By admin | November 12, 2007
The night prior had been Seanâ€™s birthday, none of us were very clear headed, and we were about to go for a hike with a Canadian couple and Lucy the friendly British girl. As the others prepped for the hike by hydrating, battery checking their headlamps, rubbing in sun block, and lacing up there boots, we scrambled to get ready, and ran down the sparse trail to the sound of their voices as we had fallen behind. As we scrambled to catch up to the group, we got our first taste of our hiking guideâ€™s laugh (you can hear it on the website)!
If you are wondering why he was laughing, I will do my best to paint you a picture… The hike is not a short one, and it is very steep. The weather of the Guatemalan mountains is not cool either, it is hot and humid, and very buggy. This hike was heading to some caves high within the mountains… that is about all any of us knew, or at least all I knew… Sean and I ran up first, yelling, stopping, listening, and then running again. I had forgotten my shirt, but remembered a half full Nalgene of water. The night before, after Seanâ€™s first birthday party, Sean had a near fatal encounter with an unmarked tope (speed bump). It took off half his toe, therefore he was barefooted, not carrying any water, and likely shirtless. Bill was not far behind: no shirt, no shoes, and no water… A bit of a problem, says the guide as he points to Sean and Billâ€™s lack of shoes. Eric immediately followed up barefoot as well, at which point all three smiled and said they could handle it. After a closer inspection of their gnarly, mangled feet, the guide agreed they might make it, but he wanted to get a good laugh out of it all. The trail quickly turned from grassy, to muddy with sticks, to just plain nasty. By now the three shoeless wonders were mid shin in mud, and carrying nearly 5 pounds of mud per hoof. As always, we were having a great time, and everyone around us was enjoying our antics. We finally reached the cave, and it was amazing. Years of water wear had carved some amazing stone that you can see on our website. We played around in the caves, saw some unusual creatures, wandered around by candle light (we hadnâ€™t thought to bring flashlights), and swam in crystal clear pools of runoff water. All in all the caves were amazing, and the day was a great precursor to anther wild b-day party for Sean that would leave us all tattered for a few days following.
From here we made a road trip to Tikal, an amazing set of ruins in the mountains, filled with monkeys, temples, and amazing views. We woke before sunrise, and headed into the park to watch the sun come up from the top of a temple. As the sun rose, the park came alive. We sat in silence for about an hour, and took in all the beautiful sights, sounds, and smells of a Guatemalan sunrise. The rest of the morning was spent wandering around the park, taking pictures, spotting monkeys, and learning the history of the Mayan people that once inhabited the area. We returned to the truck to find the battery deader than Chris Farley after a three day bender.
We immediately began looking for a solution in the sweltering mid-day heat. There were not many options on a Sunday, so we were forced to wait until the following day for the shops to open, so we could get back on the road. By the time we managed to get the truck up and running, we returned to Finca Ixobel to pick up our hitchhiker (you remember Don, that sad little human we had adopted as our charity case?). Well, we were apparently too late. In our absence, and without our supervision Don Ricardo, our hitch hiker, had managed to piss off the people running the Ranchito and was asked to leave. At this point we were not really sure what to do. We talked with a few more people at the Ranchito, and learned the story of what had happened.
Don had received a one day job translating for some doctors. When he returned to the camp, he likely scurried into town to buy some pot to satiate his omnipresent yearning for the green stuff. With a days wages of weed, he got stoned, obnoxious, and paranoid. After being kicked out for stealing oranges (Boxes! Why you stealinâ€™ boxes Craig? You gonna build a clubhouse? How’d you get fired for stealing Boxes!!!), he freaked, thought we had robbed him, and hit the road hitchhiking. The story gets twisted, complicated, and confusing from here. But a long story short, he filed charges against us for theft of his 12 year old yoga mat, and 20 year old wool serape (he claims that we are not allowed in Guatemala for 1 year). He later had the audacity to threaten us with physical harm via the hand of his “friends” at Dolphin Quest, and then sent us a bill for $50 to make it all go away… needless to say we laughed at his empty threats, and sent him a bill for room, board, and the Oakley sandals and sunglasses he stole from Ericâ€¦ what a sad character he is! We still receive an occasional email from Don, ranting and raving about something. We don’t really read them anymore, he is simply too far gone.
From Finca we shot straight for El Salvador. Running out of daylight, we stopped near the Guatemala/El Salvador border. Eric and I shot into town to check out some sort of pre bike race party while Sean and Bill made some pasta. Town was interesting, we watched a few traditional plays and dances, grabbed some food and were back at the truck a few hours later. The morning was the highlight at the hotel. As each of us crawled out of our respective rat holes and looked over to see 12 Guatemalan models prepping to get picked up to go work the bike race… wow! We have been living out of a truck for a few months now, and none of us can muster the courage to crawl out of our beds into the parking lot, and go talk to 12 very attractive women… we must be getting old or becoming hermits!
The following days consisted of lots of driving and lots of rain. By lots of rain I mean more rain than any of you have ever seen, actually more rain than Nicaragua has ever seen. We caught the tail end of 50 straight days of hard down pours… lots of flooding. As we pulled into La Libertad, the rain was dumping, and the streets were beginning to flood. We camped above what had been a stream and was now a full blown river gushing garbage from upriver into the ocean. We were anxious to load up, and get out of town, but the truck would not start again..
In search of dry land we headed to the biggest mall in Central America, located in San Salvador, El Salvador. With the car parked out of the rain we headed into the movie theater. Matinee, student tickets were $2.75, and we were going to get our moneyâ€™s worth. The first movie we saw was entertaining but a bit contrived, so we headed straight for the bathroom to wait out the security guard. With the coast clear we slid into a really fun comedy. That wasnâ€™t so hard. On the way into our third movie people were getting suspicious of the four white guys with mushaches over a head taller than everyone else in the mall. Sean got picked up by the security guard on the way in. He told them things were different in the US, demanded to speak with the management, and ended up watching a great psychological thriller with us five minutes later. With our cover blown, we didnâ€™t hesitate to try sneaking into a fourth movie, but they werenâ€™t going for it. We each paid $3.25 for the evening show, leaving satisfied with the action/comedy.
The next day the rain subsided, and we went back to the beach. El Zonte, where we parked on the street next a really nice restaurant, run by a guy from Spain. The next few days consisted of good food, bad waves, and lots of drying out, as everything we had inside the truck and camper had become soaked over the previous few days of down pour. After a few days of rest and relaxation in El Zonte, we were off for Honduras. We got a late start but were not worried about the drive, because someone had told Eric that the roads in Honduras were smooth and clean. Well who ever that was, all of us at Feral Green, especially me, would like to say you are an ASSHOLE! Seriously the roads were some of the worst we have encountered so far. I was driving, Bill was sitting shotgun, and we were both pressed to the window, trying to navigate the shitty shitty bomb-scarred roads with our less than efficient head lights. Again to the mystery person, You are an Ass… the roads were hell, and we tried to drive them at night you ASS!!!!!!
That night, in order to escape the beating we were taking on the road, we slept in front of a church in the small town of Choluteca. The next day we were off for Leon, Nicaragua, but not before another hectic but interesting border crossing. We made it across relatively quickly and with out too many fines/ bribes/ fee’s, and we trucked on to Leon. We parked in front of the Big Foot Hostel and talked it up with the gente to find the best waves and food. That night all the talk paid off as we found an amazing restaurant that served GOOD steak, and had cheap bottle service. At the end of the night after eating and drinking like kings, our bill came to less that 30$, and it was the best money we have spent down here. The walk home prompted a shirtless, shoeless basketball game in the street where we proceeded to dominate the local children.
We returned to the truck and snuck into the hostel to play some pool. The guards loved us and allowed us to hang out inside and play some pool. Lucky for them, because soon after a drunk Irishman stripped naked and tried to climb into bed with a couple of hot Norwegians staying in the hostel… Sean, captivated by the manâ€™s physique, went to work and helped “escort” the drunk out… The night only got weirder from there on, but those details will be saved for the private email list.
The following days were spent in San Juan Del Sur. Watching the world series, surfing Maderas, flirting with 35 year old divorcee’s with two kids, and going to the all-you-can-drink disco for $5. Needless to say our time in San Juan was nuts, somehow, somewhere along the way, after a night of all you could drink rum at the disco, Sean convinced some fellow drunkard to break his hand on our mirror; unfortunately the mirror also broke… Onto the 35 year olds.
We had been hanging out at Popoyo surf camp (www.surfnicaragua.com), enjoying the lazy life of the country side, and hanging out with some wonderful people. After five days of relaxation, a Halloween spent teaching children at the local church about the harms of polluting the ocean, a near fatal fight between me and a monkey, and lots of hammock time, the waves died and we all became restless to move. It was time to head back to a town. Masaya and Granada were selected for their supposed fun atmosphere, and amazing markets where we could buy rocking chairs and guitars… we were off. After a bit of stop and go, we reached the market. It was your typical third world market selling all sorts of artisan crafts, foods, meats, etc. Eric searched for a rocking chair, Sean raced around looking for a guitar and alligator skin shoes, and Bill found his niche, searching for Jerseys. Upon returning to the truck, we were greeted by the 35 year old we met on the beach in Madera.
She was with her son, and they were hoping to show us around their home town, take us to some local parties, to a country club, and to give us a more local view of the area. We dropped off our truck and hopped into her Land Cruiser. She drove us through the Barrio to get ice, we got a good indicator of what the rest of the day would bring. We watched an old man and a younger man huff and puff in the street, preparing for battle. It was broken up when the old man pulled a 12 inch knife out of his belt, and a woman, who weighed about 23 stone threw the men apart… Sunday Funday was about to reach a new level! Stay tuned…
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