Friday October 10th, Day 1: Rented a Honda 200cc in Antigua. Ed talked them down to a somewhat better price although all the locals stated it was too much. After taking way longer than expected we were finally on the road. First challenge Guatemala City. Even though I had somewhat decent directions, taking a wrong turn was inevitable. The lack of signage in this crazy metropolis took my stress levels to a new high as I screamed from the “backseat” trying to get Ed and I out of this fucking mad city. In the end we lost a good hour and once we finally escaped GC my blood levels went back to normal. The goal was to make it to Cobán, but unfortunately the driver was exhausted and we chose to post up at a roadside hotel.
Day 2: Rain. But first the bike wouldn’t start so myself and two lovely locals (who were trying to convert us to the Book of God) pushed Ed until the engine started. Just as we got on the road to Cobán, it began to rain. Not a big deal and somewhat enjoyable for me since Ed is blocking 90% of it with his body but still this hazard slowed us down. Reached Cobán, and we continued to ride to our first destination, Semuc Champey. The start of the drive was incredible. Winding through the luscious rolling hills in the middle of God knows where passing through pueblitos with the sun on our shoulders. Then we got to our next challenge. Semuc Champey is a hidden oasis at the bottom of this beauty and not easy to get to. The road down is literally piled rocks with steep inclines and declines that winds what seems like forever. We did not think it’d be too hard until the first of our many bike’s problems began. After only a good 10 mins down the bike’s chain fell off and for the next hour it continued to do so until we reached our destination which meant every 3 mins I’d be jumping off to reset the chain and hopping back on praying it’ll stay. It never did. At one point children of the corn (yes I chose that name because the came out of nowhere from the vast cornfields) tried helping our misfortunate and of course wanted every piece of jewelry I was wearing. Instead of staying in Lanquin, the town near Semuc we chose to stay even closer to the turquoise pools of water at a seriously difficult to find hidden gem called Utopia. To get here was even more difficult. We went off the road once thankfully a teetering cliff was not near, I continued to fix the chain over and over and we continued to search for this magical hostel. Down a hill we went and into a mud pit we fell. The locals came out of the corn fields laughing and when we asked where Utopia was the pointed back up the hill. Of course there wasn’t a sign for the hostel. Of course we didn’t know that other dirt path we passed led us there. We reached the top and before we plummeted what looked like the steepest of all hills I ran down frustrated screaming “Is this Utopia?!!” “Yes, you’ve made it,” I heard from a voice below and I ran down to sanctuary as Ed slowly came down the path. I walked inside threw my things on the floor and immediately asked for a beer. John, born in Guatemala raised in Ohio, gladly cracked one open for me and said “Welcome to Utopia, we’ve been waiting for you.” I took a deep breath and let my eyes take in the view, and could almost cry out of relief. The treacherous, beyond frustrating ride to get here was all worth it. I looked around the hostel and there was Morris our friend we traveled to Lago de Atitlán looking like he was floating on cloud 9. Our friends were here, we made it alive, and we were ready to forget about the entire journey.
For the next two days, we drank, we relaxed, made new friends, swam in turquoise waters, and lived in a world without internet, tv, or any outside influence. We ate family dinner (thankfully always vegetarian) as an entire group lit with candles and loud with laughter.
Parte dos de la aventura coming soon…pics below of Utopia