my wife. Despite the creepy old guy, the hot springs are great. Also, you might like a side trip to Momostenango on the klr. After Xela we headed up to Todos Santos for ten days of study. There's some dirt up there. BTW I taught at WLJS back in the early nineties. Coincidences.
  11. BC Brian

    BC Brian Been here awhile

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    Thanks SoSLow
    Once you get past the fact that this is a very impovrished country, the buildings, streets and neighborhoods are really quite interesting. The insides of the buildings are painted in interesting colors as well.

    2 weeks of spanish instruction is no were near enough to be able to speak properly. There is a young hottie from Halifax studying here who has been studying for 3 months and hr spanish is still not yet perfect. Maybe I have to move here for a few years to REALLY learned the language :D
  12. BC Brian

    BC Brian Been here awhile

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    Thanks Cal
    I have been staying in Zona 1, near 12 Avenida and Calle Rodolfo Robles, near the police station beside the small parque.The minerva Market and Centro Comercial are about a mile walk from there.

    I am not going to see much more of Guatemala this trip, but would defineatly love to come back again.
  13. BC Brian

    BC Brian Been here awhile

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    Hola BCT

    Its funny you should use the term "creepy guy". After I told the story at school, "Creepy Guy" became synonymous with all things even slightly sexually deviant. In the course of my classes yesterday, the term was probablly used 100 times.

    I loved Todos Santos, and will probably go there again with my family one day. Were you there during the "Turtle realease" season. It was spectacular.

    Our son graduated from WL (now an"SS" last year and has now completed his 1st year at UNBC (Sort of :) )
  14. Shibby!

    Shibby! Long timer

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    Being in a similar situation in January as you are now, I would suggest continuing south if you have the time and money. I deeply regret coming back north, however I didnt have the time and lacked some money for a comfortable return if I were to continue south.

    That being said, I still wish I would have kept going. S.A is high on my list, but now that I need a lot of money to fly there, buy a bike and ride for months, it looks like it's on the back burner for some time. In comparison it would it would have been few extra months and 1000's of dollars and I could have done a lot of it. Now I'm reading about those who I met on my travels currently doing it.
  15. bucknbc

    bucknbc n00b

    Joined:
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    Please dont post pics of the creepy guy in the hotsprings.
    But if you can dig up the Salmon River girls pictures,that would be O.K.
  16. BC Brian

    BC Brian Been here awhile

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    Hi Shibby!
    Thanks for you thoughts.

    Sorry your travel plans didn't work out the way you had hoped, and I hope you can continue it one day.
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    My understanding yet somewhat frustrated wife and I talked quite a bit about what I was going to do , and looked at many scenarios. Do I think I will regret coming home early and spending time with my family or the decision to head North now? Possibly, but probably not. I do not regret many decisions I have made in my life, and in fact the only ones I can think of would be decisions that affected other people in my life.
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    All of my dreams about motorcycle travel were not about the destination, seeing Africa or Australia or any other place. The common theme with all my previous dreamings was doing it by motorcycle. And yes, although I had no real destination in mind for this trip, I did want to go to South America and look around, But really, what I have always wanted to do was go on a really big bike trip .It didn't really matter where.
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    Do I think I will see South America by bike one day? Definitely ! And really, although it has taken my 60 some odd travel days to get here, a guy could get here from my home in a couple of weeks if he wanted to,( I have done 8,000 kms in 5 days before, but not by Buell :lol3) and then carry on again from here.
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    So, for me, the "It’s the journey, not the destination" philosophy is really what I'm all about. :D<o:p></o:p>
  17. BC Brian

    BC Brian Been here awhile

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    LOL, No problem, all creepy guy photos are now erased! Now if I can just drink enough to forget what he looks like!!!:rofl

    Photos of the day at the Salmon River? Good times!!

    Sadly, the forum rules don't allow photos of certain parts of the female anatomy on this site.

    The best part of that day (Ok, not really the BEST part) was while we were there, a local farmer came by and was talking to MS, and couldn't really maintain eye contact with him. Later, I headed back to the river to find my watch (go figure, I had forgotten my watch) and I ran into the farmer and got talking to him. He remembered us all being down there, but he had no recollection of ME being there. I don't know what he was looking at, but I sure am glad it wasn't me :rofl
  18. BC Brian

    BC Brian Been here awhile

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    Day 69 May 5 210 kms Quetzaltenango (Xela) to Tapachula Mex<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    The plan was to get up early and try to hit the border before too late in the day.<o:p></o:p>
    Well, I got up early, got loaded early, got on the road early……. But, didn’t actually get to the border too early. Was heading towards Tapalucha Mexico where some friends of mine were staying (“Steve and Lisa World” Webpage Link) so I plugged the address into the “google map” app on my iPhone, and it said 120 kms, showed me the route, were to turn and exactly how to get there. Easy, right? I had lots of gas to get there, and the price of gas is waaay cheaper in Mexico, so away I go. I ride through some pretty nice county, on some pretty nice roads, through some pretty nice towns, watching for the turnoff that google maps says is ahead of me. Once again, I roll through a town, and the main road seems to just turn into a small, narrow, barely used street. hmmm….. I turn off the road I am on, look for the main road, can’t find it, back on the same old road, follow that, and find the highway. That was pretty much the story in each town, until I would come to the conclusion that if just I stayed on the road going straight, I would eventually get back on the highway on the other side of town. The towns I did that in, would eventually NOT go to the main road, and I would have to search around for the right road. I got to see some interesting neighborhoods at least J<o:p></o:p>
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    After riding for a while, my gas light came on, so I stopped to put in the gas from a gas can, and I looked at the iPhone map. Said I was way off course, but I hadn’t seen the turnoff ( I was watching for it). I had enough gas for 120 ks, but not much more than that. I had seen a gas station back a ways, so I spun around, filled the bike and gas can and asked for directions to border I wanted. Just keep on heading the way I had been, he said. Couple hours, no problem. Google maps didn’t agree with him, but I have been finding that google maps isn’t exactly that accurate in Central America. Well, I had a full tank of expensive gas ( I wanted to get rid of some of my Guatemalan money anyhow) and away I went.<o:p></o:p>
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    I found the next turn off to the Ciudad Hidalgo border crossing and away I went. Up and up and down and up and around corners and it would have been awesome except it was probably the worst, rough, potholed road in existence. I rode few miles with a couple guys on XR250 type bikes, and even they were going slow and scooting around potholes and zigzaging around. It was paved, but there was very little pavement left.<o:p></o:p>
    I checked the time at one point and it had taken me over 3 hours to go 80 kms.<o:p></o:p>
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    At one point, where the road was actually pretty good, I came up behind a pickup full of people standing and sitting in the back. It’s a pretty common site here, but this truck, a little mazda size pickup, had about 15 people in the back. One guy standing on the bumper holding on, and a couple of ladies sitting by the tailgate holding babies. I flipped up my modular helmet and the ladies could see me chewing gum. The one lady nudges another lady, as if to say watch this, and looks at me and starts mimicking me chewing gum and laughs, so I exaggerate my chewing gum back to them, so they start really chewing hard back at me, laughing. So I mime reaching into my pocket and passing them a piece of gum. Well, you should have heard them squealing with laughter. It was like the funniest thing they had ever seen. The road ahead cleared, so I booted it past them at mach 3, waving to them as they laughed and waved at me ( the men didn’t wave )<o:p></o:p>
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    I rode down and down and down, into the jungle, and it really started warming and getting muggy feeling.<o:p></o:p>
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    I finally pulled into Ciudad Tecun Uman, the Guatemalan side of the border, and you would think there would be signs saying “this way to the border”. Nope. I end up at a military base, and stop to ask the guard for directions. As he is explaining to me how to get there, a cop on a motorcycle motions for me to follow him, and away we go, breaking pretty much every traffic rule there is. He gets me to the border, says goodbye and in I go to customs. I park in an empty parking lot, a guy wearing an official looking badge comes over, a helper comes over who knows a bit of english. The official looking guy asks for my papers, the helper takes my papers without really asking, the official looking guy tells me it’s OK, so the helper buggers off inside with my papers, without discussing the price with me. I ask the official looking guy what is customary for a tip for the helper, and he says “not much, don’t worry about it” I didn’t have much in the way of Guatemalan money left, so the tip wasn’t going to be very much regardless.<o:p></o:p>
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    He comes back and tells me that the guy who checks motorcycles is out for lunch and it will be about half an hour, so I visit with some of the helpers for a while, and the guy comes out, checks my bike, and away we go to immigration. One of the other helpers comes with us, and my helper goes into immigration, so the other helper tells me in spanish that the guy is going to try to screw me, and try to charge me the same fee as entering Guatemala plus ask for a tip and I should go into immigration with him. (Shhhhhhh) So in I go, and my helper isn’t very happy for me to be there. The immigration lady passes my passport back to me as my helper tries to take the passport. As we walk out, I ask him how much he wants for a tip, and he says, “well, you know, it costs 160 quetzals to enter Guatemala, and well……” so I says, “50q?”, and he says, “well, tip whatever you want, but you know I have to share the tip with the customs agents…….. you know how it works” So I mess with him a bit and say “I don’t have much money, I am a poor traveler and I don’t really have much money for food……” so he says “well, just tip me what you can afford”, with a sad look on his face. I was going to give him the 50q, but seeing as the border was slow and I was having fun with him, and I wanted to get rid of my Guatemalan money anyhow I gave him 100q (about $13 bucks)<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    That left me with about 20q, and as I walk back to my bike, the other helper asks for a tip too, so I gave him the 20q.( I had been visiting with him for quite a bit at customs and he was pretty cool)<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I am sure it was some kind of racket they had worked out, but it was lots of fun.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    They offered to help me with the mexican border, and I told them I had no money left, but they were OK with it. I told them no thanks and away I went. Got through immigration (didn’t have to pay for the tourist card for some reason) and on to customs. The customs chick checks my bike, a quick look in my panniers, tells me I need to buy my import permit in Tapachula, and away I go.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I head into town, and I have the address for Steve and Lisa’s Hotel. 97a 4 avinida norte. No problem, I go by, 9<SUP>th</SUP>, on through 7<SUP>th</SUP>, 5<SUP>th</SUP>, then…….3<SUP>rd</SUP>.Hmmmmm, so I go around the block ( all one way streets) 1st, 3<SUP>rd</SUP>, 5<SUP>th</SUP>. Hmmmmmm. Where the heck is 4<SUP>th</SUP>.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I figure it out, and it goes 7<SUP>th</SUP>, 5<SUP>th</SUP>, 3<SUP>rd</SUP>,1<SUP>st</SUP> ,central, 2<SUP>nd</SUP>,4<SUP>th</SUP>,6<SUP>th</SUP>……etc<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    The streets are all one way, so I go over to 6<SUP>th</SUP> and up through heavy traffic and markets, turn at Calle 10, figuring 97a will be between 9<SUP>th</SUP> and 10<SUP>th</SUP>, and , nope. So I park my bike and walk to find the hotel.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Parked bike<o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Turns out 97a Avenida 4a Norte is between Calles 12 and 13. Well… of course it is!!<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I find Steve and Lisa and we stay up late BSing bikes, travel, what we have seen and other stuff<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Steve and Lisa<o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>
  19. Steve and Lisa World

    Steve and Lisa World StillaRat & Stumper

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    The World
    Well after Brian had a chance to practice his English with us he headed off in the direction of Veracruz,thanks for the visit it was really great to BS with you again shiny side up rubber side down see you again on these little roads around the world.
  20. EmilianoXR650L

    EmilianoXR650L Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Oddometer:
    209
    Location:
    Playa Azul & Zihuatanejo
    Very nice RR .... !!!!

    If we are in your way let me now, we`ll be glad !!!!!!!!!!!