After slow acclimatization to new/old environment in Ciudad de Guatemala, there was only one clear option ahead of me – if I want to (and I do want to) continue with my Dreams, then I have to again mount Lou and together we have to hit the road. Given the fact that the memories of my visit home were still so very fresh, I was somewhat reluctant to leave this little piece of familiar environment and head into the unknown. But like I have mentioned, if I wanted to continue the Dream, I had no other option.
To my great joy, the road from Ciudad de Guatemala lead downhill. A considerable descent from approx. 1.500 meters to a few 100 meters on the coastal plains of Pacific Guatemala. Alongside my descend to the lowlands, the temperature started to rise. From a gentle 25°C that, after the cold in the homeland, felt very pleasant to somewhat less bearable 30. The countryside slowly became dryer and dryer and by the side of the road fields of sugarcane started to emerge. These became a constant theme that still accompanies me. Some are freshly harvested, others still lush and green and some just planted. On the road this change of scenery resulted in an increased number of heavy trucks hauling two trailers fully loaded with sugarcane. In the air, beside the heat, a sweet smell of molasses started to appear.
Given the fact that there was a lot of downhill on my first day of cycling, it felt relatively nice. So that my legs could get slowly use to cycling, after almost 5 weeks of rest. Daily goal of 70 km seemed like reasonable. Obviously I did not take into the account the heat. Already the first day there were times when I felt the sun literally burning away my skin cells. A few days later I was already able to peel off the burnt skin.
Physically the hardest part of living on the road came at night. After two, due to the heat, sleepless nights, I made it to El Salvador. Here the sun was no less merciful on me and short brakes alongside finding a shady spot became more and more often. Sometimes this was a gas station, on another occasion a bus stop with a shelter or an abandoned house. Anything providing a shade and a spot to sit, if not lay, down did it. Sleepless and tired I decided that I’ll spent my first night in El Salvador in a hotel room. This is more of an exception for me since I rather spend my money on food and occasional cold drink instead of getting a hotel room. I sleep wherever I can. Well on this day, I have decided to break the bank and treat my body with a proper rest.
I have finished the day in a small town, Metalio. After refreshing myself with a pineapple juice, the locals pointed me in the direction of a so called auto hotel. This is some sort of a motel with parking areas beside or under the room. As opposed to the American motels, here you can park the car inside, sometimes being it a garage or just a space that can be curtained off with a curtain. Provides anonymity!
It’s clearly visible from the outside that it’s completely new. After seeing that every room has an AC unit I’m absolutely excited. Otherwise the room is nothing special, a bad, a table, bathroom and a strange reddish/orange light. And if the light itself was not a big enough clue to the true purpose of this “hotel”, then the facts that there were no windows and that the “bed” was basically a mattress on a concrete foundation made it obvious even to me that the majority of guest stop here just for an hour or two. Definitely an establishment of the oldest profession. I see more of them in the upcoming days.
Luckily for me in this case I was not charge an hourly rate just for sleeping. With 10 USD per night it is a relatively expensive option, but the promise of a sleep in an air conditioned room and a “real” bed was just too tempting.
I offer myself a nice and refreshing cold shower, wash my clothes in the washbasin and walk to the near roadside restaurant for a dinner. Upon return to a pleasantly chilled room, I can only just fall asleep. Nobody disturbs me during the night. I just get up to shut down the AC. Cannot be regulated.
This adjusting to the local temperatures is going to be tough.
With a Smile on my face, until next time!