The Guzzi came to a sliding halt at El Florido, the mountainous frontier of Honduras. You see, there was no border gate so I kept on going. Then/than? I saw this tightened rope out of a sudden. I hit the drum-brakes and saved my scalp, I guess. The bike ran fine, earlier this morning. Smooth and easy, like always. I left my hotel in Chiquimula just after daybreak and the 70 kilometers ride to the border woke me up. I liked the view. Green, steep mountains. A slow streaming river with palm trees on the banks and all. Friendly waving campesinos beside the road waiting to be picked up by any kind of vehicle. This morning carried all the signs of a safe and quick passage into Honduras. I had only one little problem to deal with, the permission to drive the bike. The Guzzi, as I noticed the night before, overstayed his time in Guatemala, which was totally my fault, as you understand. Only ten days late, I minor offence I should say. You see Guzman I’m a total idiot when it comes to the stamp-business. I don’t even look at my visa when they give it to me, because time is not important. In Mexico I showed up two months late at the border near Ciudad Quathémoc and they didn’t round up the firing squad. So, why bother when there’s no such thing as a ticking clock. But then again, this is Guatemala. They might just do their job and fine you like hell Pablo. Or worse, crucify you, or drag you behind your own Guzzi, up to third gear. This is Centro America, dude.
I entered a clammy office, smiled at the desk-guy and gave him the expired documents. He had a thin, black moustache, round sunglasses and a bold shiny head and seemed to be the right type to ruin my day. ‘You have to go back to Guatemala City’, he said while starring at the documents. ‘We can’t let you through like this. One day late and you go back. Ten days late and you go back. It’s the law.’ He never looked up at me and I could hear the joy in his voice. Damn, this custom little fuck was telling me that I had to go all the way to Guatemala City to arrange a new permit for the bike. The whole trip would take me four days. I took a deep breath and tried to be polite. Politeness is the best policy. We all know that. ‘Guatemala City, that’s the other way, you moron. The border is only a hundred feet away. I can see it from here. There’s no sense in going back to Guatemala. Now be a good sport and give me my stamp’, I demanded in my best Spanish. He nodded, said something about bureaucracy and loosing his pathetic job if he let me trough. Than I started to threaten him with influence friends (you Guzman!), serious armor and even World War III and all. But he just walked of. Which was a right thing to do. It gave me time to think.
When life is getting complicated and the grizzly’s are closing in I just sit down, Guzman. I just sit down, contemplate a little, close my eyes and usually when I look up I get an answer. And I’ll be blessed – replacement was marching in at the moment I decided to play this game different. You have to give those guys a change, Guzman. A fat guy with smart eyes entered the office. I leaned over and said: ‘I need help, carnal. If you sent me back I’ll probably die.’ That gave him something to think about.
You see Guzman, Guatemala City is not the place to be, right now. Two hundred bus-robbery’s a day for example. And what about this: the first two months in this year more than 1200 people got slaughtered, most of them in the capital. Tied, tortured, strangled and than dumped. There’s a war going on between two gangs (maras): M-18 and Salvatrucha. And those panderillos (gang-members) stick your eyes out for 100 quetzals and leave your sad remains for the dogs. The Guzzi and I would be a slow moving target down town Guate and I don’t like being a target. It makes me nervous. ‘So, you don’t want to go back to Guatemala’, the fat guy said. He could read my mind. On moments like this I close in and go for the neck and hold on until I get what I want. In this case a fucking stamp. ‘How much, carnal?’ He wrote down a number – thousand quetzals. He wanted me to pay a thousand quetzals, which is the equivalent of hundred euros! I told him about the extra medical expenses I had since I broke my heart and he actually felt sorry for me. So I paid half, enough to feed his wife and 18 children for a week or so. After eight hours of threatening, begging & bribing they pulled the border-gate up and the Guzzi and I flamed into Honduras.
I found Tal again in Copan. Hot damn. Tal is doing fine at the moment. She’s making more bucks then I do, just by selling her handmade jewelry on the street and her smile is getting bigger every day. Her aim is Argentina, all by herself. Oh yes, she felt lost, like a month ago. That’s why we hold on to each other. We’re in this together. Yes, we have our burden to carry, but we all do, right? The other day I met an Israeli guy in the bus and I told about Tal. About how brave she was when she made the decision not to serve her country by going in the army. An army outfit is just not the kind of dress for this girl and when you look at her picture you totally agree, Guzman. I asked the Israeli guy his opinion about this all. His answer scared the whimpering shit out of me: ‘Kill her’. You see, before you are born in Israel you’re certain of three things: that you die, that you pay taxes and that you serve the army for three years or something. When you don’t serve you betray. Tal had to live with this ordeal. She knew that. She managed to stay out on moral grounds. She decided this when she was only sixteen and pushed it, with the help of family and friends until she set herself free from something she totally disagrees with – arms. And the whole freaking country felt over her. And she stood firm and had faith in her decision. Then you have balls, Guzman. What did you do when you were sixteen? I was pushing my 50cc 4TL Tomos through the lowlands and left here and there some skin on the pavement, due to a mayor drinking-problem combined with little driving skills. Tal realizes that we’re living in 06. Let no other decide for you – brake out and make your own day, punk. Oh yes, I’m proud of this little lady.
WHAT’S THIS GUZZIGALORE-VEHICLE ABOUT?
Now that’s a serious question here. I lost track myself. You see. I intended to drive the old fart form the top to the bottom (Deadhorse, Alaska – Ushuia, Argentine) in about a year. I pictured it like a lonesome rally-thing. Cruising the highways, writing stories and to show the world that a 30-year old Guzzi is capable doing this and than back home. I failed hilariously. Mexico kind of slowed me down. Wanted to stay only one month and ended up half a year. And who cares? More then ten months on the road now, and I’m just half way. Money is running out and my heart is still a bleeding mess. It’s getting close to a down and out-experience. So change of plans. What plans? Getting confused. No question about that.
WHO IS WHO IN THIS CIRCUS?
Tal – We met in Puerto Escondido (Mexico) three months ago. Tal was traveling for a year with her boyfriend Alvaro, a guy from Argentina. He decided to travel by himself. Tal and I met again in Panajachel (Guatemala) and we just needed each other. We both decided to make it to the Promised Land, whatever it costs. So we’ll keep running into each other.
Nancy – I met (How to clear a mind) 17 years ago in Puerto Escondido and fell in love in an instant. We spent 4 years together. She was living in DF (Distrito Federal, the capital) at that time and I in Amsterdam. I’ve been 15 times in Mexico. When I crossed the border at Tijuana in August it was my first revisit to Mexico in 13 years and I felt a little lost. Which is a solid understatement. After three weeks under the (50 Celsius) I reached La Paz. While resting on a bench down town I could hear her voice. There she was, on vacation with husband and two kids and all. Small detail: she lives in Germany for eight years. Even the Guzzi had to weep.
The Blonde on the Bike – I met Melanie in Oaxaca. We camped out on this twinkling Mexican star for three weeks around Christmas and New Year. And than we both had to climb of – without a parachute. She went back to Toronto were she lives and I’m still wandering around like a headless chicken going absolutely nowhere.
Guzman – He’s a dear friend in Holland. Used to be a famous actor in the eighties, early nineties and tried his luck in Bollywood. He couldn’t hold his lines, since they talk a funny language in India. So he came back to Holland, an illusion less. He’s the manager of a local Bata shoe-store in Wilnis and has a German shepherd for company.
The Bike –Yeah this baby will wait for me forever. It’s my grocery-bike in Amsterdam. On this trip she drove twenty thousand kilometers without any problem.
I’m getting awfully tired now Guzman. Lights off!
PS Good news from Vasil my webmaster. The transition from Dutch to English resulted in a loss of 112.345 Dutch readers, in one single day. Where are you guys?