This trip is more like a holiday with bikes. Look at the map, we have hardly come any distance!! We checked out the road west into the mountains. As far as the next village there is a cycle lane (!) but within 2km twelve heavy lorries rumbled by. After the village the road narrows, not even a shoulder. Coming here we were overtaken by cattle trucks and the odd tanker so now we know where the big lorries are heading, our way, west, where apparently there is massive new road development. I really don’t want to die in these roads so its plan B (I always have a plan B) we’re catching a bus….
What a surreal experience! We ate next door to our hotel on the main road. By day it is an open fronted clothes shop, probably 20 square metres, but at night it is completely cleared, to be a BBQ cafe with long lines of covered trestle tables, huge pans of stewed black beans, tomato sauce, pasta in mayonnaise, and fried rice. My burrito was filled with a bit of everything, loaded with carbs!! Charles had the same but with a slab of beef. A plastic pot on the table contains pickled veg and green chillies, fiery but yummy! Every few minutes another 20’ lorry rumbles by, stumbling to a stop if another huge truck is in the opposite lane. The road itself is max 20’ wide and without pavements. On the other side of the road is an open fronted American evangelical church, overflowing with flowers, banners and the loudest speaker system in town. The congregation are all Guatemalan, and very enthusiastic; rocking, waving, clapping, singing and cheering. Their welcome is heartwarming but the dirty air and noise are too much for us.
I chose this hotel in town because it’s clean with AC and easy to find after a 100+ km day. We could be in a hostel on the lake with other travellers but this is more real, and fun. At lunchtime we found a restaurant with a pool (no surprise for us!) and a rare beast, a Guatemalan middle-class family! My Spanish is dreadful but so was their English so we muddled along, almost always the first question, after my name, is my age. We laughed as I tried to teach two young mums how to front crawl, and you know they got it, arms with elbows rather than action man arms, straight and rotating. My googles were a revelation! I know what Santa will bring their children this year.
We took a ‘collectivo’ boat to Livingston today on the Caribbean coast. It was a beautiful ride ending in a narrow gorge. The town feels Caribbean, populated with a mix of Mayan and Garifuna peoples and is ever so quiet because there is no road access. Yachts moor up here because it offers safest protection from hurricanes.