A Warning and a Dream Come True
Our Chickenbus Experience

June 4, 2016

Lots of pleasantness in the countryside of Guatemala.


What happened…

Andrew writes: I’m not altogether certain how or why we ended up taking our sweet time packing up this morning. I would like to think that it was because we were pretty relaxed in general. It was nice sleeping together again after a week of separate beds. Plus the bed at Pablo’s Hotel was really comfortable. Thus we woke up around 0700hrs, and were on the road by 0900hrs. I suppose had we thought things through a little bit more maybe we would have been up and out earlier to avoid afternoon rain. For some reason I found myself worried about robbery this morning and packed the “good” camera into a pannier, along with my other electronics that I would normally have in my handlebar bag.

After setting out from San Bernadino, we stopped in nearby San Antonio to see if we could buy some rope netting to go around our chinese shopping bags. This was Amanda’s idea, and I hope that it will serve us well either on buses or air planes. The market looks really small from the outside, just a stall or two of vegetables being sold at the entrance to an alley. As soon as I went in however there were hundreds of these little stalls selling all the usual crap; shoes, clothes, vegetables, fish, meat. It was chaotic, but eventually I found what I was looking for. Amanda was waiting outside of the market, being guarded by a friendly security guard.

It was a pleasant enough ride today, with a good mix of sustained downhill and sustained but not strenuous uphill. We stopped for lunch in Rio Bravo which is quite the industrious little village full of eateries. There were large stretches of the road where the new highway is accessible but not really used by traffic too. We could have ridden without traffic, but I think we were trying to be cautious and sought the safety offered by the busy highway CA-2. Then again, a town like Rio Bravo might wither up if they ever open the new highway since it goes right around the town. Amanda thinks maybe it will never open. Overall, I was happy with how safe and secure I felt cycling along today. There was quite often a very wide shoulder to ride in, or two lanes on each side of the highway.

Afternoon thundershowers are quite common in these parts, at this time of year; the rainy season as it’s called. We put on rain jackets and took cover under some shrubbery and after about 10 minutes it stopped raining. So we took off our rain jackets and started down the highway again. It started to rain again. We repeated the earlier process but after a few minutes I thought either it was tapering off, or it would rain forever, and so, Amanda and I started riding in the rain. Man alive, did it ever come down; like if cats and dogs had puppies and kittens and they all came pouring out of the sky, that’s the kind of rain we rode in. Cars and trucks slowed and put on their flashers, and there was a river of rain flowing against us in the shoulder. At times we had to dodge lakes of pooled water by going into the other lane of traffic. Every pedal-stroke it felt as though my sock was trying to pull itself out of a mudbog because my shoes were so waterlogged. It didn’t help that the last 15km of the ride today was uphill, and the shower lasted until we got into the centro of Esquintla.

We found a posada for the night at $80Q ($10CDN) and ended up treating ourselves to McDonald’s for dinner since it was close and we were both so hungry. The posada is a bit “divey” as Amanda put it, but I’m happy to be under budget for today.


Amanda writes: A bit divey? The last time I recall staying in something this filthy and dingy was in Cuba. Arriving late in the day, soaked to the bone and hungry makes for rash decisions for sleeping. Sleeping with cockroaches is never a good sleep but with Andrew by my side we made due.

I enjoyed the sights of local Guatemalan people living simple lives through the day. It is very common to see women washing clothes in the muddy rivers and today we saw at least a couple of groups of women washing large amounts of clothes. I also enjoyed again seeing people carrying firewood and anything else they can on their backs and bikes. It is rare to own a car here and people make due just fine.


Today’s Photographs

A Warning and a Dream Come True
Our Chickenbus Experience