Tuesday, April 19, 2011

El Paraiso (the Paradise). This is a spot were 2 hot springs form a steaming creek that falls into a cold stream. We camped by a lake that offered some pretty nice swimming.
Shaving in the rearview.
If I could only explain the things you find in the roads down here.
Patience is a virtue and so is not having plans.  A bridge was all messed up and a tractor trailer was stuck trying to get off the bridge. Sitting around is a skill.
Auto Hotels. This is something else. They are everywhere down here. In a culture where everyone lives with their families, its not easy to have some romantic time with your girl. So, auto hotels are rented out by the hour so you can escape the date that consists of watching a movie with your girlfriend, and her mom, and aunt, and her dad, brothers, nieces, and who knows who else.  There´s some kinky tendencies in these things and they look at you really weird when you roll up with another dude and ask for all night. They look even more confused when you break out the camp stove and start raging some coffee and breakfast.
Antigua, Guatemala                                                                             We got up to the Carribean coast and over to the Honduran border.  We moved so smoothly through the empty border that there had to be something wrong.  Sure enough, The snag of not having my title to the 250 caught up with me.  They would not let me in.  I was turned around at the border, mike did not leave me, and we had to go get stamped right back into Guatemala.  We turned and drove all the way across the country to Antigua in one day.  Painted black with exhaust and covered in dirt and grime from a sweltering day, we rode and rode.  We were the pass brigade overtaking hundreds of vehicles as if we were on a mission from God himself.  We drove straight through Guatemala City and into the night to reach a safe haven away from our dilemma.  We bolted through town hugging each other´s tails since our lights didn´t really work.  In Antigua we could wait for the title to get mailed, thanks mom.
This city draws me in. Beautiful architectual ruins on cobblestone streets, shaken by quakes and backed by volcanos that stick into the clouds. Long blocks of colored concrete walls stretch out holding ancient wooden doors with heavy metal locks.  The girls are crazy beautiful and the communtiy wrapped us up before we knew what was happening. Candlelit mezcal bars, small bookstores, good coffee, live music, the motorcycle coffeeshop, and good food; after 2 days, we almost had jobs.
Our hotel was filled with the wonderful Argentines.
Are you sure this framed photo won´t fit on the bike for the next 6 months?
One of the volcanos coughing up smoke.
Bill McGowan helped the community vibe. He´s been running the bookstore.
We lean on stuff...a lot. Professionals really.
All smiles after an all-day soccer and pool session
CATours.  A motorcycle cafe for coffee, tours, beer and cigars.
David owns the place.  He´s a right nice fellow.
When we rolled into his shop, we found a 555 sticker on a fender of a wall decoration and Knoxville´s Paper that featured the ride.  The introduction was easy.  It went like this, ¨Hi, I´m Mike, I´m that guy¨, pointing to the picture.
With title in hand, we hit the road to Monterico.  We took a boat ferry to the beach and drove to the end of the road, then down a road of sand, where I sunk in and fell over.  God love the 250, I picked it right back up and continued on to find a spot on the beach to throw up a tent.
Mizata.  After Monterico, we endured a brutal border crossing into El Salvador.  It was HOT and slow and lunch break.  It ate the hours of our day like a starving lion.  We finally got through and onto the pavement.  The day was fading and we rounded a turn to see the Pacific ocean explode into view.  We pulled into the first beach we saw.  It is Mizata.  A sandy beach tucked inbetween a coast of cliffs.
The border bends.
At Mizata, this is about as many people as you´ll see on the beach, and they live there.  We were the only gringos there, we stayed for 2 weeks.
Antonio´s boat.  Tank ended up getting to drive this thing.  Mike worked the anchor. One day, there was a group from the university that were studying the energy generated by the force of waves crashing into coastal cliff caves.  We boated way out to to a rather beautiful spot and the professor dove down to connect a sensor to chains attached to the ocean floor. 
Chickens really like the coconuts.  There were dogs, chickens, turkeys, and bats that were part of our everyday scene.
One day, thousands of fish came in and eveyone ran out to net them.  They caught hundreds.
Mark and Sara watching the catch
Mike rigged a hacksaw blade onto the end of a palm frond stem and we cut down a bunch of cocos.
Our buddy Juan Jose and his catch.
After about a week, we saw two more foreigners up at the hilltop store.  Of all places, they were from Knoxville.  Then a couple from Canada arrived in their VW on their return from Panama.  Both couples were fabulous.  Couldn´t have asked for better neighbors.  These 2 are Mark and Sara from Canada.
Mike found his new passion-- shorts, barefeet, and hippie buses.
The Tennessee crew and our skillet burgers.
This is how we said goodbye to Antonio, then he was off to fish for oysters.
The chickens and turkeys used the ladder to get up into the trees.
We put our construction skills to the test.
After the huge catch of little fish, Antonio went fishing and caught a big tuna.  He came back and gave it to us.  Then he cooked it for us too.
Giovani.  He speaks good english and has a cave for a room.  A good fellow.
This was their well.  It had little rubber rings around the rope that ran around the tire, down into the water and up through a PVC tube, pulling up little bits of water with the rings creating a stream of water into the bucket.  This is where we took bucket baths.
Fish cleaning
They gut, rinse, salt, and then throw them onto the roof to dry.  When you want to eat them, soak, rinse and fry.
This was the net catch.
This is what you get for leaving a place like Mizata.  This was after crossing the Honduran and the Nicaraguan border in 2 days...worked.
Another auto hotel.  Air conditioner and tv...yes!
Leon, Nicaragua
Its Semana Santa, Holy Week.  Its the biggest, most celebrated week in Central America.  Most people have the week off and flood to the beaches.  We´re taking this chance to post up for a couple days.  Its Mike´s birthday. 
One day in the square, they had a lot of dirt and sand paintings (?) of Jesus.  The next day, they were gone.