Mazatenango to Guatemala City & Beyond

Summary:

Well, we dropped the bikes off in Escuintla and headed off into the maddening tourist hubs of Guatemala. We’ve seen beautiful sites, met great locals and travels and have arrived at the general opinion that riding buses for long durations of time will drive you insane. We got a good sense of those places that attract people from around the world, which we typically avoid via bicycle. Though we did get robbed, again, we loved our trek to the beautiful natural pools of Semuc Champey. We hope everyone is well!

Best,

LatvianAlaskan Family

P.S. Apologies for the latest set of photos. We forgot the charger for the camera with our bicycles. So, the pictures are taken by with a phones’s point and shoot. We will try not to do that again.

05/08/15 (Mazatenango to Finca Tour)

Opted to stay another day with Carlos’ family. One, it’s super hard to leave such a wonderful family and place nestled in the hills of San Francisco Zapotitlán where the nightly temperatures are rational and sleep comes dreamy, hugging you early and holding you late. Two, Augustine is also fighting off a persistent stomach bug that doesn’t seem to want to leave her alone.

Carlos and I went for a little excursion to a huge farm where teak wood, rubber trees, farmed fish, milk, and cocoa are all harvested – I’ve probably missed a couple of other goods in there. We traversed much of the farm by pick-up and that took upwards of an hour. We had not even meandered into every nook. The size of the place was astounding.

Just the road to get to the gate of the farm was a 20 min bump through a lush green expanse of sugar cane. Looking out at it, Carlos mentioned that right there was not only sugar for your coffee, but enough liquor to knock you dead.

After taking a tour of the grounds, Carlos checking in mainly on the rubber trees, we stopped in at the owners house. He wore Hawaiian shorts, a t-shirt and carried a beer in one hand and a fine Honduras cigarette between his fingers in the other.

We commenced with a slow beer drinking session for 4 hours in which every conceivable question was asked about cycling from Canada. We trailed off into conversations about making mango beer, poverty, and health. The latter was spurred on by a strange turn of events. A man showed up, obviously a worker on the farm, with two slips of paper. One sheet contained a workup analysis of the worker’s blood and the other of the farm owner’s.

We passed around the blood tests, compared them, oohed and awed, nodded appropriately, and ended with a solid medical analysis that it’s a good thing to drink beer. My medical Spanish is pretty sub-par, but from what I gathered the old man owner’s blood scores were a bit better than the worker’s. Glancing at the smiling, relaxed man, Honduras smoke curling up his cheek, beer sweating near his hand, I shook my head at the idiosyncrasy.

The farm turned out to be an incredibly hard place to leave. The owner had his own personal chef, who kept coming out with plates of smoked salmon, fried olives and other heart attack causing agents. Inexplicably, one cerveza would just magically appear, one after the other. Carlos and I had to plead for escapement – no more beer or food, seriously.

After letting our blood cool from the random, unmarked and unnamed celebrations, we set off into the falling light of evening. Silently watching the sugar rush by.

Getting back to the house, I had to explain to Ance my slight inebriation. A Guatemalan farm baron took me hostage, force fed me beer and appetizers, and wouldn’t let me go until passing me a Gallo ( the national beer) t-shirt and a spray for sore muscles. Really, it’s true.

05/09/15 (Mazatenango to Finca Louisiana)

As is custom, any more than one day, in one location, causes an explosion of gear and things. We spent the morning gathering up our tornado, looking under beds and turning up doo-dads in the most random of places.

Augustine seemed to be doing better in the morning and we were ready to hit the road after our 4-day hiatus of relaxing with Carlos and family, all farm tours included. Carlos planned to ride with us until Cocales, where he’d meet up with his family coming back from Guatemala City. We’d continue onto a farm where Carlos had contacted for us to crash at for the night.

Traffic out of Mazatenango insane and continued to be so for much of the 50+ KM to Cocales. Only slow and steady hills with flats making progression fairly quick. The constant sound of roaring traffic and some areas of construction making the distance to Cocales a blur.

It became clear as we neared Cocales, that we might have been wiser to stay with Carlos’ family for another day. Augustine took another turn towards stomach flu in the mid-day sun. We stopped several times for diarrhea runs. Ance and I feeling sorry we dragged the poor girl out in her condition.

By the time we showed up into Cocales, we were contemplating what to do. We ended up catching a ride with an ambulance to the nearest hospital in Patulul just 4 KM north. The visit turned out not to be too enlightening. The lab was closed, so no test could be done. The doctor on duty prescribed a dose of antibiotics and some other medication for stomach parasites.

Carlos consulted his brother-in-law, a pediatrician, over the phone about the proper course of action. He explained that if Augustine was not running a fever it would be better to weather through and hydrate rather than give antibiotics that kill both good and bad bugs or administer medicine to kill parasites that probably weren’t there, as parasites don’t typically cause fever – a symptom Augustine showed just two days before.

Ance and I threw up our hands, got some electrolyte juice for kids and headed back to Cocales with Carlos to the bikes. We decided to head to the Louisiana farm for the evening and see if things improved for Augustine over the night. Gave big hugs and fond farewells to Carlos and family for all their warmth and hospitality. Off we went to Louisiana.

Slow 7 KM of steady uphill. While saying goodbye to Carlos and family, I ended up feeling queasy myself. The last 7 KM to the farm consisted of dry heaving and cold sweats. While cycling uphill I got a taste of what Augustine was going through the past two days. It was not super pleasant. As a small present, we got a flat and patched it in a field of biting blood sucking psychos. I wondered what I’d done to damage my karma so badly.

We showed up at the Louisiana farm. In my hazy recollection, it is beautiful. Green with these incredible jagged peaks blanketed in life for as far as the eye can see. A happy, kind guard let us in and showed us where we could camp for the evening. A dry spot next to a tractor under a rusting tin roof. Perfect.

Before heading off to bed, Jorge Mario Gonzalez pulled in with a cherry red shiny new tractor. He stopped by and started chatting with us. A character of a saint, an easy going nature and a peaceful voice that lulls you into some kind of utopia about the nature of humanity. He offered us up a place to stay at his house tomorrow if I continued to be under the weather.

I went to sleep with a feeling of cold innards floating on a cold lake of loneliness. I woke, hustling to the toilet, attempting to avoid any adult accidents in a tent where such things are extremely unpleasant to clean up. On the plus side, Augustine seemed to be turning the corner. She smiled and laughed, spoke some Spanish with Jorge and generally seemed to be our daughter again.

You win some, you lose some.

05/10/15 (Finca Louisiana to Jorge Mario Gonzalez’s Home)

Two whole kilometers today. Retreated to Jorge’s house. I set up the tent at his house at around 8 AM and slept until the late afternoon. I woke pouring with sweat, not with fever, but due to the baking sun flexing its power at its height. Dazed and weak, I felt a bit better. Ready to eat.

Jorge and his wife invited us to a dinner of the most delicious chicken soup I’ve ever eaten in my life. Perfectly salty. Perfectly soupy. Perfectly perfect. Just thinking about it makes my mouth fill with hungry saliva.

It was mother’s day. I made a poor job of it. Will try to make something of it tomorrow. Better late than never. Or a dozen other cliche you could throw in here.

05/11/15 (Jorge Mario Gonzales Home to San Lucas Tolimán, Lake Atitlán)

Went to bed last night at some grandparents’ hour of 7:30 PM or near it. Woke rested and ready to go. Jorge’s wife brought us in for a mandatory breakfast, which, of course, was delicious. Jorge had already left for work an hour before we’d sat to break fast.

I opted to take Augustine’s trailer today as a lame attempt as a makeup for a terrible mothers’ day I provided to Ance yesterday. Augustine and I also drew a card for mamma. Augustine wanted to draw two mothers holding babies. So, that’s what we did.

An incredible day of riding. We coasted down from Jorge’s house to Patulul and made a turn-about starting up the long bang to San Lucas Tolimán on the shores of Lake Atitlán. It was slow going. A gentle slope in the morning turned into fantastic pitches straight up by the end of the day. We’d cycle for 40 mins or so and break for 15 Mins and head back at it. It took us 6 hours to make 30 KM.

As you crawl upwards the distant peaks become your footstool. Impossible looking coffee fields and narrow canyon-like valleys pitch left and right. You push against the mountain with your pedals. Instead of climbing, it feels like you’re attempting to move the slopes with your rubber wheels.

Somehow, Ance managed to get in touch with a municipal official when we showed up in San Lucas Tolimán. We were brought to a tourist house, given a room and were given permission to stay two days if we wanted. A brown wooden house on the shore of Lake Atitlán, we felt lucky beyond our stars.

Up here at 1,500+ meters (5,000+ feet) the heat of the day fades quickly. We actually put sweaters on and breathed deeply. Sucking in as much cool air as we can before plunging back to the coast with the forbidding heat, day and night.

05/12/15 (Tour of Lake Atitlán)

We left the bicycles at our totally random tourist resort on the lake coast and went for a ride by truck and boat around Lake Atitlán. We’d luckily stayed in San Lucas Tolimán. We found the other towns/cities around the lake plum full of tourists and as a consequence were slightly separated from reality and plagued with hectic haggling, for good reason, where people chase you down and nearly demand that you buy their wares and services. If we would have been walking our bikes everywhere, we probably wouldn’t have been hassled as much.

Atitlán itself is a marvelous place. It is skirted by Volcán San Pedro and Volcán Tolimán to the south and mind blowing steep mountain ridges to the north, west and east. It is a chalice of beauty sitting in the lower stratum of heaven, just under a mile up.

After taking our fill, we returned to our haven and sat slow, cooked slow, and stared out at the lake. Augustine played with kids at the nearby park. We let the night wrap us up and put us to bed. Peaceful and cool.

05/13/15 (Lake Atitlán to Siquinala)

So, the plan was to head further north, into the mountains, and then drop from the northern mountain ranges into Antigua Guatemala. Funny thing. When you look at a map, especially one without topography marks, those few inches look much easier than they actually are in reality.

We set off in the morning and pounded out of town and straight up for a good 30 Mins. We stopped on the slope jutting out of San Lucas Tolimán, probably leaning at a stop and holding our brakes on a grade around 17%. Ance and I looked at each other in a tired grin. This was simply punishment.

Perhaps if we weren’t pack hounds with mountains of gear on our bikes and a kid in tow we’d summit the hills of Atitlán. As it stood, we didn’t want to beat ourselves up to get 10 KM and opted to turn around and head down the 5,000+ FT from which we came.

It was a glorious soaring quick drop of 35 KM to Cocales with only one flat tire and only one section which seemed a lot less bumpy when we were going up. We pounded it out until Siquinala making around 65 KM easily for the day.

Both Siquinala and the preceding city to the west, Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa, are a mess of progress littered with human desires for advancement and not enough capital to rid itself of its own trash. They are ugly mish-mash bang ups of thriving life.

Found a place to camp right outside the Siquinala National police station. The chief of police seems to be on his way to being a successful local politician. Clean shaven, witty, well liked by his employees and totally impractical. He seemed nice enough.

Slept at the station right on the crammed main street scooting along the heavy traffic throughout the entire night. People stared and smiled as we put up our tent and made our dinner in the parking lot. Glamorous living indeed.

05/14/15 (Siquinala to Escuintla)

Short, strange day. It was only 25 KM or so into Escuintla, the majority of it up a steady gentle slope. The two volcanos near Antigua Guatemala to the north, Volcán Acatenango and Volcán de Agua, sat monstrously large in the distance as we hobbled our way.

Pulled into town and made straight away to the square. We ran into a man that literally became our angel in a way. Coincidentally, his name is Angel. He took it upon himself to show us around town and find the cheapest place to stay – as camping was totally out of the question. Angel also ended up offering us up a place to stash our bikes for awhile while we took a bus to go tour Guatemala.

After hitting up 3 or 4 hotels for prices, we eventually settled on a place that was offering 80 Quetzales for the night, with the ability to park our bikes and wash clothes. We bid farewell to Angel until tomorrow and headed to our destined hotel.

Things fell apart pretty quickly. We got to our hotel, pulled the bikes in and were invited to wash our clothes. The woman who was managing the place had a nice little 2-year-old boy and Augustine was ecstatic. Ance and I began hand washing our clothes, in a dreamy state of family bliss. A man showed up on a scooter and was obviously not very happy.

After consulting with the woman managing, he stormed up to us and asked in straight blocky English if we were going to pay for the water we were using to wash our clothes. “Water is much money here. You can’t just use and not pay.” A bit bewildered we stated in Spanish that the Señora said we could wash our clothes. He then proceeded to stammer that if we wanted to park our bicycles and wash our clothes we needed to pay a 120 Quetzals right now.

Now, we recognize that 120 Quetzales is not a lot – its around 17 dollars. We also recognize that water is a precious resource. Ance and I have talked many times about how our trip to this region is a privilege not readily granted to people of Latin America due to economic disparities. Maybe the guy had some bad run-ins with gringos before and prejudiced his approach to us.

However, the way he jumped at us, as if we’d come in unannounced and unwelcomed, was completely unnecessary. Additionally, his little tantrum about water being expensive seemed not really to go to the core. After he’d angrily shut off the tap to the pool of water we were using to wash clothes, the tank sitting on a platform just 10 meters above our head, began gushing with water and flowing all over the ground right next to us. If water was so expensive and it matter so deeply to him, he’d probably fix the waterfall leak sometime ago.

Maybe we all overreacted. At any rate, our deal was broken and we had no intention of staying with Mr. Tightwad and he probably didn’t really want us around either. Off we went.

Meandered into busy mall/commercial square. Found ourselves deep in a pit of capitalism at Pollo Camperos buying ice cream and poking around the internet. To top off good luck, found out all the websites I manage, including our own, have been shut down due to thousands of malware bits of code strewn into every part of my digital universe. We’d been hacked.

The lighting began splitting the sky and literally rumbled the very floor of the building we were in. An angry geyser of water, full open, blew forth from the sky, drowning out every sound except its fury. It was very impressive.

After a 2 hour deluge meandered around a bit and found one of those hotels that offers hourly rates for friendly and probably off the record relationships. It was cheap enough and the manager welcomed us in with a smile and graciously let us park our bicycles while we went to the market to get some food for dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast.

The downpour and half-hand-clothe-washing session rendered most of our wardrobe wet. Ance hung our stuff in every spare nook of our love cave, Augustine lost herself in that magical electronic mirror with colorful cartoons and I banged my head staring at all the malware creeping within nearly every corner of our website. An interesting day.

I went to sleep with a sigh, too late to now really recall. The mirrors on the ceiling cast a dark reflection of sleepy bodies seeking rest.

05/15/15 (Escuintla to Guatemala City)

Angel’s wife and uncle turned out to be just as warmhearted and welcoming as him. We headed straight over to the address he’d given to us yesterday to drop off our bikes and head north by bus – through Antigua Guatemala and to Guatemala City.

We were greeted by Angel’s uncle. He’s a wiry old man with a hop in his step and an energetic leap towards anything he finds even minutely interesting. We brought our bikes into the sweaty house and shared some Coca-Cola while questions about our trip by bicycle fell from his tongue rapid fire.

Tío ended up walking us to the bus stop. At 75 he takes huge strides for a short man and very rapidly. Everyone knows him and stares in amazement as we pass by houses through the shortcut he brought us on to the bus stop. He eventually gets to the point where he is telling everyone he is going to Alaska with us. Everyone hoops and hollers. Tío winks merrily.

We eventually climb on the bus for the first 60 min trek towards Guate. We stopped in Antigua for the afternoon to see the sites and check out what all the fuss is about. It is a beautifully historic city with ancient looking church ruins sprinkled about the city, with great wide streets. There apparently is an ordinance in place to keep the historic look of the city intact, as even Wendy’s and McDonald’s have simple looking facades and normal sized signs pulling in the gringos from the streets.

There is a strange balance that truly vibrant and real towns and cities must walk. Antigua, as it stands today, was founded in 1543. It was established after a devastating volcanic eruption that destroyed its previous permutation some 5 miles away. It became known as one of the most beautiful cities of Spanish Indies and stood as the seat of Spanish colonial governance over much of present day Central America. And, even today, with its modern adaptations, it is a beautiful place.

However, there is this veil of pretend about the place. A sort of historic Disney land with no rides. It’s a place for looking at and selling things and not truly for living. At least, that is my impression.

We took our fill and jumped the bus to Guatemala City. We got in the city around 7 PM. Our phone GPS guided us through a massive mash-up of a market teeming with life. In the yellow-brown light cast by the street lamps, a hazy fog rolling just above the building tops and lighting flashing purple in the distance, it seemed we’d slipped into some kind of Gothic graphic novel. The streets are piled with goods and trash, every walk of poverty stalks the streets.

Just 400 meters from our hostel we were robbed. We’d apparently been spotted at some point and followed. One guy came from the front and one from the back. I stupidly had the phone out to check how many more blocks we needed to go before reaching our hostel and that obviously attracted attention.

The guy from the front grabbed at the phone in my hand and quite plainly in Spanish said: “Phone please.” At first, I refused to let go. I felt someone from behind grab my backpack, Ance and Augustine stood just 2 FT or so from me.

I tried to ask in my broken Spanish to wait a second and maybe we could make a deal. But the front man was too focused on wrestling the phone out of my hand. He attempted to kick my feet out from under me, which was unsuccessful. He held one hand behind his back awkwardly which seemed to indicate he was carrying a weapon or pretending that he was.

After the frontman attempted to kick me down, Augustine began to scream and cry in fear. Ance yelled in Spanish “Stop, our daughter is here!” At this point, a phone is not worth the trouble. I let go and both fled in a hurry in opposite directions.

We were a bit shaken up, but still tried to explain to Augustine, after her asking if the bad guys would come back, that sometimes good people, who believe they really need something, do bad things. That doesn’t make them bad people. This is an awfully difficult concept for a three-year-old.

Our hostel at the G-22 building turned out to be a peaceful and beautiful safe haven after the evening extravaganza. Hopefully, it won’t mark our feelings and attitudes too strongly about Guatemala and its city.

05/16-18/15 (Guate, website rebuild and Mommy/Daughter Quality Time)

I literally spent two full days and part of another clicking away at website stuff trying to turn around the destruction wrought by mischievous malware/spam hackers. I am slow, what can I say?

I don’t have a heck of a lot to ramble on about. My eye’s were dry and my butt was numb. Ance and Augustine got to go out and explore the city a bit and made an excursion into the local zoo, which of course Augustine loved.

On our second day in, Joff, our good Penny Farthing cyclist friend we’d met in Baja California randomly showed up. It was great to see him and bullshit a bit about the road. Being crazy, as he is, he took the high road and has been pushing his giant front wheel clear up to the heights of heaven through Mexico and into Guatemala. Those British still have something to prove even after that whole “the sun never sets on the British Empire,” thing. If you are reading this Joff, I am only kidding, don’t get your knickers in a muffin top.

We also met two other cyclists. Hernan, cycling up from Argentina and an Argentinian himself, who was a great quiet guy with easy going ways. He shared his wealth of knowledge of his travels south to north. Lenin, a crazy Colombian, also dropped in, on his way north to Canada and Alaska. He fills in his spare cycling time by running marathons and is built like a flexible brick house.

Being also at an eco-hostel, the G-22 organization was holding some workshops. Ance pitched in by giving a brief talk about our travels by bicycle thus far to a group of women apparently learning about what I can only describe as ‘cycling culture.’

All in all, the hostel was a great place to re-coop and re-organize with a great relaxed atmosphere provided by the brains of the operation, Alfredo. Thanks to him and G-22, we’re back online, rested and ready to travel.

05/19/15 (Guate to Cobán)

After discussions with our cycling friend Hernan and calculating out the prices, we decided not to head all the way to Tikal – site of the largest Mayan pyramids in Central America. The cost and time, as well as the whole tourist haggling that would be involved, deterred us. We opted to head towards the natural pools of Semuc Champey.

We bid farewell to our Pennyfarthing friend and jumped a bus to Cobán. The five-hour bus ride seemed much longer than it would by bicycle. We watched the Guatemalan countryside soar by, not smelling a lick of it. It just rolled by like movie clips. Massive, beautiful and incredibly distant behind the window pane.

Three blocks from where we jumped out of the bus, found a hotel for just 70 Quetzales. Just across the street stumbled across a taqueria called Taqueria de Jalisco. Yes, the tacos were delicious.

The night was cool and we had two windows in our room wide open to the sounds of the street and the path of the evening breeze. We all slept for a thousand years in our dreams.

05/20/15 (Cobán to Lanquín)

Woke at 5:30 AM surprisingly spry. The cool night sleep was awesome. Made our way through the market, bought some strawberries and plums along with some bananas. Found a cheap place for breakfast and hopped onto another bus into Lanquín.

While getting on the mini-van bus, a man lay on the ground working furiously at something near the passenger side front wheel. Paying for and getting into a vehicle that is actively being worked on is a comical affair. With the nearby Semuc Champey park, Cobán is the springboard to get there. The bus drivers and their minions are aggressive in wrangling you into their transport. There is a whole hell of a lot of yelling, nagging and horn honking going on pretty much at all times.

Ance seems to thrive in these situations and handles the haggling much better than I ever could. Somehow she always gets the score at the rational gringo price. Don’t ask me why. I think it is part wit, part hard-headedness, and part extraordinary good looks. Tough combo to combat, even for a mini-bus hustler.

Our mini-bus eventually hit the road. We were crammed in the back with a wonderful mamma/daughter pair. We shared fruit the whole way into Lanquín. Upon nearing our destination, a pair of tourist predators jumped the mini-bus and tried to entice us to get out for a low fare of 700 Quetzales – which in local terms is totally insane. We smiled and waved goodbye.

What became clear, however, was that the town we were heading into clearly did not have an ATM. Having got off our bicycles, we’ve gotten a bit careless about things like this. When we ventured to the hostel we saw in an advertisement, El Muro, we asked about ways to get some cash.

The entrepreneurial manager came up with a quick solution. Use a service like MoneyGram to send money from one of us to the other and pick it up at the local bank – which for some inexplicable reason doesn’t run an ATM. This turned out to work fabulously. It meant we didn’t have to make the two-hour trek by bus back into Cobán to pull out money.

Augustine got some great play time in the local square and we had dinner of the local street wares. Upon returning to the hostel and gearing up for sleep a bizarre event transpired. I was standing in the doorway to the bathroom, Ance was in the shower and Augustine was standing near the bathroom sink. It seemed to me that she just put her hand on the sink and the whole thing came tumbling down.

The force of the fall broke the water line coming into the WC and water began spewing all over the place. I ran up to the manager to fill him in on the situation. With a serrated edge knife and a PVC pipe with a stop on one end, he was able to fix the problem for the night. We felt ridiculous but slept well.

05/21/15 (Semuc Champey and back to Cobán)

A piecemeal breakfast and off to another transport. The haggling and astounding number of people almost grabbing you by the wrist and telling you to get into their colectivo is boggling. Somehow Ance managed to land a 15 Quetzales ride to Semuc Champey, which is nearly the price locals pay.

We took the local scenic route, which was much longer, but well worth it. The villages and life that live on the outskirts of the hustle and bustle of the tourist fare are beautiful, nestled into the steep jagged corners of the world.

We finally got to Semuc Champey park and paid our fare to get in. A great mini-hike up a sheer mountain face with impossibly designed staircases. The overlook revealed a series of grand looking blue pools of water. A paradise hidden in the navel of the mountains.

We hiked down to the pools and spent the rest of the afternoon lounging in the cool water fed from underground springs. Tough life.

Hiked out of the wonderland and jumped back into the reality of being gringos in a tourist trap. Caught one colectivo back to Lanquín and hopped into another mini-bus back to Cobán. The shuffling of transportation makes me dizzy thinking about it.

Retreated back to our Hotel America deal again and got our Jalisco tacos. Another cool night of sleep before heading back into Guate.

05/22/15 (Cobán to Guate)

The second five-hour bus trek back to Guate turned into six and seemed oppressive. We’d just left the hotel and were contemplating getting some coffee and food when a Monja Blanca bus pulled around the corner with a sign that read “Cobán – Guate.” We shrugged our shoulders and hopped in.

Though convenient, what our roadside pickup meant was that we had no snacks to stave us over for the duration of the ride. We got sucked into getting a bite at the insanely expensive 15 min stop shops probably owned by the very bus company we were riding with.

Got into Guate fairly early and headed straight to a Lebanese falafel shop for food and coffee. Sitting on the sidewalk, sipping bad coffee and chewing delicious food, I thought I’d never been so happy and free.

Meandered back, for the second time, to our eco-hostel. We stayed up a bit later celebrating our last vacation night from the vacation bicycle tour with stuff from a supermarket that we rarely ever get – olives and nice cheese.

Sleep came quickly and with determination.

05/23/15 (Guate)

Ance and Augustine went to a children’s science museum today while I hammered away at the keys to update the narrow world interested in our adventures. In total, the bus trekking has been great. We’ve seen and done many things we would not do if we’d gone the same route by bicycle.

However, if you were to ask us to do it again, we’d just do it by bicycle. It would be slower and physically harder, but loads more satisfying. The haggling and hassle of transportation, along with the other bustle and pushing that comes with being in a tourist hub, are experienced to a lesser degree when you are peddling your own bicycle. We miss the bikes and don’t think we’ll be leaving the saddle for anything like this anytime soon.

Semuc Champey and its natural pools were exactly what we were hoping for. Beautiful astounding nature. And we’re glad we went. Now, bus weary and ready to ride we head back to our bicycles in Escuintla. We wish everyone well and especially to you Alaskans and Latvians enjoying the oncoming summer sunshine!

4 thoughts on “Mazatenango to Guatemala City & Beyond

  1. Forest, your writing seems to have grown poetic. I like it. Keep working the narrative as this is will be the basis of your book!

    We miss you. All the best!

    Kent

  2. I got very impressed by the explanation you gave to Augustine after this second robbery, for its generosity and broad perspective. The hope and belief in human kind, without distinctions, that demonstrates in the heat of the moment is an example for many of us. It was beautiful to read it. Thank you

    “We were a bit shaken up, but still tried to explain to Augustine, after her asking if the bad guys would come back, that sometimes good people, who believe they really need something, do bad things. That doesn’t make them bad people. This is an awfully difficult concept for a three-year-old.”

    • forest.kvasnikoff@gmail.com

      I am happy to hear other’s share our perspective on the troubles of our people and world!

      Best,

      Forest, Ance and Augustine

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