Saturday, June 26, 2010

Deeee!-renched in Mexico

A snapshot down a busy market street just north of Lago Atitlan in a town called Escuintla

The mountains are heavily planted here making for scenic mosaics in all directions. The plantation areas make up the watershed which feeds Lago Atitlans water supply. The government has been subsidizing fertilizers which now have been leeching their way with every rainfall down the drainage basin and in the lake. The people who live on the lake and have just always flushed their human waste and washed their clothes with soap in the lake sum this problem up as supernatural. This year has been the 1st appearance of algae in the lake which was considered the most beautiful lake in the world. The locals blame the algae problem not on human causes but rather consider it as an act of GOD!

A colorfully decorated church entrance located in a town just around the corner from San Pedro on the way out of town towards the CA1.

A shot of Fort St. John's newest snow making recruit. After my 15 minute monologue over a game of pool using Central americas best pool table I think I have Ryan (from Australia) convinced to become more than just your average flake.

Ahhh, Breakfast served up Guatemalan style, Actually its prepared in Guatemala but this cheeko Malo is down right Americana with a twist.

I pulled out of Yo Mama's Place early this morning and made my way around the rest of Lago Atitlan a little more alert and slightly more timid than usual after thursday afternoons incident. The hill climbing was epic heading northward around the lake and the elevation peaked out somewhere at about 2800 meters. The early hour made for misty views and cloud shrouded beautiful mountains that surround the entire lake.

In the last two days I really didn't get up to anything very eventful, however I made alot of new friends who were staying at the hostal. Infact, one fellow from Austrailia named Ryan mentioned that he wanted to head to Canada and put his nose to the grind stone and work the oil fields. After about a 15 minute monologue I had him signed up and possibly one of 2010's newest snowmakers in Fort St. John.

Alas, the time spent at Yo Mama's Place soon came to a head and it was time to head out as usual, with a few new friends (alot of Canadians actually) and some pretty good memories of interesting folks.

My aim for the day was to get as close to the Mexican border as possible and cross in the morning. The roads leading up to the fronterra were so good and new that the going was fast, easy and fun! Along route I stopped several times to photograph the terraced land planted with all sorts of crops which made for quite a scenic mosaic. Just then, I saw a BMW whiz by so I waved them down and met John and Sharan. They were riding two up on a big GS 1200 and riding for a Charity. I warned them about the back entrance to Lago Atitlan, the next stop for them, and they replied that they already knew about it! Man how was I so outta the loop?

I remounted the machine and I took off on what I believed to be the CA1 and rode through small villages, tiny streets with no signs........ (just follow the path most travelled and you'll get there), and finally after about 1 1/2 hours I popped out on a road that was signed the CA1. Its so weird how easily you can get off track here.

I was kind of nervous about the border crossing back into Mexico but the whole process was over in about 45 minutes for both borders. That being said I did have to find accomidation in the border town because I was unaware that I crossed a time zone, so, after I drove around for 45 minutes looking for the importation office some 20km from the border I had to return back to Aduana (customs) for better directions. On retuning the girl elaborated on her statement "its only 20km from here up the road on the right" .... to "Drive 10km hang a right at the exit that says 'Vida Mexico' and drive 5 km down that road and hang another right into an office complex on your right. (she even drew me a map with bridges, speed bumps and intersections). It is integral that you realise that on the road which I drove 20km, there were 5 unmarked turnoffs and 2 main turnoffs and at exactly at 21 km there is a city in which I'm staying in tonight called Tapachula.
After all the driving around nonsense it was well past closing time for the importation office and the time was going on 5pm. To add insult to injury, the skies darkened, and thunder and lightening began to streak across the dark looming skies. The environment was becoming a scene which I am familiar with from my riding through Brasil and before I could don my rain gear the rain began beating down. Again the highway became covered in deep water with occasional brown water flowing across the highway filled with sediment. Some cars simply pulled off the road to wait the cloud burst out. I however cannot just stop and get drenched, so, I opt for picking up the speed and letting the windshield do its work to blow the rain up and over me.
I finally got back to Tapachula after getting my directions sorted out for the morning. I began making my way through the flooded streets and down poring rain following the occasional sinage the city centre where I reckoned that I'd have a better selection for accomidations, hotels, what have you. Alas, my plan was redirected, literally, when I tried to cross a raging river that was flowing through a city intersection. The water was flowing so fast that when I entered the water caused the front wheel to steer and slip. Before I knew it I was no longer perpendicular to the flow but now driving with the brakes on tring to slow the bike as I was being swept down a sloping paved hill in water up to the engine crankcase. Actually the water was building up on the back of the bikes boxes. Actually, as I was driving through potholes I could hear the exhaust get muffled everyonce and a while as the exhaust port became submerged. I had to think quick so I wondered what Matt Fitz would do.
I began looking for an eddy in the river banks formed by brick buildings loathe and behold, up ahead at a 4 way intersection I saw my opportunity and tucked myself behind a building but not without a fight to keep the bike up right in in the direction I wanted to go. Alas, I had to return from where I came from and made it back to the edge of town where I checked into the Comfort Inn and ordered Domino's pizza....heh heh heh!
For the last couple of nights my "new friends" from Yo Mama's have kept me up late with the party atmosphere common to certain hostals. Even when I opted to hit the sac early I was awoken from 2am until about 4:30 and then again at 5:30 when someone else was getting up to catch a bus. (the party does'nt end after you come home from the bar at 2 am when you're 20 you know)!! So a good nights sleep without constant bugs dining on exposed skin will absolutely do me well for my ride up the pacific coast of Mexico in the morning.
See "The River Rider"


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