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Old 03-03-2013, 01:30 PM   #121
dean10 OP
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Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Netherlands
Oddometer: 258
Austin to Mathis, Tuesday, 23 October 2012, Day 112

The Alamo San Antonio Texas[/caption]

Straight back into the routine out of bed sort the kit out pack the bike plug Subway into the GPS for breakfast and hit the road. Dull and overcast today threatening to rain but does not still quite warm. Heading into Texas Hill Country and a route called the devil backbone, which starts, in place called Blanco. No problem finding it after checking in at the local tourist info place for directions. Oh yes sir a must see ride keep your eye open for a wonderful vistas on the way back. A couple of hours later I am back in Blanco and I think I must have missed something as to be honest I have not been impressed with the scenery pleasant enough but nothing to write home about! Oh well maybe I need to recalibrate my expectation button or it may be nicer when the sun shines or it is what it is.

Fortunately my next destination made up for this disappointment next stop the Alamo and San Antonio. Great place enjoyed the Alamo as well as wandering along the canals or rivers maybe I should hole up here for the night as this town has a great vibe to it.

The Alamo[/caption]

San Antonio liked this place![/caption]

 

Obvious conclusion one would think but for some reason this fella has itchy feet so after failing to find a B&B I had gotten the name of I decided I could easily find a cheap motel on the road South out of here. Well that the theory now here is the reality its 9.30 pitch dark and I am in the middle of no where trying to find somewhere to stay. I am an asshole sometimes here I was breaking Philly rule number 1 do not ride at night and in the dark all because I am a stubborn bastards or a born optimist depending how you look at this.

So after leaving San Antonio started looking for motels but on the little back road I was on not many and when I did find one no vacancies which was weird as was not a weekend. Turned out lots of oil fields out here and workers all staying in the local motels. Found 2 that had place but to expensive for my budget so kept on rolling later regretting my choice as the further I went the more no vacancy signs I was seeing and the towns where getting further apart. Change my destination to Corpus Christie on larger road in the hope of getting more options there nope. Should have swallowed my pride and headed back to one of the places I had past up on or back to San Antonio but nope onward and forward is my motto (dickhead) So absolutely cream crackered and go and ask at a motel in Mathis and they are asking 106USD plus tax a night bugger that only another 40 miles to Corpus Christie bound to something there if all out fails pass another motel that has no vacancy then another one looks like it has a room nearly 10 at night so decide this is going to be home for the night turns out cheaper than the 106 the last place was asking but* more than the others I turned down. Oh well C’est la vie.

The Alamo[/caption]
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:31 PM   #122
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Mathis to Brownsville, Wednesday, 24 October 2012, Day 113

Fishing boat of Corpus Christie gulf coast[/caption]

Happy birthday Gillian Dear it is my sisters 50th birthday today. Hip hip hooray and all that. Hope you liked your Michelin man please sends us a picture, as I have not seen it yet only heard about it. She will be thrilled I have shared her age out on the Internet thingy but her birthday is making me feel old to. Had a bit of a lie in after last nights tearing around in the darkness and todays plan was to hit Brownsville on the Border via Corpus Christie as I heard it was nice. Did a short run along the gulf then headed inland as there are no roads all along the coast. Inland flat and pretty uninspiring, it’s hot so just spent today plugging away at the miles heading south. Decided to treat myself to a Motel 6 tonight, as it was my last night in the US. This was next to a shopping mall so of to the food court for my dinner had a nice Chinese and back to swot up on the border crossing procedure and get my paperwork in order. Mexico in the morning I am finally moving into the Latin America part of my trip. Looking forward to this but also shit scared of Mexico after all the horror stories I have been hearing from all over the place and different folks. I have not heard one positive remark about Mexico yet so I am I right to be concerned well I do hope every one had got it all wrong and I am doing the right thing heading through Mexico.

Corpus Christie[/caption]



Pretty Dull straight flat boring roads![/caption]
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:33 PM   #123
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Brownsville to Ciudad Victoria, Thursday, 25 October 2012, Day 114

Petrol availability problems in Mexico[/caption]

Well made it I am now in Mexico :-) Country number 3 come forward and take a bow. Up at a reasonable time last breakfast at Subway for a while then to the border.

US side had to go across to the other side or arrivals side as no one at departures to take my exit papers so an illegal U turn and down a one way road the wrong way to do this (only following the officers instructions :-)) you really do not want to stand out when crossing borders but had no alternatives.

So US side sorted so goodbye USA it was fun but moving south now but I will be back :-)

Across the toll bridge into Mexico pointed straight to the vehicles to declare line and the admin process began.

First needed to get me officially into the country no problem as no queue looks like I am only person coming in today!

Then to Banjercito to start on the process for the bike told needed to get copies of passport, bike papers, insurance, driving licence etc. Told him I had them already as I am organised me. Was missing copy of my Visa, which I had got 5 minutes ago so sent to a grumpy man who’s job it was to do the copying and was, pissed off as I done most of his job already. So back to the window, huge confusion on the bike papers what was the expiry date of the registration. On Dutch registration there is no expiry date but this chap used to Canadian and US papers not an English man with Dutch Bike all of this in Spanish as the chap did not speak English and the moment my Spanish is very weak. All through the process he kept asking about the expiry date of the registration papers hoping that eventually I would tell him a date and all would be well in his world but nope senor no expiry date. After a while handed over to customs but no one there so this took a while and when they turned up they where not interested but he got them to ask me about the expiry date for the registrations papers. So as I had no drugs and guns on the bike it was back to the guy to complete the importation of the bike. He decides that he wants to see the bike and checks the VIN number and know wants a copy of the insurance papers not the Mexican one but the US ones strange request but give it to him anyhow guess he still looking for an expiry date for the registrations paper. I am still the only one at the border so guess it a slow day for them so I think it takes longer than normal.* I am all done got a temporary import licence for the bike will have to pay about 400USD if I do not take the bike out of the country within the month or 30 days. I thought I had 6 months but on checking my visa I had been given a transit visa as I told them I was going to Guatemala not a tourist visa fortunately for me I whizzing across Mexico so do not need longer but remember this if I coming back and want to stay longer on Mexico. The import is based on your personal visa.

So pay the man one fee for the import and another fee for the visa and back to immigration to prove I had paid and I was officially in Mexico and the next customer had just turned up. This had taken about more than an hour or more but I was through.

Useful page on this http://www.mexinsider.com/vehicle-permits.html

The plan is to head south as far as I can until I am knackered away from the so called bandit/drug cartel area first thing I did was take a wrong turn and then ran over something that made the bike judder felt like the chain had come loose and the ABS went into a flid mode. I think I was just being hyper sensitive and before you knew it was on the right road heading south. Hot and boring scenery wise but being in new country made it more interesting. Roads are rough and speed bumps all over the place even on major roads that keep you on your toes.

My next problem was petrol and getting some local currency after driving for about a 100km decide to find a cash point in a town. Huge queue but least I was safe as the place was crawling with the army with 2 vans with machine guns pointing at the cashpoint so no chance of being mugged unless it was the army doing the mugging. A serious amount of armed police and soldiers all over the place and lots of checkpoints along the way, so I guess there are some residual issues in the area. After queuing with a machine gun pointing at me the machine will not accept my card and it was either 100km to the next larger town with bank (according to my GPS) or back to the border. Onward and forward goes my old battle cry hopefully the fuel station will accept Credit Cards and there seems to be a lot of Pemex petrol stations. First one I stop at no credit cards so on to the next one. This one is full of police in vans about 20 of them not sure why. There’s no petrol or is that there is no one to sell you petrol. Tried to find out what was going from the Army folks but with my limited Spanish was proving difficult No petrol for the next 80km how about back where I just come from was there no petrol there or was just that they would not except credit cards. What to do I am not sure if I could do 80km on what I had left. Chatting with one of the army guys who spoke a little English when another local joined us and he said I could buy petrol 300 meters down the road! So given instruction on how to find the petrol again with hand signals and bad language skills all round. Seemingly some bloke was selling petrol out of jerry cans on the side of the road and I managed to buy 5 litres for 5 USD so should get us to the next available fuel. They had a great little contraption for getting the petrol from jerry can to fuel tank.

Deserted Petrol Station![/caption]

Past a couple more petrol station that where deserted and I have no idea why and eventually found one selling fuel and after another palaver managed to get this on my credit card. Was sent to a window which you could not see though as tinted and mirrored all I saw was a hand wiggling to show they wanted my card so I handed it over and I thought that was the last time I will see that. Turned out there was a nice lady behind the window and I was invited in to finish the transaction. (Paying for the petrol you perves! I no what you are thinking :-))

So been a long day so next cashpoint hotel and dinner in that order and that is what happened decided to call it quits at a place Ciudad Victoria and stayed at the first place that came up on my GPS as it was reasonable priced and the bike was safe. Took me a while to find somewhere to eat managed to get a ham and cheese torta but very little else available it seemed in this town.

Cuidad Victoria[/caption]

What a very strange and interesting day hope things settle down and fuel and army checkpoints do not become too troublesome. I have been travelling across flat and boring landscape for days now but good news today is there where mountains in the horizon and I am know in the foothills so that means tomorrow twisty roads and cooler weather as I head into the hills I do care if it is in the right direction I going into the mountains :-)
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:35 PM   #124
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Ciudad Victoria to Ciudad Valles, Friday, 26 October 2012, Day 115

Got lost and ended on this dirt track that went on forever[/caption]

True to my word headed into the mountains in the direction of San Luis Potosi as this took me away from the coastal plains and into the mountains. Not going south but roads are more interesting and it is cooler the higher you get. Lovely ride checking all of the Petrol Stations that I pass and they all seem to be open for business and selling petrol weird I wonder why I could not get any petrol yesterday in a couple of places I tried need to keep an eye on this perhaps it was only a local issue and I am well passed it now. Fill up in a place called Tula then change of direction to a town called Ciudad Valles which is South as I am trying to get past Mexico City on the West trying to do I straight line down to Guatemala where I plan to do some Spanish lessons as I think I am missing out on loads in not being able to speak the lingo does anyone know or can recommend any language schools in the Antigua area?

Heading into the hills![/caption]

Tootling along enjoying the ride the country and the cooler weather when Mr GPS says turn right! No road only a dirt track. Decide to ignore this and hit the detour button and keep going on the tarmac road that I am on. 5 km later it is directing me into a dirt track again so check GPS to see if I have dirt track disabled. Yes I do so what to do have another fight with the GPS or just see where it will take me and hope its only a short bit off road.

I am in the middle of nowhere completely on my own some being riding the dirt track for a while hoping it will turn to Tarmac soon I could turn back but gone to far to consider this track is doable but gets tricky in place so I am crawling along making very little progress as we all no my off road skills are non existent at the best of times and I had been riding for a while so was already tired. Regretting turning of the Tarmac and I really need to revisit my onward and forward motto as it seems to be getting me into a lot of trouble lately. Find a gorgeous stream so stop for while to catch my breath and to build up my courage for what I hope is the final push towards tarmac and civilised world have seen nobody for what seems like ages.

Lost but who cares when its like this[/caption]



Finally after about 15km hit the Tarmac again and an easiest run into Ciudad Valles. Turn into the road for the Centro and see a nice Hotel Pine (Pineapple), which has a secure car park at the back and is cheap as chips and also has a reasonable decent restaurant attached to it so this is going to be home for tonight.

Been a good day in the saddle and had some fun trying to feed myself first for breakfast at a roadside café chatting in pigeon Spanish with the 3 nice ladies working there managed to order 3 quesadilla as I know what they are and also tried a gator with chorizo salsa which was also nice and for my dinner managed to get a bifstek Mexican which was a nice stew so well fed today.

View from Hotel[/caption]

Went for a wander around town then to room to work on this still not up to date! And I just realised its Friday night!
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:37 PM   #125
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Ciudad Valles to Molango, Saturday, 27 October 2012, Day 116

view from my hotel window stopped raining for a couple of minutes.[/caption]

What a difference a day makes yesterday was excellent even my off road excursion in hindsight was enjoyable but today was totally different. It has taken me 6 and half hours to cover 210km non-stop riding only had 1, 10 minute break for a petrol and pee stop. So what was different well for starters it was raining when I got up not heavy but enough to need waterproofs. So I had a leisurely breakfast and finally hit the road at 11 destinations was Pachuca, which was 380km away according to the GPS, would be there at 5 o clock so doable. In reality it started to rain harder so the roads where like an ice-skating ring covered in mud that had turned to slush the roads are okay when dry but add water and they are treacherous. So not getting anywhere fast and the road I have chosen to take is quite twisty and hilly so not sure how hard I can push it in the corners as they are as greasy as hell. Another obstacle impeding my progress that the road went via loads of villages and in every one of them there are loads of speed bumps. Not ordinary speed bumps but all sizes and shapes not one the same some huge all of them had to be taken in 1st gear due to the fact that the car or lorry in front of you always slowed to a stop and because of the weather conditions and they where all over the place most be hundreds I have had to slow down for today. Very irritating and uncomfortable not sure I like them (pretty damned sure I do not like them). To add to this I headed up into the mountains I was riding in the clouds for the last couple of hours so visibility down to nothing in places on wiggly greasy unknowns roads with random speed bumps thrown in for good measure. This was all just about manageable but then add in other Mexican road users human and animal* (Dogs, Cows, Goats, Pigs wondering all over the road) I was frazzled at 5 O clock about 130km short of my target so pulled over in a place called Molango found a nice hotel and got out of my wet gear. Its cold has been 18 degrees all day, which was nice but feels cooler when you are wet no a/c or fan in the room tonight but do not think I will need it as unlike last night it was 30 degrees I think its going to be about 14 degrees tonight may need a blanket.

Grabbed some food in a place next to the hotel actually somebody front room with a couple of tables with a stove for cooking. Had chicken and enchiladas and as they where cooking a huge bowl of rice for some reason and they offered me some, which was also very nice, the chicken however had seen better days.

Went for a wander around town cold and wet and still drizzling so back to the room. Wearing a jumper first time in ages hope its at least dry tomorrow as I think the route I did today was actually quite nice but unfortunately could not see a thing due to the weather.



Molango

Going to have to have a rethink if it stays like this, as I am not sure I can cope with to many days like today far to stressful.

Halloween[/caption]
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:38 PM   #126
dean10 OP
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Molango to Apizaco, Sunday, 28 October 2012, Day 117

Road block who would have guessed it was for a Religious run carrying the Madonna with my bad spanish I was certainly surprised :-)[/caption]

Woke up and fortunately it was dry today but still quite cold. Hit the road and it was still very misty or I was driving in the clouds but fortunately it started to clear and I could finally see where I was going and it was nice.

Crap Vision-ability[/caption]

Plan on the page is to keep plugging away moving south to Antigua where I plan to have a rest and do some Spanish lessons as I have not got a clue what is going on around me and I am not comfortable with that. Today the road was blocked and was trying to found out what was going on but my knowledge of Spanish woeful so all I could do was wait. Turned out that was some religious event the road was full of young people running down the street and a convoy of accompanying cars and lorries and they where carry a statue of Mary passed another one later. Not sure I would have been able to understand the explanation for this holdup in English never mind in Spanish but it does explain why the petrol pump attendant when I asked about what was going crossed himself so there was the religious clue unfortunately at the tine I had no idea what he was trying to tell me.



Good day in the saddle but I am not covering the ground as quickly as I think I should be did more than yesterday but considering the hours I am putting I am expecting to have gone further. Slow going on these roads and village very rarely going fast at all. I think I gained an hour but I am not sure as have seen no clocks to verify this so at about 5 ish according to the clock on my GPS which I think is right my right leg was beginning to cramp up no idea why could be them damned speed humps or all the stop start riding I have been doing so his was a sign to call it quits for the day as well as my GPS sending me on another off road excursion and getting chased by dogs was enough to tell me to stop for the day. So ignored the GPS did a U-turn only to be chased by the same dogs and decided to stop at the first decent place I saw. A couple of minutes later saw a nice old church and opposite a small hotel which had a courtyard for parking the bike so pulled in there. Got a room no problem and extremely cheap but no Wi-Fi but who cares I can live with a night without Wi-Fi. I was in little village just short of Apicazo so not much other than the church and the hotel so nowhere to eat. After wandering about for a while found a place that was cooking chickens on a rotisserie so ordered half a chicken and some papa’s fritas and got some pop and back to the room to eat my little greasy feast. I had mushroom quesadilla for breakfast/lunch, which was also very nice.



Tonight’s entertainment was to finish the Hunger games on my Kindle. Quite enjoyed it easy reading and a page-turner but quite simple plot just downloaded part 2 and 3 so another excuse not to be doing my blog or responding to the comments on it. Will do this when I am back on line honest injun

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Old 03-03-2013, 01:40 PM   #127
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Apizaco to Oaxaca, Monday, 29 October 2012, Day 118

Beautiful Dress made out of plastic cups and saucers ![/caption]

Even scarier from the front[/caption]

Good day in the saddle and covered a lot more distance than I have been the last couple of days how did I do this well I cheated.

Got packed up and hit the road and the first thing I noticed in the distance was a couple of mountains but what surprised me most was that they both had snow on top of them! This was the last thing I was expecting I was not aware of Snow covered mountains in Mexico so was a little confused for a while.

Need a coffee and some breakfast, as it was quite chilly around 14 degrees and as soon as I drove into Apizaco I saw an OXXO which is sort of like the Mexican 7/11 so had breakfast sitting on the pavement outside as they do good coffee and sandwiches but do not always have somewhere to sit and consume your purchases.

View from my breakfast spot[/caption]

So todays plan was to try and reach Oaxaca, which was going to be difficult if I was sticking to the type of roads, I have been using the last couple of days with all the tope and reductions (Spanish words for them bloody speed bumps they have all over the place here killing my suspension slowly but surely me thinks and god knows what this doing to the rest of the bike cannot be good me thinks). So first thing I did was change the settings on my GPS to allow toll routes to be part of the route as I usually avoid these if possible but a change of tactic called for if I am going to make any progress. By doing this I shortened the distance to Oaxaca by 40km, which is excellent, and the last 200km was on a Mexican toll road, which went through some breath taking scenery and no villages to slow me down for and no speed humps either so could get some speed up and sustain it for a reasonable amount of time.

escaping the speed humps![/caption]

Downside was that I had to pay for the speed so as I joined the toll road they charged me 35 peso which I thought was excellent value as it was 200km still to go to Oaxaca but after about 30km another toll booth this time 25 peso and this kept happening regularly and later the distance got shorter but the price kept getting more. All in all buying this extra time cost me 190 pesos so about 10 EUR but worth it as it was a really enjoyable run on empty roads with not having to worry about all the usual distractions and potential risks you have driving through Mexican villages and countryside I could just enjoy the ride and the spectacular scenery. Had a laugh at each of the toll booths when they kept wanting more money for the next bit in broken Spanish telling them I should be half price as they where charging me the same as a car no motorcycle rates and telling them I had already paid at the last booth. Kept me entertained for a while and some of them where also amused.

I have been to Oaxaca before about 15 years ago but I did not recognise the place it seem so much bigger and busier and the GPS was sending me in the opposite directions to what the signpost where telling me and like a fool I followed the GPS but when it turned me down yet another dirt road I switched it of and asked the locals which was far more effective. Finally found the center but it was the middle of rush hour getting hot and I had no Mexican money left as used the last on the toll roads and credit cards are not used as much here especially in the places I have been staying cash is king. So after checking out one hotel to get a feel of the prices in town I plugged in ATM into my GPS and the first one I found again would not accept my card and the next one was on the main square but there was a huge festival going on there and the cops where not allowing any vehicles in but I showed one them on my GPS what I was looking for and I was allowed on the square with my bike and they even watched my bike while I popped round the corner to the cashpoint. There suggestion not mine this while they where trying to manage a full-blown crowd of revellers not sure what as there where Incas dancers, Trade unionists, and Halloween or Night of the death festival all going on at the same time. This time the cashpoint gave me some money so back to the bike, which was parked a one-way street and the only correct way out was across the square so the friendly coppers cleared a route through the revellers and I was on my way :-)

Went a couple of blocks from the square and saw a Hostel with a drive in parking garage so pulled in there glad to be out of the traffic and checked out how much they wanted for a room for the night reasonable enough and the bike was in a secure manned car park so sorted.

So got out of my bike gear and went of to rediscover Oaxaca some of seemed familiar but could not find the place I had stayed last time, as I was curious on what it would be like now.

Had a great evening just wondering around as mentioned in the main square was teaming with people and there was stage with what I thought was for either Halloween of night of the dead festival some great outfits on show. As well as that a political rally was taking place and something else with mariachi bands making a hell of a racket so great place to people watch. The rest of town was lively as well great market so did some wandering taking in the sights. I still do not know what time it is I think I have gained an hour maybe the clocks changed on Sunday I do not know but does not really matter as time is not a necessity I have at the moment :-)



Ended up back at the hotel where I downloaded the sequels to the Hunger Game very clever pricing scam they got going there. The first book is 5 bucks for kindle but 2 and 3 are 9 bucks so they getting you hooked cheaply the 1st time round and you have to pay more once you are addicted very clever.

Having problems uploading my Photos to Smug mug very rare you get anywhere with a decent Internet connection or maybe I am just asking too much.
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:42 PM   #128
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Oaxaca to Santo Domingo Zanatepec, Tuesday, 30 October 2012, Day 119

What are you looking at![/caption]

Bit down this morning not sure why it could be that I have not spoken to anyone since I left Houston other than transactional conversations and since I have been in Mexico conversation even more limit. Or could be alcohol withdrawals, as I have not had a drink for 8 whole days!

Feeling a bit lonely which is unusual for me need to come up with a solution for this and fast I have a couple of ideas in the pipeline.

Today went a long way on putting me in a better mood a glorious day in the saddle. Had a chat with the car park attendant who spoke some English which was pleasant and just telling him what I am up to lifts my spirits as when you put it into perspective this is an opportunity of a lifetime what I am doing but I am only human and even a trip like this can get to daunting for me when I think how far I still have to go. Suck it up you ponce!

Got lost leaving Oaxaca the road I wanted was full of riot police and camera crews so decided did not want to get entangled in that. Finally cleared the town got some petrol and some breakfast and hit the road. For the next 200km it was bend after bend corner after corner twist and turn after twist and turn. I think you get the idea biking heaven little to none other traffic except the odd lorry to past which were treated as mobile chicane. Can be difficult as there are very few straights and I do not have the ability to see round blind corners so you can be stuck behind them for while. Mostly they work with you to get you past but sometimes that is not possible. So this is were those god-awful speed humps come into their own as the slower moving vehicles come to a practical stop at these and I can be over the bumps a lot quicker as I can slow quicker and accelerate quicker so many an overtake done today whilst bouncing over speed bumps.



Nice Roads[/caption]

Not to hot weather dull and overcast which was nice and the villages further apart so less speed bumps. So good day to lift the spirits road not perfect as this is still Mexico so all sorts wildlife and domestic life wondering over the roads and rough has hell in places to keep you on your toes. After the mountains hit a flat bit nearer the coast and it was every so windy and looks like it is always windy there as there where thousands of windmills as far as the eye could see. Not many of them where turning probably to window for them so out of the spec for running makes you wonder how practical these thing really are. (Do not get me wrong big fan of alternate energies but sometimes I do wonder how efficient the options chosen really are)

It was getting hot now I was out of the hills but still dull and looked like rain but in fact it was just getting dark. I forgotten how far south I am and it gets dark at 5.45 on the dot and I am not used to that so need to find somewhere to stay quick before it get dark. Problem is I am in the middle of nowhere no big towns or obvious places to stay and the next town I was aware of about 50km away and it would be pitch black by then and I do not fancy riding on these roads in the dark. Fortunately I saw a sign for a Hotel pulled over just as it was getting dark. In the middle of nowhere but reasonable price so I was setting up camp there for the night.



Allegedly it had a restaurant as well but this was deserted think I am the only person staying here. So ask for the menu they do have one but they do have chicken. I am sick of chicken as it all you can seem to get here. They said they have some meat but they did not seem that keen on it so I asked to see what they had got as the conversation was bad due to my lack of Spanish. So shown into the kitchen, which was probably not the wisest thing to do, as ignorance often is bliss. The meat looked disgusting, as did the chicken. They had some prawns but god knows how old these where and I did not fancy risking them. I spotted some eggs and some rice so asked for 2 fried eggs and rice with soft tacos and a coke. So that was dinner sorted and I do like a fried egg every now and again.

Not much else to do, as this was a Hotel in the middle of nowhere on the side of a busy road so retired to my room for the usual upload photos update blog do some planning for the next day and read me book and before you know it is bedtime.

A couple of days ago I was sitting having a coffee at a petrol station when a car pulled up and this very young lad gets out and goes across to my bike to have a look and then he strokes it which I thought was great never seen anyone stroking a bike before but I think she deserves it as she doing a great job. I often find myself patting her on the tank and thanking her for a great day and today was one of those so a pat and a stroke for me bike today it was good bike day :-)
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:44 PM   #129
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Santo Domingo Zanatepec to San Cristobal de las Casas, Wednesday, 31 October 2012, Da

who is a pretty boy then![/caption]

Today’s destination is San Cristobal de las Casas reasonable short run and I was planning to get there early afternoon to give me some time to take in the town.

It’s extremely hot and the sun is shining so need to get rolling quickly before I melt.

Head back up into the hills looking for a place to get some breakfast. Spot a ramshackle little place on the side of the road run by a little old lady.* One old table a couple of old chairs all plastic and an a gas stove in the corner, so get out of the sun and order some cheese quesadillas and a cup of coffee and relax and watch the world go by. Not much goes buy as there is little to none traffic on this road and there are a couple of police or I think they are police sitting in a van patrolling the empty road. Under the van is a puppy having a snooze. When the cops want to move they know its there so are tooting the horn trying to wake it up and get it to move so that it is not squished as the drive away. So when they leave it comes and lies under my bike and is joined by a cat as well so I am sitting relaxing having a great little breakfast watching the show.

not much shade to be had this will do[/caption]

Joined by a Cat sharing the shade from my bike :-)[/caption]

Easy run into San Cristobal except my GPS take me straight through Tuxtla GT which is extremely busy and a lot stop start riding in the heat not that pleasurable. Finally hit a toll road to San Cristobal and it cools down and even starts to rain as I head up into a mountains. Last time I was here it was also raining so must be something about this place that it rains a lot.

Go straight to the center and then work my way out looking for the first decent looking place to stay with parking which is easy and I found a cheap and cheerful posada couple of blocks from the center and check in there.

They say they have WIFI which is sort of true only problem is only certain specific spot in the hotel where it works and I needed it to do some research on crossing the border into Guatemala but decide to put the research of and head into town. Spent the rest of the day and evening just wandering around. I only recognised a couple of place and for the rest did not look familiar at all so pleasant walking all over the place. I am need of something familiar and greasy for my supper so ended up at Burger King having a burger. Also walked up a load of stairs to a Church and when I got the top I was gasping for air. Christ I am out of condition amazing how quickly you loose it. (Did I ever have it :-)) Going have to figure a way on getting my fitness levels back but not sure how to do that whilst on the road.

San Cristobal[/caption]

 



Todays is Halloween and I noticed that loads of folks are lining the streets so I am guessing that there is going to be a procession and turns out to be one loads of people dressed up as zombies and scary monsters. A quite entertaining, and most enjoyable day and evening.

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Old 03-04-2013, 05:59 PM   #130
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San Cristobal de las Casas to Huehuetenango,Thursday, 1 November 2012, Day 121

No mans land between Mexico and Guatemala Gorgeous![/caption]

Today I was in two minds as whether or not to cross the border into Guatemala today. It was about 180km away so was not sure how long this would take to get there and I did not want to turn up to late not knowing how long the process will take and arriving in a new country late in the day. To ensure I was ready for both options in the morning I went on the Internet to do some research on the border crossing this entailed me perching on a corner of a balcony, as this was the only place I could get a signal. So after this I have a vague idea on what the process is next thing I wanted to do was get some Guatemalan Quetzals, as I do like being hassled by the money changers at the border and I seen a place last night that was selling Quetzals in town rate not to fantastic but probably better than what I would be getting at the border so loaded the bike went the exchange place and then as usual got lost trying to get out of town which you would think be nigh on impossible with a GPS but I am not sure how good the coverage is of Garmin is in Mexico always seems to be bit off. Whilst trying to find the right road out of town spotted an OXXO (Mexican 7/11) so decided to have breakfast there before hitting the road. So it was quite late when I left San Cristobal so had already had my mind set on the fact that I would be spending another night in Mexico. Nice road not to hot when I was in the mountains and before I knew it I was at the crossroads to the town I had planned to stay for my last night in Mexico.

So filled up and asked how far to the border and it was just down the road. It was 3 o clocks so I thought sod it lets go for it and get this border crossing out of the way and it turned out a lot easier than what I was expecting.

  • First on the Mexican side find the banjacito office to get my deposit back for my bike as I was leaving the country. Very easy guy took my forms did some paper work and came out checked my VIN number and I was good to go (Note to self double check credit card to see if they put the monies back)

  • So the bike is officially out of Mexican but I am not so next stop immigration to get me officially out of Mexico also no problem adios Mexico

  • Ola Guatemala, short drive through no mans land which is gorgeous that I have to stop and take a photo probably not the wisest thing to do stopping and taking photos at a border crossing but it really was spectacular scenery that need capturing

  • Rolled up to the Guatemalan side and directed to the immigration and in out within minutes no queue no hassle I am officially in Guatemala and have been given 90 days. It seems I am the only one crossing the border today so the nice chap comes out with me and points me to where I need to go to get the bike temporally imported which is 20 meters further down the road

  • So move my bike from immigration to import place and park my bike in front of the kiosk couple of money changers ask me quite politely if I would like to change any money and I declined and they did not bother me again

  • Young lad at kiosk spoke some English so he asked me for

    • Passport

    • Driving Licence

    • Registration Papers for the bike

    • Exit papers for Mexico




As he needed to make copies, I told him I had copies he could have but he insisted that he made his own (little money spinner) so easier to let him do this. So he did all the admin and filled in the forms, which took a while. Trying to find the Netherlands on his list on his computer was the 1st stumbling block but we found it eventually. When forms completed he showed me them to check them to see if all info correct. This is when I noticed that he had the Netherlands for the bike, which was correct, but he had me down as a Dutch person which was wrong but an easy mistake to make as how many English blokes turn up at the border on a Dutch registered bike with a Dutch driving licence. So this set of paper work went in the bin and we changed it the UK, which also took some finding on his computer. This time paperwork correct and complete so sign all 3 copies and so does he and then he makes up the invoice and gives me all my paperwork. The cost was 60 Quetzals for the copies, which was not really necessary as I already had copies but hey it’s only 6 EUR so I can live with that and 100 Quetzals for Import Cost. This I challenge as I read this morning it should only be 40 Quetzals but he tells me this is last year price so I joke about that is huge inflation but accept the charge as the chap has been pleasant to deal with and I have a fully itemised officially looking invoice that is signed and stamped and 16 EUR seems a reasonable price to me.

  • So directed to the cashiers kiosk, which is next door to pay the fee. Walk into the door expecting it to open but it was locked and needed to be open by an armed guard from the inside ouch! Paid the cash having another go at getting a discount or the 40 Quetzal rate in there but the cashier spoke no English

  • Back outside to the import kiosk there were a couple of other people there now and the young chap was dealing with them. So waited for a while it getting hot about 30+ degrees so starting to sweat a bit. I was expecting him to deal with the other folks in the queue first but he called me in front of them and we finished of the paperwork and I had my temporary import sticker.

  • Showed this to another guard/official for his records and I was in Guatemala and it was just after 4 so this whole exercise only took about hour so quite efficient.

  • So thanked the young lad and other official sorted my paperwork out and drove into Guatemala

  • So no hassle with folks trying to offer there services, no hassle from the money lenders, officials I dealt very pleasant and courteous, no fumigation needed and no fumigation fee very efficient all things consider and only 160 Quetzals so considering all the horror stories I had heard and read about on the Internet I am wondering if I am just lucky or folks really do have the experiences I read about!


So should I find a place for the night or move away from the border. It was stunning scenery and I had itchy feet and was feeling good about how easy the border crossing had been so hit the road. I was heading for a town, which was about 80km away called Huehuetenango, and if I saw something nice I would stop before then and it should be doable before it got dark.

For about 5km I had not hit any speed humps and was just starting to celebrate as I was lulled into thinking that they do not have them in Guatemala but nope bugger they have them here as well.

As I moved into Guatemala my GPS started loosing detail as the maps I had loaded where only for North America and Mexico and my South America was buried in one of my bags so went back to old fashion map reading and looking at the signs. Two problems here was the map I had I had borrowed of my mate John in Houston who had borrowed it of a Dutch college and this was in the 90’s so very old and there are little to no road signs in Guatemala.

So doodling along enjoying the road and the scenery bit concerned as it was getting dark and I had not seen any places to stay since I left the border no idea if I was even on the right road or how far Huehuetenango was away. Finally saw the sign for the turn off Huehuetenango and before I knew it I was in the outskirts when I saw a fair and or fiesta and just after that a hotel with secure parking so pulled in there for the night. Hotel run by a couple of young Guatemalan lads so have some fun with them checking in and also later trying to get the Internet to work (seems to be common issue).

Headed back to the fair/fiesta small affair but nice wandering around there and went the Guatemalan equivalent of KFC for my tea. One thing that struck me as strange why they had the fiesta right in front of the cemetery but later I found 1st November was day of the dead celebration so location made more sense now.

So another great productive day easy border crossing nice biking roads (except for them damned speed humps) fantastic scenery, a couple of days ago was feeling a bit down and lonely and needed to do something about this. So the plan is tomorrow to go to Antigua and sign up for Spanish lessons at a language school pretty sure that will involve lots of talking :-) and at the end of the week I will be craving the solitude of being on my own and bitching about that in this blog :-)
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:01 PM   #131
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Huehuetenango to Antigua, Friday, 2 November 2012, Day 122

Lago de Atitlan[/caption]

For some reason I am getting lost on exiting towns this time the cause of the problem was my GPS. Last night I had swopped my North Americas maps for South America maps what I had forgotten was that for some reason Garmin have no maps available for Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua and the South America maps only start at Costa Rica so looks like I will be flying blind for the next 3 countries. I knew this but and was going to do some research closer to the time well looks like I have left it to late as usual however not many roads and if I keep heading south I should be fine :-)

So my GPS only has the odd main road on it for the moment and when you type in a town in this instance Antigua it comes with the message go to CA01. Which is fine but where the hell is the CA01 as road signs here are non-existent. So plan is to try and find a sign for the road to Guatemala City, which I finally find, and as a celebration I pull over into a nice roadside café and order breakfast fried eggs beans and some other unrecognisable vegetable to me (was never any good at veg) cup of coffee and a newspaper. Excellent service probably because I am the only one in the place.

So after a relaxing breakfast and with a vague idea where I was going I hit the road again. Scenery still very pleasant not to hot and when I hit the CA01 this turns out to be a quite well maintained duel carriageway that twist and turns through the mountains. Turning out to be a good day and the good news is that the speed bumps are still around there are not many of them as in Mexico on this stretch.

Roads are empty and twist and turn through the mountain I am enjoying watching and following the colourful chicken buses. Old American School buses painted all sorts of colours. They never seem to stop was watching a couple one slowed down to pick up a family never really stopped a bloke jumped out picked up the kid and practically threw him on the bus and return for grandma. So the family of 3 was loaded in a blink of the eye and I am certain the bus never came to standstill. Another bus I was following through the mountains I spotted a chap on the roof tying down the luggage and after he had done that he climbed down the ladder at the back of the bus opened the door waved at me and entered the bus. So what so amazing about that you all ask was this was all done at 90km an hour plus on a seriously bendy bit of road with the occasional speed hump thrown in for good measure. For all this I had ringside seat and I was loving it.

Finally pulled into Antigua at about 4 purely by luck not judgement and having to stop a couple of time to make sure I was on the right road as mentioned very few signs here. Headed for a language school I had found on the Internet and before I knew I had signed up for 5 mornings of 4 hours of Spanish lesson and 7 nights with a local host family.

So with that sorted I then followed one of the staff Marta on her Motorbike to the host family through the streets of Antigua. The roads in the town are atrocious cobbled and not very well cobbled so difficult to keep up with her then she disappeared up the a hill and into a very narrow alley which my bike with all the luggage on could just about fit through took a chunk out of the wall though oops.

Made it to the house and waited for the son of the host to turn up and the next fun and games started as he suggested I put the bike in the back yard as it would be safer problem was that the backyard 60cm plus higher than the road there was a ramp but this was at a weird angle and then a tight gate. Somehow he persuaded me to do this so after unloading the bike I went for it crawling up the ramp trying to keep one foot on the ground on the road then jump with the other foot on to the pavement and negotiate the gate well there’s is another set of undies ruined. Fortunately Sergio was also helping on the balance front and we got it parked safely in the back yard. I have no idea how I am going to get my bike out when I leave!

The Ramp! and Marta 
Not sure how I will get my bike out ![/caption]


So I have a nice room in a nice house overlooking Antigua and the volcanoes surrounding Antigua and will be here for a while and I am looking forward to it.

The house is owned by Cornelia an elderly Guatemalan lady and is run by her housemaid Irma. Not quite the homestay I was expecting, as there are 2 other girls a Canadian called Hayley and Dutch girl called Wendy as well as an American couple called John and Jerry. And I nearly forgot a mad little puppy called Duar. So quite a full house but very pleasant. Dinner was served at 7 and it was us 5 eating and was quite a shock for me as I have not really talked to anyone for a couple of weeks and here I was surrounded by people and a lot of talking. After dinner we all headed into town afterwards to a bar where we met up with some more people so I guess I am in the right place for meeting and talking with folk but strange as I had got out of the habit. Very enjoyable evening got in quite late and have to be up at 6.30 am as breakfast is at 7 am and I have my first Spanish lesson at 8 am which I am also looking forward donde es la baños and all that bring it on.
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:03 PM   #132
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Antigua, Saturday, 3 November 2012 to Sunday, 11 November, Day 123 to Day 131

Antigua Guatemala[/caption]

Studying Spanish at Antiguena Spanish Academy back on Monday :-)

Hi for those of you that where worried that there was an earthquake in the region measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale. Here in Antigua we only had the earth shaking for about 5 minutes. My first experience of an Earthquake which I thought was cool at the time, however what was a cool experience for me was not the same for the 40 plus people who died and many more that are suffering due to this earthquake makes me feel guilty at the pleasure and excitement I had when it was happening you do not realise how serious these things are till later my condolences and thoughts go out to those effected by the quake. I am safe and well.

So have not touched this for more than a week so I guess an update is required :-(

So what have I been up in the last 9 days in Antigua well here is short brain dump in no particular order

  • The plan was to try learn Spanish so I have spent the last 9 days getting up at 6.30 in the morning doing 4 hours of Spanish a day and I can tell you it is exhausting. Can I speak Spanish well considering I cannot speak English that well and my Dutch ain’t so hot one could say I have a vague understanding of the lingo but plan to do some more even though it was knackering I thoroughly enjoyed my self. Had two teacher Iliana for the 1st two days at the school then Mary for the next 7 days which we spent outside in a gorgeous garden which was a very pleasant environment for learning. Both teachers wonderful folks with the patients of a saint as I stutter and stumbled through my first lessons in Spanish.


Mary y Iliana gracias por sus pacientes en ayudarme a aprender a español muy apreciados :-) For those thinking my Spanish is that good its not just used a translator on me computer.

Philly learning spanish in the garden with Mary[/caption]

  • Do you recall I mentioned that my fitness levels where not as they used to be and something needed to be done about it so not being one to do anything half-heartedly I spent and afternoon doing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_(sport) Ultimate Frisbee. Great fun but bloody knackering for an old geezer like me. Every Sunday the local expats in Antigua organise a game and all are welcome. Met a bloke called Chris who worked as a motorcycle tour guide in town who was a wealth of info so cheers mate and an honourable link to your company*http://www.catours.co.uk

  • Ultimate Frisbee Antigua



  • While I am on the fitness binge I played basketball as well this week and did not do to bad since is was about 30 years ago since I done any dribbling (Insert inappropriate joke/pun here) Also very amusing but in strange how folks can take a 3 on 3 basketball match so seriously it was amusing to watch if not a little sad. Our Team Me Jamie and Haley where playing for laughs and the other team seemed to be playing for life and death and we still thrashed them so the tall Aussie the nippy Canadian and the wily old crafty tubby English bloke from Holland whooped ass

    Basketball[/caption]

  • I guess as I have mentioned Jamie and Haley and they where insistent that they get a mention in this blog. Along with Ali an another Australian girl these are the folks I have spent most of the time hanging around with this week and very pleasant company they where to as they where mostly drunk and I was sober which was entertaining for me to be the sober one for a change.

  • Spent a pleasant afternoon learning how to make Chocolate at Chocolate Factory and learning about the Cocoa Bean. Fascinating and to top it all got to sample loads in liquid form and they like there chocolate with spices and pepper and I must say I am rather partial to it to :-)

  • Spent many an hour just wondering around Antigua which is a beautiful city with a really cool vibe surrounded by volcanoes one of which is active so every now and again you see a puff of smoke coming from it. Spent an afternoon trying to locate some specific oil for my chain oiler was not successful but pleasant afternoon trying in my best Spanish in a cool bike shop whose address I had got from Chris. While wandering stumbled into a gorgeous cemetery just as it was getting dark really beautiful and interesting place not sure on the protocol on wandering around taking piccies in a cemetery at dusk but tried to be respectful. Another amusing session getting my glasses fixed me teaching the optician English him teaching me Spanish as it took him ages trying to get the fiddly tiny little screws done up. Antigua was a great place to stay for a while I really loved the place

  • Its official Philly has no Latin blood in him at all and he also has two left feet. How do I know well I tried a lesson in Salsa Dancing, which is great fun, but I do not have much talent or the hip movement to be any good at this. There was a free lesson so about 30 of us crammed into a tiny dance studio first we did the merengue and then the salsa. Changing partners every 5 minutes so got to dance with loads of different chicas and fortunately for them they could move on to the younger more talented chicos down the line. Did a bit of practice with Haley during the week whilst playing basketball but still not getting the hang of it so Friday night another Salsa lesson and later to a Salsa bar where I realised I got a long ways to go if I am ever going to be able to get on a dance floor in Latin America but willing to give it a good old go as its really loads of fun.

  • As mention yesterday staying a Guatemalan family who has a puppy this we took for a walk a couple of times which was fun as it had no training what so ever and practical dragged whoever who was walking it strangling itself in the process. Totally loopy

    I thought he was called Deure but found out it was something completely different![/caption]

  • The Darker side of Antigua one night me and Hayley was walking home from the pub when we went down a street with few people hanging around with an eerie silence. At the end the road the police had cordoned it off so we could not get through. So I ask what had happened with my weak Spanish and was told that someone had shot themselves in the head so a suicide. So we go back to get to our house and it there a real strange uncomfortable vibe on the street as we get to the other end of the street a women comes racing along the street screaming and crying I guess she just heard the news. Quite shook up by all of this and the walk back to the house very subdued. In the following days we found out it was not a suicide but the bloke had been shot in the face 5 times the owner of the bookstore opposite the school still do not know the reason why but one can make an educated guess that there is a darker side to this lovely city

  • And finally Jackie if you are reading this I gave you the wrong name of the boat from Panama to Columbia it is http://stahlratte.org oops sorry.


So great time had in Antigua will miss it the bicycle bells for the ice cream the whistle for the paper man. Fresh tortillas delivered everyday for lunch cool bars with wonderful views great little Spanish school which I highly recommend to anyone wanting to learn Spanish time to move on. First Brand new country of this trip Honduras here I come.
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:05 PM   #133
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Antigua to Copan Ruinas, Monday, 12 November 2012, Day 132

Bye to my Antiguan Home and Hosts Cornelia and Irma and whatever the dogs real name is Muchas Gracias[/caption]

On the road again have not touched the bike for a good week and needed to get it out of the garden which was concerning me considering how difficult it was to get in but getting it again was lot easier which was a relief. Had breakfast with the new batch of students, as there had been a change of guard over the weekend and then packed the bike and slowly hit the road. Tata Antigua it was fun :-)

First thing I did was get some USD from the ATM for the upcoming border crossings and filled up the bike just outside the city and I was heading into the hills towards Guatemala City and it was only about 8.30 wow never been away this early before!

As mentioned before my GPS only has very limited maps of Guatemala so had brought an old fashion roadmap and it was weird not knowing exactly where I was and with the Garmin I had plugged in my destination but never seem to be on the route even though I knew I was so was just like a computer game trying to keep the route on the small screen entertaining and frustrating at the same time. I was in Guatemala City in no time and then got lost trying to cross the city as I said very few road signs and a temperamental GPS so got across by good old fashion compass bearings. Missed a turning or I did like the look of a turning so added a few more miles to the trip by sticking to the main roads. Enjoyable day even though I was bit concerned about the hassles awaiting me at the border.

Driving along gorgeous scenery not sure how far away the border is in the middle of nowhere no one around considering this is supposed to be a major border crossing or maybe I just made that last bit up as to be honest as usual I had not got a clue.

Finally hit the border at 1.50pm was direct to a parking lot and then to the first kiosk. Parked the bike and a couple of money changers turned up with huge wads of money I am not sure it is why but they always have loads! Enquire about the rates and they give me them as usual to low so I tell them I will get back to them after I cleared Guatemala Customs as I know what the rate should be and I am going to get as close as that as possible with some haggling later.

  • As mention is was 1.50pm so of course I had arrived bang on lunchtime so the customs official did not turn up till 2.10pm so me and about 5 lorry drivers and a security guard just hanging around waiting. I put my helmet in front the window of one of the kiosk so when they opened it fell to the ground so a bit of commotion but it broke the ice. After the 5 lorry drivers who where there first it was my turn bit of a joke about the helmet then to business. They wanted 3 copies of

    • Driving licences

    • Bike Papers

    • Passport

    • Guatemalan Temporary Import Papers




Bloody ridiculous as I had given them copies when I came in but nope they needed more. No problem as I had copies except the Guatemalan Temporary Import Papers so sent the photocopy building. 3 copies so that’s 3 QZL only have a 100 QZL bill okay no problem no charge! Backs to my new girlfriend at the first kiosk as I have all the documentation. We then go and check the VIN number on the bike at the same time being hassled by some creepy guy asking if I need accommodation in Copan Ruinas. Have a joke with custom chica about this and back to the kiosk for the filling in and updating all the forms. Well in the end they only needed 1 copy of the Temporary Guatemalan so had 2 spare. My theory is it’s a nice little earner on the photocopying but this time no score with Philly.

  • So bike is out of Guatemala so now me so off to immigration. Hand my passport to the guy he does his stuff and then says that will be 10QZL. My response in my new Spanish says that’s not normal in a stern voice and he says did I pay to get in and I say yes and he says that’s fine and I can go so he saves face and I do not pay and no I did not pay coming in either another little earner for the customs guys who try it on all of the time.

  • So me and the bike are out of Guatemala next change some money get a reasonable rate for my QZL but they will not move any closer on my rate for USD and MXN peso rate is a joke so I change my QZL to HNL and will try my luck on the Honduran side for the rest


So bye Guatemala like the last time I was here I really enjoyed myself :-)

Honduras a complete new country for me, and the first one of what I hope is many on this trip. I had read multiple horror story’s about this border crossing so was planning for the worst case scenario it reality was quite straight forwards and seem quite legitimate what I had to do and pay and I got official looking receipts and proof of payments with values signatures and stamps. A had learned all the vocabulary in my Spanish lessons so was ready and challenged everything I felt was dodgy in a firm but polite respectful jokingly manner.

  • So 200 meters from Guatemala to a modern looking building which was Honduran Customs. Approached by money changers and they are offering the same as on the other side but I manage to squeeze a bit more out of them as they claim they are loosing on the deal. I do not mind paying a little over the odds at times like this but I am not going to be screwed so knowing the rates and playing the field can help in reducing the odds in your favour. Change some USD but no one is shifting on the MXN peso so I hold onto these.

  • First immigration for me that USD 3.00 big sign saying this but I challenge it anyhow as I thought that is for exit only but pay and probably be charged on the way out as well

  • Next to get the bike nice bloke came out to see the bike did not check VIN number and or number plate just looked at it and back to A/C office to the paperwork. He opens with the price HNL661 or 36 USD seems reasonable and I insist on a receipt signature and stamp on this. He also needs 3 copies of

    • Driving Licence

    • Bike Registration Papers

    • Passport

    • Guatemalan Import papers!




So as mentioned had all of these except only 2 Guatemalan Import papers and I wanted to keep one of these for my records so he sent me off to get copies of this and I argued this was ridiculous and in the end he only got my one spare one so no copies purchased here either. All the forms filled in manually that are slow then filled in on the computer with one finger typing so also slow. Whilst this was going I noticed an envelope where the money was going to put in and quite clearly it said HNL 135 for Consejo Hondureno de la Empresa Privada so I again challenged the 661 again and he goes and gets another one he has done before and there are 2 charges 135 plus 525 for Forma 9A-1 and charge for admin so that the 661 so as long as I have receipt stamped and signed I am okay with this.

So after matey boy had filled in the forms and the another one had put it into the computer of to the bank next door to pay then back to finish it all off. Got all my paperwork together shook everyone’s hand and joked about being a pain in the arse and said goodbye to my new friends and went back to the bike. Bit of a panic when I got back to the bike could not find my passport so back to the office to see if I had left it there nope but it was in my trouser pocket not usual place for it so panic over more jokes with the custom guys who think I am of my trolley but I do not care as I am in Honduras.

Final hurdle check at the gate and only about 10km to Copan Ruinas my home for the night the above exercise had taken 2 and half hours the joys of travelling :-) its just like work.

New home another kerb to negotiate and a bar to drive though[/caption]

Bike safe and sound hiding in the bushes![/caption]

 

I had been giving an address of a Hotel called Viavia run by a Belgium biker called Geraldo so headed straight there as it was getting late. I could park the bike in the courtyard for safety, which was excellent but meant driving it through the bar and up another high kerb. But no problem as Geraldo did all of this for me so I was settled in a nice hotel nice bar and restaurant in a new country tired but content. Grabbed some food at the bar Nasi Goerang mmm lekker fresh lemonade chatting to an Interesting Canadian chap called Paul who was a fire-fighter in the Canadian bush in the summer and a ski guide in the winter and travels in between so pleasant evening watching the Monday football (American) I was not much company as I was totally wacked from 9 days hard studying in Antigua long border crossing as well as 300km on Latin American roads so I was pretty gaga. Sleep into tomorrow and then to the ruins yeah :-)

 
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:07 PM   #134
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Copan Ruinas, Tuesday, 13 November 2012, Day 133

Copan Ruinas Honduras Cool place[/caption]

Sort of slept in but guess I lost the knack. Must of being tired as I slept through the loud music coming from the disco next door it was cool to go to sleep with all the latest disco hits. Had a long relaxing breakfast and then walked to the Ruins, which turned out, to be fantastic Mayan site so spent most of the day taking loads of crap pictures and just taking in the sites. Place is pretty deserted so pretty much have the place to myself which is cool. At about 3 I find out there is another bit to this site 2km away so made tracks there as it was shutting at 4. Absolutely no one here this was ruins of the houses where as the main part was temples this was also cool but had to move fast, which was a shame. Note to self-do more planning! Walked back to town so have done a lot of walking today went to the ATM and on my way back to hotel bumped into Wendy a Dutch girl who was at the house I stayed at in Antigua so arranged to meet her for dinner.

Pleasant evening at Viavia with Wendy, Paul the Canadian chap and another English called Becky.

Wendy was flying back to NL but I have arranged to meet her in Panama City in December gezellig *:-)

macaws flying around the ruins[/caption]

Hey Tads you opened a place in Honduras[/caption]
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:08 PM   #135
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Copan Ruinas to Gracias, Wednesday, 14 November 2012, Day 134

A total cleaning solution me bike is needing a clean![/caption]

Another good nights sleep. Last night I was speaking to the owner Geraldo a Belgium motorcyclist and he had given me a couple of pointers for routes through Honduras. This morning another leisurely breakfast and then Geraldo helped me get the bike out through the bar when I say he helped he actually did it and I supervised :-) So another recommendation coming up ViaVia in Copan Ruinas run by Geraldo all bikers welcome and here is his number if help is needed 00504/98400292 blond large breasted 18 year old chica’s are also welcome so this chap has a broad taste.

Filled up just outside after getting lost in the one-way system seems par for the course on leaving any new town and hit the road. The weather here is wet and overcast and was the same yesterday threatening to rain and when it did rain not enough to stop pull your waterproofs on. Lovely road out of town passed an elderly couple on a motorcycle so waved but ignored as he was focused on riding passed them about 4 times during the day as I kept stopping to take photos they finally got used to me passing them and I was getting a wave now :-) Later in the day I came across what looked like a landside and the road was covered in brown treacly mud and there where lot vehicles stopped and I noticed a little older lady with a rucksack walking on the side of the road with a helmet then I noticed a bloke in brown leather jacket waving at me. I was trying to keep the bike upright as it was like riding on ice but as I went past I realised it was my new friends and they had gone down in the mud and that why everyone had stopped and was helping he signalled me to take it easy but I was already totally focussed on getting through the mudslide follow a truck through trying not to touch the brakes and keep rolling forward. Not surprising my new friends had gone down as there was absolutely no grip I only got through by pure luck and the fact that I slowed to a walking pace because of the commotion. They where both on there feet so I hope they are both okay did not want to get involved but as a foreigner here not sure what I could have done to help.

It was damp and the roads were greasy and after the scare above my pace dropped considerably.

The roads here are not to good potholes everywhere. The locals make an attempt to fill them and fix them and ask for money to do this got to admire there entrepreneurial spirit but I think they are making it worse rather than better and I just wave and smile as I flash through. Got to Gracias at about 3.30 problem is when you arriving in a town early you are less likely just to take the first place that you rock up to. I was looking for an address that Geraldo had given me but could not find it so went to about 4 different hotels either to expensive or too much of a dive even by standards. Normally I would have taken one by now. Doing a U turn and a bloke in jeep ask me if I needed any help and I told him I was looking for a hotel and he said expensive and I said no so he said to follow him which I did and he took me to a place right in the center of town and then drove of. Thanks mate turned out to be reasonable so checked in there. Went for a wander but not much to this place so not sure why it had been recommended. A one horse town but it did have a Chinese restaurant so fancied I change so that where I had my tea Chicken Chop Suey and it was huge no why I could manage on my own but very good needed a change for me taste buds there only so much beans and rice you can eat before it gets old. Was chatting to the Chinese girl there and turned out she was from just outside Hong Kong trying to remember any Chinese I knew but blank and my Spanish not so great either but entertaining.

Back to the room as was not the kind of place for wandering around in the evening I think I was the only tourist in town so another night in my faithful computer and me joys of travelling :-)

Fireworks anyone![/caption]

Final thought was each town you come through has loads of stalls either side on the side of the road selling whatever the town speciality is today was fireworks loads of them just on the side of the road if these went up there would be a hell of a spectacle no Health and safety here.

 

 
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