Voyage to South America travel blog

September 11, 2010

Today I drove from Playa Grande to Coban. I left Playa Grande at 6:30 and arrived in Coban around 11:30. The road was very very rough. 1st and 2nd gear – at most. The weather was sunny and HOT and you guessed it – humid!

In Coban, I am staying at the same place Cara and I stayed went we were here last.

Last night, in Playa Grande I got the worst case of bed bugs I have ever had. My back, sides, upper arms and hips are littered with welts as are the backs of my legs. Any part of me that touched the bed. They are very itchy. Tomorrow I will have to get some medication to help control the itch.

I got my clothes washed this afternoon. Tomorrow I will get Electra washed. The valve cover that I repaired is clearly leaking again. I can see the stain through the mud. I will repair it when I get back to Antigua. While in Coban I will try to buy prescription glasses and a small duffle bag. I will also look for sunglasses as well as a battery charger for my small point and shoot camera. It’s now 8:30 and I can barley keep my eyes open. The ride here was hot but it’s nice in Coban (1400m). It rained a little this afternoon. I am worried about Electra. The last few days she has taken a beating. She is just too big and too heavy for the type of terrain we were in.

Coban is a nice town.

September 12, 2010

I washed and worked on the bike all morning and into the early afternoon. Almost every bolt was loose. The nut that holds the tank to the frame was missing. Cleaned the air filter too. I hammered the frame back into shape so now the saddle bags hang some what straight. One of the engine guards is cracked where it bolts to the frame and will need to be welded at some point. It`s simply to costly to replace plus it would have to be ordered in and I`m not waiting around for that.

My helmet smells like my socks. Even my clothes have come full circle. I am going to stay in Coban one more day. I didn`t realize it was Sunday and everything is closed. Plus, I like this Little town.

Coban was founded in 1543 and has a population of about 90,000. There are nice resturants, no or very Little tourists. It´s simply a great place to walk around. It´s about 220km´s north of Guatemala city – about five or six hours.

The city was developed by German coffee growers towards the end of the 19th century and was operated as a largely independent dominion until WWII. In 1888 a German club was founded and in 1935 a German school opened its doors in Coban. Until 1930, about 2000 Germans populated the city. In 1941, all Germans were expelled by the Guatemalan government, lead at the time by Jorge Ubico. Some say the reason was pressure from the United States. It has been suggested Ubico's motivation was to seize control of the vast amounts of land Germans owned in the area. [1]. Many ended up in internment camps in Texas and were later traded for American POW's held in Germany. A sizable resident German population persists though most having been completely assimilated into the Guatemalan culture through intermarriage. Lots of the houses around here look like they were imported from Germany as does the country side.

The guy who owns the hotel is German but was born here and speaks very little English. He looks German.

In the news:

The search for the landslide victims has been called off officially along the Pan-American Highway where several cars and 2 busses were swept off the road by a mud slide earlier last week. 15 people out of 60 are still missing after deadly landslides in Guatemala.

The reason for calling off the search and rescue operation was because of the increased chances of fresh avalanches of mud after the heaviest rains in 60 years.

Rescuers had just restarted their task of excavating for bodies in a ravine next to the Pan-American Highway when officials decided the wet ground was posing threat to the lives of the workers.

"The search has been called off because of the condition of the ground," said David de Leon, a spokesman for the government's emergency management office CONRED.

Many rescuers were buried alive in mud on Saturday as they tried to find sufferers of an earlier landslide that swept a bus and five other vehicles off the highway.

The total death toll from the torrential rains stands at 45 but with at least 15 still feared to be trapped in mud off the Guatemalan highway that figure is likely to rise.

The rains triggered almost 200 landslides and collapses, causing at least $500 million in damages, according to the Guatemalan government, which ordered three days of national mourning and declared a state of emergency.

September 13, 2010

I had a dream a few nights back.

In the dream I am back in Canada.

Liza and Lucy were with me. I have a rig. They were already sleeping from the medication I gave them earlier. Which one first? Liza, she was the first born. I had very ornate boxes built for them. It was a heavy scene. I know she didn’t feel anything. Next was Lucy. I just stared at her for along time. Petting her. Then it was over.

I placed them in both of their boxes and drove to the shushwap and buried the boxes and marked the spot on my GPS.

I really don’t want to be apart of anything back home anymore.

I got some shitty news from home today; actually, I got the shitty news a few weeks back and today just discovered the extent of it and it is much much worse than I was initially lead to believe. On top of that my parents just sent me the most depressing fucking letter. In it…they commented on MY depression. MY DEPRESSION! And how I AM feeling. What the hell!! I am doing what I have meant to do for a very long time.

Yeah it is difficult, but I love every minute of it. The rain, the heat, the humidity, Electra, working on her, getting lost, the shitty rooms, the bugs, loosing my glasses & Tevas…it’s…I dunno…it is what it is. What am I to do?

Sure, I get lonely. But I have my books and my note pad.

Maybe I come off wrong in the way I write. I am just trying to give an image of the difficulties I am faced with in certain situations. I don’t THINK I ever used the word ‘depression’ or the words, ‘need to come home’.

When people tell me to come home I laugh. Give this up? I am in Central America on a BMW R1150GS Adventure that has been prepped, everyway way possible, for a RTW road trip!! I have the experience and am doing it! I have been on 80% of the navigable roads, on maps, in Guatemala. Get it! If I didn’t like it why would I be here?

If someone back home misses me they can come and visit ME. I know what’s like back there – do they know what it’s like to be here? I can be anywhere in C.A. within several days drive, just send me an email and tell me where to meet you. I can give some suggestions.

Obviously, my feelings about being on the road will dissipate but for the time being; I am being me. I am not in a hospital listening to some doctor tell me this and that or having to go to Kelowna.

The only people that get IT are maybe Jeff and every traveler I meet. There are very few travelers that I tell my story and see Electra - and those do are the ones that REALLY REALLY get it.

Want nothing from anyone anymore.

I think what people don’t understand is that life is to short to be fucking around. No one will understand that until they have been given the ticket and, perhaps, by then, it maybe too late. Maybe they don’t realize it until old age and then want to have done the things they wanted to do when they were younger. It’s not their fault. Not to say I have been given a ticket of any sort but on September 2, 2008 I got punched so hard that it knocked me out. It wasn’t until several months later I woke up.

I do what I want, within my means, today. Fuck tomorrow. But also do my best to survive till tomorrow. There is a line. I don’t become a heroin junkie because ‘fuck tomorrow’ but do I live like there is no tomorrow, within reason. I am trying to do this and others that don’t understand it – get me down.

Everyday I try to attempt something new whether it’s another road, city, village, language, food, religion, ruin, nature, culture…whatever.

Hell, this post may not ever make the journal. It may stay on my laptop and tomorrow, on my way back to Antigua, I may become road paste. I wonder, if my head was split open, if anyone would recognize, “They, there is something wrong with that guys brain. Look at that, there’s brown section, it’s not grey!” Ha ha ha. Seriously, does this mean I shouldn’t go to Antigua? Cross that bridge? Fuck no. Everyone walks on a red once and a while. Even though your government will tell you it’s against the law and fine you for doing so, even if it was clearly safe to do so. Removing personable responsibility – gotta love that shit. This is one of the reasons why it’s so good to be where I am.

Speaking of bridges, I crossed a few sketchy ones on my way from San Mateo to Playa Grande. None as bad, however, as some of the ones Susan and I crossed in Cambodia on the little XR200. That was cool!! Every time I see red clay it reminds me of that motorbike trip.

What I write of is me and travel. Clearly - it’s not for others. For others, it maybe having kids and living in a beautiful house with a great wife. That’s really really cool. But I can only write about me and what I believe in to be the best – for me.

That felt really good to get off my chest. It’s been awhile since I spoke about my feelings. Maybe it’s because today was a do-nothing-day and got time to spend in my head rather that the world around me.

I had lunch at a really nice café that Cara and I ate at when she was here. I had a burger. It was OK.

It’s now 4:00 and hasn’t rained yet.

Today, I bought a small duffle bag (Reebok!?) for Q40, a new pair of sandals for Q20 which didn’t work so I left them on the street for someone else (loosing the Teva was as bad as loosing the charger for my small camera) even though no one here would fit a size 44, some rope for Q5 to tie the duffel bag to the back of the bike and I photocopied a map. Oh yeah, I packed. I want to leave early as possible tomorrow to beat the rain. I have to drive a section of the Pan-American and I know I am going to hit some durumbes.

I have been looking for a pair of glasses but my prescription is so light that I am going to have them custom built. Shitter. In the market they sell prescription glasses but once again, my prescription is so light, no one has them.

There is a great market in Coban. I don’t think they have seen to many tourists.

Wow! I just did a re-read and that is some pretty heavy shit.

Suck it.

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