BootsnAll Travel Network

What a way to end the weekend

> Superbowl Sunday. Seahawks vs. Steelers. I was not
> going to miss this one and Sunday would be a great
> day! Actually, it was for a while.
> The Friday before I went to the Vrisa bookstore to
> inquire about renting a bike for Sunday. The owner,
> an American who has lived her for probably I don’t
> know how long, provided me with a map outlining a
> nice 35 mile round trip ride around Xela. Since I
> wanted to rent it for Sunday and they would be
> closed, he said to come back on Saturday around 5pm
> to rent it and then return it during my school’s
> morning break on Monday. I also asked him where he
> might know where I could catch the Sunday Superbowl.
> He pointed across the street and said Kokoloko’s
> would be playing in on their big screen. Perfect!
> Saturday comes around and I get the bike from
> Alice, who also specializes in massage therapy. A
> one hour session is 70 Quetzeles — or the
> equivalent of $10. Since I haven’t been too
> faithful to my budget, I’ll have to “splurge” some
> other time. At any rate, the bike wasn’t that
> great. Basically a hybrid 12-speed bike with no
> suspension whatsoever and tires just slightly
> smaller than what you’d find on a mountain bike.
> But for riding the roads around here, it would have
> to suffice.
> Sunday morning I arose at 7am, and after my
> traditional bowl of hot milk with soggy corn flakes,
> I was on the road by 7:30. I was misdirected a few
> times but finally found my way on the map. And thus
> I spent the next 8 hours riding along dusty roads
> with little traffic visiting small villages and even
> smaller pueblos such as Chiquilaja, San Felipe
> Xejuyup, San Andreas Xecul, Olintepeque (where I
> later found out my maestra lives), Santa Rita,
> Cajola and La Esperanza….
> IMG_4058.JPG
> Chiquilaja. A one lane bridge crosses the small
> river. As you can see, some of the buildings didn’t
> quite make it when the river flooded back in
> October.
> IMG_4061.JPG
> The main drag of Chiquilaja. Someone was having a
> party or fiesta, hence the decorations.
> IMG_4065.JPG
> On the way to San Felipe.
> IMG_4068.JPG
> From San Felipe to San Andreas Xecul. Volcan
> Santa Maria is in the background.
> IMG_4069.JPG
> The road for cars to San Andreas Xecul comes to an
> abrupt end as piping work is being done for about a
> 1/4 mile through the only road in town. I walk my
> bike along the sides passing small homes and
> farmland.
> IMG_4074.JPG
> San Andreas Xecul, about 11km northwest of Xela.
> From Lonely Planet: “Surrounded by fertile hills,
> this small town boasts a bizarre church.
> Technicolor saints, angels, flowers and climbing
> vines share space with whimsical tigers and monkeys
> on its shocking-yellow facade.”
> IMG_4071.JPG
> A closer look.
> IMG_4082.JPG
> A competitive futbol game just outside the town.
> People young and old gather around the outskirts of
> the dusty field to watch early morning action.
> IMG_4085.JPG
> Back on the road.
> IMG_4091.JPG
> I took a wrong turn and walked my bike up a Giant
> hill, only to be turned back at the top when the
> road ended into a walkway to some homes. At least I
> was able to get a nice shot of the valley with
> Volcan Santa Maria.
> IMG_4097.JPG
> The road to Cajola. I had biked 2 hours from
> Olintepeque to Santa Rita and now to Cajola. My
> water was running low, I ate all my food, I was
> getting weak and it was hot. It didn’t help that
> there were two major hills I had to climb (well,
> walk).
> And just a few minutes before taking this shot, I
> had the biggest scare. I was cycling along minding
> my own business and enjoying the scenery. I see
> some kids and they start yelling. The next thing I
> know there’s one dog running towards me barking.
> Then two. Then three. And four. Fuck! It’s now
> EIGHT Dogs, and their barking is not friendly. I am
> surrounded. Behind me, both my sides, and one big
> ass vicious looking dog in front of my, his stride
> matching my bike speed. I didn’t slow down, I
> didn’t speed up, and didn’t look at them I just
> tried to ride one, look ahead and ignore them. But
> the whole time I was so freakin’ scared witless. In
> my mind I kept saying “Please don’t bite me, please
> don’t bite me!” I heard that dogs smell fear. Well
> I was definitely giving out that odor during those
> moments. They ran with me for a good 80 seconds.
> Doesn’t seem like much, but man those seconds went
> by soo slowly and I my mind just races. What if I
> did get a bite? Would I
> fall and then all the dogs hoover around me and
> attack? These dogs, for all I know, have no owners
> and are starving, rabid creatures! Where’s the
> medical facility? Will I find a place to get shots?
> How do I get there if I’m hurt? Will I need to fly
> back to the U.S.? Man this totally sucked, all
> these What If questions. I had no first aid kit and
> didn’t bring my ID. Did those kids tell them to
> come `sic`me? Terrifying! What should I have done?
> Stopped? Kick em? Throw out my emergency energy
> bar to distract them? Finally, finally, they
> relented and left me to continue on with my passage.
> My heart was racing and I haven’t been so scared
> in so long! You just don’t know about these dogs.
> The ones in Xela seem docile, but the ones outside
> in these other villages and in the middle of nowhere
> are another story. Totally sucks. Unfortunately, I
> had to come back the same way. I tried to find an
> alternative route, but there was none indicated on
> the map. So on my way back, I tried to bike slow in
> hopes that another person cycling was going the same
> direction and I could use him. But no to avail. So
> when I came upon the Billy Gruff section of the
> road, I just pedaled as fast and as hard as I could.
> Strangely enough, this time I had no encounter with
> any of the dogs. Perhaps the leader of the pack
> found something elsewhere. I was just so relieved.
> Thinking about those few moments of terror still
> gives me the chills.
> IMG_4100.JPG
> Cajola. The Sunday market at the main plaza just
> ended, and all the leftover debris and garbage
> drifts into the street.
> IMG_4105.JPG
> Riding back to Xela.
> I arrived back to Xela at 3:30 and treated myself
> to those fries and meandered through the market. At
> 5pm I cycled to Kokoloko’s for the Superbowl.
> Couldn’t really find a bike rack to lock my bike at,
> so I locked it to the gate in front of the Vrisa
> bookstore. I met Elliot, a 19 year old from Vermont
> who will start college at the University of Puget
> Sound this fall in Tacoma. It was just us two
> gringos and two other guys from Xela watching the
> game, all in Spanish. Forget about watching the
> famous commercials. All I got was local commercials
> for cars and telephone service. By halftime 3 more
> people from the states joined us, and Elliot shared
> a glass of Gallo beer with me while we ate chicken
> quesadillas. By 9pm the game had ended with a loss
> for the Hawks. Kinda boring, but it was fun to
> watch the big game on the big screen with some
> football fans. Time to go home and call it the
> night.
> I went out to retrieve my bike and head home.
> Just one problem. My bike was gone. Disappeared.
> Vanished.
> I walked home alone in the dark in mild shock and
> grief. To compound matters, I stepped in a pile of
> dog shit on the way home. And thus a fitting ended
> for a Not So Super Sunday. To be continued….

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4 responses to “What a way to end the weekend”

  1. Mike says:

    Dude…what a horrible day! I would have wanted to leave after that happened too!

  2. Jonas says:

    Reading about your bad day must remind Mike R. of last Saturday when I viciously blocked his shot and then ultimately beat him at crunch.

  3. Mike says:

    slander shouldn’t be allowed in blogs.

  4. Baker says:


    I do think you right on the spot with this post, i could use a lot a struff for my new study thank you very much.

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