Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 26 - San Marcos to Rio Grande

Taylor has decided to ride with Diana and I into Antigua, Guatemala as it will make the border crossing safer and we can watch his bike while he gets processed and vice versa for us. We are on the road about 7:15 with plans to get to Puerto Escondido and do laundry.

Stopped at Cruz Grande to buy some bananas and street vendors start asking me a bunch of questions but I can only understand a few of them and answer as best as possible. Another lady a few booths down starts interpreting for me in perfect English, it turns out she was raised in Chico, California (which Diana and I visited a few years ago while returning from Palm Springs). She tells me that she was sent back to Mexico because she didn’t have papers to stay in the US. This is a story we have heard a number of times this past week where people will get a tourist visa to visit the US and once there they work at whatever job they can find, quite often working in the restaurant business or any type of manual labor. One person said it costs $5000 USD to get smuggled across the border which for most people here isn’t an option.

Diana and Taylor
We come upon what we think is an accident about 9 am and there is a traffic jam about 2 km’s long and there are a hundred or so vehicles facing every direction on this two lane road. As we are on motorcycles we work our way to the front of the line only to find two trucks parked bumper to bumper across the roadway and a couple of guys wielding machetes. At this point, and it’s almost too late I realize it could be a political demonstration but there are no banners or people carrying signs. We do a u turn and vanish into the mess of vehicles and continue to wait for the road block to be lifted. At noon we make our way back to a town we passed through earlier for lunch. They haven’t any menus so the lady takes me into the kitchen and shows me what our choices are for lunch. Taylor and Diana have chicken soup and I attempt to order salsa and chips which every restaurant has except this one. Still not sure what I had but it was okay. After lunch its back to the lineup which has now grown to about 5 km’s long and we work our way through the line until we are near where we originally waited. There are now every kind of vendor imaginable selling everything from food, ice cream, drinks, etc. We meet a Mexican man who worked in Quebec for a couple years and he informs us on why the road is closed, with some colorful language I might add. Roma also informed us there was nothing we could do but wait for the road to reopen. Most of the truck drivers who were in the same dilemma as us hung their hammocks off the edge of the trailers they were pulling and had a sleep. Fortunately we are parked under a huge tree and although it is about *** degrees it is bearable and we pass the afternoon talking with people including 4 young guys from Salmon Arm, BC Canada who bought a school bus in Nanaimo and are headed for Panama. These guys kept us laughing while they shared both their adventures and misadventures with us. At 6 pm the blockade is lifting and traffic starts to move. We are now facing a ride in the dark which for many reasons is dangerous and not recommended but we have no choice other than sleep in a field.

(Sorry about the lack of pictures today but we didn't want to loose our camera to the demonstrators today.)

We pull into Rio Grande at 9:15 and look for the Hotel Gloria as recommended by Roma. We soon find it but the gates are closed. There is some type of meeting happening next door and we now have an audience of men and teenage boys asking the usual opening questions which I now refer to as W5. I just want to go to sleep but keep them entertained for 5 minutes and park the bike in the locked compound for the night. We pay 350 pesos for a room with air conditioning, have a handful of peanuts for supper and call it a day, a memorable one for sure.

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