Since leaving the chilly mountain town, San Cristobal, we descended the mighty mountains of Chiapas to the lowlands of the Yucatan- just in time for the high-peak of the dry season. Yay….
Our last stop in Mexico, was the archaeological zone, Palenque. It’s the first archaeological temple in a jungle setting, that I visited. It was impressive, but it had has been the 4th ruin that I’ve visited. I’ll take two more visits to Tikal and Machu Picchu- and no more.
It’s hot and there is no escaping this heat. However, I’d like to announce that I completed riding through Mexico! After 5,000 kilometers from border city, Nogales to a ramshackle border town, El Ciebo, I crossed the Guatemalan border on May 2 2012 with Paul. We saw many Central American “illegals” making the long trek on the northbound road as we approached the boarder.. We spent the night 40 kilometers near the Guatemala border on May 1st- my birthday. Many warned that the area near the Guatemalan border and Mexico would be “dangerous”. But is was all great and relaxed. We shared our water with a few Hondurans (crossing illegally?) and saw a few more migrating walkers the following day, The only interactions we had were nothing more than a “hola”. The crossover was relaxed (but expensive- USD $20 to exit).
On my quarter century birthday morning, I sat in a cow field eating oatmeal in 90 F/33 C degree weather, naked-like-the-day-I-was-born. Naked, not for tradition- but because I didn’t want to wear my disgusting stink and sweat soaked clothes until I had to put them on for riding. I suffered a little more from a wasp sting before breakfast and bitten by fire ants at dinner. I was more than “uncomfortable”, yet still, I maintained a “happy” birthday smile as I reminisced the past 25 years of life. I can proudly say, that one of the biggest challenges I recently overcame for the travel dream- to lose the fear and cycle through the country of Mexico.
The generosity of the people is no different than Mexico, but there are some differences cycling in Guatemala. There is less industrial and urban development in the Peten region, allowing the jungle terrain to flourish. There is more poverty in Guatemala. There is a limited selection of food in the village stores. It is more expensive to buy food and gasoline (for our stoves) by 60%. In Mexico, it’s common to see dogs roaming the neighborhood. Here, in Guatemala, the king of the road is the Pig. Mud covered pigs cross the roads, savaging for food.
Pigs, goats, dogs… I see them often
But, this was the first…
Yes, her name is Chama. Sadly, on a leash ready for sale. Paul and I took the afternoon break from the sun to adore little Chama.
It’s a challenge to ride in this heat! Only before 1 pm can we ride until we take our 5 hour breaks in the shade. The evenings are no better. Because it is warm at night too. We cannot escape the constant sweating and residue funk.
Arriving to Flores was the nice break we needed. Flores is a island surrounded by the blue Lake Peten Itza. We spent the afternoon with two travelers from Amsterdam at a lake-front cafe and refreshed by jumping into the lake. The reward we rode hundreds of kilometers for.
Yes, it’s harsh. Biting bugs and heat will be the many challenges to ride through Central America’s lowlands. We are riding eastbound to visit Belize. We wont sense the cool break until we reach the Belize beaches, in the meantime we’re praying for rain.