Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 63 (0km): Relaxing in San Pedro Sula

It was amazing to have such a nice sound sleep. Our gracious hosts, Manuel and Pilar, have a beautiful home. We spent the morning researching and planning our route through Honduras. We had been given lots of good advice the night before on places to go and see so we wanted to figure out what we were going to do. In the afternoon Manuel and Pilar took us out to a Peruvian restaurant in the city. There we also met up with their friends (who we had met the previous night). The food was amazing; I'm excited to go to Peru and try the real deal everywhere. The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the Inca Kola, it was a bit too sweet for my poor taste buds.

When we came home we watched a movie with Manuel and then after that I think I feel asleep. There's just too much excitement in my life. I'm a tired duck at the end of the day. 
Our gracious hosts: Manual and Pilar outside their lovely home

Belated Final Thoughts of Guatemala:

Guatemala was a great place to explore, which I guess is common knowledge because there were tons of backpackers around.
My favourite part, actually my favourite part about any country and usually my deciding factor on whether I like it or not, was the scenery. It seemed like the water in Guatemala was photoshopped. All the water bodies were beautiful colours of blue, even the rivers (which in Mexico were typically full of silt and brown). The scenery, in particular the volcanoes because they were new for me, was beautiful. I think the highlight was Lago Atitlan where we camped on the lake. The climate in Guatemala was perfect for motorcycle touring. It wasn't too hot and it wasn't too cold. When we camped at Tikal, which is in the same region as Palenque, there was a huge difference in the temperature (Tikal being more comfortable).
Overall driving in Guatemala was a more pleasant experience than in Mexico. While the drivers still subscribed to the same Latin American driving culture, it was better in comparison. Excessive speed was a less common issue and people tended to stay in the their lanes more. The only major exception to this were the Chicken buses, which drove like psychopaths. The road surfaces (of the roads we took anyways) were an improvement. They were mostly smooth and well maintained. Navigation signage was a major issue though. It was typically non-existent or confusing when it was present. There is definitely some work to be done in that area.
The food was really good, and overall much better than eating out in Mexico. Maybe it was the lack of picante aspect to everything or just better selection but we both noticed a difference in quality the first night in Guatemala.
And lastly just a random comment. I found that merchants were reluctant, and in some cases refused, to accept Q100 bills. It's silly since these are the only bills the ATM dispenses. Typically I'd try to use a Q100 bill to pay for something that cost Q40, so not a huge stretch. It was so weird that when we bought some groceries totaling Q29 one evening we couldn't pay. We had Q26 in change or Q100. The merchant took our Q26 in random change instead of trying to change Q100. But what makes me more suspicious is that these merchants deal in cash all day long, I refuse to believe they can't make change.


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