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Trevor’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 11 Mar 2006

Location: Antigua, Guatemala

MapSouth of Coban I was supposed to turn right for Salama, an 18 km ride from the turnoff. But I missed the turn. Several times I asked "is this the way to Salama" or "how many kms to Salama?". I didn't realise that the roads formed an oval and you could also get to Salama this way. After over 40 kms I finally twigged on where I was and stopped at a hotel atop the mountains from where I could see a town - yes it was Salama in the distance.

Rule 63: read the f....cking map more often.

After a night at Rabinal, I had the toughest 2 days so far, and possibly the toughest days I've ever had on a bike. The road is represented as a red line (Major Road) on the Rough Guide map - which claims to feature "clear modern mapping and bang up to date research". It's a goat-track. Dusty, rock-strewn, corrugated and narrow.

Stats for the first day: Distance covered: 37.28 kms; Average speed: 9.1 kms; In-saddle time: 4 hrs; Elapsed time: 8 hrs. I couldn't go faster than 13 kms per hr downhill and had to ride the brakes all the time.

I'd be riding along thinking I'm all alone and suddenly I'd see one or several people (usually native Indians) sitting in the shade of a tree or bush on the side of the road. I stopped at a hut where cold drinks are sold by the Indian family eking out a living on the land. Miscellaneous animals wandered around: dog, chickens with chicks, and a pig. Definitely free-range eggs and pork around here.

Finally, the dirt road finished (hooray!) and I continued to San Pedro de Sacatepequez , just 17 kms from Guatemala City. A bleak, working city which is nearly part of the capital.

Next day, after a very late start due to having to get money from the bank to get breakfast, I continued on to Antigua where I was nearly 2 weeks ago. This time I went to a hostel and got a bed in a dorm room.