Monday, 26 March 2012

Earthquakes & Crocodiles

Currently we are in Guatemala City!!!  Big city and lots to report so here goes...

When we posted last time we were just leaving our lovely Palapa and heading towards Acapulco.  I really loved this stretch of road.  Great scenery, very little cars, twisty roads and we made great time.
When we finally get to Acapulco, we decided to mainly bypass the city and get a hotel on the south side.  The way we can get rolling early in the morning.  If you've never ridden in Acapulco, this is where the driving changes and they are particularly aggressive.  It was a little scary riding there and I'm glad we skirted the city.

We continued south and crossed paths with a French fellow named Raphael.  He was hitch-hiking and had travelled across Canada, USa and into Mexico to meet his mom in Cancun.  He had mostly just asked folks to camp in their yards along the way.  Raphael said he had noticed us further up the coast a day or two earlier.  Very nice guy and I wish we could give him a lift.  Maybe we'll see him in Puerto Escondito.

Here's Raphael in action trying to hitch a ride at the gas station.
This is the guy that actually ended up giving him a lift : ) 
Not too much further south we had a very unique experience.  Dan has never felt an earthquake and I've only experienced some aftershock in Richmond, BC back in '95.  That day I had stopped for pics and Dan was up ahead and had already pulled over, when it happened.  On the bike, it felt really strange like I was riding in mush! I looked down at the front tire thinking to myself "no! not a flat tire". ahaha.   I pulled up to the little cafe Dan was parked at and right away he says to me "did you feel the earthquake?"  Crazy shit.

We were very close to the epicenter of the quake.  Luckily, we weren't on the section pictured below when the quake hit.  We rode through he just after and it could have been really bad.  

There were multiple spots like this.

It would have been really interesting to see how fast these rockscame down during the quake.  It didn't look like anyone got hurt.

After our mid-day natural disaster, we rolled into Puerto Escondido.  The first time we rode right past the hotel district which seems to be tucked  away close to the beach.  We didn't see any large hotels, but found this great little place.  Unfortunetly, it had only fans and no A/C.  It was a little warm and A/C is getting to be a VERY nice  feature to have.
Nice little pool I jumped into before I did a single other thing.  Dan was already gone to get a cold beer.
Great little place and the rooms with one bed have A/C. and it's close to the beach and restaurants.

There was a hostel just across the street for you thrifty travellers.  I might be hitting a few of these after Dan & I part ways.

Lots of fishing boats tied up.  In the distance the waves rolls into the beach and the surf looks really good.
Puerto Escondido is a nice spot.  I'm sure I'll be back here one day soon and stay longer next time.  I need to make a call so I hang back and let Dan ride ahead.   We get somewhere close to Juchitán de Zaragoza and the wind gets really strong.  Low and behold, we find windmills.  I've seen just a few in Holland, but these was incredible!  There were so many of these.

Everyone of these wind turbines is enormous and the pictures don't serve justice to the spectacle.
Contrary to what the lady at the tourism info booth in Puerto Escondido says... we make it all the way past Arriaga and start asking people for directions to the Sima de Las Cattoras.  It's getting close to dark and most of the people we talk to are drunk and of little help.  We push on and end up riding in the dark for the second time this trip and make it all the way to Tuxtla Gutiérrez.  We find a decent hotel, wash-up and kick back.  We did over well over 600km.

We do some research and form some plans.  The next day we head out on the bikes toward Chiapa de Corzo, which is 12 kms east on the way to San Cristobal.  I'd recommend saving this trip for when you heading south out of Tuxtla.  Just make sure you get there early, so you can reach San Cristobal in good time.

We get close and there are many vendors close by trying to sell us boat rides up the Río Grijalva.

We find a spot to park the bikes and change into some cooler clothes.  I'm slightly nervous about the bikes and gear but what's a guy gonna do.  While we grab a cool drink and wait for our boat I take a minute to chat with some of the guys there.  The guy in the blue shirt spoke great English and had lived in the states for awhile.  He said to watch the drivers here, because half the time they are drunk.  Good to know.
After I chatted with these guys, I knew our bikes and gear would be safe with them.
Meanwhile Dan is over gambling or at least helping one of these guys lose his  money. bahaha too funny.
Finally there are enough passengers to fill up the boat (lancha in Mexico) and we head out towards Cañón del Sumidero.  
This is the bridge for Hwy 190.

There are tons of birds to see, but somehow I only got a picture of these crows.
Looks like a cave.

In 1528 when the Spaniards arrived and fought with the Chiapa tribe, hundreds of them hurdled themselves off these cliffs, rather then surrender.

These canyon walls rise up to 800m!!! Incredible.
It isn't long before the Lancha captain is pointing over to the banks and putting the boat rather close to these fine fellows.
I couldn't believe the size of these guys.  I've seen some in the Yuchitan, but these were much bigger.

Funny thing was...there were people in the water down river fishing.  I guess they know it's safe there or they are desperate to make a buck.

A shrine in memory of the fellow named below.  It was a shame that there was a huge pile of plastic garbage in the river close by.  I've read it washes in every time there is a good rain storm.

Very interesting formation from water mineral deposits.

Monument to the engineers that built 
the Chicoasén hydroelectric dam.

The lancha arrived back where we started.

Our bikes were safe and sound and one of the guys made sure we knew he was the one that guarded them.  I gave him 20 pesos and thanked him.  What an amazing boat ride.  The canyon, birds, crocs, the dam....the crocs!