Antigua to La Libertad

On leaving the temperate oasis of Antigua, we dropped down 1500m to hot coastal Guatemala. The sugar cane is being harvested, by machete, and transported by double trailer trucks. We see a lot of poverty, although we might not judge correctly because of the climate. But, on the positive side, I note that all the school children were clean and well dressed & personal cleanliness especially amoung the women is high. The hotel the first night was so bad we put our treated mosquito nets on the mattress before wrapping ourselves in the sheet provided. Unfortunately that day we ate a salad and we now both have bad stomachs again. Things improved somewhat after that! We have crossed into El Salvador and we are about a third of the way south down the coast. The second day in El Salvador we skirted a volcano through a set of 5 tunnels, with climbs to spectacular ocean views. We had good hard shoulders so the riding was safe, except for some alarming potholes on descent.

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Margo getting her coconut to drink at top of highest hill. Mine is being prepared.

These potholes are difficult to see because of the mixture of sun and shade on the road. We both hit a couple we wished we hadn’t, but no harm done.We are presently having a rest day at the beach resort town for San Salvador, and a place the surfing crowd migrate to. To be frank beach resorts and us don’t go well together, although we enjoy watching the surfers. The beach is black sand and is hotter than hell! The choice of dwelling is between resorts with piped music and armed guards at the gate, and rather grotty beach front properties frequented by the surfing crowd. Last night we did a resort, today the beach front hotel.

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Black sand beach

To dispell the idea that Margo & I eat nails for breakfast, and to prove we stay in better hotels when possible, here is a photo essay of the various artwork by the maids in the relatively rare decent hotels, such as our coddled days in Antigua.

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The most popular piece

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The chocolate was most welcome

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Only a toilet roll

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My favourite

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Even small things can become art

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Variant of toilet rolls

7 responses to “Antigua to La Libertad

  1. Must be hard getting back on road after some good time in Antigua. Hope your rest in La Libertad is helping your stomachs to recover. Are the border crossing proving to be hectic? Have you come crossed any military patrol walking along the roads? Safe ferry ride into Nicaragua.

    • Hi Gilles,
      The border crossing was really easy. A quick stamp to exit Guatemala, and no stamps for El Salvador. But there was a sign at the El Salvador side saying to report any irregularities or bribery attempts. No walking soldiers, but a few in trucks, and standing at checkpoints. That was the case in Guatemala and Mexico, too.

      There is a really helpful Warmshowers guy, a Salvadoran who grew up in Montreal (we have arranged to speak French. Easier for us than than his English or my Spanish) who will help arrange the boat crossing. It isn’t a ferry. Just an “embarcacion” and it doesn’t go every day. We should reach Jose in three days from here.

      It is like riding in a sauna. We start at 6 and look for air conditioning at noon. That is the only way I my old body can survive …cold drinks at air conditioned gas station helps too.

      I look forward to quieter roads in Nicaragua. I hear there are fewer cars and more horses. We plan to check in at a school for migrant kids near Granada. Chris’s brother-in-law has connections there, and says perhaps we can make ourselves useful.

      Margo

  2. Like the cheery bedspread, and the towel arrangements (and toilet paper!) are charming! Though I imagine that the TP doesn’t stay that way for long after another salad. Not good. 😦 Can you replenish your meds on the road?

    • If we have to take another round of Azithromycin, my bet is I can just walk into a pharmacy and buy some. At the moment, our innards seem to be settling down. Cross fingers.
      M

  3. Hi Margo and Chris, Good to hear things are going “well”. TT

  4. not sure how hygienic it is to fiddle around making patterns with the loo roll.
    Glad you two are feeling a bit better. Nisha is having a marvellous time in Cuba and we may be allowed to visit.She really wants a bike down there button her good Margo and Chris donated bike.(Too good)
    May ask you for tips about taking one down there for her if we go in April.
    will keep you posted.
    Jude

    • Dear Jude,
      You bring up an interesting point about hygiene. But there is a fact I have not told you about: every day the partly used toilet roll is replaced by a new one. So the artwork is hygienic. And I suspect that the used toilet rolls are reused… So that is where your hygienic concerns should be directed.
      Chris

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