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I’m now in Flores, Northern Guatemala. Somehow I’ve managed to pick up a muscle strain in my chest over the last week, which is making deep inhalations painful. And that persistent cough that I thought I’d shrugged off has turned out to be chronic bronchitis! So, as much as it goes against the grain, I’m having to rest and heal before heading south. I’m not sure how long I can survive this immobile life, but at least it’s a chance to study Spanish, catch up on the blog, finally, and get down to some writing work – to earn some more dollars to keep riding…
As it sounds like it will take some time to shift these various ailments, my plan is to head over to San Andreas Itzapa and volunteer for Maya Pedal. This grassroots project brings old bikes, donated from the States, back to life for local communities, and builds ‘bicimaquinas’, allowing farmers and villagers to use pedal power as an alternative to petrol and electricity.
Tempestuous rainy season storms sweep dramatically over Flores. Dark and sinister skies…
…give way to clear and sun-drenched ones hours later.
More Peten sunsets.
View from the balcony of my dorm room in Dona Goya 2. The rain turns on and off like a power shower, though it has yet to kick in like the rest of the country has been experiencing. Elsewhere, there have been landslides and major destruction.
The backstreets of Flores, home to Tuk Tuks that put-put and clatter around, reminding me of India. Although it's something of a tourist hangout, both international and Guatemalan, the place is particularly quiet and mellow in the daytime, as everyone heads off to Tikal.
Visits down to the market in Santa Elena. This is pacaya, a species of palm tree. Looks a little like miniature sweetcorn.
I’ve been spending a lot of time out on the jetties, looking into the glassy waters of the lake. It's frustrating not to be able to have a proper swim though. I've kept my exercising to genteel outings in the morning to wake me up.
Come the evening, everyone leaps into the waters to cool off and wash the sweat away after a day of ruin stomping.
Nutty Irishmen Cillian and Dave, who I met in Acapulco, took a break from their Pacific surfing tour to visit Tikal.
It was great to see them, and witness their transformation into sun-kissed Surf Gods. And a good excuse to drink Cuba Libres down on the banks of the lake.
Me, anxious to get riding again.
And my poorly lungs. Apparently I have a hyperinflated chest. I subjected myself to a battery of tests at the local clinic, experiencing healthcare Guatemalan-style, including an ECG, blood test and various elderly electronic devices clipped to my ankles, wrists and chest. The good news is that my heart is strong! At the end, the doctor gave me a list of words for me to go home and Google - or Geegle, as she called it. Is this what imparting knowledge has come to in the internet age?
Calm days slip by. I just hope my body fixes itself soon, so I can keep rolling.