I’ll admit it, we had trouble tearing ourselves away from Copan Ruinas. After all, it shares the same valley with the amazing Mayan ruins; as a matter of fact it’s not far to walk or just hop in a tiny three wheeled tuk-tuk. Google Maps says it’s only a four and a half hour drive to Antigua so we were up for a spot of exploring on foot. We mercifully left the Little White Cube parked in the hotel courtyard figuring we could play until one o’clock and still get to Antigua before the Cube turns into a pumpkin with the dark. What a great town but we really didn’t want to get caught driving in the dark and the map looked like it snaked over some serious mountains.
It didn’t take long before the familiar pattern returned…SPEED BUMP! BAM…meep meeeep. I guess the horn didn’t fix itself over night. We were not returning by the same route but so far we’re making good time on decent roads.
It didn’t take long before we crossed into Guatemala and began to climb up into the mountains. Suddenly the pavement dropped out from under us and it was dirt and rocks with maybe a 15 mph top speed. M said this can’t be the right road and it really did look like it was petering-out on us but this is Central America and the pavement tends to come and go with no rhyme or reason. Google suggested three routes over the mountains and this one was the fastest and the shortest so I was inclined to persevere. Then we started seeing tour buses coming down the mountain loaded with luggage piled on the dusty roofs and I knew this had to be the pass road. I fully expected the pavement to reappear. It didn’t. Not by a long shot. Hour after hour we bounced along over the rocks, ruts, and choking dust, realizing that hope of an early arrival was fading fast.
Finally the Guatemalans must have found some asphalt and my first thought was we’d better make it count because we don’t know how long this will last SPEED BUMP! Bam…meep meeeep. Very funny. Other than the occasional grizzly looking accident we did well but could not overcome the hours spent at 15 mph in the mountains. As dusk set over Guatemala City we got real serious about our options and didn’t like any of them so we locked our doors and entered rush hour gridlock traffic at night, Guatemala style. No lines, no movement, in a sea of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and bicycles. Right in front if us two guys weaving around the stopped cars on motorcycles started banging on a woman’s side window motioning for her to wind it down. She wisely declined. Hour after hour we crept through Guatemala City in the dark, violating rule number one, I believe. Like all bad scrapes, if you live through it, things will get better.
We entered Antigua in the dark but couldn’t help but notice the cobbled streets which jostled our tired brains like a car full of bobble-heads. Tuk-tuks, cars, and people were everywhere. M had done a lot of research but found she couldn’t book a hotel room online so we were on our own. We stashed the LWC and started to do an on foot search for two nights in this beautiful colonial city. It was getting late and the best we could find was one night at Casa Rustico and the second at Casa Antigua with a tri-fecta of the LWC stashed in an off-street car parque across town. On the way back to where we thought tonight’s hotel was we realized that we were totally lost and with all our luggage we looked more like pack-mules than people.
Marce sat down on the curb and said she could go no farther. The problem was that we had one of those brochure “maps” showing street names but there were virtually no street signs so when we’d happen upon the ruins of a church, well which church? With the help of some kind random strangers I found our place in the world and with bells ringing all over the town, lugged our stuff to our hotel. M collapsed on the bed and announced that she would need to be fed from this position.
Back out on the street I found out what all the ringing bells meant. It was closing time in Antigua. I came back with Pringles — she likes Pringles and they’re apparently available the world over — some cheese preenas and a juice box. No bonus points for your long suffering skipper. On the plus side M, the wizard, found a month old David Letterman, in English, on our room Television. I can’t remember anything except the animal guy was a guest and he brought a snake on the show and David doesn’t like snakes. I remembered all the carved snakes and monsters in Copan, and then it was lights out for Yr. Humbl Svt.