Sunday’s Little Adventure

Dec 20, 2009

My Spanish is getting better every day, but I am still a little unsure, when a local tells me that a certain road is dangerous, if it’s because the road itself is dangerous, if the people driving on the road are dangerous, if there are lot of trucks on the road, if there are robbers on the road, or whether it’s just dangerous because they think a girl cannot ride a motorcycle it.

I was advised that the southern section of road around Lago Atitlan in Guatemala was “dangerous”. I was headed to San Pedro La Laguna, and my choices were to ride between the volcanoes around the lake (2-3 hours) or take the lancha across the lake (30-40 mins.)

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I’d been riding in the rain all morning, athigh elevation from Xela to Pana. I stopped in Pana to get something to eat,

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and the day seemed to clear up a bit, and turn warm (ish). I thought, what the heck, I’ll ride.

How could I refuse this view?

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So after about an hour of beautiful twisty roads, through small villages, always with a spectacular view of Lago Atitlan to my right,

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the sky cracked open with a giant clap of thunder, and the Mayan Gods that live at these elevations let loose their fury.

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Thoroughly soaked now (as opposed to mildly soaked before lunch) the road turned to this

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then to this

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then to no real road at all. And I seemed to be in the middle of a…
banana tree farm?

was this the right road?

the pavement had completely disappeared, and I was getting a little panicky…

no one to ask…untili spied a shy country boy…who did not speak Spanish. Ugh. My voice on the edge of hysteria I kept repeating, with as many variations on accent as I could, San Pedro? San Pedro? Gopd help me, SAN PEDRO?!? Finally comforted by his toothless grin, I plunged forward towards this

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Finally (to my relief?!?) I found myself having to modulate my speed behind a pickup truck struggling to get up the muddy, rocky hill. I gave him a chance to get ahead whenever I could stop, and I could hear his wheels slipping. I had to take a deep breath there and just hope for the best. Strangely comforted by the presence of another vehicle, I charged up the hill…and made it to the top…and narrowly passed the truck with a big (toothy!) grin and wave.

Sheesh. It took about 15 minutes for my adrenaline rush to wear off.

But it was worth it to get to this

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