Diary 2 I now get to
drive around by myself.
It is bye a familiar roads this chill morning, but the governmental area is alive. At the sidewalks, numerous persons sit with each their typewriter, helping the citizens writing letters and filling out forms.
This time, I turn to the other side, and here the market I've been looking for, is found. Well, at least one alike the one I remembered. It is truly a busy place, and one have to watch ones steps carefully. Some big en-gross companies are found her, some minor shops, some sheets, some use the back of their pick-up truck, some are displaying their goods on the ground, and some have their entire shop in their hands.
Some streets and halls are a strange mix of everything, others are real specialised, like pealing off the outer layer of the coconuts. Others handle the inner layer, some the juice and some the "meat". I try to make some photos, but the lack of light and fast moving people make it hard. And some are shy! Some are in traditional hill-tribe dresses, other modern dressed.
The area seems endless, but finally, I find a few goats. I have read they are brought here, with mufflers, to be milked on demand. Apparently, fresh goat-milk is considered a delicacy. I enters one of the huge halls, and here are more normal shops. One area sell confetti for piñatas, and they do have a lot! Around the corner, I find some busses, but not that many.
I buy a glass of some white juice, but fail to figure what it is. Here are not that many restaurants, but some walk around with a trolley, selling food and drinks. The next specialised alley I find, is the charcoal packers. They sit on the ground and fill small plastic bags with coal, black as them selves. Then I meet the timber yard and then the coconut road. A small section of colourful clay-work is next, and I guess I can find way more, given the time.
But I am running out of time - and honestly; energy. I head for the car rental office, further out of the centre of town. I started in Zone 1, then the market in Zone 9 and now I head for Zone 13. It is a long, and now rather hot walk. When I finally find the address, there are no "dollar car rental" in sight.
I ask the guys in the shop, and they don't have a clue. I have booked it through Expedia, who never fails to give wrong addresses on hotels. The phone number they have given me, is not connected, they can't be found on-line, but they might be in the airport, the guys tell me.
Well, I don't know what else to do, so I walk out there. I find Avis, Hertz and alike, and the guys agree; Dollar is further out the airport road. I ask a lot around, and one nice gentleman follow me to a car rental company. Not the right one, but they call some friends, and one is sure; Dollar are in the arrival hall.
Back here, I have a bit of a problem getting in there, but I finally find their empty desk. A friendly lady make some calls, and I end up with a nice white VW Polo. I have paid "full insurance" to Expedia, but apparently only for the car. I have to pay additionally US$200 for people damages - which doubles the price. I don't give a dammed by now; I just want a car and to get out on the road.
It takes me an hour to get out of town, and down the mountain, it is found on. The road is real good, but rather busy. I stop outside town to fill the left front tire with a lot of air. I try to find lunch, but end up with chocolate biscuits. My initial plan was to see the beautiful colonial Antiqua, but I have seen town enough for one day.
I drive through a real dry landscape, but fail to spot a single cactus. Some areas are watered, and cane seems to be the major crop. I even meet some cane-trains on the highway. I head all the way out to the sea, and cross a few huge rivers, home to large sea-going vessels. I try to access the seaside a few places, but fails.
I guess I will succeed later, and give up, heading all the way down to Monterrico. It seems to be a strange mix of cattle land and tourism. I hardly see any of either though. Monterrico should have some fine old houses, which eludes me. But it sure have a wide beach, and only with a few guests. I find my nice hotel, with pool in the huge yard, right out to the beach. I make a stroll along the beach, then through the entire street that make up the town.
At the end, I find the mangrove with a lot of boats. Many seems to be car ferries, although not much bigger than a dinghy. Here should be tours to Biotopo Monterrico-Hawaii, but I don't see any sighs, nor do anyone approach me. Back in town, I find a little local place, selling me kind of breakfast.
I am right in time to enjoy the sunset at the sea. Just before I get there, I walk under a tree, which is the night seat for a huge group of small but noisy parakeets. After sunset, I head home, hoping to wrap it up fast, and get some good sleep. It is a bit strange; Where Belize was cold at night at sea level, it is rather hot here. Bus Terminal Market and Monterrico.
4. I start the day with a short stroll along the nice beach, but as here is nothing but sand, I get bored. Then I drive out to the mangrove, and look for a tour-boat. Here are none, but I jump a car ferry, which just pull of. Two small cars and five motorcycles along with the crew of two.
We sail so smooth into the mangrove, and I get to see numerous herons, egrets, cormorants, martins and four-eyes. Here are also a few fishing eagles, and some vultures and storks fly high above. It is right through Biotopo Monterrico-Hawaii. But here are a lot of fishermen in small canoes. And everything is so undisturbed. Well, some of the fishermen are actually in the water, not their canoe. Here are a few settlements, consisting of a few palm-leaf huts along the route.
After half an hour, we end up in a little settlement named La Avellana, which have a nice sealed road. This might be a shortcut to Guatemala City? The crew does not charge me, and I give them a cup of coffee. I do a walk the entire town around, and then I wait for a boat home again. It is another one, and I have to buy a ticket at a sheet for €0,50. Another real nice boat-ride through the narrow canals, in the so green mangrove and a few grassy areas. I have so many great photos, but they tend to look just alike each other.
On the way back to the bigger road, I pass the little but very nice Centro de Conservación Marina. It is found down a little sandy road, passing over some of the numerous dry cattle fields. It is a rather young centre, and the administrator is a young biologist, with a huge knowledge. It is not season for hatchlings nor egg laying, but they have some wounded Olive Rileys and Green Seaturtles in tanks, and they are able to treat them back to release.
In Guatemala, it is legal to dig-up sea turtle eggs, you just have to give 20% of the eggs to the government, who will hatch and release them. It might sound strange, but then again; if people really give the 20% to the government, I think there will become more turtles in the sea. This facility is expanding, and I can only hope for the best. It is surely a place worth visiting and supporting. I add a few ideas and thoughts to their work.
I get another remote and rather undisturbed beach recommended, and I set the GPS for El Paredon Buena Vista. It is a long drive along the sea - without actually seeing it a single time underway. It take a long time to get through the big city of Puerto San José, but then, the road is real great to drive - except where there is no road. I stop outside town, and get lunch at a little truck-stop. Close to the sea again, I have to cross over a sandy field and along a sandy trail for some time, before I reach another great sealed road. Guess a farmer didn't want a road on his claim.
El Paredon Buena Vista is a little settlement, but kind of rich, as some tourists have found it. At the mangrove, some car ferries are ready to connect with other remote locations. I see a bit of the mangrove, then the completely vacant beach. I make a little loop in the village as well, but it is getting late. I thought I could catch the good road in Sipacate, but that causes for a ferry, and I don't bother.
Back some of the way, but I avoid Puerto San José by a 25 kilometre sandy road. Here, I meet some cane-trains. The longest have six 40 foot trailers. It is a real good sandy road, and the last part is sprayed with something, could be sugar? Only the cane-trains and cows make a hurtle, else I can do 90 km/t. Then Escuintla and Rio Bravo. Here, I spend an hour on a few kilometres.
I don't stop, even when I crosses some rather big - and dry rivers. The landscape changes slowly, and here are a few more hills. The altitude raises to 2-300 metres. Here start to be gumtree-plantations and a few bananas. Some of the trees along the road are absolutely huge!
It is almost dusk, when I reach Retalhuleu, which have a great looking Kingpalm avenue, and some strange buildings too. I find my "hotel" right away, and it is the real cosy home of a nice couple. They have a nice garden, and it is the joy of the husband, who is a psychiatrist. We have a long chat - and he is a good listener....
first, I rush out to make some photos is the late afternoon sun. I find some
of the grand old buildings, which the town is known for. But it does get dark too
fast, and I have to get back in the morning. I find the modern part of town,
but head back to the old part for dinner. The first is a local, but rather posh
place, with only one vegetarian dish; a starter. A little joint can be
in to a bit of everything, but meat, and that is filling! Back to the talk
with the shrink, who offers some great tea. And then work, until way too late.
Mangrove-ferry, Sea Turtles, Cane