Across Americas - Discovering the New World on a motorcycle

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by AnjinSan, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. duncanmac

    duncanmac Been here awhile

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    I look forward to receiving notifications that you have updated your ride report and am never disappointed by them. Your photo illustrations and succinct, sometimes humorous, commentary and insights make this an enthralling trip to follow.

    Please keep it coming; and ride safe.
  2. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    @Tom: yeah, at the moment of this writing we are out of Mexico and even though I recognize that it might not be the same for everyone, for us Mexico was just very nice and full of nice people that left us a with a wonderful impression. Writing the ride reports for those parts of the trip makes me think that I would go there again, someday, somehow.

    @Julio: hehe, well you ar not that far from the border, and now, thanks to my very forgetful brain, you added a few friends on both sides of the border (in Bisbee and in Sonora :p). So things are possible :)

    @duncanmac: thank you for following. I hope the story will not get boring. As I am not a writer, but an IT guy, sometimes I am thinking that I am repetitive... you know like writing code...
  3. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding...

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    where are you guys now? i'm in Antigua for another week when you get here PM me
  4. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    Hi Paul,

    We are in San Pedro la Laguna for now. We need to be tomorrow in Ciudad de Guatemala for some bike work but then we might round back to Antigua for 1 night as we want to meet as weel. I'll drop you a message!

    Alex
  5. Merlin III

    Merlin III Lone Wolf-No Club

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    My arse you're not a writer! :rofl :clap:clap:clap
  6. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    Alex, I quoted you over in the "Is Mexico Safe" thread. Thanks for being a great ambassador for Mexico. I'm sure you will find many great folks as you continue south. Lynn and I will be following along via your reports

    Abrazos!
  7. ben2go

    ben2go Moto Flunky

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    I gotta find that thread.If our government keeps beating on it's citizens,I'm packing my trash and heading south.
  8. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    @ben2go: here you are... http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=546927&page=731 In my opinion the thread is quite "diluted" with all sort of info more or less to the subject but it helped us decide to go South.

    And since here it's night... let's have some fun with a short image-story called "Finding a place to sleep" :

    [​IMG]
  9. ben2go

    ben2go Moto Flunky

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    Thanks.It looks you found a good place to stay.
  10. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    Earthquake in the ocean off the coast near the Mexico - Guatemala border. Did you feel it?
  11. wegimex

    wegimex Adventurer

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    7.5 earthquake. Did not feel anything in Mexico City though !
  12. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    Hi guys! Thanks for the concerns! Yes we felt it quite strong here in Guatemala City. But I think it was accentuated because we were inside and also we are not used to earthquakes. I think here was felt like less than 4 even 3 maybe...
  13. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    Thanks for reporting in. We are glad you had no problems and you are safe. We need you healthy to keep your RR going.

    Abrazos
  14. Merlin III

    Merlin III Lone Wolf-No Club

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    A quick look at the news indicates that 48 people were killed from that earthquake. We had a 4.6 quake here last month and it scared the hell out of me. I initially thought it was a car bomb. :eek1
  15. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    Yes, last night we found out more news as well and it turns out that the earthquake was much more serious in parts closer to the epicenter. Sadly people died and also there was a lot of destruction.
    We were fortunate enough to be far enough from the center and also people here in the city are very used to this and as long as there is no damage (people or buildings) they really don't care. I mean 10 minutes after the quake it was life as usual and that helped us a bit to not linger in the quake feeling (for me was the biggest in my life).

    I was discussing yesterday with Paul (rtwpaul) in Antigua and he said something similar that people there just went outside, waited it out and that was it, back to normal. No panic no nothing. So that was good.
  16. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    Between the past and the present: 19-22 October
    We are still far away from the border but we feel we are getting closer. The easiest (fastest) way would have been to continue on the Pacific coast to Guatemala. As we weren’t in a hurry we decided to head north first, entering the old Mayan empire territory.
    We still have to ride for a while to get there. On some paved roads…
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    …and on others less paved
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    And the only constant is the temperature…. a high temperature. No wonder everyone is trying to cool off the best they can. And at noon, it is siesta time…
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    We manage to refrain ourselves from turning right on one of those small roads that seem to lead on a deserted beach. Maybe we should have done it, we weren’t in a hurry. We get on top of a hill and we can see in the distance endless beaches tucked in between thick vegetation and the blue waters of the ocean.
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    We admire the ocean one last time (in Mexico) and head to the green mountains. We are developing a new traveling rhythm but we still have to learn how to properly relax. This time we avoided the beaches because we had no cash and decided to look for an ATM first. Ah, what a “pragmatic” excuse. We have no time to regret the beaches left behind though as we get to enjoy the beauty ahead.
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    And the road wants to keep up with the scenery as well. Good pavement, well marked, going up in the mountains. Sometimes having a tall vegetation green wall on both sides and sometimes steep cliffs on one side.
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    We are then reminded that human footprint on the lands is not always a positive one.
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    Garbage has a strong impact in these places where nature has so much to offer. But who is to blame? People from here who produce trash and throw it in the nature or maybe the companies that commercially invaded their lives, selling them things they didn’t need, without offering them an efficient method to get rid of the trash? It’s an endless debate but a real problem that should be looked into from both sides.
    And ironic enough, just a few meters down the road, we see the government solution for the situation: “Let’s scare them with big fines”!
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    So if you throw away trash you get fined, a 90 minimum salaries fee. That’s great, but I seriously doubt that this is really enforced or that it could be enforced for that matter (who would have here the actual money to pay such a fine?) And if they are not affected by it, they don’t really care about it.
    These people live a harsh life, from another time, somehow forgotten by the new “always on the run” society living in the “civilized” cities. So it might be easy to judge but it might be rush and even useless.
    There are no supermarkets here. There are no malls or other useful places where you can buy the “strict necessities” in life. But you can buy boiled or fried corn, right from the side of the road.
    [​IMG]
    And how about walking all day long carrying with your head a load sometimes equal with your own weight? Would you still be willing to go to the next trash bin to throw our garbage?
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    Oh… and I forgot to mention, the nearest trash bin is… uhmm probably miles away!
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    We reach the village, more than 2600 meters altitude and we have a look around.
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    There are no big commercial establishments but this doesn’t mean that there is no capitalist life of unstoppable consumerism. Of course this Mayan descendants need Coca Cola on a daily basis as well as many other plastic wrapped products. Plastic that ends up on the streets where ironically puddles mirror the beautiful traditional costumes worn by girls and ladies.
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    And even here, in the isolated village, one can connect to the wonders of internet. We wouldn’t want a day to pass without Facebook (and yes, that’s self irony).
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    But people adapt to always changing reality, combining -sometimes in a pleasant, sometimes in a weird manner- the traditional past with present of jeans and printed T-shirts.
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    Most of the people wave back as we wave them. But some are not shy to show their despise towards (what they think) we represent. If only it would be just that -a calculated and conscious response- and not just a lack of good education and lots of stupidity…
    [​IMG]
    But who knows? We continue onwards through people animals and corn fields.
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    Bare feet on a roll of barbwire. When us, the grownups, forget, children can remind us, even just symbolically, that we can and we should overcome artificial barriers. We don’t know who this girl is but we will take this image with us…
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    The last place in Mexico we wanted to stop for a while was Palenque, an old Mayan city, now an archaeological site that can be visited. The narrow road winds its way restlessly, descending from the mountains and getting deeper and deeper into the jungle. Vegetation changes again.
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    And as we were riding and enjoying the views we were forced to sudden stop. In front of us a group of people was blocking the road. Some people were skillfully manipulating 2 wooden boards with nails that they were putting in the middle of the street. You had to stop, and then other gentlemen were approaching you and telling things and asking for money. I evaluate the situation and realize that the good thing is we are not alone on the road. There is a full bus in front of us, also stopped. And on the other side two cars are greeted the same way.
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    Still…. I don’t feel at ease. This is not right… Andreea becomes all quiet in the back. One of the “gentlemen” approaches us. He is holding a jar and asking for money. He is speaking pretty fast so I don’t really understand what he is asking money for. But I decide I don’t want to give him anything and I tell him that in Romanian. He doesn’t hear neither Spanish nor English so he gets confused but repeats his request one more time but less convinced. I repeat in Romanian that I don’t understand what he is saying, I am from Romania, I don’t know Spanish nor English and I don’t want to give him any money. Of course the man only hears some nonsense words and decides we are good to go. He leaves puzzled. The bus in front is allowed to pass and I try to take this opportunity when there is no board with nails on the road to cross also. It’s not working. The wooden board is pushed back on the road and I have to break fast. The guy manipulating the board seems starts to talk with your guy and luckily they decide that we are nice guys and we should be allowed to pass. We speed up and few meters away everything seems to go back to normal.
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    We are quiet, thinking about what happened. Definitely these people weren’t the “bad guys” from Mexico we were warned about. They were probably some people in the village in big trouble and needing some help. The wooden board with nails was just a brutal way of convincing the people always in a hurry to stop and listen to their problems. And help them with some money, of course. Maybe we got scared and we weren’t supposed to. These kind of actions are not rare in Mexico. Something similar happened to us in Oaxaca. Just that there were no nails on the road over there, just a human shield. The feeling of insecurity stays with us for a while. I guess you cannot feel otherwise when you are stopped by men with macetas, using boards with nails. A brand new VW Golf 5 driven by the man in a suit passed us. For sure he was stopped just like us. Now he was talking on the phone, relaxed. Nothing out of ordinary for him. What a difference. I keep thinking what would have been the reaction if something like this would have happened in Europe. Call the police, hand out fines, tv news crew, everything. Here, just another day. It was OK that we weren’t alone. We thank God we are alive and continue our journey to Palenque. We avoid the city and find a place to sleep in the jungle, in a bungalow, close to the Mayan ruins. There is an unbelievable noise outside, there are lots of birds and animals hidden in the dense vegetation. Like in a movies I was watching as a kid.
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    I park the motorcycle in the howling of the monkeys and call an end to a too long day.
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    We go to bed after Andreea gets rid of a big spider hanging above our bed. Hmmm I thought we are sleeping in a bungalow and not in a hammock so that we could avoid such “creatures”. Never mind, all is good! The sleep comes with the the rain drops and a question: Will we exit Mexico tomorrow?
    The map for this post:
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    <small>View Larger Map</small>
    Next time we try to exit Mexico and we find out that it is not that easy. Stay tuned!
  17. bisbonian

    bisbonian Long timer

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    He's just been following your ride report on ADVrider and is offering up the ADV salute!

    This means good job!:freaky:lol3
  18. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    Haha, yeah, that must have been it. Anyway, we were not upset. You win some you lose some:wink:

    Vaya con Dios! :)
  19. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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  20. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    Tom you are right! For us is as well one of the images most close to us. We realized what we had taken just later, when we were looking at the pictures...