Monday, October 22, 2012

Love Motels

Sunday afternoon and back in Antigua...

It seems that I need to go back to school and do some more mapreading.  I had anticipated two days of  all out riding, but the truth is that I covered over 300 kms on Saturday and today without even breaking a sweat.  I guess there must be something to this mapscale thing.  When I was looking at the map, the Pacific seemed to be about as far away as Kelowna is to Vancouver....oh well the mission was accomplished...

I managed to get away from Antigua around 8:00 AM Saturday morning, and as I figured, I had to ride between the two breasts (Volcan Agua, and Volcan Fuego).  They are certainly well formed, smooth, and not unlike boobs.  Anyways, my dead reckoning was right on, and I was soon dropping down onto the flats from the mountains around Antigua.  Have I mentioned how beautiful the Gautemalan women are?  I don't take direct pictures of the young girls as I may be taking a chance at getting a kick in the balls, or a strong frown. My neice calls me a creeper, so I need to keep my mind on the ride, and my eyes on the road... You will have to take my word for it, that the women are beautiful...back to Volcanoes...

I just met my new roomate, who is an Austrian dude. He has been here 6 or 7 times to study Spanish.  Should be some very interesting dinner conversations.

I headed south from Antigua, and it was warming up as I dropped in elevation.  The road was great, with a sufficient number of twisties to make it interesting.   I passed through a number of smaller peublos, and the weather was fine and the sky was realtively clear.
Blondy  ran well, and in spite of myself, I was happy with the cleaning job that Oscar junior had done on her.  I was running my new stickers that I had found in town, so Blondy is beginning to look like she has some miles on her.

The general plan was to find some ruins, and to see what the Pacific Ocean looked like this far down the latitudes.  I am not sure that I expected much change in the water, but  I was really looking forward to finding the ruins, if I could.  The last time I was near some decent ruinas was when the boys and I went to Mexico, and I think that was 5 years ago, or so.  Anyways,  the route that I had planned, and the ride that resulted were fairly close, with a significant difference:  I had not planned on another night in a love Motel..


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From my ITMB maps (published in Vancouver) I could see that there were at least three significant sites that I could attempt to find.  WikiPedia confirmed that the sites were pre-Mayan, and definitley worth trying to visit.

Volcan de Fuego is behind the joggers....


 Volcan de Augua was clear today. I met a farmer who said that I could ride my caballo to the top of the volcan, if I wanted to...I decided to give her some road miles first..
Volcan de Fuego had a bit of cloud cover which came and went.
My morning coffee and breakfast stop at my favourite (not) restaurant.  While I was standing in line, a nice young man comes up to me and says:"We are in Guatemala now, mister, and it is not a good idea to leave your jacket and helmet on your bike."  Sigh...

At my target town, I started asking for directions to the ruins. I finally found out from a bike shop owner that the "museo"  was out of town a few kilometers.  I followed my nose, stopped a cop and asked for directions, and finally came upon a guarded and locked gate to this monument to industry.  I thought to myself that I have come across the mirror image of the last days of the Tahsis Mill.  It turns out that most of the ruinas, or archaelogical sites have long since been taken over by industry, by residential development, and that there is a very low attention paid to the Pre-Columbian artifacts in this region.  It seems that the old buildings that I was looking at were the remains of one of the original sugar-cane processing plants, and that the company had gathered all of the remaining artifacts under one roof.  Wikipedia tells me that as recently as 1997, sites have been lost in the area due to housing developments.  Sigh...



I eventually talked my way into the site, past a well-meaning guard with a stainless steel sawed off shotgun. (seems to be the weapon of choice for bank guards, school guards, house guards, police, and private security guards down here: it makes sense: a round of double ought BB will take out quite a few museum theives)...

I had found what I was after, and spend an hour in awe of the carvings and relics from a Pre-Columbian past.  When my ancestors were plugging holes in their wooden boats, digging up the bogs of Scotland for peat, and generally painting themselves blue...these magnificant relics of another significant era in human history were standing proud and were full-fledged features of well-developed and significant cultures in the New World.










































This woman's face is the same one I see every day on the streets of Guatemala..







This boxeadores carving is magnificent.  It is about 10 feet tall and carved in relief.  The detail is amazing...



























































The carving of the Jaguar is absolutely incredible....








The visit to the site was very gratifying.  While it would be great to see these artifacts in-situ, I am afraid that perhaps there is a case for museums.  I understand that there are a number of relics from the area that were sent to Berlin in the late 1800's.  Somewhat more accessible to those who study such artifacts, I suppose...


Blondy waited patiently, overseen by a young guy with a sawed off shotgun.

I wonder how many artifacts are buried in the sugar cane fields, never to be seen?
This was a visual marker as I wandered around, and helped me to keep orientated.


 This huge tree was the centerpiece in the next site that I was looking for, closer to the Pacific.  In a small peublo, where the museum was closed, of course, there were these huge faces implanted into the main square...



There were about 8 of these different "fat men", and they surrounded the huge tree in the middle of the square...






The tree was the centerpiece of the plaza.



 It was Saturday, and the square was filled with the locals.  Someguy with a very loud  speaker was selling something to the folks, along with his helper, SnoopyDog..

 The figures are huge and certainly extraordinary ..





The town had an interesting little church, and I had a brief snack and people watched..




The beginning of some bad directions, or possibly some misunderstood directions...





I had what I thought was a clear conversation about directions, and set off down this dirt track, which skirted around huge sugar cane plots.  I travelled what I thought was the indicated 5 kilometers and ended up in front of a gate and another guard with yet another sawed-off shotgun.  I had just about dumped Blondy in the river crossing, and I was a little choked that the so-called short cut ended with Shot gun Sam.  I back tracked, and when I got to the river crossing, I watched this fellow and wife do the crossing on the correct side of the river...Blondy did not get as nearly wet this time through.


As I made my way to the next site, I wondered how many artifacts are slowly dying beneath the sugar-cane fields?



I eventually made it to the Pacific.  I was about 40 km north of where I thought I was going to come out, but the beach view was fine, and I had a late lunch watching the locals enjoy the Pacific.









 Mrs. Mutt got most of my camerones, even I can cook prawns.



I had left things a little late, so I had about an hour before dark.  I was heading east, to get away from the tourist hotels when my Garmin fell out of its bracket.  This was at speed, with a line of traffic behind me.  By the time I had stopped and turned around, the guy behind me had stopped, and a fellow got out of the truck and picked up the bouncing Zumo.  I thought, oh-oh, Mr. Garmin is toast.  The guy gave me the unit, and I plugged it back in: one for Garmin, the Zumo still works in spite of being run over!...My guardian angel is still working, Sis.

Then it started to rain.  I made a decision that the next accommodation that was available was it for Saturday nite, and of course what turned up was another love Motel, complete with a shot gun carrying guard.  It was dark, and raining heavily, so negocions were quick.

 That is a mirror in the ceiling, and of course there was a giant bathtub. Unfortuanately there wasn't any hot water, and while the TV was adequate for a rainy Saturday night, there were no porn channels for a change.  Blondy was dry in the secure garage, so all was good with the world.  I had found some sites, and I did not have Spanish homework...




The next morning, a nice breakfast in a small cafe in a smaller peublo..

 Early the next morning, I rolled east, and came across a little town. Being Sunday, there was a market to wander around.





Mangoes, I think..




I started out to climb a road which I thought might lead to the top of Volcan Fuego...




I was at the base of Volcan Fuego, so I decided to see if I could find a road to the top of the volcano..Eventually I ran out of courage, and turned around.  From what I could tell, a very small village was at the end of the road.  The ruts and washouts were getting a bit much, and I was on a Sunday drive, not a mission...



I ended up in the middle of a road race, which seem to occur a lot in this part of the world.  People are either running marathons or having bike races.  There were a number of motos who were acting as road monitors, so I just became a monitor and had a good chat with an old guy who was a former bike racer.  These guys don't fool around, and when they hit a hill, it is a real hill...



 I eventually left the bike race and got into an area where there were a bunch of brick kilns for making bricks and tiles.  Of course all of this is done by hand.  The bright red of the bricks was intriguing, and although I did not see any kilns working today, I have seen them fired up and running..fascinating..

A kiln, I believe..


I passed a gas station an saw a number of bikes there, so I turned around and pulled up to see what was up with the riders.  They were from cuidad Guatemala, the capital which is about an hour away.  Most of them were riding crotch rockets, and one of them had a brand new Hyosong. I don't know how many cc's that bike was, but they were all leathered up, and young guys who appeared to be able to crank the throttle over until she squeals.  I had a good talk with them: obviously of the upper class folks..I would say.







 I managed to talk my way past a road block and get into another small town that was having a parade.  The horses below are all dancers.  It was amazing to see these cowboys and their horses literally dance down the street.  I have never seen such a performance.  Unfortunately I was only carrying one SD card, but the pics below give you an idea of the performance.  This was truly a wonderful end to the weekend, and interestingly enough, most of the cowboys were packing pearl handled 45's in their waistbands....