Quick peek: Hot day, Thoughts, Rest.

I was originally planning to ride up the hills today, but I decided against and though Chiquimula is not the finest town in these parts, I have a comfy room, a fan and access to some reasonable shops for food and markets. So I decided I might as well spend another night of resting here.

One of the cyclist’s I got in touch with gave me numerous contacts of people in Honduras and my route thro the country is getting itself planned around visiting some of the, One of the pleasures of traveling on a bike is about meeting some locals and see life from their point of view and given I have been air dropped some contacts, its inevitable that I would ride around to meet most of them.

Back in Xela, Carl and I talked a lot about the idea of hosting and the nature of warmshowers and how people approach it. I was surprised when he mentioned that there were a few of his guests (very popular in the touring world) who behaved like the world owed them respect and admiration because of what they were doing. I was surprised by that completely. He mentioned one guy (without naming names) who’s profile insists that he does performances for kids on this route and that’s his ‘project’. But refused to do a show for a 100 orphan kids in Guatemala because he expects a minimum audience of 200.

Made me introspect about my trip. Honestly, the world does not owe me anything. I come from a reasonable background, have the privilege of travelling and people are wonderful enough to open their doors and let me share some part of their lives for a short while. There is nothing special in doing what I do. When I see a old lady carrying a bunch of firewood up a hill, I know she does it for survival. All my exertion is simply for pleasure and so it is for every cyclo-tourist out there, No exceptions. I hope I could stay humble all the time and appreciate the small things people do for me in my journey. Someone offering a little bit of water on a hot day is a life saver in my book.

On to food, Guatemala has terrible food options for vegetarians. The only meal I can get here with confidence is a “Desayunos Typico”, in essence eggs, beans, tortilla and fried plantains. A pretty balanced meal in itself, but gets boring even for me after a few meals (B’fast, lunch and dinner). The worst part is that the kitchens mostly turn out only one dish, fried chicken or minced meat of some sort and almost always I’d have to shop around to find a kitchen that would even make me the Typico. Today I managed to find the best non tourist meal in Guate, a small shop made sandwiches and though it was expensive, it was excellent!

Also, I figured out more about the trains in Guate. Turns out it was a colonial development (of course) and in the 20th century, the railways was used for freight by the infamous United Fruit Company (If you read Tintin and the Picaros, the company is parodied as the International Banana Company). United Fruit had been the centre of a lot of terrible stuff in Latin America. Next time you hear of the Banana Republic, think of all the dead people in this part of the world. Anyhow, long story short, it seems like the railways were shutdown and sabotaged and broken during the civil war here. I saw a few bridges around here and it’s been intriguing for me.

I’ve noticed some trees around here that made me think of my Grandmothers place back in India. I spotted ‘Neem’ and ‘kodukapalli’ and some ‘flame of the forest’ around. Pretty interesting to see similar trees in opposite ends of the world.

I walked around town, this place is so small I could walk the entire place in 30 minutes, can’t understand why there are so many cars and bikes here though.

Route: Chiquimula
Distance: 0 km (yay!)
Ascent: 0 m
Descent: 0 m
Expenses: SG$ 26.31
Comment: I don’t think often. Feels overrated.

Track Notes