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Bo 'n' Louise

A blog about one of our trips

The unprepared round-the-world tour starting 29th of June 2009.
First phase was from USA to South America on motorcycles. We made it, and the bikes are sold.
Second phase was the South Pacific... from island to island in old fashion backpacker style.
Third phase was around and around in Southeast Asia.
In fourth phase Louise went back to Denmark (August 2010) for work, while Bo continued in East Asia.
In fifth phase we were both on work, Louise in South America and Bo in Southeast Asia.
In the sixth phase Louise was in Denmark while Bo was making his way home through Russia.
By November 2010 both Louise and Bo were back in Denmark and an amazing journey has ended - but then there is always the next trip :-)

Just around the corner

Guatemala Posted on Wed, August 26, 2009 12:42:25

We should know by now, the locals know shit about time and distance. For one thing they don’t travel very much and secondly it isn’t that important here. So when we were heading from Poptun to Lanquin through the heart of Guatemala on dirt roads it was under the assumption that the 275 km could be done in an afternoon. Boy, we were wrong – again.

As soon as we turned off the main road we were driving on gravel and stones trying to avoid the giant potholes. The scenery was beautiful with jungle covered bobble hills and tall corn fields. Once in a while we rolled through a Maya village where the dubious looks turned into broad smiles if we managed to wave to them before we lost control of the bikes. The women were dressed in classics Mayan fashion, a thick skirt and a squared transparent top which a peek to the bra. The men stick to cowboy hats, giant belt buckle and one front tooth.

The travel times we were informed varied from one to five hours for the whole trip. After five and a half we arrived halfway. We asked again and different times were told. From now on the soft hills got character and the potholed road was now mostly just giant rocks with the edge as neighbour. We kept going and hardly had time to enjoy the gorgeous views over the green mountainsides. As the road narrowed in we drove into overhanging branches while fighting for the space with homecoming farmers with huge machetes, kids, chickens, stray dogs and busses.

We asked for direction (well more distance, since there was only one road) as often as we could and got as many answers. Anything from 10 minutes, to 25 km to the classic five hours. At dusk we arrived at a bigger settlement (they had an intersection) and was send in the wrong direction. When we then were send back in the right direction we couldn’t understand how far we had to go.

A bright head in the crowd though it might be wise to bring in the only other gringos in town, two American Peace Corp volunteers. The young lady taught in the village school was a bit surprised to get visitors, though she had heard the locals talking about the strangers in town. Some though we were drug couriers, for who else would drive these road at night. Well, we weren’t, we were just send in the wrong direction. A phone call to village priest, and we could sleep at the church.
Jerome and Kelsey, the Peace Corps teachers

The next day we continued, this time in the right direction. The first couple of kilometers were some of the worst road we had driven on (but worse will come later), so it was pretty lucky we hadn’t continued in the night. But we finally arrived in Lanquin after eleven hours of driving totally… for 275 km.
The reason we always check our boots in the morning



Tikal

Guatemala Posted on Wed, August 26, 2009 12:17:43

One of the things on the to-do-list of
Guatemala has to be Tikal – a huge complex of Maya-ruins in the Jungle not far
from the Belizian boarder (that is if you believe Belize is a country of its
own and not just a part of Guatemala which it is depicted as in many maps). We
went there twice. The first time in the afternoon sun while everyone else was
leaving. So we had the whole place practically to ourselves.

Temple number 1

The ruins were
amazing – and I am saying this despite the fact that we have seen quite a few
by now.. You can climb many of the pyramids on wooden stairs and scaffolding
and are rewarded with stunning views over the jungle where other pyramids pop up
here and there.

Sunset in Tikal

We were really lucky and saw a Tucano and a few ”Coatis” an
animal related to the recoon that has specialiced in emptying trashcans
throughout central and south America.

Coatis roaming the temple grounds

The next morning we went to have a look at all
the things we missed before sunset. It was indeed a facinating place – they
believe 150,000 people lived here – and everywhere you look in the jungle you
see suspisciocly shaped hills that the archiologists have not yet had their
hands on..

Back in the modern civilisation we once more
had to find a place that would sell us new and handle our old oil. We found the
perfect spot with a covered workshop attached where we could mess with our
bikes while rain and thunder hit town.

Getting the bikes ready for more road-action

Parking space – covered… Bo is handling the in and out of the hostel where we were allowed to park for the night



Coming to Guatemala

Guatemala Posted on Tue, August 18, 2009 21:18:53

After completing our mission of seeing
the ruins at Caracol we only had one more quest before leaving for
Guatemala; visiting the Barton Creek Cave. About 120 yards up the
river from where our small silver dome had been standing for 4 days
by now, was were you should get hold of a ranger from the
archaeological institute who would take you into the cave. We got the
great storyteller Carlos with us in the canoe and worked our way into
what the Mayans thought to be the connection to the underworld, to
both life and death. This particular cave they believed belonged to
the rain God, Chac, since water was coming out of it.

The Barton Creek Cave

In here
archaeologists had found the remains of 28 people, most likely
sacrificed, pottery and other things that had been sacrificed to
ensure rain and thereby a fruitful harvest. The only things we could
see from the canoe however, were those purposefully placed on the
edges of the shelves upon which they had been found. The cave was in
itself rather spectacular; plentiful stalactites, fascinating colours
and formations and some bats flying around.

After the trip we packed up the gear
and headed for Guatemala in blazing sun.

Crossing the creek near Barton Creek
Outpost – Bo had to take this trip with my bike too – the bottom was full of large rocks.

The border crossing went
peacefully however as always time consuming and included one more
lesson on how to get money out of people.. Bo had gone to make the
mandatory photocopies and the price was 1 quetzales for each copy –
that is for each thing you actually copy – not the number of pages
you copy… how does that work??.. Hmmfrr anyway we made it through
and back on the bikes we headed for El Remate, not so far from one of
the biggest tourist attractions in Guatemala ”Tikal” (more Maya
ruins) before darkness.