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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Slowphil, Aug 23, 2012.
So....are you having fun yet or what?
so you don't look like a tourist. NOT!
Great pics Phil.
Lookin good Phil
Well, after a bit of a break here I am again. Ed was a couple of days behind me until San Cristobal de las Casas where he caught up, we've been riding together since, anyway everybody meet Ed
We decided we'ed head up to the Palenque ruins to have a look see since it was only half a day up there, on the way we stopped at the Agua Azul which I had read about 3 years ago, what the area is is a series of waterfalls leading into each other and they are absolutely gorgeous
The falls are gorgeous but the area around is a bit of a tourist trap, would I go there again, most definitely, it's worth the effort
On to Palenque
Palenque is lowland jungle area, hot and humid, did I mention it is humid there? On the way up there from Agua Azul the day changed from sunny blue skies to torrential downpour, my camera which was in a waterproof exterior pocket managed to get saturated, the waterproof pocket actually managed to trap a small amount of water so the camera sloshed around for a couple of hours, when I took it out of the pocket the water ran out of it. Well a couple of days draining and 2 days in a sealed bag of rice managed to bring the camera back but the view screen is partially screwed up, Oh well, such is longterm travel, Ed was nice enough to lend me his point and shoot until mine came back.
When we got to Palenque we headed out to the ruins, just at the entrance to the park is a little area called Patchan which consists of small businesses running little camps with cabins, small restaurants and one larger restaurant. It's quite a different sort of area catering to backpackers and hippies who arrived and never quite left, did I mention it was humid there?
Everything was damp and or wet with rain happening every now and then all day. It was actually quite interesting, after supper we ended up at the big fancy restaurant, there we were in the middle of the Palenque jungle with howler monkeys screaming in the trees, listening to a live band play excellent latin american music on a high powered sound system, drinking ice cold beer with a big party going on all around us. It was a completely surreal experience.
Ah but next day, up early and off to the ruins
The Palenque ruins are beautiful but they appear small in comparision to some of the other ruins like Mexico City and Tikal but that would be an unfair comparision because apparently 95% of the ruins are still buried in the jungle with not enough money to expand the site. They're still impressive though and on with the tour
The areas which are cleared are well cared for but it is a constant battle to keep the jungle back
maintenaince is a non stop effort
your not allowed to climb on a lot of the ruins as on other sites
The carvings on the exterior were quite ornate but time has taken its toll
have to go for a second will be right back
Well, I'm back
I'm not too sure of the history of Palenque they didn't have much information posted around so if I sound kind of vague too bad but each of these buildings are temples dedicated to different rulers
they built aqueducts to carry off the streams and excess water that was around the site, part was uncovered but a large majority was vaulted and run underground
We spent about half a day at the ruins and decided to head on to Comitan which was back toward San Cristobal but closer to the border and about an extra hours travel time
but as we we're packing the bikes back at the hut this lovely young senorita asked if she could have her picture taken on the bike, of course how could I say no
we left Palenque and after about an hour down came the torrential downpour once again, when we reached the turn to go to Comitan we decided discretion was the better part of valour and headed back to the hotel in San Cristobal which was 20 minutes away as opposed to about an hour and a half to Comitan, so ended a very soggy two days
Next day, up and at em, we're off to the border with Guatemala but before that it's time for breakfast while we're on the road. Got to a little town and there was a woman cooking rotisserie chicken with breakfast advertised
the breakfast was excellent so we decided to hang around and wait while the chicken cooked and get some for lunch
we checked out a motorcycle across the road mainly because we were amazed at the ingenuity required to keep a bike running when you have very little money
the gas tank was gone replaced with a plastic bottle, the wiring had all been redone and the shock was off another bike but the guy sure made this thing move
all along the side of the roads you'll find people selling gas in small bottles in competition with the big gas stations, we stopped to get a picture and the guy said he was selling gas like this because it was his only way of making a few Quetzales
here I am getting ready to hit the road again
as we riding along had to turn around and get a picture of this church, most of it is strictly facade, the church behind is tiny unfinished concrete block
we stopped to have a drink at a store and ended up helping this young lady with her english homework
after finally getting through the border which I have to admit went smoothly after paying 160Q to clear the motorcycle we finally got our first view of Lake Atitlan where we were heading
the view is impressive but the road with a 45 degree drop into the town of Panajachel is slightly unnerving, couldn't get any pictures of it because there is absolutely no where to get stopped to try and get a picture
The time we spent in Panajachel was quiet but I'll start off with pictures of the Grand Hotel where we stayed. As you drive into the gates of the hotel there is a cobblestone courtyard surrounded by rooms which was nice but ordinary, we were in the second courtyard behind the first
I must have taken 25 shots of this tree before I was happy with the results
and of course the mandatory picture of me contemplating the future, I think I was singing a little ditty to myself when this was snapped, I do things like that you know
but enough of the hotel even though it was the most beautiful I have stayed at at 250Q a night for a big double room. While we were in Pana it turned out there were kids coming from all over Guatemala for spots competitions
We heard the band practicing for a solid two days for the parade
I kind of wish they had started the parade a little earlier so my pictures would have been better but such is life
next day they shut the main street of town down and set up a kids playground down the street
I know you are all as pleased as I am my camera is working well again even though the viewing screen is partially screwed up
Up next: On to Antigua
Just for general amusement on the way to Antigua Ed and I figured we would try and get some shots of the TOPES in Mexico and TUMULOS here in Guatemala
there's not much space between my skid plate and the top of the tumulo, actually I slam down on the top of a lot of them
Ed doesn't have this problem, he probably has 2in more clearance on his BMW
Well here we are in Antigua, this town was actually the 2nd capital city of Guatemala but with the volcanic activity it drove the Spaniards to move it to Guatemala city.
start with the hotel again, Hotel San Vicente, we're paying 160Q for a double room, little small but the hotel is extremely nice and handy to everything in Antigua
the hallway in front of our room
we can use the sink in the back to do our laundry which is lucky
One place here that I had read about before was the Moto Cafe where the bikers kind of hung out so off we go, this is the official name of the place
met Dave the owner and Dave from Quebec who has guided the bike tours for the last 7 months
there were many laughs with the beers
but Dave has never had a guest book before so I shamed him into starting one
but Dave is not just a good time Charlie, he's a dedicated businessman, here he is sending off a customer with vague directions and even vaguer warnings
but actually Dave has a good handle on who can do what and he hooked me up with a mechanic who could straighten the dent out of my rim, I was loosing about 5 psi a day because I hit a tope I never saw until the last moment and dented the edge of the rim
and here's the guys who fixed it, they came to the hotel took off the wheel, fixed it and installed it the next day for 300Q
wandering through the town I managed to get some pretty good shots, here's the one that just about the whole world knows Antigua by, the Archo
here's a shot of a typical family where the mother has to go out and sell her merchandise, you have to be careful getting this type of shot because the majority don't want their pictures taken
there's plenty of motorcycles in Antigua now something the government is aware of, when you see this sign on the sidewalk it means that from the sign to the corner is strictly motorcycle parking and they're on every corner
here's some of the bikes parked there
and beauty is in the eye of the beholder
of course their not all Ducati's
some random shots I got through the town
I was a hair fast on the shutter on this one
an old door in a church destroyed by earthquake in the 1700's
I went over to the chickenbus area to get some pictures of the colours the owners paint their buses
another window picture because I liked it
booby fountain in the centro
artisan market which is loaded with great folk art
basement in one of the old churches, this one was taken by Ed
and of course food-food, food wonderful food, this one I waited to take the picture
but here's one more to Boogers taste, a really nice Irish stew
now Ed and I have decided that to save a little money we'll have breakfast in our room, so here we have granola and just a ton of yogurt to keep our internal workings on an even keel
now this may seem like a strange place to put a picture of a fountain but this was in the courtyard of one of the restaurants right beside where we were sitting eating lunch
and the last one is for my wife, the hotel where we stayed the last time we were here is now closed and they're is a small hardware shop there now
Tomorrow: we cross another national boundry
Really loving this RR. Thanks for taking the time to put forth such a great work. Can't wait for the rest Stay safe and have an awesome time!
Keep it coming, Phil!
Thanks...looking forward to more!!!
Excelent . I´m in
that irish stew looked good - looked alot like the bowl I had at the Auld Triangle Pub in Halifax last week.
slow down for those topes - a friend of mine who basically did your trip in an 81 aircooled westfalia got hung up on one for about 4 hours one day. had to get pulled off of it by a guy with a donkey, who may or may not have been Juan Valdez
Looking Good Phllip ... Living the dream
The rest of us are freezing our butts off in this miserable weather up North, so while we are sitting inside it would be nice if you could get off your butt and give us low lifes an update ...
Well, where was I, it's been so long since I added to the report I forget where I've been. The pace has been really hectic since Ed and I were booked on the sailing ship Stahlratte from Panama to Colombia and had to be there 11 Oct to load. On average we rode from 0800 to about 1800 just before it got dark, we lost a minimum of half a day and a maximum of 6hrs at every border crossing, the worst being Panama. The Migration side was always very quick just requiring a stamp in the passport the rest of the time was spent clearing the bikes into the countries
clearing out of Guatemala into El Salvador when a couple from Quebec rode up, Jean and Chantel
we talked with them for awhile and then parted company, we stopped at a small surfer hotel along the coast, it was cheap and really primitive but the owner had a very large supply of beer for sale. It was really crude but we had a pleasant evening talking to the owner and his extended family who had shown up for a barbeque and swim. This was where I discovered my camera which I thought I had rescued was stsrting to pack it in refusing to focus at night
the next day we had crossed El Salvador and while clearing out through customs up rides Jean, Chantel and a new rider Peter, it turns out we're all trying to make the Stahlratte on the same day
clearing out of El Salvador
next up the dreaded Hondura's customs and immigration which has a well deserved reputation for running you around in small circles doing absolutely useless tasks, the cost for importing your bike, payable only in Honduran money was $35.00. I mention Honduran money because if you don't have any and your paperwork drags on until the end of the day you will have found the bank closes an hour before the Aduana and there you are in a really tough Honduran town for the night. We we're lucky getting in to the bank about 1/2 an hour before it closes
found ourselves breaking the cardinal rule about never riding at night and pulled into Hotel Paradise, Chouteca Honduras
have a very poor connection right now so will post this