The traffic to Guatemala City was again very tough, but luckily, we had no traffic jam. This time we were accommodated in a hostel in zone 4 of the megacity. Already while driving we had a bad feeling. The area was not exactly tingling. Also, the employee of the hostel advised us to be careful. We limited our shopping tour to a minimum and went the next day directly with Uber to the embassy. There we were told that on this day all employees get a double salary. We should be careful and not walk around alone. Even for the smallest couriers the embassy took a taxi on this day to minimize the risk of a robbery. This payment takes place only twice a year. Jackpot! Hopefully the new credit card will not be stolen from us again...
However, we were reluctant to take an Uber or taxi for every short distance and therefore we walked to the shopping center. Nothing happened. But from there, after a royal lunch at McDonald´s and a well-deserved dessert at McCafé and Dunkin´Donuts, we took an Uber to get back to the accommodation.
The next morning, we started very early and left the city. Nevertheless, the traffic was like hell again. And we were back in the heat. We had got used to the bearable temperatures in Antigua and Guatemala City so much that the heat really knocked us out. We almost didn't leave the motel "Happy Horse" in Gustatoya and let the air conditioner run all the time.
We went on to Rio Dulce. In the "Hostel y Restaurante Backpackers" we chilled on a jetty at the river and spent the night in a room in the jetty house. We smiled at the owner's warning to lock up our food – we should have listened to her better. The remaining chips and oatmeal fell victim to the mice. At night they were looking for food again, Kai had seen one and another one ran over my face. Delicious...
On the third day we drove to El Remate at Lago Petén Itztá. On the way we went through the mountains, unfortunately we could not really drive like we would and enjoy the curves because of the rain. In El Remate we stayed for three nights in the "Casa Doña Toñita". Situated directly at the lake with private jetty and chill possibilities it could be endured there well. The next day we visited the Maya site Tikal. It lies in the middle of the jungle and is home to many animal species. Besides the temple we saw many animals like toucans, foxes, monkeys and different birds. Only the jaguar hid from us. Bad luck for the photos but good for us it was very cloudy and windy that day, so the temperatures were bearable. On the way back we had to wait until a minibus ("collectivo") took us back to El Remate. Exhausted from walking and the heat (the sun burned on our heads again in El Remate), we cooled down a bit in the lagoon and rested. Also, the next day we chilled in the hammocks after we had prepared the border crossing to Belize and had completed the further travel planning. In the evening we ate our dinner at the lake in the middle of hundreds of fireflies. So many we had seen the last time in Costa Rica.
The border crossing to Belize, after a longer exit procedure from Guatemala, went reasonably fast. The border guards in Belize had somehow forgotten that we should have unloaded and presented everything. So, we were not only saving time in the heat, but Kai could take his beloved cigarettes with him. Otherwise they would have been taken from him. Only the obligatory motor vehicle insurance for the equivalent of 27€ per motorcycle annoyed us a little, because we only wanted to drive through the country.
The hostel "J & R" in San Ignacio had private parking, but directly in front of the house, open to the street without a gate. The owner was very nice and offered us to park her car directly behind our motorcycles at least during the night, so that nobody could push the bikes out. Nevertheless, we unloaded everything and chained the rest as good as we could. We relied on our feelings and hoped for our luck. But the night was anything but restful. Alternately we checked the bikes before going to sleep and in the middle of the night I was shocked by a nightmare (my BMW was stolen) and went out at night to convince myself that it was really just a dream. Fortunately, everything was fine. However, every time I heard a noise, I would go back up from sleep.
The next morning, we went on to Orange Walk Town. Actually, we wanted to kite on the Caye Caulker (island off Belize), but you are not allowed to take a motorbike or car with you and there was no accommodation or camping at the kite spot. Furthermore, Belize is a bit more expensive compared to the other countries in Central America. Therefore, we had decided to drive through the country and come back with a bigger purse one day.
In the Ricky´s Hostel in Orange Walk Town we had a safe parking place, but it was Saturday and our room directly above the Sports Bar. But the music wasn't loud and only until 12 o'clock, we were assured... With headphones we watched a movie as long as we could and tried in vain to fall asleep afterwards. The next morning, the alarm clock woke us after a restless night and after breakfast thunderstorms started. At first, we waited, but there was no improvement in sight. Therefore, we drove off despite rain around half past eleven. Finally, we wanted to cross the border to Mexico in time. If we had known what would happen to us that day, we would have stayed another night in Orange Walk Town...
Finally, we had made it out of Guatemala City and since it was Sunday, we got out of the city without a big traffic jam. Only a few kilometers later we got into a long traffic jam. Stop and go up the mountain. Wonderful for Kai, who wasn't quite feeling well. When we arrived in Antigua there was no trace of the hostel owner. The hostel guests told us they would check out at 12 noon and then the host would come to prepare the rooms for us. That's how long we should wait. But it was a quarter to 12 anyway. An hour and a half later we could at least park the motorcycles inside.
After the bumpy beginning the hostel "Vista de Volcanos" turned out to be a real stroke of luck: We were mostly alone (with the exception of the operators who also live in a room), the public bus to the old town started right in front of the front door and it was pretty much the cheapest hostel in Antigua. We paid scarcely 10€ per night for a double room. The roof terrace invited us to stay (if it wasn't too hot) and we could comfortably continue working on the website and explore the city. The beautiful old town as well as the traditional market were especially attractive to us.
During the day it was hot, but not too extreme, in the evening and at night it cooled down and so we wore a sweater for the first time in months. For us these were the perfect temperatures to finally cook a soup again. For months we were more and more in the mood for good German home cooking. For example, we had a chicken soup with potatoes and vegetables and a potato soup with peas and chorizo (instead of Wienerle). For the first time we even found a real bread with grains and a crust. It was so hard that our teeth and jaws had to get used to it again. We were in heaven, after almost nine months of eating mainly either "pillow bread" (meaning you can compress it like a pillow) or sweet bread. In addition, we finally found an affordable red wine - although in Tetra pack and imported from Argentina. We enjoyed this wine in the evening on the roof terrace (optionally together with cocoa beans from Costa Rica) while in the distance the Volcano del Fuego shot up its lava. A great natural spectacle which we wanted to admire from close up during a 2-day hike.
But it was different again. From a minute to the other I had flu-like symptoms and 39 degrees fever. The next day we had to move to another hostel (Casa Santa Clara), because our hostel was fully booked by a family for one month. Fortunately, the new accommodation was only five minutes away by motorbike, so that I gathered all my remaining strength for this time to drop into the new bed immediately afterwards. The "Casa Santa Clara" is very big and beautiful. Beside a big living room with fireplace there is a big kitchen and a covered terrace with BBQ grill.
In the evening the fever continued to rise and a party was in full swing in the neighborhood. That's the good thing when you're in a fever condition - you don't hear as much as usual. So, I slept in spite of fireworks, banging and loud music (with moderator), while Kai watched one movie after the other.
To be sure it is not malaria or dengue fever, I went to the hospital the next day. So far on this trip we only had one day of fever. This time it was already the second day and who knew what the third day would bring. In addition, I have never had such pronounced flu symptoms. Thank God the doctor spoke English which made it much easier. Since it was a holiday, the laboratory in the hospital was closed. Therefore, the samples had to be taken to another laboratory. It would take 45 minutes for the results to arrive. Three hours later I had the diagnosis: Fortunately, neither dengue nor malaria. But parasites AND bacteria. So, for a change, antibiotics again. Yay! Since we had cooked almost exclusively ourselves and had bought food only in the big supermarket, it was really a mystery to us where it came from again. But maybe the bacteria weren't killed completely the last time. So, we spent a few more days in the beautiful house in Antigua and I could cure myself. I was supposed to avoid sports and exertion during the seven days of taking antibiotics, but I didn't want to sit around for another week. In addition, the credit card had arrived in Guatemala City in the meantime (it had actually worked and even faster than expected!) and we finally wanted to get ahead. Riding a motorbike is physically exhausting and especially in traffic and heat a strain on the body.
Therefore, we will split the long driving days to Tikal (Mayan site), in the north of Guatemala, into several days and will take more time. After one week without a raindrop the rainy season had normalized again and so we had to expect rain and thunderstorms at noon anyway.
The hostess in Santa Ana personally said goodbye to us with a hug. It was really a great stay there. But now we had to cross the border to Guatemala. And see there: The fastest border crossing in Central America for us so far! Only 1,5 hours! Record! But we did not want to go to Guatemala City in the heat and stayed overnight in Jalpatagua.
The next morning, we continued in the direction of Guatemala City. On the way we overtook a Tuk-tuk and did not believe our eyes: The passenger was a huge domestic pig and took the complete room! The trip went really well and the temperatures were also pleasant. But then came the traffic jam. Over one hour stop and go. At least only at 30 degrees, but still not pleasant. In the city we went first to BMW and then to Yamaha. We both had the chance to have a service done at short notice. So, we unloaded the whole luggage in the hostel "Tequila Sunrise" and drove the motorcycles in the Rush Hour to the respective dealers. It was Wednesday and my BMW should be ready by Friday. Kai´s Yamaha on the other hand would need until Monday. Well, we had planned some time and there was a lot to do. Besides the sightseeing of the city we wanted to clean and empty the panniers again, repair holes, make the zippers movable again etc. etc... We were always kept up to date by the (luckily partly English speaking) mechanics. After a short time, it was clear that only the steering head bearing on the BMW had to be replaced. With the Yamaha, on the other hand, more had to be done. Even a new rear tire was due. Probably the strong crosswind in Chile in combination with the surfboard had left traces. The suspension strut would also be as its limits soon, as well as the front rim. In contrast to BMW, Yamaha had almost no parts in stock and strangely could not order anything. So, neither the shock nor the rim could be changed. Not even the broken indicator could be replaced. When Kai said Yamaha could have a look if the spare parts of the bigger Super Ténéré fit, it was said that this was a very good idea. Independent, proactive thinking - not really... But it still didn't help.
The service at the Yamaha would, of course, tear a slightly larger hole into the travel budget than planned. In addition, our small digital camera had broken down completely and could not be repaired. Therefore, we calculated the costs for the remaining months of the trip again and found out that it should still work, but we definitely had to tighten the belts (Note Kai: Many thanks again to my dear colleagues of the disposition and the extended workbench... ;-)!).
For days we ran all over the city and tried to find tires for the Yamaha, because the dealer couldn't find the desired tires himself. But also, we had no luck. Kai had to take the suggested tires of the dealer, even if they didn't meet his expectations.
Since the internet in the hostel was incredibly bad, we spent our time with extensive city tours and shopping tours. As this makes us hungry, we ate our way through all the fast food chains. From Taco Bell to Burger King to Little Caersar´s Pizza everything was there. Dunkin´Donuts and Starbucks were the peak of the culinary taste experience. That´s why, the 800 BMW GS was on topic again...
We strolled astonished through huge malls (there were even trains for the children and there was a merry-go-round) and visited the city center. There were goat herdsman offering freshly tapped goat milk. A really very bizarre sight in the middle of colonial buildings and big, modern skyscrapers. Guatemala City has many faces and is truly a city of contrasts. We could reach a lot by foot, but also often used the public bus, called "Transmetro", for about 11 cents per person.
The hostel offers, besides a good pancake breakfast, also filtered water. So, we saved the water towage. Only the water tasted so much of chlorine that it was inedible. And then Kai tapped the water at the wrong tap, which contains unfiltered water! Unfortunately, I found out only a few sips later! Luckily, nothing happened, but we bought the water in the supermarket to be on the safe side. Better safe than sorry.
What else was going on these days? We got the information that Yamaha wouldn't make it in time and we had to wait another day longer. Furthermore, we had to deal with Seaboard (indicator of the BMW broke during the shipment from Colombia to Panama) and fought with the ADAC. We had submitted the doctor's bill for the infusion and the medication and had received a rejection notice.
But hey, our first article was published in Surfer´s Mag, of which we are of course very proud! You can find the article at:
Now it was finally time: The Yamaha was also finished and our horses were reunited after a week of painful separation. But with the motorcycle came the bill and with it the slap. Twice as expensive as we thought! We packed our things and wanted to continue the next day to Antigua.
We were almost finished loading when Kai suddenly came out of the room and said that his wallet was gone! Then the running started: Unload everything and turn it upside down, block the credit card, call the embassy and go to the police. When we arrived at the first police station, we were directed to the next one. We moved further and further away from the safe city center and came to an area where we felt more and more insecure. Every time we asked for the way we were told something different. One last time we followed a description and squeezed through the narrow stands of a market. Then we finally reached the station, Kai made his statement and got a report of the loss, which he could show at a police checkpoint - he now also lacked his driver's license. Fortunately, the German embassy in Guatemala was so helpful to accept the new credit card. It would take three weeks for the credit card to be produced and shipped.
We were glad that everything was sorted out and finally wanted to go to Antigua. But in the late evening before the departure we got the information from the hostel that it had come to a double occupancy due to a system error. Guatemala City had probably grown fond of us and did not let us go! Due to the upcoming weekend, there were no alternatives. So, we had to stay in the city. Fortunately for us, a whole group of young people arrived with game consoles and their own (tube) televisions, hanging on their consoles during the day and beer at night. Although Kai wasn't doing well the next morning, we decided to go anyway, as the group had already brought new beer supplies.