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Plan B, let’s cycle to Hawaii!!

Posted by on December 13, 2017

Charles showed our kind hosts our planned route east to El Salvador, avoiding Guatemala City. Silence! I registered concern in their faces. Is the road too busy? ventured Charles and he mimed a broken surface, bouncing on an imaginary bike. Bandidos? I knew it! Gangs! (resorting to English in times of stress). Relief flooded their faces: did they feel it was disloyal to tell us directly? But once the gates opened out poured all their concerns: yes, and a busy road, but also a dangerous road, too many gangs, they wouldn’t drive on that road let alone cycle. Good to know! Plan B it is then!

So we cycled south between volcanoes, a HUGE downhill,1600m to sea level with a tailwind of 40 km per hour. It should have been incredible, it was incredible, but a strong gust almost took me off my bike. I forced myself to relax, smile, relax into the saddle, drop my shoulders, look at the amazing scenery, another gust and my smile became a grimace! But I did it and it was awesome. Once in the lowland, we met groups of Sunday cyclists, ate a fabulous lunch in a street cafe and cycled 120 km to Monterrico.

 

Monterrico is a black sand resort with a few backpackers and many middle-class Guatemalan families. It’s great: two nights became 3, and in this hotel, after three nights in the 4th is free…….. £100 including delicious meals and an evening G&T or beer! Rolling Pacific waves thump onto the beach, sculpting the sand into cusps and ridges. Pelicans take advantage of the rising air above the rolling waves; as soon as the wave begins to break they each in turn sweep up into the sky, a flock of up to  20 synchronized flyers. I fumble to capture it with my camera: too late again.
This afternoon we cycled to a tiny village called Hawaii, on a dead end road east of here and to our surprise a village Rodeo. Did I write that the Guatemalans dislike alcohol? Not true: every table was laden with beer bottles, drunk ranchers hiding beneath their huge Stetsons. Oscar introduced himself, truly a Guatemalan Brian Blessed: loud, drunk, delighted to meet us and to introduce us to his horses, his beautiful (second) wife, his shy teenage daughter, and his guns, in that order. I held the horses so he could show Charles how he could swing his lasso, clutching his patient wife in a tight embrace as the loop circled their bodies, a huge personality. I love it when alcohol brings out the very best in a person! Then he wobbled and laughed to his 4×4 and drove off, leaving his men to load his horses and beautiful saddles into truck. We left the party early to avoid sharing the road with drunk drivers. 

Sometimes Charles complains that I always bring my camera. Not tonight. On our sunset walk we meet a small group releasing baby turtles. Ahhhhhh so cute!!

Tomorrow we ride again, El Salvador on Friday.

This is Michael, Charles’ table tennis partner ( sorry Neil) and today, owner of a brand new bike from the village (£70) to ride south like ourselves.

4 Responses to Plan B, let’s cycle to Hawaii!!

  1. Ludwig

    Hey Suzann and Charles,

    I took the coastel road from Atitlan. Was not dangerous, just a lot of traffic till Escuintla. I am in el Salvador now and learn some surfing in El Zonte, so we might meet again 🙂
    By the way my name is Ludwig not Heinrich 🙂

  2. suzannehopwood500@gmail.com

    Apologies for the wrong name Ludwig! So sorry, very bad with names. We cycled from Antigua to Monterrico on the coast, then north to Taxisco, then across the border to Metalio. Today we climbed 1300m up to Ataco, a very beautiful quiet road, steep but ok. Maybe Santa Ana next or maybe the coast? I want to ride the coast where you are but we may stay in the mountains for Christmas?? Bye for now. I don’t think we will catch you up. Maybe see you in England one day.

  3. Ludwig

    I am in the South of Salvador now and try to take the boat to Nicaragua.
    The costal road is nice!
    I stayed in el Zonte, a quite Surfspot, I liked it!

  4. Ant Pryer

    Dear Suzanne and Charles.
    Lovely to catch up with you.
    HAPPY CHRISTMAS from us both.
    We are of to Southern India 12-2 until 15-3 so will read your blog from then.
    Think of you daily as I load the log basket daily with the perfect logs you both created last year.
    Take care and enjoy.
    Ant and Annie

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