Freedom51; a journey of life

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by goodcat, May 27, 2016.

  1. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    By this time it's around 1pm and our day trip is over, but Julio has other plans for me. He says I have time to see some ruins close by and down the mountain into Huehuetenango. We go back for yet another coffee stop at the cliffside spot, and Phil loans me his GPS and sets up the track to the ruins and back to the ranch, as neither one of them wants to see the ruins at this time, but they know it's of interest to me.

    So off I go and here I am.
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  2. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

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    Sad, harsh realities. Trashing the environment, property insecurities... Getting a place in Latin America is an awesome dream but occasionally concern for just suddenly losing it all intervenes. Of course we're more likely to lose our health instead, but the unknowns there act as both an attractant and a repellent to long term commitment. Sure is a beautiful place with genuinely amazing people overall, though, where I've enjoyed every second. Even when sick it still seems to have a magical aura about it.
  3. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    Absolutely OnO
    Guatemala is rich in natural and cultural beauty. From the Peten rainforest rich in biodiversity and so many amazing ruins to beautiful mountain waters and black sand ocean beaches to active volcanoes.....this country packs a punch for excitement. I can't speak too much for the people here, because it's still new to me. But my general experience is fairly positive other than maybe the governing bodies and criminal factors. You may have heard that not long ago there was some bus driver killings. The driver's don't want to pay the fees of gangsters and in turn examples are made by broad daylight killings in public transit. It started out as one execution per week and escalated to each day. Robbery's, extortion, rape, drug running and murder all seem to be a part of daily life in this country. But as a tourist, it's mainly safe....sometimes. To really wrap your head around this stuff, you gotta spend time with locals. And these would make another comparison from a tourista vs a traveller.

    Again, I can only report on what I have experienced and heard. Everyone is going to see things in different ways.

    And as much as I have had positive experiences with the locals and police, the police can not always be trusted. I know of a few people who have been robbed or attempted robbery of citizens walking the streets late at night in certain areas in this town of Antigua.

    I know Julio is reading this, and I can only hope my reporting is reasonably accurate as he knows much more than I do.
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  4. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

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    There's so many pros and cons. We have put some serious thought into starting a business in SA, from growing shrimp to making moto-taxis among other ideas. The lack of regulations, permits, taxation, and other interventions, along with not having to worry about getting sued is quite welcoming. But then there'd be the occasional oddball likely to think we're rich gringos and expect us to share a bit of our vast wealth :imaposerleaving is unable to make a meager living. Of course balance that with some that have exploited their resources including people and it's easy to understand how they could be wary. Plus have family that have given it the old college try and ended up getting out. At this point we still dream of possibly getting a place to spend winters but even that comes with concerns. You can't just leave a place unattended for any length of time and expect it to be intact and/or unoccupied upon return; it would have to be under constant vigilance. It seems to me there's less direct robbery there, yet anything unattended seems fair game. And venturing out at night is generally asking for trouble. But traveling there i find more enjoyable than here, and it's considerably less costly to boot. It's quite a conundrum.
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  5. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    Zaculeu is an early Classic to late post Classic site, circa 250 - 600 AD until it's demise yet again by the Spanish invasion in 1525.
    A mixture of Mam and K'iche style architecture, and originally was fortified by a stone wall. No corbel vaulting or stone carvings are found here. 43 structures are clustered into a 1400 sq meter area and was restored in the 1940's. Re surfaced and painted (now unseen), this is the only site I know of that has been restored in this manner. It's kind of cool because it shows what the smooth plaster may have looked like in original condition. I have read that this has been a very poor attempt at restoration, but as usual, they all fascinate me in one way or another.
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    Here, the ballcourt is expectionally interesting with the T-ends, but much larger than others I've seen. Also several staircases and the one end has an open entrance way each side.
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    And the other end is enclosed
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    A little stairwell. This ballcourt has more access ways than I have seen to date.
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  6. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    You seem to have a fairly good grasp on the the realities of CA. And I will add this.....I do know of business owners getting robbed at gunpoint. You are always being watched and they know when you have a pocket full of cash. I also know of several stories of the mafia shaking down certain businesses and enterprises. There is no grey area in these cases. It's completely black and white....pay up sucka or die !!!!

    Trust me.....I'm viewing all inputs as I think about getting some land and a small business. In some ways the "wild west" scenario can be of benefit and in others ways it ain't so perdy.

    And when I say "stories", I mean right from the horses mouth. First hand accounts.
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  7. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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  8. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Ageing Enthusiast

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    Oh look, something different more ruins :clap
  9. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    The main structure has a few interesting points and can be climbed.
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    View from on top
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    If you look closely, you will see etched graffiti on many of the remains. And although there are garbage cans all over this site, there is still garbage laying around all over the ground and on the ruins themselves. And here brings the biggest difference between the Mexican's and the Guatemalan's. The Mexican's take great pride in their cultural heritage and are extremely respectful of the ruins. In total, I may have found an average sized grocery bag full of garbage in the total number of ruins I've been to in Mexico. But here in Guatemala, I can fill a large garbage bag and more just from one site alone.
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  10. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    Smart ass :imaposer

    Ya well, they are same same but different :lol3
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  11. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

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    Hey, nobody does ruins like Mr Shawn, awesome job! :thumb
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  12. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Ageing Enthusiast

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    Don't get me wrong, I wasn't complaining, more just noting a common theme :beer
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  13. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    I know buddy.
    I didn't take any offense by it.
    It's all jovial haha

    The other common theme is my bike breaking down
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  14. dwj - Donnie

    dwj - Donnie Long timer

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    I think it is a KTM FROM Canada issue! I never had these kind of problems with my KTMs from the USA!
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  15. dwj - Donnie

    dwj - Donnie Long timer

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    Where I live in Mexico, if you are successful you are a target! If you have a couple of taxis worth $2,000/$3,000 US each you are OK! If you have four or five, you are a target! You try to be as successful as you can while at the same time staying under the radar! I do not know a single middle class family here that has not been extorted, kidnapped, killed, or in some violent way affected. The brutality is beyond anything us from the US, Canada and other first world countries can imagine. Videos and photos of torture and killings float around on Face Book here like popular jokes from where we are from! My Mexican stepdaughter is getting married in a few months, I have told her and her fiancee, they need to consider trying to get papers for the US before they start expanding their family. While it is not my decision, I will pay for them to try. I do not want my Mexican grand-kids to be born here!
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  16. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    Thanks for the insights Donnie.

    I barely know how to reply to comments like this anymore. It all seems so unreal but I know it is real.
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  17. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    I just don't know either buddy.
    These issues are stumping everyone I've talked to.

    Bike is picked up and hopefully it's an easy fix like low tire pressure :imaposer

    But I see what you did there.
    You snuck in a double header.....a shot against KTM and Canada.
    Sneaky bastard :jack
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  18. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    A couple final ruins shots to close this segment.
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    There is a small museum on site and had a bunch of cool stuff. The incense burners were especially cool, but I only managed to get one shot before my battery died. I have 2 extra batteries, but didn't bring them as I did not expect to get to the ruins.
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    And there it is. Another site on the books with hopefully more to come haha
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  19. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    That night was a repeat of the night before.
    Romantic dinner with wine and song and dancing....well, there was no actual singing or dancing haha
    Another overnight freezing temperatures and attempts at night photos which I wasn't pleased with.
    To make things interesting and more rustic, there is no heat in the rooms. The staff gives us for real hot water bed bottles. If you are old enough, you will know what I mean. Us older folks used to get them from Mom when we were children. But on this night, I found out over breakfast that Julio's water bottle broke in his bed and had an interesting night sleeping in his 2nd bed that for him is like a child's crib. Sometimes ya just wish there was a camera in the room :jack

    After breakfast and filling my radiator, it was time to separate as Julio went home and Phil and I went to the Guate/MX border.
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  20. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    At the La Mesilla border crossing our first stop was here. I believe I wrote the process down in enough detail earlier, so I'll save myself the anguish of typing it again :D

    I didn't mention that there was a cowboy horse parade coming into town that we managed to sneak through.
    More on this later.

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    And so it was a quick cab ride and the back to Immigration for our TVIP's

    As you can see, it was a friendly crew and the guy in the plaid shirt is the chief, who took great pleasure in trying to help us. He gave Phil his contact number and said to call if we needed anything.
    A most pleasant experience to say the least and as smooth as silk.

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    Before arriving, non of us had heard that we could get our Visa and TVIP extended at the border. All anyone knew was that we could get our Visa's extended and then had to go to Guate City Immigration for our TVIP's.
    So it really goes to show how almost everyone's border experience is different from each other. And no single story is always correct. Alot depends on who is working at the desk at the time. And I know this by comparing experiences with other biker's. So don't always believe what you read or here from other travelers as the gospel truth. Much can be learned from official sites, but even then we were told we might have to leave Guatemala for 24 to 72 hours. The exact number of hours was never confirmed.
    I also found out you can pay a runner from here in Antigua and he will take your passport and get it stamped for you.

    All very interesting, and it's times like these where the wild west mentality can be of benefit.
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