Begging & bribing my way around

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.

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.

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 BikeYeah 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?

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  1. ik geniet van je verhalen in het engels en in het nederlands.
    meestal print ik ze uit en leg ze op de tank van mijn oude Guzzi, heeft hij ook wat te lezen deze winter.
    Groeten Ruud

    According to Ruud – 14:52 (op 04 Maart ’06)
  2. Paul, keep going, the bike will show you the way. Just relax and everything will be going okee, but might take some time.
    Hou je haaks, geniet en pieker niet teveel, dat doen wij hier wel!

    According to Jan – 17:18 (op 04 Maart ’06)
  3. Hoi Paul
    Jammer dat je het niet haalt om samen met Carla en haar band op te treden!!!! Bedankt voor jouw reactie, e.e.a. is nu doorgestuurd naar de Paul van de band.

    ‘t Was een beetje kommer en kwel de laatste keren dat ik jouw verslagen las. Ben blij voor jou, jouw huidige verhaal klinkt alsof je de zaken weer een beetje op de rij hebt gekregen. As I wrote before: geen top zonder dal. Gelukkig geldt dat ook anderom en volgens mij ga je de goede kant weer op.
    Keep on going, zie Argentinië te halen. Misschien haal ik mijn nieuwe laarzen wel in Wilnis, wonen ook nog wat motormaten van mij.

    According to Reint – 21:12 (op 04 Maart ’06)
  4. Hi Paul,
    I’m still watching your, virtually.
    Take your time when you can. Once you’re back everybody else takes it from you.

    According to Fred – 22:19 (op 04 Maart ’06)
  5. I´m glad you have found each other again. Give her a hug for me. The loss in Dutch readers will surely be made up once the rest of the world jumps on the band wagon. And I know we agreed we are not attatched to the result of our next meeting….whether it happens on this trip or another…..but I know you are attatched to your brown Nike shirt, so I promise to keep it safe until that day. Paul, you´re doing good….keep your eyes open and let it all happen. Lots of love for you, and pass some along to Tal too!

    According to Marie – 04:47 (op 05 Maart ’06)
  6. ik blijf ze lezen Paul, al ga je in het Hondurees schrijven
    keep on going
    nico almere

    According to nico – 10:26 (op 05 Maart ’06)
  7. He bro, as i stated before just hold your horses and seek the horizon. Glad to here everything turns out to be OK. Bas was sick for a whole week. Therefore we also had to stay at home. for 6 days in a row he kept trowing up. Today (sunday) is the first day after 7 days he finally ate something. Next saterday i probably will sell my harley. After that, i’am off (with the beemer). That son of a bith gives me gives me a lot more fun, is cheaper and rides like heck. Drive carefully when entering the Darian Gap. let the world know that it can be done with a guzzi. But you stay oke, you hear. When you see Tall again say hi for me. Stay out of trouble and watch your back.
    vaya con Dios (you’ll need it)

    According to Peter – 10:50 (op 05 Maart ’06)
  8. Hallo Paul,

    Dit is eigenlijk niet echt een reactie op je mooie verslag van je reis, maar een vraag:
    Ik wil zelfde soort reis gaan maken, en ben bezig informatie in te winnen. Een vraag krijg ik moeilijk beantwoord bij diverse instanties:
    Ik vroeg me af wat je meer nodig hebt dan een kenteken en een rijbewijs om in Amerika te kunnen reizen. Ik blijf korter dan 90 dagen dus ik hoef geen visum, maar misschien moet ik bv een ‘ATA Carnet’ of een ‘Carnet de Passage’.
    Bij voorbaat dank. Als de webmaster deze reactie er weer af wil halen nadat Paul het gelezen heeft of een ander, graag. Ik hoop dat Paul of een ander die het me kan vertellen even de tijd wil nemen om de vraag te beantwoorden.

    Bij voorbaat dank, Rob Goud

    According to Rob Goud – 14:05 (op 05 Maart ’06)
  9. Hola pinche holandes.
    ¿Cómo te va la vida errante?Bien seguro.
    Yo estoy subiendo,vengo de Nicaragua donde dejé muchos amigos y que ,seguro,te va encantar.De Nicaragua te recomiendo una especial atención a una flor muy singular:La flor de caña.
    Yo,ahorita quiero volver a México para recorrer el norte.
    Me recuerdas a Don Quijote con su “Rocinante”,Alberto Granados y Ernesto Guevara con su “La Poderosa” y el pinche Paul con su Moto Guzzi.Un abrazo fuerte.MUcha suerte.

    According to sino – 20:09 (op 05 Maart ’06)
  10. Om even de wijsneus uit te hangen & je vraagteken te beantwoorden: “then” (bepaling van tijd, of zoiets). Or less thAn something else (al het gaat om verschillen in hoeveelheid). Maar je schrijft in het engels al net zo lekker als in het nederlands, petje af.

    According to Carel – 13:03 (op 06 Maart ’06)
  11. Haven’t been here for a while, moved to the middle east – Qatar. Into the even more comfort zone than NL. Brand new XC70 under my arse, luxurious Villa, brand new Ducati arriving every day now (for the trackdays @ Losail) great weather, surfing/cycling every weekend, wife and kids arriving after summer – so into ‘bachelor life style’ and still I’m fucking jealous at you.

    Wise words from my dad (and I’m telling it my kids) don’t cry because it’s over, smile bacause it happened.

    So gozah, en nu op de brommurt je reis afmaken. Wil graag meer van je lezen, desnoods betaal ik bij.

    According to Roy – 14:26 (op 06 Maart ’06)
  12. l if e

    According to guzman – 21:02 (op 06 Maart ’06)
  13. Thx 4 z wunderful pics Paul! Can’t w8 4 more!! Watch out z bullets…

    According to Luc – 12:40 (op 08 Maart ’06)
  14. Thanks guys, for jullie reactions. I really like it om ze te lezen and zo. Ik have many problemen met de mail dus ik kan jullie niet beantwoorden. Vasil, my man, kan geen mail versturn. Heb je zin om er naar te kijken? Heb ´m hard nodig, want ik probeer die serie nog eens te verkopen. Ben trouwens in Amapala (tiger Island) vlak bij de grens van Nicaraqua, maar nog steeds in Honduras. Geweldig lieve mensen hier, wat een feest als ik op de motor zit. Echt ongelogen. Voel me weer helemaal top. Jezus, hadden jullie dat niet wat eerder kunnen zeggen – dat ik op de motor moest springen. Erg leuke dagen gehad en nogmaals bedankt voor de reactis. Groetens,


    According to Paul – 01:23 (op 10 Maart ’06)
  15. Yo Vasil, sorry old sport, moet even zo. Kan niks meer met mijn mail, wat versturen betreft. Heb ´m even heel hard nodig. Thanks!!

    According to Paul – 22:12 (op 10 Maart ’06)
  16. I knew all the time there was or will be a reason for me to learn English.I guess this is it. I wouldn’t miss your stories for the world, Paul. Ride on.

    According to Tony – 22:43 (op 13 Maart ’06)
  17. Ha Von Paulus, sinds je in het engels bericht geeft wordt het toch een ander verhaal. Als je dan toch al die lekkere wijven mee wil laten genieten van je belevenissen doe dat dan op een .com parallel site!
    Goed, ik ben sinds twee dagen in Quitto na een twaalf uur lange, wilde, natte en duistere rit vanuit Peru. Kon letterlijk niet meer op mijn poten staan en begin na een dag of twee weer wat bij te komen. Er is hier een Duc dealer, dus de Baby krijgt donderdag een beurt voor zijn verjaardag.(23/3).
    Vrijdag weer on the road naar Colombia, Cali. Wil in 4 dagen naar Cartagena rijden voor de oversteek per boot naar Panama. Heb de afgekopen 12 dagen zo´n 3.000 km gereden en de vaart zit er goed in. Quitto is een te gekke stad dus het wachten op de service is perfect getimed. OK Pablo, we komen nader, dat is zeker. Alex.

    According to Alex – 00:15 (op 15 Maart ’06)
  18. Hoi Paul, ik heb het nogal druk dus ik lees je noodoproep nu pas.
    Ik heb even ingelogd op je webmail en het lukt mij gewoon om mail te versturen. Is het probleem inmiddels verholpen?

    According to Vasilis – 07:39 (op 15 Maart ’06)
  19. Hi Paul,

    Lost track of you for a while after that photoshoot of the Ducati 750 S from Peter. Seems you have lost track too being the free dude we all admire losing your head for a real beauty. There is beauty too surounding you, what a beautifull place you are stuckj right now. You can always turn the Guzman around and cruise back to Toronto after you’ve reached Argentine mate.

    Regards and respect from the Beneluxheads vintage Ducati comunity in Holland

    Cheers, Ron

    According to Ron – 23:39 (op 15 Maart ’06)
  20. Hee Paul!! Wat ongelooflijk tof van je dat je ondanks je reis en al je beslommeringen toch nog de tijd neemt om je site bij te houden en ons op deze manier mee te laten genieten van al jouw avonturen. Je bent een toffe peer!!
    Hoop dat je die verhalen kwijt raakt aan eoa gek die er grof voor wil betalen en dat je het zo nog ff uithoudt!! Ach joh, maak je niet druk over die poen, heb je hier ook nooit gedaan toch? Foto’s zijn prima zo en geven een geweldige indruk van je ontmoetingen. Ik heb niet gebruikt ofzo, maar wou gewoon ff wat liefs zeggen…

    According to Luc – 23:59 (op 15 Maart ’06)
  21. kom even zeggen dat ik het helemaal eens met luc ben.hier wilt de lente maar niet beginnen,toch de accu maar alvast opgeladen. je bent lekker bezig paul. lator.

    According to maarten en de meisjes – 11:48 (op 16 Maart ’06)
  22. hola paul
    how are you?where are you?
    i didnt hear from you for a while,
    hope that everything is good
    write to me when you can
    chau chau

    According to tal – 21:15 (op 16 Maart ’06)
  23. Another mile closer, another love realized, another reson to continue on……..


    According to tom – 21:26 (op 16 Maart ’06)
  24. Hey Maestro,
    I share the feeling of Tal, what´s up doc, still computer trouble? Well who hasn´t.
    If more money is need we could raise some funds, I guess.
    Keep us informed.
    Guzzi Cor

    According to Cor – 15:54 (op 17 Maart ’06)
  25. YO YO YO Paul !
    i’m glad you’re still in one piece. I just finished moving into our new Office in Santa Monica on Sunday. It’s been crazy busy, 16-17 hours a day of work to get everything set up. But we’re in now and Ingrid loves it !
    Ingrid has been filming like crazy. So far she’s shot Starbucks, Clearchannel & PLayboy !!! In two weeks she has to film at the Playboy mansion !! We’re also trying to finish off the microsoft commercials and last week i had to give a seminar on computer security. hahahahaahahaha!!!

    we miss you Paul, as soon as we get our next check from CNBC if you need a break and want to come up and shoot pictures with us , let me know and we’ll get it set up.

    HAVE FUN !!!

    According to Robbie – 02:57 (op 20 Maart ’06)

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