On Wednesday the 1st of December after spending 26 days or so in Flores it was time to leave.
With an overpriced ruck-sac on my back, a small day bag in my left hand and a “cardboard box” covered in duct tape weighing in at over 20 kilos in my right hand I walked from where I was staying to the tour company offices and waited for the minibus. Thankfully it was only about 200m but it was far enough for my right hand to start to hate me!
The minibus turned up and by the time all the gringos had been picked up it was certainly full! Thankfully I had a window seat so I could at least have “the wind in my face” as the bus travelled towards the mountain town of Coban.
The 1st half of the journey was along a flat road with a dodgy river crossing on a makeshift ferry at the town of Sayaxche at the mid point. About an hour later the mountains appeared and the road started to twist and turn uphill. Some of the gradients were steep enough that if I had been on my bike, I would of struggled to push the bike up them, let alone cycle!
As we continued the temperature dropped and the rain drizzled down. The bus stopped in the small town of Chisec for a fag break and the only part of my body that was happy was my arse! Everything else was demanding to be stretched. Whilst I was standing around enjoying the view and the sweet taste of a full fat marlboro I felt a soft touch against my lower arm. Turns out a couple of young kids were “fascinated” by my hairy arms....
Finally after 6-7 hours on the road I reached Coban and it was raining. This was bad news for the cardboard box! 50 metres from the bus park was a business hotel (it was also the nearest) so I thought “damn the expense” it will have to do. Turns out it was super cheap, Q110 a night, en-suite room with cable TV, a huge bed and free wifi....bargain!
I spent two nights in Coban, it may of stopped raining at some point but if it did I was probably watching TV.
On Friday the 3rd of December I got onto another “tourist minibus” and spent several shitty hours on the road to Antigua. We passed through Guatemala city, which was nice because now I can say I've been there (its a shithole of a place...think certain parts of south London!). I got to Antigua just before 5pm and got a room in the Ummagumma hostel. For Q50 a night I have a room with 4 walls, a ceiling and a floor but with no windows...which isn't a problem for me. I also have the joy of a shared bathroom and a somewhat run-down looking rooftop bar where the local “herb” was on display later on in the evening. It also has free WiFi which is a bonus.
After a few hours of chilling out I decided that as it was a Friday night I would go and hang out in the local Irish bar....er...no! It's closed down, so instead I went for a bimble along cobbled streets and passed painted houses. Eventually I found myself in a bar called “Reds” and it was an okay place till I discovered how much they were charging for a beer (Q22 for a bottle is a little overpriced). So I headed back to the rooftop bar at the hostel where the beer is just as cold but is a more reasonable Q15 a bottle.
I have no idea how long I will be staying here but on Monday I'll be spending thousands of Quetzales in the local DHL office to send my bike back to England.