Today is Julias actual birthday so we sing for her and treat her to the riding this afternoon. But first we’re going to look at more Mayan ruins. The ruins are right outside town and we are only a few who wants to have the guided tour. The ruins themselves I would rate lower than Tikal for sure, but there were a few interesting things like the fact that the stone here is harder and because of that the carvings are better preserved. They were also able to make more intricate carvings and we learn some Mayan script in the process. It’s hellishly hot as well so we drink like camels and scurry for shade every chance we get. Our guide Marwin tells us about the weird ball game the Mayans would be playing on ritual occasions where you only were allowed to touch the ball with your hip. The ball in question weighing between 1.4 and 2.7 kg… The losers were offered as sacrifice to the gods, how’s that for a motivator? Johan, Karina and I walk back to town, stopping at a sandwich shop for lunch with excellent juices. Back by the hotel I stumble across a barber shop where I stop for an impromptu shave. After some armwaving I manage to get my wishes across and the shave is excellent (and for about 20 sek, a steal). The afternoon is booked for a riding trip, so I don the GoPro and head for the horses. After a thorough safety briefing helmets are handed out. Nah, just kidding, they just point to a horse and off we go. Sadly it’s like it usually is with these kind of rides, some veeery docile horses and a rather uninspiring view. We rode along a river which doubled as a carwash and ended up atop a hill with a small village where we were supposed to buy their crappy handicraft. Oh well, that’s how it goes I suppose… We go for dinner at a place called which has excellent food, and we leave rather bloated to wander the town and the festival that’s currently happening. The festival is basically an orgy of bass-loaded cars cruising around, but it has a sort of cozy vibe to it and we just sit back and take it all in. Moving on back to the hotel we get to witness something bizarre: two auto rickshaws meet at an intersection ahead of us and suddenly decide to race each other. The problem is that the entire village is more or less cobblestones so it’s a rather bumpy race they’re having. We are actually not that far from being run over by these hoodlums but in the end make it safely back to the hotel. Tour: 80 hond Lunch: 100 hond Shaving: 60 hond Riding: 420 hond Dinner: 600 hond
Since this is mostly a travel day where nothing much happens, I’ll take the opportunity to introduce the travel mates I spend most time with.
First out is Johan, doing his fourth Pink Caravan trip he’s about my age and a guy who enjoys deadpanning the most outlandish stories. He’s also retained a surprising amount of his high school Spanish making him really useful to keep around. Working as a process engineer at Tetra Pack designing production lines it’s probably not surprising that we get along well.
Daniel is also something of a Pink Caravan veteran, my age as well and the three of us have been room mates for most of the trip now. He has his own consultancy firm and spends his time working at ST Ericsson and Astra mostly doing hardware testing. He has done a lot of traveling and has a fair share of crazy stories to impart.
Emma – funny redhead with some prior Pink Caravan experience who likes the fact that drinks in this part of the world are served in what can only be described as bowls. She has become really good friends with Lina
Lina – an elite triathlete with an ever present huge smile who enjoys talking to strangers. She takes lots of really personal photos of people and enjoys a good Mojito. She is making her first Pink Caravan trip.
Jessica – a.k.a. Black Midget is the J1 half of JJ and very good friends with Julia (J2). They’re both from outside Mjölby and just out of high school, making them two of our youngest travel mates. She’s somewhat of a music nerd and a festival goer, so we have some things to talk about. She’s also a fan of zombie movies and video games.
Julia – a.k.a. White Giant is the taller half of JJ and actually turns 20 tomorrow. She might look like a nice girl but she enjoys biting sarcasm a bit more than the next girl. The two of them are sharing a travel blog over at http://djungeltelegrafen.blogg.se which is a really entertaining read. Like J1, she seems to lack a sense of location but both are very likable and fun to be around.
Christian – my dive buddy for the Blue Hole trip and a generally interesting guy. Living in Norway since 10 years making a living as a harbor crane operator. First impressions are deceptive with Christian, at first I thought him just loud and obnoxious, but he’s grown on me and he has a lot of interesting insights and weird knowledge. He’s also a big photography nerd with a bigass camera and lots of lenses.
Åsa is a rather nerdy gal working as a technician at Arlanda airport (you know, computer stuff). She’s also a lot into music and probably the only one on this trip that I can talk metal with. Has awesome hair!
Isa – sweet, trippy young lady with a hidden talent for gangsta rapping. This is hers and Jennys first Pink Caravan trip, but so far they’re handling it like pros.
Jenny – close friends with Isa and a firm believer that anything stupid you do to your body before the age of 26 doesn’t really matter since the body will recuperate full as long as you stop before hitting the magic 26. Also thinks we should introduce the term “normally disturbed” when it comes to making psychological evaluations.
Karina – our tour leader who I know from my previous trip with the Transsiberian railway to North Korea. A thoroughly nice person and generally awesome tour leader. She does lack a sense of location however so if you want restaurant tips, you’re generally out of luck.
That’s it for introductions, today we have about 10 hours of driving ahead of us. I sit next to Lina today and we talk a lot about life and personal development. The landscape is beautiful with large green rolling hills and many different kinds of forest. Since the music currently playing is some awful saxophone muzak I start putting together a playlist on my mp3 player and hook up to the bus audio system.
We stop for a leg stretcher at a little diner place where they serve delicious papaya milk-drink made from locally grown papaya. The scenery is breathtaking and lots of pictures are taken. A funny thing is that Jessica has managed to guess that it was my music playing on the bus earlier just from hearing 10 songs or so.
After a brief lunch stop we reach the Honduras border, which is a rather brief stop as we get our passports stamped before continuing on to Copan Ruins, which is just 20 minutes or so inside the Honduran border. This time I share a rather large room with Christian, Emma, Lina, Daniel and Johan. We marvel at the the shower installation where three naked wires come out of the wall and are safely connected with electrical tape to the water heater that is placed in the shower head. It’s probably a good idea to not stand on the shower drain while showering…
Me, Christian and Johan head the 50 meters downtown to the city square from where you can easily find lots of restaurants. We pick an Italian one, Mamma Mia, just a block off of the square. The pizza is made in a wood fired oven and a thin crust just to die for. Weird going to Central America for some of the best pizza I’ve ever had!
Feeling in a party mood we go buy some local liqueurs: a Timoshenko Frutta and a Catrashita Oro to get some sort of party under way. The fact that Julia is turning 20 tomorrow is an excellent excuse, but even though we make a valiant effort with the liqueurs (that both are positively awful) the party never really takes off and we eventually have to call it a night.
Papaya drink: 20 quet
Food: 300 hon
Frutta: 120 hon
Lunch: 48 quet
Border fee: 40 quet