Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chilled Chocobananos are the best

Frozen, Chocolate-covered bananas on a stick are common in Guatemala, and are sold for 20 cents each. Sometimes they are nut covered.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pro Bikes by José, Guatemala City, Guatemala

So I worked out a deal with Pro Bikes by José. They gave me parts at cost in exchange for some English lessons in the form of MP3s, plus some publicity work including putting them on Google Maps, publicizing them on my blog and letting people know about them in the Lonely Planet forum.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


I am in Guatemala City, staying at the offices of Sister Parish (family connections); I am learning that it is an excellent organization connecting parishes in the US with ones in Guatemala and El Salvador, creating solidarity, cross-cultural understanding, and exchange of ideas and resources.
My objectives here are to replace a few parts on my bicycle: front derailleur, tires, new rimstrip in the front. I have had fun biking around the city, visiting bike shops in search of the derailleur. Finally found a shop that has it, Pro Bikes by José, and I am currently in the process of proposing an exchange of help: I give them positive publicity and some recorded English lessons, and they give me the spare parts I need. I will report back later on that.
It is nice to be in a place with all the products and services I could ask for; I am rather confident that nowhere else in Guatemala has the replacement bike part I need, and conveniences like reliable, high-speed internet, grocery stores, cafés, etc. are abundant here.
Once I obtain the parts I need and the bike is ready to go again, I plan to head back to Antigua, then to San Andres Itzapa, home of Maya Pedal, then to San Lucas Toliman on Lago Atitlán, and then to Esquintla, San José (beach), along the beach and then into El Salvador, taking a coastal route. Such is the current plan. Hilly territory ahead, most of it paved, then then it is downhill to the coast, followed by relatively flat terrain for awhile.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Antigua and Guatemala City

Guatemala City Palace

Outside the Church in Antigua

Playing Puppies, Antigua, Guatemala

At Asistur, the Tourist Police free campground

Road leaving Antigua

Chicken Buses, Guatemala City

Monday, February 07, 2011

Cowboys driving calves down the road, near Santo Tomas, Peten, Guatemala

In Raxruja, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Went to Cuevas de Candelaria yesterday. Thinking of going to Lanquin and Semuc Champey today and tomorrow. Been away from internet access for some days until now. The internet service is very poor; hence my post is very short.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Sayaxche, Guatemala Surly Big Dummy 5 kids around park

This was last night.
I don't care what Lonely Planet and everybody else says about Sayaxche; I love it! The vibe; it is right on the river, lots of people and activity. People are very accessible, approachable easy to talk to. I already made friends with the professional, division 2 soccer team; the folks at the pousada I am staying at are very warm and talkative, and the place is beautiful (Hotel Yaxkin).
So yesterday I biked from Flores to Sayaxche, 65km. Today I shall bike to Entre Rios, where the Belgian cyclists are now. The town, I just found out, was set up as sort of a refuge and rebuilding place for folks who were displaced in the civil war. The ride should be about 70km.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

My plan is to ride again today! South from Flores to a small village called Entre Rios La Renita, near El Ceibal and Sayaxche. Relatively short distance-wise, I think 50km/30mi max, though on mostly dirt roads. The motivation is to meet up with some fellow cycle tourists I met in Flores; they are from Belgium and started in Mexico City, destination Argentina. Unfortunately, they were relieved of their bikes shortly after starting their trip near Cuernavaca. I have suggested that they obtain replacement bikes at MayaPedal, near Antigua, Guatemala; the shop uses donated bikes and bike parts (and some new parts) to create refurbished bikes for sale as well as "bicimaquinas", which are pedal-powered machines to do any number of tasks including pump water from a well, blend ingredients to make soaps and shampoos, produce electricity, mill and grind grains, etc. They had planned to buy replacement bikes in Costa Rica; I believe they can obtain a better, more eco-friendly product, pay less, and support a great organization by going through MayaPedal. We plan to meet up there in the next couple weeks. Today, I would like to see the small village where they have been doing community service.