November 11th, 2005: Rehuetlan, Guatemala to Guatemala City, Guatemala
After the complimentary breakfast our journey towards Guatemala City began. Bill and Steve still planned to go to Escuintla, but we thought it would be nice to ride together for the first part of the trip before having separate. The drive was pleasant, a few potholes aside, and we made rather good time to the split in the road where we were set to part ways. We all stopped for some barbequed chicken (and corn tortillas....a given, if you've been paying attention) in a small town before saying goodbye. While we were stopped we noticed a teensy problem with my bike. I hit a very small, but also very deep pothole earlier in the day. As soon as I hit the pothole I knew it was quite a crunch, but I didn't have a flat, so I figured the bike was okay. Upon closer inspection we saw that I had bent both rims. We still needed tires, as well, because the dealership in Oaxaca turned out not to have our tires in stock. When we got into Guatemala City we tried to find tires without very much success. Fortunately came across a Kawasaki/Volvo dealership where the staff was more than willing to help us with our predicament......that is, after an initial hilarious moment when Jan broke the ice by falling backwards in the middle of the dealership after a chair collapsed underneath him. Laughs were in full supply by all! They allowed us to use their shop, including the hydraulic press so Jan could press the rims back to shape. Unfortunatetly, they didn't have the tires we required in stock, but were kind enough to refer us to another store which had two sets in stock and even went so far as to draw us a map to get there. A definite bonus when you're lost in a new city! They went out of their way to accomodate us and truly provided amazing service. We can't say enough about them!
Grupo Los Tres S.A.
Boulevard Liberacion 1-87, Zona 9
01009 Guatemala, C.A.
Phone: (502) 2386-0101
The rest of the afternoon ran much less smoothly for us, when we had to battle through the worst traffic we've come across insofar. It was total gridlock. It literally took us hours to get a few blocks down the road, and the whole time we were sucking up black smog from diesel buses. Then we got lost looking for a hotel until night fell. We were frustrated, tired, and really cold since the temperature seems to drop quite a bit in the evenings here. We found out, only the next day, that the traffic was a bit of an extraordinary event, and wasn't in fact the norm. Apparently a bomb of some sort went off somewhere in the city and that was the cause of the commotion. We're lacking a lot of details, but I figure sometimes ignorance really is bliss!