Monday, 4 November 2013

251 On to Guatemala and the love nest.

Saturday 2nd November 2013
Miles Today 206 Total 26,852
A long ride ahead, we set off for the border with Guatemala. 
Belize appears to be decaying on it's feet. there are many abandoned constructions all over the country.
The maion bridge having been taken our we had to resort to this. Adequate and functional.

A cable tied ferry to an archeological site. Closed presumably due to high river levels.

We drove the 30 odd miles and finally reached the Belizian exit. We were immediately mobbed by money changers. This is common in this part of the world and although the rates are not brilliant, they do serve a useful purpose. It's just a bit uncomfortable handing over and receiving wads of cash in full public view. Anyway, we did not have any local Belizian currency as I, thinking I was being clever, decided to change it all for US dollars. We only had about US$20 anyway and the money changer told us we would need a lot more to get through the border. We went to the exit point and were promptly told that we needed about US$40 just to exit Belize. Doh !
We jumped back on Wallace and with directions from our new best friend, the money changer, we found a bank back about 2 miles.
Second try: Armed with a pocket foll of Belizian dollars we paid our exit fee and got our passports stamped up along with successfully deporting Wallace. Now it was back to our friend the money changer to pay a ridiculous exchange rate, about 10% less that the standard rate but to be expected. They are at least convenient and the money goes to the community and not to already wealthy bankers.
I then rode Wallace into no-mans land and Karen walked through.
On the other side, it was no easier. Firstly we gained a lot more new friends that wanted to help us do something that we could do ourselves perfectly well. One young guy eagerly pointed us in the direction of places we needed to go, unfortunately for him, just after and official had done the same thing. Wallace had an insecticide bath again, for a fee of 12GTQ (Quetzals), about £1, and armed with our receipt, we parked Wallace outside customs and immigration, again with the un-needed help of our friendly Klingon, and whilst Karen stayed with Wallace (for security) I went in and purchased my entry stamp for 20GTQ (about £1.50) and then I had to import Wallace. At this point I was getting a bit fed up with the Klingon on the starboard bow so looked him in the face and gave him a Ray Hall look and an "Adios". It did the job, he got the message real quick. Onto customs, the helpful girl behind the counter told me I needed photocopies of all my documents and as luck would have it I had forgotten to do any previously. Further luck dictated that the photocopy shop was closed and I had to walk over a very large bridge to get some done. Another 6GTQ (£0.50) and a walk back and all the paperwork was done. I just then needed to pay 160GTQ (£13) at the cashiers window. I looked at the window and there was a queue of about 30 people. My heart sank when in perfect English the customs officer said. "Go to the front", which I did and no one batted an eyelid. It was then just a matter to get the customs officer to look at the Wallace's VIN number and put an import sticker on the screen. 
Now it was Karen's turn and then we were free...not.  As we tried to exit, the barrier guards wanted to see the export paperwork for Wallace which we had duly packed away. The import sticker was clearly not good enough.
That done we nailed it for our destination which was a place called Rio Dulce (Good River).  It was a long slow slog and again we reached our destination in the dark.
Dinner was all over the road.....

Cleared jungle for crops and grazing.
In Guatemala it was the 'Day of the Dead' where villages pay their respects to their deceased ancestors. It is a very formal and colourful affair and as such we did not take our time over the photos out of respect.

The graves all newly painted and decorated.

In hindsight, that was not a bad thing.  Ray had found one of the only hotels which caters for back packers.  All they had left was a double room, with a shared bathroom.  We took it and were then informed that there was a party going on in the dinning room until 1am that night.  Our room was the bare minimum.  As it says on the tin, it is for back packers.  We had a double bed, no windows, just frames with mosquito nets, the walls were chip board, if that good and a fan.  We went down for some dinner and a few beers to ease the pain. 
The 'Fiesta' in full swing. It was actually very nice and cheered us up after hard days riding.

The Twat boat.

There was group of guys next to us who appeared to be from the Southern US. They were eying up the girls behind us an after not having a lot of success, they went to get their boat. A nice piece of kit it was too but as they got out of it they left the 'twat' lights on. This needs some explaining but we have all seen the morons that insert blue lights into their car windscreen washers. In the police we called them twat lights as the cars were usually driven by boy racers/twats. I had my back to the boat and could only see the front and Karen pointed out the fact that the Americans had lost all their street cred when they left the twat lights on. I turned around to see the rear underwater blue lights were on and nearly wet myself laughing.  (It was very pretty and I'm sure impressive to a ten year old).  Sadly she would not let me explain it to the Americans who later coerced 4 girls into the boat and that was the last we saw of them. Still twats though.
At around 11.30pm we retired and despite the music, we did drop off.  I awoke and heard the music finishing and people leaving, then came the loudest banging of doors as the two blokes from next door came in.  The music was turned on presumably with a phone, and then a two hour orgy commenced.  The screams and shouts, whimpers and moans, and then the whole room shaking like we were in an earth quake, it was awful.  Just as the final ooh's and aah's finished, and high heels clipped along the corridor, a car alarm went off, closely followed by the cockerel that couldn't tell the time and then all the local bloody dogs.  Needless to say, we didn't get a lot of sleep.  Ray made a point of having an early shower, dropping everything on the tin floor, and banging doors to wake our neighbours, but  I think it was only me that heard him. 
Back packers hotels/hostels are for 22 year olds, not 52 year olds.

Sunday 3rd November 2013
Miles Today 44 Total 26,896

Anyway, as Mr and Mrs Grumpy we went to the reception this morning, after deciding there are a couple of sites we want to visit, to see if we could change the room for a slightly more private one, and it was classic, watching Ray explain, in broken Spanish and body gesticulations, why we wanted to change rooms.  He nearly put his back out.  It was hilarious, but it worked . Even the girls behind the counter were impressed with his moves. We now have the same quality of room, but it has it's own bathroom and as it is Sunday hopefully they are all praying to God rather than calling out for him!!!!!!!!!
A photo of the hotel from where the Twat boat was parked last night.

A statue on the opposite bank. There are all kinds of love.

The river was so high, when a big boat went past, the water came through the dance floor.
This cool dude was sat behind us whilst we were having breakfast. Complete with his captains hat on. He then got into this and rowed off. We did laugh...

Its my boat and I'm wearing the Captains hat.
Till we saw that he actually rowed to a large yacht, but that was nowhere near as funny. Then he got into the water and swam around the back of the yacht to do some in water work. And yes he still had his hat on !

We then set off on Wallace to visit a waterfall and pool, like the sort of thing you see in holiday adverts and films with the beautiful model sweeping her hair from side to side in the water.

Our 'Love Hotel' from the adjacent bridge.

The town was just mad, mad, mad.

The countryside was serene and the weather was gorgeous.
 When we arrived at the track leading to the waterfall the locals were doing their washing and washing themselves in the river.

Can you imagine this in the UK or US.

And they all do it together.
We got to the waterfall and the gate guy warned us that due to recent rains the water was fierce and dirty and not really suitable for swimming in. That did not deter the locals though.

It took him a while but he eventually plucked up courage.

The place was idyllic, shame the rain had made the water dirty.

On the way home the scenery was just as good.
Tomorrow we have a short 110 mile ride to a place called Chiquimula.

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