26 August, 2012

Day 52, 202km: 20,000km!

Today I was once more the first at the hotel's breakfast. I was excited to wake up for two reasons.

First, my bike was at the garage and it was the first night we slept separated. Now this probably sounds ridiculous but after close to two months of making sure she sleeps in a safe and stable spot every night, I felt slightly anxious, even though she was in good hands at BMW Guatemala.
Second, I talked a bit with the workshop team the day before and they agreed to let me have a look when they would change my tires, so that I could learn a bit in the process.

Which means I was at the garage when it opened at 8am. There were a few things to do on the bike before they could change the tires so I ended up waiting until 11am. Well. At least I got a chance to talk with almost everyone there, customers included. Then we changed the tires together (it was a pain in the a** even in the comfortable setting of a garage with all the proper tools and machines, so doing it on the side of the road still scares me but at least I know how it's done).

By 1pm all was done (they even cleaned the bike! She deserved it). Great service, thanks BMW Guatemala City.
I was told the day before I would be ready to go at 10am so this kind of messed up my plan for the day. I intended to cross to El Salvador and make it to the "surfer city" of La Libertad by 4 or 5pm. Leaving 3 hours later meant I would arrive by night there. No way I'm going to travel by night in the country which has the world's second highest homicide rate (the first being its neighbor Honduras).

So I briefly looked for cities/hotels near the border but didn't find any. I took off and thought I would at least find some sort of guesthouse with secure parking somewhere over there.

Pan American Highway, east of Guatemala City
 I was feeling a bit down, the idea of staying somewhere near the border didn't seem very exciting. And back at the garage I had the first signs of a migraine coming (flashes in my left eye) so I knew I was in for a big headache at least. Hoped for the best and continued on my way.

Yahoo!
 After a while I hit this very cool milestone. 20,000km! In 52 days, that gives an average of 385km/day. As I was when I hit 10,000km somewhere in Utah, I felt kind of overwhelmed thinking I was roughly halfway in my trip.
But soon I cheered up and started thinking about all the cool riding and amazing places that is waiting for me over there in the South.

The spot where I passed the 20,000km mark
 Took a photo to remember the place. I have to admit it wasn't as beautiful as it was for the 10,000km mark.
Still, pretty cool.

Good job little bike. Happy with your new tires? And you're so clean!
 Took another photo to shed the light on the silent hero of this journey, my bike. Good job, you didn't fail me even once. And now that your front wheel has been balanced (80 grams were added one side of the rim which is a lot) the ride is even smoother :)
At that point the migraine was almost gone and I was able to think straight again.

Kept on going and went down the mountains towards the southern border not far from the sea
 I was nearby the border around 3.30pm and knew it was too late to cross and safely make it to La Libertad. Still I thought it would hurt to have a look at the border so that I would know what to expect tomorrow.

Well it doesn't look like fun
 So this is what I can expect. I'll try to make it as early as possible tomorrow, I guess there should be many people around 7am. While I was looking around the border town a couple guys started telling me they would help me cross the border and were very insistent. I was probably too nice with them and I guess I'll tell them earlier on to go to hell tomorrow.
There was a hotel here at the border of La Hachadura. Rooms were rented by truckers, by the hour. I passed.


Earlier on the way from Guatemala City I saw a couple hotels in the city of Moyuta, 30km away from the border. Plus it was in the mountains so I could have a cool night of sleep. Checked in at the Don Pancho. There are two hotels here, that's the one advertising WiFi. In case a fellow traveler happens to come to Moyuta, Guatemala, I'd recommend it. Rooms are clean, owners friendly and even speak some English having traveled over Europe several times. They make their own coffee and you get internet in the room. What can we ask for more?

Maybe a restaurant?
 So I ventured into town looking for a restaurant, found the place above. Devoured what I was given "Carne con tomato con arroz" and came back to the hotel. Had a chat and coffee with the owners in my still heavily broken Spanish, that was fun. They were very curious about my trip so it was fun talking to them.

Guatemalan people overall I found very friendly and outgoing, really a country I'd recommend to anyone. Plus it doesn't feel unsafe at all.
I met many tourists, also women travelling alone (including Jennifer, an American on her way to meet a Quechua 'priest' somewhere in the Peruvian jungle for an initiation to their spirituality!) so I don't think there its risky if one follows basic precautions.

Moyuta, Saturday night fever
So that was a quiet and relaxing evening.
Tomorrow, El Salvador!

Off to bed now,
Enjoy your weekend everyone.
Guillaume

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