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Archive for October 25th, 2009

Day 321 – 25th October 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on October 25, 2009

Sunday – Antigua, Guatemala

A long tiring day and oh no, Vstrom down again

I was woken twice this morning, once by the Harleys leaving and the second time by sirens, I eventually headed out for breakfast up the street and noticed the hotel in the daylight was a tad unfinished, sort of like the buildings I had seen in Greece years ago with reo sticking up in the air, the pool looked nice though 🙂

I had to pass a bank with the alarm screaming which turned out to be what had woken me the second time, but there was no official response and the siren was obviously set to ‘continuous until reset’ as it never turned off at all and was still going when I left town 😕 That is our hotel to the left of BAM and check out our security guard, he was a nice old chap and probably knows how to use his weapon.

After packing up and answering a few emails, I headed down the main street (?) of town to the highway, which at least was sealed and kept to a quick pace as the traffic was quite light, it was still warm and humid but I was aware that as I climbed towards Guatemala city it would cool down, I cannot wait for that 🙂

The ride south was pretty uneventful, it took under 3 hours and it went through some nice twisties on the way, but all on the flat, no climbing and I could not get any lower than I was, so of course this meant a hot humid ride. I eventually arrived at a large bridge crossing where they had security and quarantine, mainly for the trucks though and I was waved straight through 🙂

Once I got to the main highway I headed east and south and after a short while I found a town where I grabbed some fuel and a couple of chook sangers, although I think someone forgot to install the chook! These little 3 wheeled trikes are everywhere and are used mainly as taxis, cheap and efficient I guess although they smoke a bit.

Over the next few hours I headed though more mountains and gained a bit of height and eventually arrived in Guatemala city around 3.15pm, not a bad time and in the end it was lucky I got here this early 😦

I spent the next hour and a half trying to get the hell out of there!!! This is the problem when you get used to a GPS and blindly following a line or directions, I had a basic map of the country and the Garmin GPS showed me a basic line I knew I had to be on, but the signs in the city mainly pointed to local places because I was entering from the west and had no idea which way to go to get through. If you look at the following GPS track map, I arrived at the top right and needed to go in the direction of CA1, or the blue arrow just to the left, but after asking directions I ended up every which way, back and forth and at one stage at the bottom I went a full lap around the University campus, way off course!!!

So, at 4.40pm I ended up seeing a sign for Antigua, in fact if I had not stopped and asked for directions at the servo the first time, I would have got out quicker, because he had sent me back the wrong way to start, but I just went past that same servo again, the bastard!!! Anyway, I now hit the hills and had some fun because now we were going way up? I also had an ambulance come past with lights and siren clearing the way, so I stuck close behind that was fun 😉 I eventually arrived in the cobblestoned city of Antigua around 5pm and now a new navigation exercise started, I needed to find the school I had booked into.

I had noticed coming in the last dozen kms or so that it looked like rain ahead, but I never found any, then it looked more like smoke, maybe from all the fireworks that I saw being let off, it sure was a lot of smoke though? After once again being led astray by false info from locals, I pulled over and asked a chap called Tas from a local restaurant and he lent me his phone, we called Olga from the school and he then led me to the place which was just up the road a short way, good onya m8 🙂

Once there I met Olga and the home stay lady, also called Olga who came down to take me back to her mums place, I would stay there one night until the room was empty the next day at her place. By now I was totally fatigued and very hot, it was quite steamy. So, I followed Olga who was riding a step through, up the horrible cobblestones in the dark and then up a narrow lane up a hill. It all looked good to start, then the road turned to crap with ruts and loose crap all over, I kept my eye on where Olga was going and saw her bouncing all over the road and the inevitable happened when she stopped to turn right, I slowed down too much going uphill and the front wheel hit a hole and tipped me off 😦 Nothing broken, nothing hurt not even my dignity I was so tired and the only issue was to unload the bike, once again get it upright on a slope and get it the rest of the way 😳

From here I needed to get it through some narrow passages and finally park it outside the parents place. Of course, I now met a huge stack of people with no English but managed to unload the bike, they said unload everything as stuff would get nicked??? What happened to the secure bike parking I had requested? Anyway, I could not be bothered, I was starving, so once the introductions were over I headed down the town for a feed, Sunday’s are a free day for the family and they do not provide food. I found a basic pizza place and grabbed a few slices and a cold drink(non alcoholic, I know bad attitude but there you go) before heading back for a well earned shower 🙂

I fired up my laptop and found a free wireless signal and followed up on some stuff, when I moved the lap top to the kitchen to get some power, I found the signal got stronger, cool bananas 🙂 I ended up chatting online with Peter from Mildura for a while, before the people I was staying with went to bed around 9pm, very early, but I felt obliged to pack up and crash out as well.

So, an unusual start to my school week and as I will be here for 7 days, the blog will be sporadic (I know now, 3 days ahead, that when I get to the room I will be occupying for the week, just a few doors away, there is no internet, so it is an effort to post anything, but if I have to live with it, so can you 😉 )


Day – 344 miles and 554 km
Trip – 41,938 miles and 67,493 km

Salud
TravellingStrom

USACanadaMexico

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