Wednesday, January 12, 2011
1/12/11 Xela - Antigua, Guatemala - 100 miles, 3 hours.
Spent the last 6 days eating at my favorite places, enjoying my private space at my former homestay (actually, I'm the only one there, tourism has taken a dump in Guatemala this year due to some natural disasters and the state of the world) and relaxing in a familiar place. Got some much needed maintenance done on the bike by Edgar, who owns a motorcycle repair shop in town and who I know from my previous trips down here. New chain (cheap, but should get me to Nicaragua and a rear sprocket and a complete fluid/safety check for about 100 bucks. The guys even washed the bike up real nice, forgot how sweet it could look with a bath. Met up with some old friends including Juan, the former owner of my Spanish school who is an amateur chef. Went over to his folks and had 3 different kinds of pepian (a traditional sauce over chicken, beef or pork) and saw his new little boy Jorge. Tried to meet up with an old flame but couldn't get the logistics right and I made a conscious choice to forget about it, even when I am in the neighborhood. Also manage to see Gabriela, a sweet girl who was the secretary at my old Spanish school. After some good R and R for the past several days I saddle up and head out for a short ride to Antigua, Guatemala. The new highway is really nice, 4 lanes of fresh tarmac sweeping up, through, over and around the mountains of highland Guatemala. Familiar scenes and vistas and even with multiple landslides blocking major parts of the highway, I ride into the picturesque tourist destination that is Antigua, Guatemala in about 3 hours, instead of the previous 4 and a half it used to take. Have to mention that I missed a great and heartbreaking photo-op. A family trudging up the side of a mountain with firewood strapped to their backs, including a little boy about 3 years old with a little bundle of his own, head down hat pulled over his little brow as though he was about 50 years older in spirit. I think I actually said "Awwwwwww" inside my helmet as I rode by.
Go to Hostal 5, where I previously stayed and made many friends including the owners, Blanca and Enrique. They are not there at the moment but I know I will see them in the morning. Spend the evening doing what else..eating, at some favorite spots. Tuna on a baguette and tasty fries and salad at Kafka and delicious banana and Nutella crepes with black coffee at Luna de Miel. Meet a Mexican/American girl named Monica and her Norwegian friend (Ingrid I think) and Emi, from Istanbul and let her use my computer. We all agree to meet the next night for drinks.
In the morning, catch up with Blanca and Enrique and catch up on news of friends now scattered around the world. Spend the rest of the day chilling even more, bookstores, more good food and even manage to make it to the gym. Meet up in the evening with the folks I met last night and we end up calling it a pretty early night, cause they have class in the morning and I am planning on crossing into Honduras in the morning. Looking forwards to getting to Nicaragua more every day.
Wake up later than I want though, and decide to chill just one more day. So far Ive been catching up on phone calls emails, travelling related research and this here blog over another crepe and black coffee. Life could be worse, as I'm mentally preparing what is famously a corrupt and shitty border crossing into Honduras and looking forwards to being in another country at the same time. Not too many pictures this time, since I have taken so many of both Xela and Antigua in my previous travels and posted them on my other blog and Facebook already.