Upon saying our toodaloos to Leanne and Calvin in El Tule, we tootled off with the mountains and volcanoes flirting in our periphery onto Puebla—70 miles southeast of the capital. As well as the city, Puebla is also a Mexican state and the Spanish word for ‘seed that a gardener sows’. Might as well kill three birds…Meeting overlanders Chloe and Toby (from Carpe Viam), with whom we’d become acquainted at Overlander Oasis at an Air B&B apartment there was both a respite and a splurge for the month. Jason’s eye had just been all but taken out by a firework, unlucky lad.
Back in El Tule for the start of the town’s bi-annual fiesta celebrations, a religious celebration had commenced in honour of Saint Mary. Leanne and Calvin, owners of Overlander Oasis, chatted away to us in their usual style; unhindered with a lifetime of hilarious stories. Some anecdotes never failed to reach new levels of crazy, others were just unhinged! I adored Calvin’s sense of humour, the cheeky glint constantly twinkling out of the corner of his eye and an innate ability to turn his hand to practically anything. I chuckled when he casually mentioned his favourite factoid about the country: alongside Israelis, Mexicans are the largest consumers of hair gel. Love it! There were indeed many males who indulged heavily there. Continue reading
While the mozzies and no-see-ums sucked my blood, the heavy heat was sucking the life force out of Jase. Impeccably located, the Piramide Inn Resort on the Yucatán Peninsula gave us respite from the heinous level of humidity alongside a reprieve from the unyielding insects—cue an air-conditioned room. Who knew, you can even haggle over cold air! The hungry blighters were driving virtually every square inch of me to distraction and the equally insane temperatures were melting Jason’s face like hot wax dripping from a candle. Continue reading
After the climatic visit of Tikal’s omnipotent temples amid the omnipresent monkeys, a warm goodbye from Guatemala’s border officials led to an immediate culture shock in Belize. Simply, the widespread presence of English felt odd to say the least. Especially after 17 months on the receiving end of almost unadulterated Español. I’d acquired a taste for the Mayan wilderness and its feisty fauna in Tikal National Park, so the Tropical Education Centre near Belize Zoo seemed a befitting place to make camp as any. 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?