The gorgeous lake of Atitlan, Guatemala.    

     I felt a sense of sorrow as I began loading my bike for the ride to Guatemala. Mexico had been good to be, and I had met many fine, fun people. Soon, Mike and I were on the curvy road that led south. Neither of us have been to Guatemala or Honduras, so we don't know what to expect. Rumors of poor security and storm damage persist, we ride on. Before long we reach the border- which looks closed. Turns out the computer system is down...the system was down from noon until 2pm. At 2pm 2 or 3 agents show up and get us through, we believe we simply arrived at lunch time. We had our wheels sprayed as part of a fumigation control- and of course, there was a small fee. The crossing took over 3 hours but wasn't too painful. Mike was able to scrounge up a couple cold beers.

     The ride to the lakeside town of Panajachel was stunning. Often above the clouds, the mountainous road wound around countless mountains and steep volcanos, all covered in dense green foliage. Clear, fast flowing rivers filled with frolicking children were everywhere. The town of Panajchel itself is quite nice, though small. Lake Atitlan is a spectacular place. The lake is surrounded by steep mountains. Mike and I took a launch across the lake to a village called San Pedro. My guidebook describes the place as a ''bongo-bashing, bong-smoking center of counter-culture.'' The book was right, funky place- albeit with plenty of great food!

     With Mike spending 2 weeks in language school, I rode on to the colonial city of Antigua on my own. Antigua is a bit touristy- the upside is the most international cuisine I've experienced since the States. Luckily I met an American woman who had just finished a two year stint with the Peace Corps. In two days she steered me towards some of the best food and coffee Antigua has to offer. Next stop, Honduras.


A young man at his full-time job. Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala.