Monday, May 11, 2009
5/11/09 Panajachel-Chichicastenango-Antigua. 100 miles
So I left Panajachel at 2:00pm in good weather and looking forwards to he short 1.5 hour ride to Chichicastenango way up in the mountains. Looking good with sweeping views of Lago Atitlan but as I got higher up into the mountains the sky got dark as usual now this time of day and the rain started to come down hard. I pulled into a little tienda where a family of kids seemed to be in charge with no adults in sight. With my bike and me out of the rain I had another waiting session for an hour or so and made fast friends when I pulled out a lollipop to munch on and passed some out as well. A little later the parents and baby showed up and the whole family of 7 was chilling out with me and asking a few questions about me and the bike. The rain let up, I said goodbye and it was a short but treacherous ride through mountain passes with really shitty roads and crazy bus drivers all trying to take me out. I rolled into town and pretty soon was approached by a kid trying to lead me to a hotel he was hocking rooms for. It was about to rain again so I said ok and later found out it was the same place I was looking for anyway. 6 bucks a night for a private room with private bathroom and hot water. Spent the rest of the day walking around town and catching up on emails. Later on I was reading in my room when at about 9:45 the owner bangs really hard on my door and tells me to turn out the light. What the fuck, are you serious? I put on some pants and opened the door. The guy is really rude and says that everyone is going to sleep because it is late and to turn off the light. I don't even know what to say at this point but I decide to be cool and turn out the light and continue reading with my headlamp on. Funny how I got solicited for a room and then am not allowed to have a light on, or am I missing something? I decide if anything else weird happens there are going to be some serious words had with this guy, but the night was fine, with the hardest rain I've ever heard coming down all night long. Woke up the next day and went to the Sunday market, which was all that I've heard it was with everyone selling everything and anything for blocks and blocks. Also made it a point to hike up a large hill to a local idol which the Mayan people come to worship and pray for luck, good health, a husband, etc. I was lucky enough to walk in on a ceremony which was taking place and I got a few good pictures. Went back to the room to head to Antigua 2 hours away before the rain hit and said goodbye to the family living there and the 2 wonderful, happy little sisters who were excited at the gringo guest who had been staying there. I took some pictures and promised to send them some when I got a chance. Headed to Antigua and same story with the rain. Got pounded for a while but rode through it and stopped at a hostel where I had gotten to know the owners from when I was here during Easter. The girl working the desk, Nancy (beautiful, I like her a lot and she is always politely turning down my advances) checked me in and later on Blanca and her husband (the owners) showed up and we had a friendly little reunion. Went and got some food and later walked into a cinema where they show free movies and serve food and drinks. As I'm sitting there I feel a tap on my shoulder and It's Charlotte and Sean, my friends from Easter who have just arrived and who I've been keeping in touch with. They coincidentally found me at the theater which was amazing timing and we all caught up while they told me about their 6 day jungle hike to the ruins at El Mirador which I passed on. Also got the whole scoop on the fact that they are together now and all the details about that. I knew it was gonna happen at some point anyway! I plan on climbing Volcan Pacaya tomorrow and taking a bus to El Salvador and Honduras this week (don't want to take the bike and mess with border crossings for such a short trip.) Coincidentally, Sean and Charlotte are doing the EXACT same thing at the same time so I will probably have some travelling partners for the first time, for a little while at least.