Flushing guatemalan sparrows

By on 28 April 2018

9.04.2018 No-name village somewhere on road to Xela, 34,1km /// 3420,32km

From first signs of dawn, I’m on my foot because kids will have lessons in classroom next to church where I spend last night. I also climbed up, not completely legal, on bell tower. I wanted to ring a bell, to wake up whole city because “Gringo is in the town!”. That they could remember me for long long time. But finally I gave them few minutes of dream more and I walked on road in so good condition, that I took picture of it. Last time I saw so good asphalt in Panama 😀 I walked to meet mountains and… cabbage, which everybody around people cultivated manually. Real open-air museum 😀

Beside cabbage on side road I met a lot of peaches! But terribble expansive!

How to protect car when You have accident on road? You can cut a lot of trees and put them on road 😀

Field with cabbage end and started mountains. More and more! I made it in real good time, but they leave stigma inside me. I pass next to miniature villages in magical way glued to slope. When sun is going down, fog rise and I feel that I walk on clouds.

I heard that in Guatemala is dozens of dialects. Finally I found one named “mame”. In sounds is a little bit like mix of Turkish, Persian and a little bit Japanese, which make from my old cowboys heroes from Kurosawa’s movies. Really short heroes. In hats they reach my chin 😀

Women start to wear skirts in rainbow colors and pattern which looks like from Andes. They run really fast on side roads with funny “towels” on heads and with basket fulfilled with clothes, food and sometimes… alive chickens 😀 That’s incredible that it don’t fall down. Maybe they run as crazy because we are on 2100m above sea level and is incredible cold. When sun goes down I don’t leave my sleeping bag and make circle with vapor. I feel that I came back once again to Bolivia or south part of Peru.

I meet more and more true blood Indians. Tiny, with darker carnation and characteristic features. They have similar reaction when they see me. From one side they are really shy. They lean out of houses, windows, boxes or even from roofs, and hide quickly. Like kids 😀 Girls start to chortle run quickly next to me and look with preoccupation. Because from other side I see, that they want to know me. They want to know why, where and how. They never met guy who is walking with trolley. But they are shy? They have fear?

Same was in no-name village where I decided to spend night next to evangelic church. People watched me, but when I said something to them, they started to chortle and ran on hills. I even tried to spill cookies around to lure them like birds. Finally one who was enough brave, or who draw bad lots, came to talk a little bit. After him, like shadows, came another few. But only he said something. Others said few words in theirs language. But when I proposed picture together they flew away like birds 😀 After some time came back group of kids and ask if they can take picture with me. That was dream of them, so we took picture loooong long hours…

This guy wear best shirt for that one picture

10.04.2018 La Cuchilla 30,7km /// 3451,02km

On my road I met also police control. 8 policeman who control absolutely every single vehicle. They stopped also my baby car, but more because of curiosity than sense of duty. Because all duties went back when we talk around hour when I go, how and why. I asked them about theirs job, and laugh, that we are talking here and friends of them check cars 😀 They didn’t wanted to leave me, like kids. At the end Josue wanted to sell me police cap for 300 quetzales 😀 Unfortunately he doesn’t want to make exchange with my cap which I found on side road. Even that also can give super power…

I passed next to school villages which looks like really old barracks. Beauty spots, where I could see Altitlan lake on paintings which they sell there. And whole streets covered this time with ceramic plates. But next to me are passing characteristic chicken buses, which gonna be like symbol of Guatemala for me. Colorful, with fancy chromed elements, in night blinked with dozens of lights, with another dozens of passenger’s boxes on roof. Bags with rice, barrows, chairs, saint paintings, car’s wheels. Way how they tie it together they probably pass from generation to generation 😀 But You think that is necessity to have a lot of time to do that? No way! They tie everything together when car is moving! I never took picture of that, because they pass to fast. But whole process of swallow and spew of passengers looks like that:

Guy who help driver lean out of doors and shout where bus is heading. When someone on side road rise up hand, Time start to run faster. Passengers run inside hurry up with shouts “faster! Faster! Faster!”. If there are some luggage he throw everything on roof and jump there. Bus driver engine and go on mountain road and in same time our amazing guy try to tie everything on roof. When all bus run with 60km/h he go down on ladder, open back door and jump in full speed inside bus! I don’t want to think how many of them die when they try to do that. If someone is looking for stuntman, in every bus in Guatemala is at least one 🙂

I roll across city El Encuentro and from far away I see church in perfect size, and I’m sure that they can host me without any problems. But what I do? I walk without stop, because I want to do few kilometers more! And I done maybe 3 kilometers but sun went down in that time, and big, dark clouds just came on sky. Rain is coming and I don’t have place to stay! I put one eye on side roads and second one on map to search possible place where I can find some roof. And suddenly! There is! Roof in some kind of construction side. Perfect! I asked one from workers if I can stay here for night. After 3 minutes long speech he said “But I’m not a owner of that place”. “And owner will come here today” I asked. “I don’t think so”. We had similar smiles in same way on our faces. When they left I put my tent under roof and look how GIANT storm changed streets into rivers. Even if owner could come with dog, he couldn’t put me out of that place 🙂

11.04.2018 Santa Catarina 41,9km///3492,92km

It’s getting cold. Really cold! I have frozen hands and wind is freezing thoughts. Road go constantly up and nothing seems that somewhere up the hill gonna be much more worm. And what is worst my tires fry which I fix in provisional way with silver tape and cartoon which I found on side road. Most important is that everything work correctly 😀 I pass next to small cities flowy from mountains, and real garbage’s waterfalls.

Mummified dog from era of Tutankhamon

Guatemalan university

Next to almost every bridge are located small monuments with information who was President and members of governmant, when they build it 🙂

Beautiful view for… trash

Finally I’m on top of mountain. I almost touch with head gray clouds above me. 3000m above sea level, with little rain and wind which blow around empty fields around village. Night in tent could be some kind of suicide. I can find help in last place. Church! I found priest after holy mass and ask about piece of floor. I see that there is a lot of free floor, but people don’t take my question about it seriously. They always want to offer me bad, and if they don’t have it – they disagree. “We don’t have nothing in our church. But we can offer You place in hostel”. Wow, let’s go there! I found there bed, water, electricity and even Wi-Fi. And few women from villages gave me even dinner! Of course laughing as crazy 😀 White guy gonna eat classic dinner from Guatemala! That history they will tell during next few years 😀 I found there also shower, but water was so cold, that I decided to leave that “attraction” 😀 Well, another stratum of dust work like clothe 🙂


Another driver who stopped only to offer me free ride

Power and Cold!

12-13.04.2018 Quetzaltenango 34,5km///3527,42km

There’s one plus of spending night on top of mountain – next day You need to walk down. I’m passing next to monument of some civil war and few old ladies who carried a lot of wood on backs. They probably remember the war but they couldn’t realize that I walk all day long from Panama 🙂

Information in two languages

Also drivers still stopped next to me, and offer help. Sometimes they stop in really dangerous places. But Driver Instructor chose worst place to stop which he could find. Even I had fear to walk there. Well, if driver instructors are like that, it’s obvious that drivers are even worst…

Finally after few curves I’m inside Salcaja. I take pictures of street when Juan David came to me. And without anything he just asked if he can invite me for something to drink. And he gave me 20 quetzales for dinner. Even more! When we went to bike shop he paid for my new tires and everything more what I need for my baby car! And that was quite a lot! Once again I didn’t had words to say thank You…

Juan David

I rode on new tires like crazy, and really quick I was in Quetzaltenango, but people mostly named it shorter – Xela. That name comes from word Xelaju, which in Mayan language means “(city) under ten hills”. No way Sherlock! When I rolled to city I was so tired that I thought that I was on every single hill from that ten. Thankfully already Nestor, my host from Couchsurfing, waited for me. He could offer me place for stay in his karate and dance studio. Wow, where I will spend night during my road 😀 After quick sparing I went to fight with city 🙂

And city was… boring. Besides main square and cemetery, there was nothing interesting to see. But it’s depends what we wanna find. For me most important are people. So I found some polish trail here. First Mr. Yarzebski. He came here after Second World War and start small shop. Mr Yarzebski passed away, but shop still exist. There can be better example of polish entrepreneurship?! 😀 And when I bought postcard old guy surprised me so much, that I felt down whole stand. Old guy asked “Are You from Poland?” Wait, what?! How? Normally people think that I’m gringo. And how he could know that I’m from Poland? “Because during long time in Xela were missionaries from Poland, and You have same accent”. Yeeeah You can’t change polish language even if You speak in Spanish. He showed me polish saint paintings, and prayers translated for Spanish. Always when I found polish trail so far away from Poland, my heart get warm 🙂

That was time to move. Direction – highest peak of Guatemala and whole Central America. Volcan Tajumulco!

Vanushka. Mistery grave. If You have love problems, You can write Your intension on that grave and everything gonna change 🙂

Mr. Yarzebski with… wife?