It has been some time since we last posted. But we have a legitimate excuse. After we left Mexico and entered Guatemala our road life changed a lot. We went to lake Attitlan for a couple of days. Then we drove into Guatemala City to get the bikes serviced for the next 10000 km of driving.
Guatemala City is big, spooky, and GPS would do no good. We managed to find the BMW dealer and get the bikes serviced. But the 2 days we spent in the heart of the city were like going back to 1969. We are assured by Guatemalan friends that the city we saw is not indicative of the city in general. We did not see miles of slums or degraded conditions. It was more a feeling that something was amiss.
We got out of Guatemala City on Friday Dec 19 and went to Antigua. Those of you familiar with Antigua know what a great place it is. For those of you who do not, let me assure you that for $25 US you can find a great hotel room with parking for the motorcycle. There are scores of hotels, lots of visitors, and plenty to keep you occupied.
On Dec 20 Mary, Wendy, Annie Odinas , and Bob and Sandy Wickersham showed up for Christmas week. Marty and I moved from the Black Cat Inn ( $33 per night for 2, with breakfast ) to the Quinta De Las Flores ( $140 per night for the Casita sleeps 5 - fireplace- pool- spectacular place). This was quite the change for Marty and me. We got used to staying in some pretty modest hotels. Toilet seats are not always included!!
So for the past 6 days we have been "touring" Guatemala with the family. I have worked so many projects here and visited with Mary before. So finding something new is a challenge. But we did it. The Dec 21 celebration in Chichicastenango was pretty over the top. This is basically a Mayan celebration asserting their heritage and superiority over Spanish colonial domination. They get one day. Then its back to the 21st century and the inevitable press of Western Civilization. Guatemala is one of those countries with a very large indigenous population. Many of these people live in poverty, butothers are quite successful. Those who think that indigenous people can somehow recoup the past 500 years are living a dream. Even those who wear the traditional garb want the trappings of european life including Toyota pickups, satellite TV, and the access to information that modern Spanish affords their children. The percentage of capitalists among the Maya is about 100% based on the number of them running their own stores, stalls, and trying to sell me souveniers. Lots of self employed people here running everything from knife sharpener machines to masons.
Part of our time was spent with some Dutch people who build concrete block houses for local families. The family only pays a part of the cost. The NGO picks up the rest. But getting to the jobsite requires the mandatory ride in the back of a Toyota pickup. Marty missed this trip, and the Dutch girl Inge. If you snooze you loose.
Marty and I are off to El Salvadore on Dec 27. We hope you enjoy the photos.
By the way. We got new tires and a new windshield. It cost a little duty, but everything is back in running condition.