T – Well after last nights fire works we ended up sleeping in a little bit later than we planned. Santa never came to see us in the night but he did manage to drop a few empty firework casings on our bikes for us!
We packed up and began the incredibly steep slow climb out of Pana and back to the Pan-Am highway which would take us west to San Pedro.
The poor bikes were screaming and moaning all the way up the hill and both of them were stuck in 2nd for the best part of it, with poor Mabel having to go down to 1st gear for some sections. What a climb! We could smell the clutches and brakes of the other cars on the road as they whizzed by.
That hill was nothing in comparison to the one down in to San Pedro though. Steep doesn’t describe it at all! At one point I thought I was going to have to push Mabel as she started losing revs fast even in first gear. We climbed and climbed up and over 2600 meters before we began the dizzying descent into town. The road went from concrete to tarmac to broken tarmac to bull dust to potholes and dirt. It was quite fun but I am already feeling bad for the bikes knowing that this is going to be a nasty hard ride for them on the way back out. There is a road that can take us around the south of the lake but we have been warned by many other overlanders to avoid this road known as Robbers Highway. There is a section along there where some banditos operate and many other overlanders have fallen victim to armed holdups there. We wont take that chance unless we can arrange a police escort, $10USD, and so will probably head back around to Pana for New Years.
We slowly bumped and slid our way down the hill and soon we were checked in and settling into our new home for the week. The school looks fantastic and is very welcoming and easy going. A quick walk through the town though show us that tourism may have ruined this place. There were many unhappy Guatemalan faces in the shops and the tourists we saw were being terribly rude with the locals, smoking weed, being drunk, and just being arseholes in general. Not to worry. We shall find the local haunts and stay away from the seedy areas.
Tomorrow we start our Espanol class and we are both looking forward to be able to attempt to converse with the locals a little more.