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Old 03-24-2013, 04:17 AM   #901
oldtouring B
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Hi world travelers..

If you need someone in the states who is a gear-oholic to help with replacing the items stolen, I would be happy to help. Just send a PM. Bob
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Old 03-24-2013, 03:52 PM   #902
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Gene and Neda,
The PacSafe idea is a good one....they come in different sizes and work well off the bike to secure stuff in room....
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:42 AM   #903
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/82.html



Quetzeltenango is quite a mouthful, but the town is also known as Xela (Shay-La), its indigenous name. It's the second largest city in Guatemala, and it's where we're going to stay for the next week learning more Spanish. As in most Latin American towns, the main square, called Parque Central is where most of the people congregate, day and night, and after classes we take the opportunity to walk around and people-watch.


This church is called Iglesia del Espiritu Santu


Candles vendor outside the church


Intense lunch break at Parque Central


More leisurely lunch break, man's best friend in tow


Neda's Spanish teacher, Susanne. Hours of fun dialog everyday!


Our Spanish school has tables scattered all over the building, with teachers and students paired off one-on-one

Xela is quite a popular place for Spanish classes. Since it's a university town, there's an air of scholarliness everywhere, and it's not uncommon to see coffee shops and diners filled with students deep in study in a textbook. And the tuition fees are a fraction of what we paid in La Paz! We are amazed at the disparity in prices between the two countries. Mexico now seems like a such first-world country compared to Guatemala in terms of the modernity but also how expensive everything was!


Shopping in the market after classes, schoolbooks in hand


Street vendors having a yak and a laugh


Waiting for a bus


A couple of fellow students took us to their favorite Mennonite bakery. Yummy pastries here!

Spanish is still coming very slowly for me. The accent is a little different from Mexico (they say Guatemalans speak a purer form of Spanish, closer to Spain), and some words are bit different here. Plus I'm not a very scholarly person to begin with... I barely scraped by in school and had (still have) trouble sitting still for long periods of time and concentrating on a single task. Neda is the complete opposite and if she had her wish, she'd be a student for life.

What I really enjoyed about our Spanish school was that every evening, they had extra-curricular activities planned. One night we took some Salsa lessons, and another day, Mario, my Spanish teacher, took us sightseeing. We hiked to the top of a lava dome called El Baul, overlooking Xela to get a better view of the city.


The view was nice, but these slides at the top were way more fun! Neda may be a bright Spanish student, but she's a little slow at slides...


March beneath our school windows for International Women's Day

Another trivial comparison between Mexico and Guatemala are the size of the food portions. Both our homestay and restaurant meals were very modest-sized and made our Mexican meals seem Texas-Super-Sized. Because I lack self-control when it comes to eating, I'm very glad that the portions here are normal-size and I can feel myself losing the Taco-Gut I gained in Mexico.


Night-time brings out amazing colours in the old city


We passed by this vendor's stall every day on the way home from school


Buildings around Parque Central


Our school is located inside a beautiful colonial building called Pasaje Enriquez, right in the Parque Central. On the ground floor are several bars and restaurants

On another evening, our school organized a dinner for all the staff and students, and we spent the evening getting to know each other. This was such an amazing opportunity to hear stories very similar to our own. Travellers to Guatemala seem to share that very rare sense of adventure and we all nodded our heads to the familiar questions from back home: "Why on earth do you want to go to Guatemala/Central America/etc?" It was a question that none of us needed to answer, as we already knew.


Birds of a feather, flocking together over dinner


After dinner, we went out to enjoy Xela's very vibrant nightlife


Students and teachers mingle in a nightclub


Peruvian pan flute provides a soundtrack to our lively evening
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:30 AM   #904
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I see you're in Xela. very cool.
I'm sure you'll visit Lake Atitlan (san pedro and panajachel), market day at Chicicastenango & Antiqua.

You mentioned there are no great CA GPS maps.
I've found this package top notch & it's routable.
http://www.bicimapas.com.mx/LatAm_Eng.htm
many times better than the free one.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:13 AM   #905
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We took the same gravel road. It was lots of fun! The slide was impressive.

Great updates. The picture of at night with Neda standing by the door is front page worthy if it had a bike =(
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Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:43 PM   #906
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Originally Posted by Mototabby View Post
Oh, I don't know about that. Several years ago I worked with an IT guy from Victoria, BC. He ended every sentence with "eh". I also learned about brownies, travelers, and getting pissed.
Ah yes, it is an epidemic in Ontario. That and ending each sentence with the intonation of a question, as if you are unsure of every statement you make. It started with 12 yr old girls and has spread like wildfire. The Cdn version of a valley girl. Please make it stop
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:36 PM   #907
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It started with 12 yr old girls and has spread like wildfire. The Cdn version of a valley girl. Please make it stop

*sigh* When I listen to WOMAN in their 30's doing it I want to slap myself. You aren't a tween anymore. Grow the F* up.

Sorry =)
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Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
Dirt Donkeys Do Baja: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=671095

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Old 03-26-2013, 10:16 AM   #908
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Originally Posted by Mototabby View Post
Oh, I don't know about that. Several years ago I worked with an IT guy from Victoria, BC. He ended every sentence with "eh". I also learned about brownies, travelers, and getting pissed.
Now that's Canadian.
Enjoyable ride report guys. I have been following along since you got started. Bummer about about the theft, but in the grand scheme of things merely a bump in the road on a monumental trip. Stay safe and enjoy the ride.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:11 AM   #909
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During the middle of the week our Spanish teachers, Susanne and Mario, take us out on a field trip to a local town just outside of Xela called San Andres Xecul to practice our Espanol.


Waiting for our "bus" to fill up before heading out


And we're off! Transportation Guatemala-stylez!


View of San Andres Xecul from the top of the hill

San Andres Xecul is a quaint little town set against the mountainside of the Guatemalan highlands. It's famous for its brightly coloured yellow church. After the Spanish invaded Central America, there was much suspicion of the Catholic church, so as a peace offering, this church was painted in indigenous colours to entice them to attend.


Thursday is market day, so the town square was filled with women either selling or buying stuff. And children supervising the process...


Candles sold outside the church


Spanish hymns were softly sung at the front of the church, the devotion is palpable in the air.


Most of the women wore the colourful, traditional clothing of the indigenous Maya

My teacher, Mario, is very knowledgeable about the history of the Maya. He told us that to this day, the indigenous population is largely discriminated against by the rest of Guatemala and treated very poorly. The main differentiator between the Mayans and the rest of the society is their native clothing, and some modern Maya (mainly the men) have given up traditional garb in order escape discrimination and to secure jobs. The women face less pressure as they either work in the markets or look after the children, and are more able to display the clothing of their past with pride.


Rearranging the "storefront"


Personal grooming is very important in sales


Accompanying mom to the market


Brightly coloured church overlooks all market transactions


Trying to get a good deal...


So much character in the people and the streets of San Andres Xecul


San Simon - not your average Saint...

Mario took us to a private residence, and we walked through someone's living room, through their backyard into a shed where a shrine was set up to the Mayan god, San Simon. Worshiped by the ancient Mayans as a symbol of male sexual power, today he is depicted as a man dressed in 20th century clothing, smoking a cigarette with bottles of booze around his waist, sometimes carrying a rifle. I am not joking.

San Simon has been denounced by the Catholic church and he has been identified with Judas Iscariot. All this makes the "outlaw saint" even more popular with the indigenous population. Many shrines are set up in private houses hidden away from the authorities, and different coloured candles are sold to visitors so that they can be burned at his feet to bring success, wealth and power.


Our teacher Mario looks on, while Neda asks San Simon for his blessings in our travels

Different coloured candles signify different meanings. Blue is supposed to bring good luck for travel, white is for spiritual well-being, yellow is for personal protection and red is for luck in love. There are also black candles, and those are meant to wish ill will or harm to others! San Simon is not really a saint, but an amoral Mayan god that is supposed to grant all wishes, good or bad.

It's easy to see the allure of such a deity amongst the downtrodden indigenous population.


The "patron saint of drunkards and gamblers" looks on in satisfaction while our candles burn at his feet.


The ground is covered in melted wax from all the other visitors who have come here with candles in hand and prayers in their hearts.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:32 AM   #910
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Keep on living the dream man. This is inspiring.
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:12 AM   #911
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A guy i met last year during a rallye, who is a great R1200GSA rider, decided to drop everything except his wife :)
They sold the house,and purchased a world tour truck....
1000l tank, for approx 5000km autonomy... offroad + 500l potbable water...

They will be gone on the road this summer !!!!arghhh such a wonderfull dream :) :) :)


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Old 03-27-2013, 10:33 AM   #912
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You two continue to amaze. Many writers get lazy and stop altogether. Others just sort of phone it in. You, on the other hand keep delivering great writing and great photos. Thanks uno mas for sharing your experiences.
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:12 PM   #913
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Originally Posted by pastou View Post
A guy i met last year during a rallye, who is a great R1200GSA rider, decided to drop everything except his wife :)
They sold the house,and purchased a world tour truck....
1000l tank, for approx 5000km autonomy... offroad + 500l potbable water...

They will be gone on the road this summer !!!!arghhh such a wonderfull dream :) :) :)



Do they have a website?
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:24 PM   #914
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check out this sweet lake not far from Xela
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...&postcount=196
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Old 03-27-2013, 06:01 PM   #915
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You two continue to amaze. Many writers get lazy and stop altogether. Others just sort of phone it in. You, on the other hand keep delivering great writing and great photos. Thanks uno mas for sharing your experiences.
Totally agree +1
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