Mazatenango, Suchitepéquez, Repùblica de Guatemala
(EDIT SEPT 2011 bottom of page)
So I’ve finally made it out of Mèxico. I apologize for the delay in updates, as there are very few Internet connections in Guatemala.
So lets see where I left off last; I was in Loma de Flores, trying to leave. I said in my last note that I was going to leave the next day, but I ran into some problems getting my laundry done. First, it just sat there in the yard for days, despite my repeted polite requests that it be done so that I could leave, (I even offered to do it myself, but apparently it’s bad luck for a man to wash clothes) then, when it finally got washed four days later, they were hanging up to dry and it poured down raining on them. Fuck me! So I finally left Loma on the ninth of January. About damn time, too! My friend Jorge kept on wanting me to stay and work, but I hate working. So I said, fuck that shit! and hit the road.
Before I left, I attended the Festival de Santa Reyes in Irapuato. It was a very nice and extravagant celebration, and marks the end of the holiday season and the beginning of the New Year in Mèxico. There were parades of bands, dancers and everybody was dressed up in costumes like gypsies and, Arabian warriors. Also, there were at least twenty different 18-wheelers towing ridiculously overdecorated floats, each with a different theme that cooresponded with a period in the life of Jesus Christ. The illusion was quite perfect on all of the floats, until one of the Wise Men was spotted sending a text message…
Anyhow, once I finally left, Jorge dropped me off just outside of Irapuato. My destination city of the hour was La Piedad, and my destination city of the day was Uraupan, Michoacàn. I was able to get a lift all the way to La Piedad after about an hour of dry rides, from some cool people from Tijuana. The gave me oranges and fifty pesos, which I spent on four tacos ala pastor and a pack of Lucky Strikes.
From La Piedad, I instantly got a ride about thirty k’s to some random small town. Out of there, I got my last ride of the day from a guy named Gustavo (his friends call him Gus) who lives in Guadalajara and is on his way to central Michoacàn to bring his parents (who are very poor) a nice looking stainless steel table, since they’ve apparently had their current one for well over half a century and it is getting unstable. Gus tells me he saved every single ten, five, two, and one peso coin he got for one whole year to buy this table, which costed him about six thousand pesos. What a good guy. He works at a pharmacutical company, but apparently he doesn’t get paid squat. He told me he works six days a week, seven to seven, and only makes 3,500 pesos a week. Poor fellow, but as you all know, money is not important. And he seemed happy. He offers me a place to stay for the night, as it is beginning to rain. I graciously accept his hospitality, and we drive about an hour south of Uraupan to the tiny ranchero town of La Piña, which is even smaller than Loma de Flores.
There in La Piña, I get to expirience yet another quincienera. It is directly in front of Gus’s parents house, and, as is typical of quincineras, there is much drinking and dancing and having of good times. I don’t feel like getting drunk, so I only have a couple beers and gallantly fend off all the tequila. I go and dance for awhile, as I like to mingle and dance with pretty Mexican ladies. I don’t remember any names, but I remember my names for them: The Girl with The Sparkley Boobs, The Girl in the Blue Dress, and the Slightly Overweight But Still Kind of Hot Girl were my main dance partners.
Gus didn’t like to dance, but I forced him to dance one time, and what do ya know! He liked it after all. He even wanted to dance more! I told him it was fun…
We went to sleep later on that night, after sidestepping all the drunk people trying valiently to speak English to me (Waaas up? Hah-low!) and got some much needed rest. The next day, I got up early, took a shower (the water was warm-ish! Apparently it’s a hot spring!) and ate a delicious Mexican breakfast.
Then it was time for me and Gus to leave. We bid his family farewell, and were off.
Before leaving the town, Gus wanted to show me this cool little stream that ran behind his house. I told him that was cool, as I do enjoy a good stream every now and then. It was really neat! The water was very warm, and I spent an hour looking for snakes (unsucsessful, though I did see a dead turtle.) Gus told me that this was his favorite place when he was a kid growing up here, and I couldn’t blame him. It was quite tranquil. Apparently, Gus’s grandfather used to own the entire town, including the stream, and all the people in the town worked for him. But one day someone up and killed his grandpa for no apparent reason, and now the land is divided amongst the workers. Gus’s father owns a large protion of it, and grown crops and trains horses.
Then we left La Piña. Gus dropped me off on the way to the Mexican west coast, gave me a hundred pesos and his email, and bid farewell. I stood outside a tool booth for about twenty minutes trying to hitch a ride, until I got a really long one in the back of a pickup. The ride was about two hours, all the way to about thirty k’s from the Pacific. The scenery was beautiful, with sweeping mountians, glistening lakes, and roiling rivers. I even had company back there with me, an old nanny goat who kept trying to eat my hat. I named her Florence and fed her peanuts.
After being dropped off at yet another toll booth, I was able to quickly hitch another ride to the tiny beach town of Playa Azul. The guy who drove me there was from Acapulco, and sold herbal medicines (pot?) Like most people this far in Mèxico, he didn’t speak any English, but fortunately for me my Spanish is getting great! I’d say I’m about 40% fluent, maybe 45%. I’m getting better, anyways.
So I arrived in Playa Azul at about two p.m. It’s a beautiful, sunny day in this tropical paridise, and I decide to spend the rest of it enjoying the beach. The water is warm, the air is warmer, and the chicks are just plain hot. I go body surfing on ten foot waves and fall asleep in the dunes looking at the stars. Good day.
Next day, I rise early and get started heading south again. I hitch my first ride with a guy who works on one of the many coconut farms in the area. He tells me that about eighty percent of the jobs around here are on coconut farms. That’s not suprising, as there are coconut trees as far as the eye can see.
Next, I hitch it with some surfers. They are nice, feed me breakfast, and take me all the way out of Michoacàn and into the neighboring state of Gurrerro. After waiting for about fifteen minutes under an overpass, I get another ride a few hundred k’s to Zihutenago with…Canadians? Yep. A pair of kanuks, on vacation from British Colombia. Nice folks, though they seemed kind of freaked out by Mèxico, and didn’t even speak French! I thought they were Americans when I first jumped in. They had kind of a negative attitude about Mèxico, and seemed to focus only on the bad parts and not the vast amounts of good parts. I prefer the company my kanuk friend Isaac from Ontario any day. He appriciates Mèxico, and can hold a conversation about good tequila, unlike these non-drinkers.
Anyways, so the kanuks drop me off in Zihuatenego. I try for a bit to get a ride to Acapulco (my destination city for the day) and manage to get one of the many small vans that act as miniture buses to give me a free ride for about forty k’s. I’m dropped off in a small town about 250 k’s from Acapulco. I try for about an hour to get a ride out of there, much to the amusment of the local law enforcement, who applauded uproariously when I finally hitched something.
The guy’s name is Alex, and hey ho, whadaya know, he’s going to Acapulco! Bomb. We drive for several hours, taking sharp turns at alarming speeds, stopping only for tacos, and one other time at my request, so I could help a tarantula the size of a dinner plate cross the road safely.
So I arrive in Acapulco at about nine thirty p.m. I go straight for the beach to go to sleep. There’s some guys hanging around a beached fishing boat, and they notice my camping supplies and offer me a safe place to sleep, since there was apparently “muchos malo personas aqui.” I wondered if they were malo personas, but there was only three of them and they were all over the age of fifty and overweight, so I figured I could probably outrun them if needed. Turns out, they were very nice. They gave me some tacos and chicken, and woke me up at six the next day when the boat was heading out. I thanked them for their hospitality, and was on my way.
My destination city of the day was Puerto Angel, Oaxaca, which is pretty damn far from Acapulco. I had to walk through the downtown of Acapulco to get to my road, Mexican Federal Highway 200. Acapulco seems to be inhabited mostly by American resturaunts and taxi cabs. I walked through the whole area with my thumb out, and a kind hearted taxi driver gave me a free ride to the 200. There, I get several unmemorable rides totalling about a hundred and fifty k’s. Then, as I’m walking through this small Gurreran town called Cruz Grande, this large (fluffy) Mexican offers me a beer and a smoke. As I am parched, and havent had a stoagie all day, I accept. The man is very friendly. His name is Marco Anthony, and he offers to give me food and a place to sleep. Even though it’s only one o’clock and I still had a half a day to travel, I accept, since I was a bit tired anyways.
So we go to the house of Marco Anthony. He has kids, (four) a wife, and an actual well like the one from The Ring. I drink a few with him, and watch him give his old rooster, who only has one eye, beer. He is convinced that the rooster is his father, re-incarnated, since the rooster hatched at the exact same moment his fater died. He told me that his Dad loved beer, so, by that logic, the rooster should too. The rooster, bless it’s heart, chugged the beer like a champion, and did seem to enjoy it, though half an hour later I witnessed the poor fellow trying in vain to walk through a stone wall.
The next day, I leave early and say goodbye to my friend and his hung over rooster. I walk out of Cruz Grande, and hitch a ride in a pickup that is packed full with toilet paper an jalapeños. I force myself up top, though it is admittedly quite precarious.
A few rides and a few towns later, I get a very dangerous, yet exhilirting, ride. All I’m gonna say is that you’ve never truly lived until you’ve ridden in the back of a flatbed pickup taking hairpin curves at eighty miles an hour in tropical mountians.
The flatbed takes me all the way out of Gurrero and into the state of Oaxaca. It is very hot, in the high ninties, and I’m getting redder than a boiled crawfish. I stand in the shade for awhile, and two hours later, I hitch gold.
I’m picked up by three guys in a black van (which looked very rapist-y) who were going all the way to the Guatemalan border! Score! We drove for ten hours, all the way until the next morning, stopping once in Puerto Escondito for snacks and to check out topless Europeans on the beach. I slept all night, and woke up the next morning in the town of Tapachula, in the state of Chipas, not two k’s from Guatemala. Sweet.
So, I had a few problems crossing the border. First off, three people who were obviously scammers kept trying to charge me four hundred quetzales (about thirty dollars) to cross into Guatemala. I told them quite politely to go and have sex with a splintery piece of wood, and kept walking. Fucking bottomfeeders.
So I could have just walked into Guatemala, but I decided to be legit and get my passport stamped. However, since my passport was expired, the guy wouldn’t stamp it, and told me that if I went into Guatemala, I would be arrested. Yeah, right. Like I’m afraid of Guatemalan immigration. However, there were some men with automatic weapons and sawed off shotguns just chillin’ on the other side, so I decided not to chance passing here.
Now, I came all the way to Guatemala from fucking San Diego. Thousands of miles. I’m not about to turn around just because some fat guy with a Hitler moustache tells me my passport is expired.
So, ladies and germs, I swam to Guatemala. I walked about two kilometers away from the border crossing bridge, and into the jungle. There was a relatively swift river that I needed to cross, so I made a raft out of my inflatable sleeping mat for my pack, stripped down to my birthday suit, and swam across that fucker.
I don’t give a fuck if you belive me or not. But I swear on my granny’s grave that that’s how I got to Guatemala. True story.
So once I got in to Guatemala, I started hitch hiking straight away. I got a ride a few k’s to a little town just past the border, and the guy (named Jesus) gave me same delicious beef stew.
I probably got about 8 more rides that day, and half of them were from mini buses who didn’t mind giving a free ride. Hitch hiking in Guatemala is even easier than Mèxico. And lots of people gave me a little money, so by the end of the day yesterday I had enough to buy a pack of smokes, which are only fifteen quetzales (about a dollar twenty-five!) Not to mention I had plenty of bananas, since this one guy pretty much force fed me three and then insisted that I take about fifteen more in my pack.
So my last ride of the day was with a little car with four people in it, to the town of Mazatenango, in the state of Suchitepèquez. The driver was a pretty girl of about twenty five, and she said that she had a friend who could give me a place to sleep for the night, which was great because it looked like rain.
I stayed with her friend for the night. That evening, we went to the centro of Mazatenango and played a few “friendly” games of soccer. A bit of advice: never play soccer with Guatemalans. Not only will you lose horribley, you will also probably take a soccar ball to the face that’s going well over the speed of sound. On the plus side, if that happens, the entire field of opponants is temporarily incapacitated for close to thirty seconds, and you can score the only goal you will make all game while the Guatemalans collapse on the ground with mirth because the gringo has a bloody nose.
So last night, I get to sleep in my friend’s bathroom. No, it’s not nearly as bad as it sounds. It was quite clean, outdoors, with a roof and a concrete floor, and speprate from the rest of the house. I ate some noodles and tortillas, and went to sleep….sorta.
There are a lot of fucking mosquitos in the jungle. A lot. I was swatting and smacking for hours, until I finally gave up going to sleep, turned on the light, and began seeing how many I could kill so as to extract my revenge on the bloodthirsty little bastards. I killed fourteen in about as many minutes. I stacked all their bodies in a little pile on top of some matches and burned the fuckers, Joan of Arc style. Hell yeah. Then I noticed that my little mosquito funeral pyre was creating smoke, which was, in fact, starting to repel the living mosquitos who were currently attempting to make off with several gallons of my precious, precious blood….hmmm….
So I might have made a small campfire in my Guatemalan friend’s bathroom.
Until next time,
The Modern Nomad
EDIT SEPT 2011: This post is a good example of my early hitchhiking mentality. The world is mine, I’m free, and fuck anybody who wants to stop me! My silliness makes me chuckle at times; for example, the laundry. There I was, fresh out of 19 years in the USA and washing machines…why didn’t I just wash the clothes myself? My hosts insisted they would take care of them, but it never crossed my mind to just grab a bar of soap and head to the river. Silly gringo…
Also, you can see the plesant influance working as a door to door magazine salesman in Cali had on my language….fuck this, fuck that, fuck a duck, bitch ass swear swear! Hahaha.
And my, oh my, how I did thumb my nose at the Guatemalans! I’m lucky they didn’t catch my cocky ass going acrss that river. Also, I hear now that parts of that border are mined…hmmm….