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Old 11-27-2012, 09:05 PM   #676
ratbikemike
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Tikal

John, I've been following along and am now in Antigua Guatemala studying spanish, day trips, going to the gym... After reading all your reporting on so many ruins I suggest that it would be a shame if you missed Tikal. It comes highly rated by locals and I, of little knowledge, was impressed. Sure would like to know how you would see the place. You need to know all this area is wonderfully cheap. Thanks for your help in being a bit more knowledgeable. ratbikemike
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:24 AM   #677
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Originally Posted by newhoco View Post
Aw , Shit !
I'm caught up !
Now what'm I going to do ?
Alex
Hi Alex,

Glad to have you along. Don't worry, I am a ride reporting pitbull and will keep you entertained on a regular basis for another few months until my money runs out. The fun part is I don't know where this ride report is going any better than you do.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:37 AM   #678
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Originally Posted by zilla View Post
Great pictures John! Makes me wish I were down there instead of working on a snowblower.
Hi zilla,

I know what you mean. I'm no different in between rides. Reading these reports brings back the memories. I even like reading my own ride reports to remember where I've been and all the great people I've met down the road.

Just think of working on the snowblower as prep for working on your bike in Colombia when the waterpump goes out in the mountains. You are actually honing your ADVrider skills.

Best,
John Downs
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:53 AM   #679
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratbikemike View Post
John, I've been following along and am now in Antigua Guatemala studying spanish, day trips, going to the gym... After reading all your reporting on so many ruins I suggest that it would be a shame if you missed Tikal. It comes highly rated by locals and I, of little knowledge, was impressed. Sure would like to know how you would see the place. You need to know all this area is wonderfully cheap. Thanks for your help in being a bit more knowledgeable. ratbikemike
Hi ratbikemike,

Glad you are still following along. And yes, I will make it over to Tikal if the ratbike gods are in my favor. I really enjoyed Chichen Itza and the other Mayan sites I have visited. I can't afford to go to them all, but the main ones are definitely fun to visit and imagine what they might have looked like 1000 years ago.

I might even catch up to you some day. I need a ratbikemike signature on my gas tank for good luck.

I'm taking a day off riding tomorrow I think so I better go over to HU and catch up on your excellent ride report and see what you've been up to.

Hope to see you down the road.

Saludos,
Juanito
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:23 AM   #680
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I moved from my room at the Posada Hotel in Bacalar 30 feet over to the courtyard garden. Alain, the owner, said pay what you think it's worth. So I gave him 100 pesos for the two cups of coffee he made me and this space for tonight. Worth it to me to have another hot shower, free wifi to study Spanish and read up on things. Plus it's a mellow place to stay. I could spend some time here if I wasn't determined to make it to South America before my money runs out. It is always worth asking about tent camping at these backpacker places. You can save some pesos.

Alain gave me a pair of jams with flames down the sides to go swimming in. Nice. They are hanging on the tent in the garden:



A little trick I learned to keep the honest people out of your tent while you're away swimming is to padlock the zippers together:



It is also good at keeping Alain's little toddler out of her new playhouse in the garden:



I also put my more valuable stuff in my locking topbox inside the tent. Like GPS, computer, water purifier, ID etc.

It's worked so far. I wouldn't do this in a less safe spot. I would load the bike up and ride to the beach and keep an eye on it. But for a relatively safe place like here it is fine.

Yesterday I spent 395 pesos or $31.60 on gas food and lodging.

More later…..

Saludos,
Juan
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:48 PM   #681
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John:


I think it's better to be behind. Now that I've caught up reading, I have to wait in line . . .

enjoy your day. Can't wait to see the Jams with Flames with you in it . . .


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Old 11-28-2012, 02:53 PM   #682
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Can't wait to see the Jams with Flames with you in it . . .


bob

Ah bob, even Alain's toddler is covering her eyes.

Stay well Juanito, looking forward with anticipation.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:04 PM   #683
RayAlazzurra
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Location: St. Louis, Mo, USA
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Mexican Plumbing?

Hi John and fellow lurkers:

I am wondering how the showers work at Alain's and the other hotels where you have been staying? I woke up this morning and tried to take a shower at the US chain hotel where I am staying and as usual the EPA restricted stream barely got me damp. The toilet did not flush very effectively either, but that may be a personal problem related to too much pizza last night.

So anyway--back on topic. How is the quality of life in Mexoco these days overall? Is Mexico a better place to live than the USA, while the USA is a better place to earn some pesos? I remember a couple of times in this ride report where you have met men who worked in the USA for a while, only to return home. Many other men that I have met on job sites in Texas live in the USA and send money home to family in Mexico. Perhaps this is a great strategy that a few of our fellow ADV inmates are already using--earn money in the USA/live in Mexico.

I think John has a lower cost of living than many of us since he has arranged his life rather frugally in Basset, NE. Anyway... this is just a small thread hijack to allow general thoughts by John about life in Mexico vs. life at home.
I could see myslef living in Mexico some day, especially if the showers work. Mexico is home? If so... what part of Mexico? I am really torn between beach bum and lobsters vs. mountain twisty roads.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:13 PM   #684
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bESS View Post
John:


I think it's better to be behind. Now that I've caught up reading, I have to wait in line . . .

enjoy your day. Can't wait to see the Jams with Flames with you in it . . .


bob
Hi Bob,

Pete's right. Like lipstick on a pig, jams with flames on a Nebraska contractor who has been in full gear for 6 weeks and 7,000 miles with a tan to match is not a pretty sight. I didn't take my camera to the beach since the pawn shop in San Antonio was out of 20 dollar waterproof digital cameras. You will be tortured by your own mental images I'm afraid.

Suerte,
Juan
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:26 PM   #685
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayAlazzurra View Post
Hi John and fellow lurkers:

I am wondering how the showers work at Alain's and the other hotels where you have been staying? I woke up this morning and tried to take a shower at the US chain hotel where I am staying and as usual the EPA restricted stream barely got me damp. The toilet did not flush very effectively either, but that may be a personal problem related to too much pizza last night.

So anyway--back on topic. How is the quality of life in Mexoco these days overall? Is Mexico a better place to live than the USA, while the USA is a better place to earn some pesos? I remember a couple of times in this ride report where you have met men who worked in the USA for a while, only to return home. Many other men that I have met on job sites in Texas live in the USA and send money home to family in Mexico. Perhaps this is a great strategy that a few of our fellow ADV inmates are already using--earn money in the USA/live in Mexico.

I think John has a lower cost of living than many of us since he has arranged his life rather frugally in Basset, NE. Anyway... this is just a small thread hijack to allow general thoughts by John about life in Mexico vs. life at home.
I could see myslef living in Mexico some day, especially if the showers work. Mexico is home? If so... what part of Mexico? I am really torn between beach bum and lobsters vs. mountain twisty roads.
Hi RA,

The toilets at Alains are old school 5 gallon and flush like when I was a kid. He has hot water heaters and the showers work fine as well.

Mexico is improving each time I come down here. Even since two years ago there are more decent places to stay. The thing is the prices have risen to match. What used to be a 150 peso place is 250 now. That may not sound like much but Guatemala is way cheaper than Mexico.

You have to travel to an area and see for yourself. I personally enjoy traveling and I like working and being useful at home as well, so a semi-nomadic lifestyle suits me fine. The hobo lifestyle gets old for me after a while and I like going back to doing creative construction to earn enough for the next trip.

This just isn't possible for most folks with a job and family responsibilities. The only way I have found is to keep a low overhead cheap paid for home in Nebraska with dirt cheap property taxes and shut it down when I leave.

Living in a foreign country sounds good on paper but it gets old for most people after 6 months or so. I suggest people go rent a place in the foreign country that interests them and see for themselves before making any big expensive lifestyle changes.

Saludos,
Juanito
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Old 11-28-2012, 05:44 PM   #686
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Took it easy today relaxing in Bacalar. Took a stroll down to the beach again this afternoon as a storm was moving in. Here's the old stone Spanish fort down by the waterfront with cannons long silent:



It's nicely restored and built for strength. It could have taken some hits from pirate ship cannons no problema. The moat around it is about 15 feet deep. Never held water just a defensive obstacle. This would have been the view the pirates had heading up the hill from the beach with cutlases in their teeth:



and hopefully some pretty dang tall ladders. Here's the view out to where the pirate ships would have been anchored:



Walking back towards town I saw this guys work everywhere. Very distinctive thin stones pressed into mortar joints. He was a busy guy. There was a lot of his work around town and others that tried to copy him but lacked his style. At first I didn't like it but it's growing on me after two days:



This guy is another story. He tried to hide his really awful work with carefully done fake mortar joints. This would have taken him longer than doing a good job in the first place:



One owner liked his fake mortar joints so well he painted them school bus yellow for a spiderman effect:



like swimming trunks with flames on a Nebraska contractor or 400 pound people in short shorts at Walmart, some things you see in life are less aesthetically pleasing than others.

I went down to the market around the corner and bought some fruit:



to tide me over until the hamburger guy opened up his cart down the street. He opens at 7PM and does a brisk business. Last night I had a 2 hamburguesas con papas fritas y una coca (2 hamburgers with fries and a coke) for 57 pesos. First hamburger I've had since I stayed with Throttlemeister in Oklahoma way back when. I am heading down there again right now.

I will have spent 207 pesos or $16.56 today on food and lodging.

Buenos noches amigos,
Juanito
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JDowns screwed with this post 11-28-2012 at 05:55 PM
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:27 PM   #687
Gentri in GA
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Jdowns: "Living in a foreign country sounds good on paper but it gets old for most people after 6 months or so. I suggest people go rent a place in the foreign country that interests them and see for themselves before making any big expensive lifestyle changes." THIS. I've lived in a few 1st world countries, and enjoyed it, but if you don't speak the language and make friends fast, you get lonely... IMHO. A rental in a foreign country for 3 or 4 months, then running back home would be ideal. My goal is to have a few rentals in the States, run away for 3 or 4 months, then bounce back... take care of business. I find the US of A to be about as cheap for the quality as you can get... people just want and expect too much, and often, you can't find that for cheap in other countries.... Mexico included. Quality and safety cost... I live in a house that cost me 48k, 4 years ago in a somewhat ghetto neighborhood, close to Atlanta... they stole my 1997 DR650 in April... part of the cost you pay... this place has saved me over 38,000 dollars in rent/mortgage over 4 years versus my intown house that I now rent out... the moto was valued at 2k and got me to the Copper Canyon and back last December... In a few years I plan on renting a place ON the beach in Central America, probably Honduras or Guatemala, for a few months and just laying low, and riding out when I feel like it.... JDowns, thanks for your RR, they are hard to do and keep up with. My RR to Copper Canyon was decent I thought, but it was really, really tough keeping up with it.... http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=745618 you are doing a great job and keeping us entertained to boot! Thanks! Ride Safe and keep on Writing! Gentri in GA PS I traveled in Mex. Central and S. America for over a year solo, backpacking... curious to know how good your Spanish is and where you learned it... I've read a lot of your RR, but may have missed that. G
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:28 PM   #688
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being further south I cannot wait for you to catch up! great ride report!
Mike
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:16 AM   #689
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Originally Posted by Gentri in GA View Post
Jdowns: "Living in a foreign country sounds good on paper but it gets old for most people after 6 months or so. I suggest people go rent a place in the foreign country that interests them and see for themselves before making any big expensive lifestyle changes." THIS. I've lived in a few 1st world countries, and enjoyed it, but if you don't speak the language and make friends fast, you get lonely... IMHO. A rental in a foreign country for 3 or 4 months, then running back home would be ideal. My goal is to have a few rentals in the States, run away for 3 or 4 months, then bounce back... take care of business. I find the US of A to be about as cheap for the quality as you can get... people just want and expect too much, and often, you can't find that for cheap in other countries.... Mexico included. Quality and safety cost... I live in a house that cost me 48k, 4 years ago in a somewhat ghetto neighborhood, close to Atlanta... they stole my 1997 DR650 in April... part of the cost you pay... this place has saved me over 38,000 dollars in rent/mortgage over 4 years versus my intown house that I now rent out... the moto was valued at 2k and got me to the Copper Canyon and back last December... In a few years I plan on renting a place ON the beach in Central America, probably Honduras or Guatemala, for a few months and just laying low, and riding out when I feel like it.... JDowns, thanks for your RR, they are hard to do and keep up with. My RR to Copper Canyon was decent I thought, but it was really, really tough keeping up with it.... http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=745618 you are doing a great job and keeping us entertained to boot! Thanks! Ride Safe and keep on Writing! Gentri in GA PS I traveled in Mex. Central and S. America for over a year solo, backpacking... curious to know how good your Spanish is and where you learned it... I've read a lot of your RR, but may have missed that. G
Hi Gentri in GA,

I think you have the right idea. Monthly rentals are cheap on tropical beaches in Nicaragua and Honduras. Most people forget that maintenance on a tropical getaway is quite high. Let someone else do it. When I lived in Hawaii and did landscaping new semi-retired people were always surprised to learn that the bouganvillea hedges grow a foot or two a month. Some would come back the next year to their vacation homes and the landscaping would be growing over the roof.

The cost of living in rural Nebraska is lower than anywhere I have seen down here. And you don't have to lock your doors in Bassett. There's something to be said for a safe home base surrounded by friendly people who speak the same language and get your bad jokes.

But in the winter if you want to lean into corners all day, check out ruins of ancient civilazations, hang out on beautiful sandy beaches in 80 degree weather, and catch some waves in warm aqua waters, Nebraska is not the place to be.

So I like your idea of spending most of your time in Georgia and heading south for the winter to a sunny beach in Centro America.

Thats what a lot of retired people do down here. After Thanksgiving with their kids and grandkids at their home in the U.S., head south and hang out until Easter somewhere in the tropics.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:21 AM   #690
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being further south I cannot wait for you to catch up! great ride report!
Mike
Hi miguelitro,

I look forward to visiting the beaches in Equador. It's only about 1500 miles as the crow flies. Which means probably 5000 miles the way I seem to wander around. I should be able to make it to Equador this trip if the bike keeps running and I don't run out of money. We'll see.

Saludos,
Juanito
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