I coast serenely to a halt. It’s time to take stock of my surroundings. No need to panic. T e odd electrical gremlin is bound to rear its head if you force a motorcycle to do things that weren’t on the designers brief, and I have certainly done that. Besides, a breakdown should always be viewed as an opportunity for an experience that may not otherwise have happened.
To my right, behind a few small single and two storey wooden buildings housing small commercial enterprises, there is nothing but impenetrable tropical jungle. To my leſt , just behind a tiny thatched restaurant on stilts, the vista is the beautiful blue Lake Peten Itza, its shoreline dotted with small jetties leading out to covered fi shing platforms where those hoping to catch dinner can have some respite from the suns rays.
What a delightful place to breakdown, and there, tucked beside the restaurant is the ubiquitous BMW GS, motorcycle of choice for so many overlanders and this one seems to be from South Africa. Support in time of need? Lady serendipity? She has certainly been my friend to date.
fact that if you are travelling south by road and have just been in Belize, there is no option.
Johan and Charmaine have been travelling on the same bike since they leſt South Africa four years previously, and typify the spirit of the ‘overlander’; friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and open minded. I already have a couple of travelling companions; Jason, a Californian I met at the bottom of the Copper Canyon in northern Mexico, and Matt, a weather refugee from Alaska that I bumped into in Arizona. Never the less, the fi ve of us agree to ride together like a bona fi de gang when I get my bike started again.
I am in eastern Guatemala, possibly Central America’s most beautiful country, though with a reputation as one of its most violent.
I am in eastern Guatemala, possibly Central America’s most beautiful country, though with a reputation as one of its most violent. But reputations are oſt en born of prejudice, misinformation or knowledge of the past not the present, so what better way to fi nd the current truth than go and ride through it yourself ? Well, that and the
We secure a hotel in Flores where we can bring all the bikes inside and are promptly presented with the keys to the establishment. T e tenants have given up, victims of the infamous North American credit crunch and are heading back to their village in the western mountains, where they invite us to join them when we bring back the keys. Such is the trusting and accommodating nature of the Guatemalans and something I was to encounter repeatedly.
T is provided the perfect base
to explore this colonial island town with its cobbled streets and plethora of cafes and restaurants almost all with stunning views of the lake. Although Flores was an ancient Mayan settlement, the Spanish destroyed every building and last vestige of the past in 1687 when they took control, creating in its place what currently exists.
Fortunately they didn’t do the same to Tikal, 50 miles to the north east and one of the largest remaining Mayan sites.
Aprillia Pegaso 650ie
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