Gruffly waking up at 5am to the distinct growls of the howler monkeys, our alarm clock became their curiously deep throated bellowing, as I blinked in the faint light of false dawn. I closed my eyes for a moment, savouring the last strands of sleep as they parted company and shook the final filaments of slumber from my clotted thoughts. Stretching both arms and arching my back outside the tent, a mist spun down around us; thick and sparkling, it resembled a benign blizzard of miniscule snowflakes. I peered down and marvelled at a blotchy red-ringed bite on my leg the size of a two-pound coin; more than appreciating where I was. Deep within the maw of the Guatemalan jungle. Continue reading
All else had faded into the oblivion of a person pushed to the edge of her daily endurance; moto-wrecked from the joyous amounts of gnarly off roading, hugging the outskirts of Parque Nacional Grutas de Lanquín all morning. And would’ve done anything to make contact with soap and cold water; I was filthy, stinking hot and dog tired. Perhaps those regularities featuring in my life didn’t exactly warrant what I proceeded to do next, perhaps they did. Continue reading
An elevated 80 miles saw our sorry excuses for bodies, sore muscles that’d ache for some time to come and seized legs—on a less than welcomed ride—taking leave of Antigua’s stunning architecture up through the nippy Guatemalan Highlands and into the Sierra Madre mountain range. Ordinarily happy to earn the magic moments that often ensue post a slog of some sort, I just hurt, throbbed even and yearned for timeout. Gingerly negotiating steep switchbacks on a broken road peppered with gaping potholes was about the least desirable endeavour on my radar, or on Pearl’s suspension—the pair of us far from fresh. Still, it featured heavily on our agenda the morning after the day before our closure with Acatenango. Continue reading
With a week’s worth of rest and relaxation under our loosened belts, the physical and emotional reserves were as stockpiled as they were ever going be for the two-day volcano trek. Having recently scaled Cerro Negro for an hour, a modest volcano in Nicaragua; climbed Tongariro for two hours in New Zealand six years back and motorcycled up another one in Chile—you could argue that we were anything but prepared to get our ‘volcano’ on… Continue reading
I’d grown quite fond of Nicaragua for the segment of it we experienced. Not least for its volcano sledging and studded landscapes, colonial jewels of the Spanish-American culture and corkers on the hostel scene, but also the food. Tasty fare from the Caribbean creole to the Maya-influenced Spanish style cooking was noticeably lighter on the pocket and consequently tastier somehow. Give me a street-side polystyrene plate of stuffed tacos, rice and black beans or a dish of homemade stew bobbing with the local veggies and blue corn pupusas (tortillas infused with egg and cheese) for dipping any day of the week. We owe our taste buds exposure to a whole world of culinary delights, do we not?
My sleep-haunted cries came only as stifled whimpers, muffled by my clamped jaws and the bedding. What started as the previous evening’s premonition had been driven home with startling swiftness that morning. Jason rousted me from my slumber with, “Come on lazy bones, GET UP.” The coincidence of our hostel being called ‘Lazy Bones’ wasn’t wasted on me. Regardless. It was official; our trip in the tropics had turned into motorcycle boot camp. I didn’t dare to ascertain the time for which my morbid curiosity so desperately wanted to know. Too late, I was told. “Pass me my spork would you, darling and I can spoon your eyes out,” was my preferred response at 4.56am—fuelled by a desire for a sense of well-meted justice. You could even say I’m not a morning person.