Friday, December 14, 2012

A river crossing, human sacrifice and the end of the world!

Yesterday was rather uneventful, we rode and rode for Tikal, didn't quite make it so we set up shop in Flores. The hotel was full of bugs, but the guy at the front desk was nice and even helped us order dinner and have it delivered. He also sat down with us and answered questions about the map. The road was very twisty for most of the day until we hit the straight away and we did 75 mph for the first time in days. It was a welcome change from all the curves. We descended out of the mountains and onto the jungle plains and the temps started to climb. It turned out to be 90+ for most of the day. We made it to Sayaxche about noon and tried to figure out how the river crossing was going to play out. We watched the barge travel the 30 yards across the river with semis and people aboard and saw it tilt and sway as they disembarked. It was quite a sight! We rode aboard and the whole thing went smoothly and soon we were in Flores! The hot water in the hotel was on demand, but the setup was an electrocution waiting to happen so we took cold showers. The wires were exposed and the copper ground was wrapped around the PVC pipe that the shower head was attached to and then screwed into the concrete with a rusty screw! The A/C was cold though and the room was quiet. Quiet until the roosters, who are all on east coast time, woke us up. The hotel even let us put our bikes in the lobby! In the morning we headed for Tikal and made it to the entrance for our usual photo shoot with the locals when we stopped at the gate to the entrance of the park. The road in as dotted with warning signs for unusual animals. Our creatures of the road included a hawk, toucans, about 200 coatimundi, 2 herds of brahma bulls (giant animals!) on a cattle drive down the highway that we had to weave through, at the direction of the cowboy controlling the herd, to get by and 20 or so peacock/turkeys that were very colorful with blue heads and shimmering feathers. There were also "hippies" everywhere looking for a place to camp to see the world end and also a ton of the end of the world people worshiping at one of the temples. Those end of the world people really crack me up. When the world was supposed to end last time I saw some otherwise normal looking people in an airport wearing shirts that begged me to ask them about the end of days. I really wanted to get their phone number and call them the day after the whole thing came crashing down and see what they had to say then. Anyway, I digress... The Mayan ruins were fantastic and our guide was very knowledgable. It was a fun tour of the place, what with the stories of human sacrifice (actual circular stone sacrificial altar pic attached) and all. It started to rain for the first time while we walked amongst the ruins. Then it started to pour and then we were walking in a river on limestone covered in moss. It got pretty slippery, but we climbed the steps to the highest pyramid and checked out the view anyway. It was spectacular! The clouds hung just above the jungle tree tops and the rain filled the air as we gazed out at the temple peaks piercing the jungle canopy. It was a magical view for sure. We have been traveling for about 5000 miles now and we have only scratched the surface, but that scratch alone really makes me feel the size of the world and the many different cultures and people that inhabit it. CNN was on our tv in the hotel last night and they claimed to cover everything that was worth knowing in world news in 30 minutes. Just the idea of that made me laugh. There have been so many people that we have passed and talked to and seen in small towns along the way that act like we are from mars that let me know that News really doesn't have a handle on even the smallest little bit of what is worth knowing in the world every day. I sure am enjoying seeing reality and not what somebody else wants me to see. I am also having a great time with my dad and I sure am happy that we got to do this together. In a big way I owe it to my wife for making all this possible, I sure am lucky.

Got up today and hit the highway and ripped for the border of Honduras! The views of the mountains across the border river valley into Honduras were breathtaking! The high peaks were blanketed in vegetation clear to the tops above the clouds! We made it to just outside the La Florido border crossing and stopped in a small town just short of the border to look for some lodging as it was getting dark. The town we drove through was nothing short of a toxic dump! There were people and trash intermingled in the streets and the smell was horrible! There wasn't a hotel to be found so we hightailed it back to the main road and found another auto hotel. When we pulled in we thought the place was abandoned, but out walked a little old man with a cane! He showed us into our "cell" for the night and locked up the garage containing the bikes. Safe and sound for the night. Honduras tomorrow!

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