No-Moto-Boundaries-Latin America n' back n' da' TAT, un-planned, un-hinged, and solo

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by SeanPNW, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. AteamNM

    AteamNM Wonna Be ADVrider

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,062
    Location:
    Sandia Mountains New Mexico
    :thumb

    My two favorite ride reports meeting up in Antigua, the old capitol of Guatemala. Two DRZ's and a KLR :clap

    Oh this is gonna be good.

    :brow
  2. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    I got to chatting with one of the other guests last night about some local ruins that are pretty quiet. Tikal is the main-vein place and rightfully so as I hear it’s amazing. There are several ruins though and the one the guy mentioned to go to if you want a nice place that’s less touristed and a bit cheaper is called Yaxha (Ya-shaw). It’s about an hour drive from Flores so David (french guy who told me about the spot) and I set out on the bike in the morning to check it out. First stop was the local market for some grub-a-lub.

    [​IMG]

    We found a lady selling some sort of mini-tamale? I couldn’t really understand what she said when she explained what was in it. The first language here is Maya but depending on your particular job or who you need to interact with people here also learn Spanish as their second language.

    [​IMG]

    The food looked good and at 4-for-5Quetzales (0.63) we both got two orders. I love how much cheaper things are here compared to Mexico. The dorm room is also around 40Q (about $5).

    [​IMG]

    After about an hour of nice sunny riding we turned off onto a discrete dirt road.

    [​IMG]

    There had been a lot of heavy rains recently so the road was a bit sloppy at points. David had to jump off and walk for a couple of the messier bits.

    [​IMG]

    After about 8 kilometers down the road we found the parking area. Handy being able to just ride in rather than pay for a bus from town.

    [​IMG]

    The site is a former ceremonial center and city base for the pre-Columbian Maya civilization and is built on a ridge overlooking a large lake. It was first ‘discovered’ in 1904. In 1980 they started excavation but much has been left in a sort of half-buried and half-exposed state.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Lots of the ruins have wooden stairs going up the sides of the ruins that are still engulfed in in jungle.

    [​IMG]

    From the top of most of the sites you have good views of the surrounding areas and the lake.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Unlike some of the other more popular locations, the pieces haven’t been replaced with recreations, and thus the originals are still on display.

    [​IMG]

    We climbed to the top of each to get a view of the different areas. There are some 500 sites here supposedly.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There is another associated site called “Nakum” that is further into the jungle. Kind of like another city. The road there was impassable due to all the rains but this trail lead to the city if you wanted to make the 16k hike. I wonder if this was the same route out of the main plaza that originally lead the Maya’s to Nakum as well. Interesting looking down it as if it was a main road to another city just as the Mayas may have done. Wonder how many people walked right through that same area on their way to Nakum so long ago.

    [​IMG]

    From the top of a solar observation ruin you could see across the canopy to one of the other ruins. They would communicate via smoke signals from one location to the next if necessary.

    [​IMG]

    Leading down to the water there is a path where graded terraces used to be bring people to and from the shore of the lake.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    On the way to the water we ran into an Army Ant raid. Last time I was in central america I was doing research living in the jungle looking for these little fuckers. So glad I don’t have to be doing that anymore.

    [​IMG]

    These ones had some sort of invasive fungus growing on them which turned them bright blue. Not sure what happens to the ones infected eventually but I like to think that they maybe turn inside out and an alien invades the colony from within, like a trojan horse of some sort.

    [​IMG]

    This here be croc-land.

    [​IMG]

    We completed the loop and hiked our way back out to the parking lot from the lake. It was a nice trip and cool that we were basically the only people in the park. For half the price of Tikal we got to see something that fewer people venture out to experience. Maybe it was half as cool as Tikal, but with a fraction of the tourists it was twice as relaxing and a great way to meander through a park uninterrupted. We headed back to Flores and stopped in a town along the way for some local food. Decent tacos for $3 total and we topped it off with some more of the killer desserts from the waterfront tiendas back on the island of Flores. This is the last dessert there that I hadn’t tried, it’s called Tres Leches (Three Milks). I asked what the three different types of milks are and the ladies thought long and hard but could only come up with what 2 of the three where. Tasted good though, like angel food cake soaked in sweet milks.

    [​IMG]

    It’s nice chilling out down here in the evening. I’ll soak it in tonight, tomorrow I think I’ll head somewhere else called Semuc Champey. I hear it’s a must.

    [​IMG]


  3. VietHorse

    VietHorse Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,658
    Location:
    Recalculating... recalculating.... HCMC-Vietnam :)
    Being Impressed by every single pix in your RR.
    Thanks for share.
  4. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    Sweetsauce, more coming today.:thumbup
  5. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    Time to roll out of this hostel, just in case anyone is interested it’s a cool place, relatively cheap per night, food looked good, bar drinks looked good (I always ate in town and only drank the beer though) and it was definitely a social place. Smooth running and the owners are super involved. No parking indoors for a bike but seemed pretty safe on the street. Place is called Los Amigos on the island of Flores.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now, off to Semuc Champey. It’s supposed to be a 8 hour bus ride there, I’m hoping 5 hours by bike. First, breaky at the local market.

    [​IMG]

    Find this guy and asked what was his favorite thing that he makes. He said mixed tacos. I said cool I’ll take 3 of those. 10Q (~$1.10)

    [​IMG]

    They were real good, full of flavor, add the typical tomato based sauce and the flavors are rounded out into a nice savory-slightly-sweet blend.

    [​IMG]

    As I finished eating it started to piss rain pretty good so I decided to chill. Hit me with another plate of tacos please amigo.

    [​IMG]

    The weather chilled a bit by the time I finished so I headed out. I turned off the main road that heads East-West and onto a smaller dirt road heading South towards Semuc Champey.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, glad to find some more dirt roads here compared to Mexico.

    [​IMG]

    There was some light traffic but not much.

    [​IMG]

    The dirt road spit me back out onto a paved road where the scenery opened up a bit. So did the sky though and rain began to fall again.

    [​IMG]

    In the heavy rain at pace down the paved road my bike stopped running again. Water in the carb. I pulled over and drained it. Seems like it only sucks in water when I’m clicking down the road at 65 - 70mph. Need to check the airbox hoses out, maybe I’m flinging water into the airbox through a cracked hose or something at higher speeds…

    [​IMG]

    Bike fired right back up though, 20second fix. These guys came out of there house right quick though to see if I needed a hand. Nice dudes and we shot the shit for a minute.

    [​IMG]

    The rain cleared again and the road dried enough for some fun rolling curves.

    [​IMG]

    Fucking schizophrenic weather, started to absolutely dump again. I pulled off to wait out the heaviest of it, usually doesn’t last more than 10 mins.

    [​IMG]

    Got back on the road and then another 30 minutes later the someone flicked the weather switch again and I found sun again.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The road I was on took me all the way down to the southwestern corner of Belize before cutting back due west towards Semuc Champey. I found a nice little restaurant at this rural junction and stopped for some food. I’m in the habit now of asking whoever is working what their favorite dish is, then just ordering that for a try. This time they brought out soup, some veggies, and some sort of beef. All was savory and tasty. Total price, 20Q (~$2.20).

    [​IMG]

    I find more and more people packing heat in Guatemala. Can’t see it here but 5 guys rolled into the restaurant with handguns on their hips and several extra clips. Seemed like perfectly casual blokes, no hard asses here. Wonder if it’s just a cultural thing to have a gun around these areas.

    [​IMG]

    Once I turned onto this new road I found the queen bee of pristine tarmac. Not sure why they chose to do this road so nicely but there wasn’t a single pothole on the whole thing.

    [​IMG]

    With dry roads and lots of traction I opened her up. Man this is nice. I feel like an absolute rocketship clicking past people in overloaded cars as if they are standing still. I’m just a blur to everything else and only at a mere 70mph.

    [​IMG]

    With all the recent rain everything is super green. These wild horses seemed happy with the excessive food it brought.

    [​IMG]
    Every now and then I hit a patch of construction, usually there was also a bridge under construction at these points. The original was still in use though.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    With about 30miles to go I found the turn-off to Semuc Champey. It was getting close to sunset and here I realized the road was going to be all dirt from here on. The road was steep with loose rocks so it was mostly 1st gear grinding with the occasional flip into second. Looks like I’ll be riding in to Semuc in the dark, as I only have about 30 minutes of sunlight.

    [​IMG]

    I’ll enjoy the views then while I have them then.

    [​IMG]

    The road wound up and up as if we Semuc Champey was hidden within the clouds.

    [​IMG]

    The road got less and less groomed as the miles ground away. Constantly jumping from 1st to 2nd, 2nd back down to 1st, suspension jackhammering at a smooth consistent pounding, motor droning on smoothly at around 3500 revs.

    [​IMG]

    It got too dark for pictures after this but my Hella Rally lights did a great job lighting up the road ahead. Good thing since it seemed like there wasn’t much of an lip on these roads and there was usually quite the drop-off on the other side. I rolled into the Zephyr lodge in the town of Lanquin (6k south of Semuc Champey) where I would base my stay while visiting Semuc Champey. It’s a party hostel through and through, more like a total party compound. Like a mini drunken oasis in the middle of nowhere packed full of foreigners. If you are looking for other young people to get altered with and party this is the place. If you are looking for a relaxing place to sleep or chill out, this is not your spot. With a tab system for all purchases made during your stay, a full food menu for breaky/lunch/and dinner, and tours going to and from the hostel/compound to Semuc Champey it’s an all inclusive resort for young party goers. Bizarre seeing it exist in a place that seems so remote and full of nature but here it is never the less.

    Here’s their managers rig.

    [​IMG]

    The compound is up on a ridgeline overlooking valley’s to the front and back. Beautiful views.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There’s lots of space here and lots of housing, dorms, private, etc it’s all here.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    With all the young party goers flocking here and looking to pay for a good time business is definitely good. With a tab system too the sweet ring of the cash register bringing in money is only heard by the staff, it’s only when you check out that you are reminded that your fun did in fact cost something.

    [​IMG]

    I like to consider myself responsible though and didn’t let the tab system lull me into a false sense of the reality about the cost of things. I opted to camp and by more beer with the savings :-)

    [​IMG]

    In the morning I jumped a truck with a bunch of guys from “Oz” (australia) and one Israeli and we headed up the 6k climb to see what everyone was flocking here for (besides the good partying ;-))

    [​IMG]

    We wound through town and I got my first look at the area.

    [​IMG]

    It’s a small town with a very local feel to it. I’m kind of glad that Zephyr lodge is a tucked away compound as it sort of buffers this natural place from all of our drunken shenanigans.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    On the hour long grind up to Semuc our truck lost 1st gear and it started to piss rain.

    [​IMG]

    We just so happened to break down by a small wooden tienda so we bought some morning beers to smooth out the previous nights hangovers and waited for a different truck to come by.

    [​IMG]

    New truck and road beers acquired.

    [​IMG]

    We made it near to our destination and walked the rest of the way in.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    At Semuc there is also a cave system called Kan Ba Cave. It was originally only used for Mayan ceremonies but has been opened up to the public recently for tourism. It’s a very deep cave system and is unique in that it has a flowing river going through it as well as waterfalls on the interior. This was what I really came to Semuc for. I fucking love caves but haven’t had very many opportunities to get into them. I’m scared of the vulnerability of it all, it’s like crawling into the belly of the earth, and mother nature doesn’t give a shit about you or your safety, you are completely responsible for your own outcome. Your adventure in a cave, weather it goes well or terribly wrong isn’t going to change the caves existence on bit, it doesn’t care about you or why you are there and won’t cut you any slack if you fuck up. I like this. This fear of them is what draws my interest as well, you get a feeling of really being alive when you are confronted with the reminder that you are so miniscule and vulnerable in environments like this.

    This cave is normally a pretty safe cave but you are required to have a certified guide take you through as it does have a flowing current and several water falls. With all the rain that had fallen recently things were pretty different at the cave today. Looking at the river below the entrance of we could see that the cave might be flowing a bit faster and higher today.

    [​IMG]

    The walkway to the entrance was still mostly there but the water level was definitely higher than normal.

    [​IMG]

    This is what the waterfall that comes from the entrance of the cave usually looks like (pulled from the web).

    [​IMG]

    This is what that spot looked like today.

    [​IMG]

    After this photo I don’t have anything from the inside of the cave. Our guide told us we may not be able to go in but since we were a rowdy group of active dudes he said if we wanted to give it a try we could. We all agreed and went for it. Here is a picture of the entrance on a normal day (pulled off the internet).

    [​IMG]

    Once inside we have candles and move through the network slowly. The current is strong but we are able to push through holding onto the rock formations and pulling ourselves through. At points it is very enclosed. Sometimes you can touch bottom and push with your feet and other times you are swimming with one hand holding the candle above water. There are parts where the water is very deep and the current is strong so they have fixed rope lines to use to pull yourself through. We can tell the water level is much higher than normal as these fixed lines are all submerged several feet below the top of the water and you have to kick around as you swim with your legs to find them. Two guides came in with us and they seemed to be pretty excited about willing and adventurous our group was to push forward.

    Here’s a picture I pulled from the web from a normal day in the cave. With the water flowing pretty hard and the spaces much more enclosed than normal at times it did feel a little hectic but still within that perfect line of having fun.

    [​IMG]

    The cave goes several kilometers in and at about half way we came to the first waterfall. Here we all realized that it would be impossible for us to go any further. There was a fixed line that we needed to climb to get up the waterfall but the water was absolutely ferocious. I asked the guides if we could try and one of them and I worked our way climbing along the wall of the cave towards the waterfall. It became impossible to hear anything as the water was just way too loud. We worked our way under the waterfall and to the rope that we would have to climb but it was impossible to even stand up in the flow of water. I could barely make out the headlamp of the guide even though he was right next to me as we both got pummeled under the heavy water. We turned back satisfied that there was no way we could keep going and I’m really glad that they were willing to let us try to get this far. As we slowly worked our way back it was much easier as we were going in the direction of the current. On the way there were several spots where we could jump off a higher point in the cave that was nice and open and fall down into the darkness where a deep pool of water awaited. It’s super scary handing your only source of light, a fucking candle, to the person next to you and jumping off an edge into a pit of darkness hoping to find water. Then having to swim to the edge of the dark pool and hold onto the wall of the cave as your buddy chucks you your candle down snuffing it out as it lands in the water.

    When we all made it back out to the front of the cave and back down to the river we could see how much the river had risen while we were inside. The walkway that we had come in on was now gone.

    [​IMG]

    Ever confident though we cracked beers, linked arms, and shuffled our way back to the road.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The usual main attraction here, and what Semuc Champey is actually named after is further up the road and across the river.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The bridge is a nice jumping height and on a normal day our guide said sometimes people jump from here and then swim to the bank on the right. Current was strong but not strong enough to make it impossible to swim towards the bank so we opted to jump as well.

    [​IMG]

    The river was higher so we climbed up on the wire to get that extra height.

    [​IMG]

    The first few of us had to be reminded after landing in the water “SWIM!!!” as we forgot about the current and needing to really swim hard back towards the bank. I decided to front-flip from the wire and slightly over rotated landing, bit a good chunk of my cheek out but was still great fun.

    [​IMG]

    We then got some food and simmered down from the fun of the cave and getting to do some jumping. We hiked in to where the main attraction of Semuc Champey is.

    [​IMG]

    Semuc Champey is a natural limestone bridge spanning 300m. The Cahabon river actually plunges into the earth right under this natural bridge, passes under it the 300m and then reemerges on the other side. There are natural spring water pools that form on the bridge and are usually a crystalline blue color from the sulfur in the rocks that they spring from. The raging river rocketing down into a dark pitted and massive hole is remarkable against the calm natural springs that sit atop it. Here in these springs you can go swimming, slide from one pool to the other on the smoothed out rocks, and go jumping out of trees 35ft up into the little pools that are narrow but super deep. Again I had to leave my camera on the shore so this is all I snapped of the area.

    [​IMG]

    We all agreed the pools were great fun.

    [​IMG]

    But the activities were spent and it was time we caught a ride back to town.

    [​IMG]

    Hey that place sell beer ya think? Yeah let’s get roadies.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Mmmm that sweet sweet nectar.

    [​IMG]

    Back to the Zephyr compound gents.



  6. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    Being at a hostel as touristy as Zephyr reminds me of how different my mindset appears to be compared to other vacationers or shorter-term travelers. Due to the way that I’m traveling (via motorcycle and with no end-date) I find it difficult to really connect with the people who are on a 3 week whirlwind tour of all of central america. Jumping from place to place as fast as possible and checking off all the trip-advisor recommended activities before burning on to the next location. The energy of ‘go-go-go-go’ at an all inclusive resort type place like this is cooked into every piece of food and dripped into every cocktail. The thought of ‘we only have tonight!!” is almost palpable and seems to be on the tip of everyones tongue. If I only had a few weeks, shit even if I only had a couple months, I would probably be feeling the same way and doing the same things. But luckily I have much more time to party after this place, and the next, and the next even if I so choose. After seeing so many hostels like this over the last few months they have become less and less interesting. Thus the exciting vibe of ‘wooooohhhhh a bunch of other travelers in one spot, let’s go crazy!’’ is slightly lost on me now. At night when we are all getting blasted at the in-hostel bar off body-shots and beer bongs I find myself slipping away and going outside to shoot the shit and share a drink with the locals or night staff instead. Asking them questions about where they are from, their families, how they got to working here, do they like it, how has the town/city/country changed since they’ve been here etc. I feel much more engaged in these conversations and remember them much more clearly the next day, compared to the inebriated conversation with a sloppy-drunk australian chick who had the exact same things to say about the “cute little hats the locals wear!” as the 5 other girls I met under similar circumstances in the last week. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of other travelers that I have great conversations with or people that I met that were absolutely fascinating to talk with. But at places like this they are sometimes slightly more difficult to come by. Time to head to another spot and see if I can find more of the latter.

    Because I came into Lanquin (the town next to Semuc Champey) in the night I haven’t actually seen any of the surrounding area. Even in this wet and foggy haze, man it’s beautiful.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My next stop is going to be the city of Antigua, maybe a 5 hour drive away. It’s supposed to be sunnier on the other side of the mountain range that I’ll cross on the way. I sure hope so, I’ve been wet for 3 days straight now, it would be nice to give my kit a sun beating for a change. I stopped in a bustling little pueblo that seems to be a junction for several main arterial roads, lots of busses and through traffic. I pulled off near one of the main corners in town and found a small food stand for some breaky. Sweet chicken, some sort of noodles (like chow-mein kind of), and a lot of tortillas was 8Q (~$1). I’ve realized that nobody really talks to you as a foreigner around here (central america) until you break the blatant stares (as if you were a rare fish in a fishbowl) by dropping a few words in spanish to them. Then the blank ‘am I looking at a martian’ stares quickly change to smiles and ‘hola!’ followed by interesting conversation. I experienced the same thing here as I sit down at the small table where the locals are eating their ‘fast food’ before work. It’s awkward at first as they seem to feel like they ‘have to’ avoid eye contact with me, or maybe even are uncomfortable that I’m eating their with them. But once I break the ice with something as simple as ‘man it’s cold’ or ‘food looks awesome right?’ (in spanish obviously) they are first surprised and then quickly become much warmer and engaging. At this place we take turns asking eachother questions, where are you from, do you have a family, what are you doing here, do you like it etc. The guy I’m talking to eventually asks how old I am, I say 25 and then he smirks and the ladies cooking the food giggle with amusement. He asks me how old I think he is, I guess 30 as he doesn’t look a day older than 32. He laughs and says he’s 47. Everyone here seems way younger than they actually are. Maybe it’s the food, the physical labor, or something in the water that’s keeping these people looking so young and strong.

    [​IMG]

    About 2.5 hours of rain later I crested the mountain range and began coming back down the other side towards the capital Guatemala City. As if I crossed an imaginary line, the clouds opened up and with every 100ft of elevation dropped I could feel the glorious sun beginning to bake out all the water in my body, as if I were a stinky wet loaf of sourdough bread getting baked in an oven. It was a glorious feeling and I couldn’t help enjoying the immense sense of happiness as my riding gear turned into a nice warm cocoon. Moments like this make the shitty cold riding totally worth it, you just don’t appreciate the good riding as much if it’s not interspersed with some shitty times as well.

    [​IMG]

    I made it into the capital but honestly didn’t see very much. Besides getting lost for a hot minute and running into another ADVrider in traffic I didn’t really experience anything in the city. I know it’s supposedly ‘big’ but seemed pretty chill to me. Guess I am comparing to mexico city which isn’t a fair comparison.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here’s a shot looking back down at Guat city as I was on my way out towards Antigua.

    [​IMG]

    And a vanity shot of the killer.

    [​IMG]

    En route to Antigua from the east is a long series of steep roads that help kill off a lot of elevation. For some reason these really reminded me of the hollywood hills.

    [​IMG]

    Not knowing where I was going to stay I stopped in at the first hostel that I had plugged into my GPS, El Hacier.

    [​IMG]

    It’s rooms seemed a bit expensive at 80Q a night so I opted to camp instead for 30Q out back where I parked my bike. This allowed me to set up my gear and shit to dry too.

    [​IMG]

    Found two nicely kitted DRZ’s parked out back as well, AteamNM mentioned that two girls riding down from Alaska on DRZ’s were in the same area, pretty sure these are their bikes. Hey Becky and Andrea!

    [​IMG]

    I got my shit set up and then went out walking. Antigua is apparently only 9 blocks by 9 blocks (albeit big blocks) and on a simple grid layout so pretty easy to get around.

    [​IMG]

    There were 4 guys chilling in the sidewalk having heavy conversation so I opted to walk around them off the sidewalk to not interrupt. They called me out as I walked passed them in the road for thinking they were dangerous or going to rob me “yo man we aren’t going to rob you, why are you afraid of us homey?” “In spanish obviously). I don’t think they thought I would understand them so I turned around and walked right up to them. I said I just didn’t want to interrupt their conversation and gave each of them the standard hand-slide and fist bump that is customary amongst friends here in central america. The tension immediately eased and we ended up shooting the shit for a good 45 minutes after that. Talking about the stigma of people south of the US border, why tourists are afraid of locals, the politics and the media that influence those feelings, the prevalence and effect of religion here, and of course women. It may seem obvious to everyone else, and I feel bad that it is still so surprising to me, but I am constantly refreshed and fascinated by the conversations I have in situations like this and how it shows how we are all really so similar even though we are from such different backgrounds. It felt like I was chilling on the street drinking beers with my homies from back home killing the evening going back and forth about women, culture, and politics. Really funny guys too and I enjoyed hanging out with them for that time. Now that I see this photo in the light, one of them may have even peed his pants in laughter at some point.

    [​IMG]

    We parted and I kept walking, now in search of food. I heard live music coming from this joint so I asked how the food was to one of the people lingering outside. She said “It’s amazing, but I’m the cook ;-)”.

    [​IMG]

    I dipped in and ordered a shrimp, bacon, and cheese burrito and listened to the music while I waited.

    [​IMG]

    Holy shit-balls it was an amazing burrito! Definitely in the top 5 burritos that I have ever eaten. My mouth is watering thinking about it right now. More expensive than other meals at 46Q (about $6) but for one of the best burritos I’ve ever had that’s a damn fine price.

    [​IMG]

    I met some other people my age here and ended up kicking it with them the rest of the night. Fun group and good drinks.

    --------------------

    Over the next few days I relaxed and explored more of this fascinating place. Antigua isn’t very large, and 10 years ago it used to be much more dangerous. With the increase in tourism the place has mellowed out quite a bit but the flair of it’s old ways seem to still be worked into it’s bones. Although there are more tourists, I don’t get the feeling of it being a tourist town. Yeah there’s great cuisine that is scaled up a bit but I don’t physically see that many tourists. I like this, it’s a nice blend of good food and mostly local people.
    During the day you can walk around and see the town, there’s lots of ‘ruins’ as this is an older city.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There are several small parks for people to gather in.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    One has some pools that appear to be designed back in the day as a place for people to do laundry. Today you can still find people doing this here.

    [​IMG]

    The pace is overall slow and relaxed during the day.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    If you look off into the distance from anywhere in town you can usually find a volcano, as long as it’s not hiding in the clouds.

    [​IMG]

    I like the architecture here, and some of the craftsmanship in the old doors is pretty great.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    An afternoon drink is a common thing, a nice rum goes well with some guitar as the day lingers on.

    [​IMG]

    If you need some good ol’ Texas ribs check out Pappy’s BBQ. I met up with Becky and Andrea from Motoventuring From Alaska To South America - A Collaborative Video Blog! to try out the grub, it was hands down the best ribs I’ve ever had, but the sauces they had on table almost stole the damn show as well. It was the most expensive meal I have had in a very long time at 114Q ($14ish?) but for a whole pound of the best ribs I’ve ever had I felt OK about it. They only make a limited amount each day and are open until they sell out. Thanks for the meetup ladies and great food idea. Maybe we’ll catch eachother down the road again.

    [​IMG]

    When evening comes it’s great to go grab a drink at Cafe No Se and sample some of their ‘Ilegal Mezcal’, or really anything on their shelf that is tequila. The story behind this place is that a guy traveling in the area about 10 years ago started the bar with his last $500. It was a different time here back then and things were much simpler. He opened it as a cafe to avoid paying for the liquor licences and simply poured people great tequila’s into coffee mugs all day. He would also make runs up into Mexico to Oaxaca (the home of mezcal) and smuggle the liquor back over the border into Antigua Guatemala to serve in his ‘cafe’. There are all kinds of stories about him dressing up as a pastor thinking the cops wouldn’t search his van that way, or rafting crates down the river and across the border. That’s where the name “Ilegal Mezcal” came from. Eventually the authorities caught on and he had to go legit and name his place as well. He didn’t know what to call it so he just named it “Cafe No Se” (Cafe I Don’t Know). Now it’s a growing brand and they distribute all over, into the states as well so go check em out.

    [​IMG]

    The interior shows it’s wear from the past 10 years or being a seedy underground joint. I love the decor, it is the perfect place to drink something called Ilegal Mezcal. Dark, dingy, and usually full of questionable characters. By far my favorite place in town to hang out.

    [​IMG]

    There are several different rooms but are all pretty small, this is the second bar area.

    [​IMG]

    This candle is about 4.5 feet tall and is a pyramid of wax that appears to have been burning and dripping since the place opened 10 years ago.

    [​IMG]

    Love the art too. Just full of bad-ass shit.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Inside on one of the dark unlit walls there is a small entrance that is only about waist height that you crouch down and under that leads to the Ilegal Mezcal bar. Inside here you find ‘shrines’ to the patron saint of anyone involved in the criminal or ‘darker’ activities in life. Here people leave offerings of drinks, cigarettes, or drugs.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I took these pictures in the afternoon one day. A lady was in the Ilegal Mezcal bar area by herself practicing the banjo. I grabbed a stiff drink and listened to her transcribe in music exactly how this town felt. Music seems like the only real way you can describe the unique blend of emotions for this town. Antigua, you are a special place, I like you.

    [​IMG]



  7. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    Just had an absolutely awesome day of exploring the wilderness and riding the dirt in Guatemala. Unfortunately it ended with me hitting a stray dog at a decent click on the way back to town. Aside from some ground down metal and ripped riding gear the bike and I are fine, but the dog didn't make it. Even with so many strays down here and having seen so many dead dogs on the side of the road, you never want to be responsible for putting one there. The culture here is very different towards dogs, especially strays. I don't think a single person of the 30 or so that where watching understood why I needed to stay with her until she died. Sitting with a dog for 20 minutes as it struggles to accept that it's not going to make it was a pretty shitty way to end the day. All I can hope is that having someone there until the end was slightly comforting, but that might just be a thought to make myself feel better about killing a dog today. Sorry perro...
  8. DyrWolf

    DyrWolf Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    125
    Location:
    RICHMOND VA
    Sorry about the dog. It was good you stayed with him.
  9. SOLOKLR

    SOLOKLR almost retired

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Green Valley, AZ
    Man that is a definite bummer. I have a soft spot for any dog stray or not. At least you weren't hurt in the ordeal. Have a beer in its honor and be thankful its not the other way around. Safe travels man!
  10. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    Yeah I feel pretty shitty about the dog, lucky it didn't turn out worse , a toast to the brave perro indeed.
  11. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    Anytime I get ejected from a bike as long as there isn't any obvious severe pain or limbs pointing in the wrong direction I know I got away more or less OK. Yesterday I had the unfortunate experience of hitting and killing a dog in the road on my way back into town from what was otherwise an awesome day of dirt riding. When I hit the dog I was going around 40mph and went down with the bike. I had the chance to break hard for a brief moment but not much, unfortunately it wasn't enough to avoid the dog. When I hit her the impact torqued the front forks to the right which put me and the bike on a fast track to the pavement. Everything happened pretty quick but I remember seeing the bike in a position not suited for maintaining any sort of control, followed by the sky, some sparks, the sky again, and then the pavement. Somewhere in that process my left foot got pinned under the bike for a second and I tweaked my ankle. In the moment you typically don't notice the little things, but now that I'm not worrying about trying to minimize the terrible last 20 minutes of that dogs life my body has decided to tell me exactly where it's upset with me. It looks like I got some tissue booboos in my left ankle as I can't walk on it at the moment. I'll find some sort of crutches today and whisper sweet nothings in apologies to it over the next week or so. "Muletas" is the word for crutches right? I've never broken a bone #drinkMILK!, but I've had plenty of tumbles and this feels along the same lines of just tissue damage. Some TLC, thick milk, and a week or so out of the saddle should do the trick.

    Anyone have a decent camera they want to sell?? Mine got smashed when I hit the pavement yesterday, guess that's my cue to upgrade.
  12. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones AdventureDeficitDisorder

    Joined:
    May 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,331
    Location:
    San Diego, not Mex, but I can smell it from here.
    Sorry to hear about the tumble mate!

    I know you'll get a lot of good advice here, but I wanted to pass along a recent discovery.
    After my biff the night we camped out, I got online and did some digging.

    Tendons and ligaments are a slow healing process because so little blood flows through them. What I found was a supplement called cissus quadrangularis. Known more for other maladies, I found some mention of it for helping in the healing of connective tissue. I was pretty dinged up and had nothing to lose so I loaded up on it. Totally subjective, but I felt like I healed much faster than previous injuries.

    You young guys heal like you're Wolverine, us old dudes, not so much.
    Hope you can find some.

    Sounds like as long as you're hopping distance from a taco stand, you'll be OK!

    Happy and swift healing!
  13. upweekis

    upweekis Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,842
    Location:
    Indiana-We Tax Everything!
    Yeah, but did it hurt the Bike?!? :wink:
  14. AteamNM

    AteamNM Wonna Be ADVrider

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,062
    Location:
    Sandia Mountains New Mexico
    +1

    I hope you mend quickly. You left the dog with the best karma you could. There is a reason for everything.
  15. Roamingmedic

    Roamingmedic n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1
    Location:
    Whidbey Island WA
    Hows the ankle healing? Sorry about the stray dog.....You did right thing staying with it till it died. I'm sure he felt safe with you and calm. Thats a lot better than having to worry about being eaten before you die,,,,,
  16. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    Sweet thanks for the info Keith, if that's what you used to get back into the game after that spill up in the desert I'll def give it a shot. As of now I feel like I'm made of some sort of space rubber that just moves back to it's original form given a few minutes. Up and walking around today without a walking stick so should be right as rain in a few days. Maybe it's just all the damn tacos:freaky. The guy at the local stand just smirks whenever he sees me come hobbling back to his stand for the 4th time this week.

    I might be stuck here for a couple weeks while I find a replacement for my smashed camera and get it shipped down here, this should be plenty of time to get the ankle back in line as well.
  17. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    I'm continually impressed with this bikes ability to take a beating and just brush it off. The bike slid down the road for a good 60 ft and all there was to show for it was a broken mirror (just the glass though not even the arm), an inch ground off my kickstand, .5 inch off my shifter, and some slide marks added to my handle bar guards. Picked her back up, brushed her off and she started right back up. Oh and the front forks were tweaked in the triple tree but I straitened that out on the spot.

    Aside from that my riding gear is a bit ripped on the left pant leg and knee, my jacket is ripped on my left arm, and my helmet has some nice new road-buffing on it. Nothing a sewing needle and some glue can't fix though.

    I will take this moment to officially thank Sidi for making a bullet proof boot (Crossfire SRT). I get shit from people sometimes asking "why do you wear those big boots? Are they really necessary? Aren't they really expensive?", as of now I can say that they have certainly kept my leg from breaking, being burnt, or otherwise seriously injured 3 separate times, while the boots themselves show no sign of wear. Also as a testament to my other gear, after ragdolling down the road at 40mph I simply picked myself up and walked back over to my bike, very minor road rash where my jacket and gloves didn't cover on my wrists and that's it. A testament to the All The Gear, All The Time (ATGATT) idea and the Kevlar technology in the BMW suit. Don't fuck around with your gear if you are going to be putting yourself out there and getting into the fun stuff, the investment pays off when shit get's thrown into the fan. I'm already back riding my bike around town, cheers to that:p3rry
  18. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Somewhere in Latin America
    Ankle's doing great now, seems like it's better every hour, going to walk to the market today instead of taking the bike.

    PS congrats on your first post! For anyone that doesn't know Roamingmedic is my pops, I did my first motorcycle trip with him last year up to Alaska, which subsequently inspired this trip. Good times on the Dalton for sure.

    [​IMG]
  19. upweekis

    upweekis Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,842
    Location:
    Indiana-We Tax Everything!
    Well said. The older you get, the longer it takes to heal. I'd go ATGATT if I was just riding someplace to crap...........
  20. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,696
    Location:
    Ensenada, Baja California
    Amigo Sean,

    I hope you get well very fast, good thing you and the KLR are ok. We we speaking of you yesterday at our Sunday's ride (we the Cochilocos).

    I will continue to read you!

    Happy new year 2014!

    Dámaso