Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Iximche Tecpan

Sunday we got picked up by our new great friends Johanna and Edwin ( La united y El camion) who drove us to Iximche, Mayan ruins close to Tecpan…

Beautiful setting and great sky( we are in tropical

mountains)…and we had the honor to arrive when the ashes of a fire used the night before for a ritual were still smoldering in front of a site that has seen thousands of years of similar events. I took that as a blessing for our future path.

I also found out about my nagual according to the mayan

calendar… “ 3 I’X ”… the jaguar. Also related to one of the element …tierra…!

And we all got the best parrillata (bbq) ever! Very very good! And the tortillas, made by

hand right there were delicious .

Then we made a plan for the day after when we had to call a couple of shops and then go to Guatemala City to change the tires in a place were they could also do balancing( a very unusual concept here…)

We decided to take a cab into the city with our tires in

it…the safest and easiest way in a labyrinth of unknown streets of a very big city… a bit more espensive but well worth!Reading the news papers here, about crime in this chaotic capital is a bit unsettling….and risking to get lost , even during the day, could be bad. Motorcyclists ( and passengers) here has to have a specia vest with imprinted on the back in a reflective shining large size the same number of the licence plate…just because lots of criminals used to go around on bike and shoot around and run away in the traffic undetected….It appears that this expedient is working well.

Anyway all worked out and we have two new rear tires (balanced)

and ready to go to Tikal magnana.

And tonite we had a very nice dinner celebration with Johanna and Edwin and once again ( but never enough)we want to thank them for the incredible welcome and help that they have given to us.

And again: Antigua is a great, beautiful town. Lots of history, nice people, they even have a surf shop and Rainbow Café is a great place to hang out.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Different Universes.

So yesterday we rode to Guatemala City for our tires change… we had to follow ( our angel) Johanna in her car because the route was quite complicated and we could have ended up getting lost in parts of town were we should not hang out asking for direction, even during the day.
The first store had only ( too smooth) street tires and the shop looked a bit inadaquate to us, on the phone all seemed ok ( maybe a bit too inexpensive to be true) but the reality was quite different…so we went to the Suzuki dealer ( they on the phone told previously to Johanna that they didn’t have our tires size..)but at list they had two rear ones…with two different prices and very expensive….and they would have installed them but without balancing … And… It was Saturday and everything was closing at 12….and the sky was getting so black and loomy and we were so frustrated by everything so we ended up buying them, tossing them in Johanna’s car and heading back to Antigua under the rain, sweating again, and feeling even more frustrated and confused.
I think that is finally sinking in the reality of the different world we are in …
But somehow ( I speak very personally now) learning a bit more of how people live everyday here and some data like the fact that only 3% of the population makes it to college and only 1% of it finish it, or that mortality rate is so huge that many parents don’t give a first name to their children until they make it to on year of age is putting things in perspective…
Not that we don’t have access to this type of information at home on our handy computers, but here it has such an impact on me… maybe because we are breathing the same air mixed with the same kerosene fumes…
... ... ...
Anyway, tomorrow we’ll make more calls and we’ll find the shop that can do a proper job.
Meanwhile here’s a pic of the volcano we can see from the window of our room.
Antigua is beautiful, more pics to come. No rain today( so far).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

more birthday stuff

And so with the joy of wearing dry clean clothes and the welcoming, friendly smile of Johanna we started the evening birthday celebration.
She picked us up at the hotel with her car ( it felt strange to sit in a car!) and after a short ride we were some were in town in a very nice new yorker expat ‘s bar. And, shortly after Makali,a Johanna’s collegue joned us and we toasted to Karl’s life with good local bier, “illegal” metzcal and …pop corns!
Our hosts are working for the Peace Corp and it was quite interesting hearing first hand of some of the wonderful work they are doing in here.
We also discuss some options for the next travel plans with them and listen to their take on the situation.
And I even found a decent guitar in the “secret” metzcal room so we had some metzcal/ital/flamenco (metzitalenco?) improv happening and with the full support of our party I had the best palmeadores ever!
Then time for dinner came and we moved conveniently to next door, were an intriguing Italian expat ownes a very nice restaurant…. Are we really in Guatemala? The tortellini alla bolognese were delicious!
And so it was the various liquors tastes he kept bringing out, together with some of the very interesting stories of his life.
And we even had a cake and a candle for Karl! And he had also his first "La Mordida"( basically gently smashing his face ( this time from Johanna)on the cake while he’s blowing the candle as you can see from the pic). The true Guatemalan cumpleano intitiation experience!
We slept very very well.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Antigua, Guatemala

First of all Happy Birthday to Carlito!
All of you: sing with me....Happy birthday to you...etcetera...
In the pics he's having his first antiguan breakfast after a night of deserved rest.
We left San Cristobal in the morning not as early as we planned due to my second plug leaking air...we had to re-plug it and that took a while...the tires change tomorrow will make me (us) very happy.
Then the borders...the exit from Mexico was actually painless. We were on the other hand sweating profusely, but only because of the fierce heat.
When we arrived,a couple of miles after at the entrance point to Guatemala we thought that the people there directed us in the middle of an extremely busy market area instead of the passport office but no! It was the right way...We had to slalom trough vendors, chickens, kids, dogs, stalls, carts,beggars, shocked tourist and... cars and huge trucks coming from the opposite way...Tijuana is a piece of cake compare to this! But we made it to the offices and they were efficient and very corteous.
Then we took off trough a fantastic mountain side and gorges and beautiful clouds...than it became darker and darker until all the rain in it decided to pour on us!
Soaked again! Very very soaked...too late again to stop safely to wear rain gears...
So we kept going ...and going ...and going... we even got separated again trough a town with a lot of traffic navigating trough a river that must have been a street sometime...this time a couple on a scooter volutarely told me were karl was waiting for me when they saw me waiting for him...we must stand up quite a bit and again a sign of welcome in an other country.
And so we made it to the center of Antigua at dark and under a torretial diluge so we crashed in the first hotel we found. We parked our bikes in the lobby and we took a great warm shower and we loved wearing our dry clothes. We had a nice middle eastern (!) dinner and we slept non stop until this morning. Our clothes are drying now ( after been washed)and this afternoon we'll meet with Johanna and tomorrow off to Guatemala city to change tires.
Then...we'll see what to do, our plans are ever changing and it's all a learning experience including building strenght in accepting delays, de-tours and disappointments... geographicals and emotionals... ... ...
The team is still strong and in good health.
So we'll figure out also how to make it more south next... Maybe building a raft like El Che did...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

S C D L C market...

Todays images samples... and no comment. Too much to tell! Just visit it sometime!
And tomorrow up very early and going to Guatemala. Possibly all the way to Antigua.
We have been in email contact there with Johanna (she used to live in SF across the street)that extremely kindly and super efficiently made an appointment for us at a Suzuki dealer in Guatemala City were we'll have new tires installed. Mine has two punctures and Karl new Metzeler type is wearing out too fast. The roads are not exactly good and dry so we opted for safety.
Mole is good but we are enjoying pizza too! Lots of italians all over Mexico.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

San Cristobal de las casas

Tierra del Subcomandante Marcos!
We love it!It's so nice here. Although, on the way,Karl lost a nice bolt that is holding the fairing up...but we found Oscar just few miles after and the Carlito the Great Mechanic fixed it in no time! Cost for it 4 pesos!
Beautiful valley and mountain road...
San Cristobal from last time I was here (25years ago) has grown immensely. But still has kept her charm and welcoming.
We'll take more pictures tomorrow, right now it's raining cats and dogs!

Monday, September 21, 2009


That's where we are tonite...and most likely we are the only two gringos in town....
The drumming kids were rehearsing pretty loudly but they were having a good time.
The transportation in this trycicles is quite fun too and efficient. The women dress with very long skirts as andalusian gipsy stile and their fierce attitude and soma reminds me something of that culture.
We got our first oil change in Oaxaca this morning and as we rode trough a beautiful thousand and one turns road we got quite strong rain storm so we got soaked but we dried off in 20 minutes, yes it's still hot. The valleys and mountains full of catus and agaves (metzcal)were so pretty....
I got my second tire puncture too... already fixed in the posada parking lot.
Tomorrow off to San Cristobal.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

oaxaca pics....

Too many to upload so we'll send out a few. The ruins of Montalban are absolutely gorgeous.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


We left a beautiful Zipolite/Sauna early this morning to find ourself freezing on beautiful mountains toward Oaxaca. I think we reached 9000 feet and anyway we saw snow!
It was such a relief!
And so we arrived in this most congested city in a Saturday rush hour and we had to districate ourself in a labirinth of one ways, streets unmarked and honking cars...
And now we are in a posada right close to the Zocalo, were tonite, after meandering in an incredible market full of spices fruits artesania of all kind ,we had the chance to experience an extraordinary marimba band, danzones tradizional and mariachis all playing at the same time in a very energetic,chaotic and happy cacophony. Street vendors selling all kind of artisan items and questionable very bizzare things too...smiling people, kids, beggars,very few gringos and fresh fresh fresh air! We defenetly needed a break from the constant sweat we experienced since LA.
I left the camera at the posada so no pictures of the Zocalo...sorry.

Friday, September 18, 2009

dark moon in zipolite

Still here... Still resting and surfing. Still waiting for the laundry to return...meanwhile feeding the local bugs with our fresh gringo blood...although it's not so bad as last time I was here.Yesterday there was a ligthing storm but no rain. We made our plan for next few days. Oaxaca, San Cristobal de las Casasas and then Guatemala...
It's so peaceful and layed back here! Easy for me to transform into siesta man, easy to meditate on the moment and on life.
Movement is good as so it's stillness.
the day of the dark moon today...
her radiance...
her knowing...
her silence...
her profundity...
is inside all of creation..."
And here is a pic of the magical shelter were we are celebrating.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


And here we are in deligthful Playa Zipolite!
And courtesy of my dearest friend Susanna we are stayng in a wonderful magical place were I can sleep and sleep and sleep and Carlito can surf and surf and surf.
And so we are both very happy…believe me!
The Ocean yesterday decided to give him a strong ritual of initiation. We went for an afternoon swim in shallow water and Karl felt a powerful sting in his right foot…
Waking out of the water Bruno ( a friend owner of this beautiful cabanas/restaurant called Las Casitas) saw us and Karl’s bloody foot and promptly guided us to the local doctor, who confirmed his immediate diagnose: manta ray sting!
And very furtunately he was there and so the doctor. According to past (rare) experiences , the poison of this creature can get extremely painful to the point that made big strong guys crying bent in two…but the doc injected some stuff in the foot and brave Karl experienced only part of the pain. But pain it was and he had to add a couple of shots of local Metzcal to easy it out. A new medicine he higtly appreciated!
He was back on riding waves at dusk again!
Laundry is drying ( my riding jacket was unberably stinky!) and all we have to do is
enjoying this little paradise for a little while.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

And so finally we made it to the wave!
And so Capitan Carlito got to use the board! After a long but very fun ride with millions of twist and turns we arrived at a nice resort right in front of the water and In minutes he was ready to jump in the Ocean with huge waves and (for me) scary look! But he paddled bravely so far that he almost disappeared and I waited for him until sunset…his smile was priceless! Then after dinner we crashed exhausted but he woke up before sunrise (due to the clock still set backward but also by his excitement) and went out again in the dark….I think he got his fun!
Then we decided to ride to Acapulco… another long stretch…to arrive at another monstrosity…why so many people want to go there? Of course we didn’t go to the ultra expensive resorts that are crowding the all area but still…it’s a zoo! The only cute thing (in our experience) was the painted busses. We stayed in an expensive bad hotel and finally after a so expensive breakfast we decided to keep going on the coast…and there the police was waiting for us! Ah! Two gringos! Ah! They took the wrong turn! Ah! Let’s nail them! And to make a long story short we had to come up with our 1000 pesos donation to the officers that were threatening to take us to the station and to fine us 6000 pesos (we learned that it would have been at the most 1000 anyway, but someone said that it would have been 60…who knows?)… Heard this one before? Oh yea!
Let’s move on! Acapulco nada mas!
And now another cultural info (for those that have not driven down here yet): the left turn signal of the car in front of you means: 1) I turn left so I will slow down2) please pass me, it’s clear. 3) I am passing the car in front of me, so I will accelerate.
When, in the little village, the cab in front of me turned his blinker on I understood option 2 but it was instead option 1 so to avoid a collision a vired with her… to realize that my back tire was …flat! Not fun! But not collision either.Carlito was ahead of me but he came back soon and we found some shade in front at an animal inspection booth where we were welcomed in a very nice way by the two attendants that got very shocked by the rapidity and efficiency of our repair. They were very intrigued by our small compressor and by the ability that Karl showed in plugging the hole caused by a very substantial nail. Very nice guys. And it was a good way to balance the bitter feeling left by the two shady cops….
Anyway… we made it today to Puerto Escondido. Not good for surfing but we got the best sunset ever!
The roads are great and the palmas and the banana trees are definitely a gorgeous fixture in this luscious vegetation. Dogs are slowly adamantly the middle of the roads and few are finding an abrupt end of their life that way too but I can see some Zen attitude in that. Cow, donkeys and good size iguanas had also crossed our path several times. And I saw a squashed couple of snakes that I wouldn’t want to step on if alive. People are generally smiling and waving but we must look to them as Martians with our sweat dripping dark gears. Internet connections sketchy… Please stay tuned. More to come!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

barra de navidad

...that's were we stopped tonite ...nice place right on the beach...nice warm ocean water....not the waves carlito was hoping for but defenetly refreshing after a pretty long ride on a very twisty and fun road we rode on under occasional rain showers. Also refreshing but we were re-drying right away!
We went trough Puerto Vallarta...quite horrible mega resorts architecture and very congested traffic...Karl was slaloming graciuosly trough it andI was following but I had often to remember that despite I don't have a surf board strapped to my bike, my givi cases are wider then his rig...
anyway... we can hear the ocean very strong sound and we have next to our room tre nice lams...really cute! The owners of this place are two nice women from Colorado ( one is mexican) that just opend the hotel/restaurant and we are voting this so far the cleanest and friendliest place so far!

Friday, September 11, 2009

free the freeway

Beautiful Baja adios!
Actual ferry experience:
Surprising good food on the ship.
Stinky and hot as hell Garage.
Great shower!
Met a group of beemers from Guatemala on the way back home.
Karl got sea sickness pills that made him sleep like a baby even after, when we were riding...
Nice breakfast, rain, beautiful people, too much traffic...
Ride to Tepic:
No more money to expensive mexican freeways! La carretera libre is so much beautiful, fun and ( on two weels) not much slower.
Too bad we got separated just entering town and we had to struggle to find each other again....
as soon as we lost site of each other we both went back to the confusing cross road but after
not seing each other for a while( probably like an old mime/clown skit), we tryed to go to the zocalo...but again we were waiting in two different squares! My walkietalkie battery was dead but finally I figure out how to call with my phone,and carlito turned his on! We were in two opposite side of town on rush hour...but finally we reconected. An other 30 minuts to struggle to find a place to stay and finally when I rode inside the garage the very first thing I did I ended up dropping my bike on the side of the van of the hotel's owner...not fun and defenetly embarassing! But ( so far) he's been very gracious and after all I have a nice mex insurance. Almost invisible damage on the van, appreciable damage on my pride.
We have to decide if taking the coast or going inland tomorrow. Weather a strong discriminant.
Watching replay of footage of 9/11 on TV...no comment necessary on that.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I guess I forgot to say were we are...: still La Paz, BCS .
Finally we got the tickets for Mazatlan!!!! We'll leave tonite at 8pm. A 12 hours trip.
After paying a fine for being illegal immigrants and having to wait ( basically an extra day) for our not knowing and for their strange ( after all we are strangers in an other country)office hours and computers with a very erratical working performance .
I can think of much worse places to be stuck though...and so we had time to get used to this heat in a very comfortable and safe place. Ice cream last night was very good!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I think I figure the pc pictures resizing...and we got our first taste of the ( low) speed of paper work in this wonderful country today...it's all a great learning experience..and a lesson in patience.
BTW..there was a ferry leaving today...but when we found that out it was too late to ( infact) be ready with the documents. One office was also close ( lunch at 10am?) and that was definitely part of the delay. OK. We'll leave tomorrow then! . I't too hot to do anything from noon to six. So we are also learning to be really lazy ( siesta?). It will come handy in the future!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

jemena (the hurricane)

Well...We wanted to stop in Mulege but the hurricane went trough it very badly and this little nice village was practicly destroyed...very sad...all the belonging of this poor people were scattered in the street and still wet and muddy... very very sad... people wandering around working hard to save what they could and trying to rebuild their lifes after the disaster...we saw an chopter and few trucks full of militaries hopefully bringing some relief to the area...
we didn't feel like staying and we left pretty quickly.
That shocking tragedy can't be even faynltly certainly compared to our first problems but I 'd like to report them too...
Karl lost again the right case and sligthly damaged the board. This time it happened on a detour, due to the road damage, were wee had to ride on rocks and pebbles... we migth have to use locktite on the clamps...
Then we stopped in Loreto were we stayed on an hotel right in front of the cathedral..very nice and picturesque and so the booths for the fiesta of the loreto's vergin...except...the fiesta was happening that evening...and that night...infact we had the fiesta right in front of our window! Local talent concert, speeches, tower bell playing ,country mex, pop star and firewors included...
fun but long and well attended , thousands...
anyway they were thanking the virgin that spared miraculously the city ( no kidding) and so the hurricane hit badly south and north of it...
but today we made it to La Paz!
to learn (while profiuosly dripping sweat in our gears) that contrary of what Lonely Planet says the ferry leaves on Thursday...so we will have to wait here an other day ( not a bad place really..)...and we'll have to get used to it but we will trash the book most likely. The other two things I looked up ( room prices) were also wrong!
Still struggling with my (new) netbook(pc)and how to resize pics so you'll have to wait for images...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

surfing the topes

Left Ensenada, we tried unsuccessfully and a bit impatiently to see the Bufadora( a natural water spray that supposedly goes up 90 feet high on the cliffs coast)... we saw a lot of local tourist though...it's Sunday after all.
Then we decided to continue to Guerrero Negro. There are a lot of "topes" or speed bumps on the road and we hopped on many of them happily...then ( riding behind Carlito)on one ,not passed even very fast, I saw his right case coming off and the surf board dragging it on the road...surfing?
Anyway no damage, but from now on Carlito will check the clamps on the bags more often...
The desert is beautiful (some saguaro cactus are three story high!) and the curvy road just a lot of fun. No pics ... still working on getting everything else working and getting used to the routine of the travel.
I'll try to keep the camera handy tomorrow. At the gas station they warned us that we might find water knee deep in some part of the roads still from the hurricane...we'll check that out!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

crossed the first border

Yes. We made it to Ensenada...after many miles (and millions of cars )of lane splitting in a very hot day.
Devin,Karl's cousin, after kindly hosting us at his apartment in LA, escorted us on his KLR all the way accross the most crossed border of the world.Tijuana. What a mess! We had fun!
Ensenada evening is cool and we are enjoying some breaze from the Ocean. Tacos good.
Here two shots from the starting day in SF.