Exciting out of the more touristy areas...Guatemala presents a rawer vibe. There are fewer newer vehicles, more tuk tuks and pickup truck people carriers. All vehicles, including tuk tuks, have their windows darkly tinted. Even motorcycle riders wearing helmets have their visors tinted black! You cannot see into any vehicles, unless they happen to have a small cut-out area. I presume that this is for higher visibility at night enabling safer night driving! Residents here are able to carry weapons, and do! It is not unusual to see workers caring machine or shot guns getting into dark window tinted vehicles. I have no issue with each option used separately but the casual combination can be a little unnerving.
We ate breakfast, loaded up and exited the small hippy, hostel happy touristy Isle of Flores. The roads out were a little confusing, even the map directions were confusing. After a gasoline fill up and some extensive cherade work we managed to travel a little further out of town until we hit another larger intersection, with no signage requiring another choice. Luckily there was another gas station, so we asked again. After that we were golden! I had jotted down the sequence of towns that we needed to travel through to reach Coban efficiently on a small note book I carry in my jacket sleeve. The route did include a few surprises along the way from dirt roads, a rickety barge river crossing, semi trailer road blocking accidents and detours around missing bridges. Each time an obstacle presented itself, there just happened to be locals around. Lucky for us we were somehow able to get our quires and concerns across by communicating with exaggerated arm movements and really bad spanglish. For example lining up in a ridiculously long line of traffic waiting to cross the river on a barge. After further investigation and kind conversation from a truck driver I picked up on the words moto and primerio. Motos go first! So Kev and I jumped the line and rocked on, up to the front and joined the other group of two wheelers! This cool allowance actually applies to any line…even at borders!
In all truth, the road to Coban is really a stunning ride. From the flat lush low farmlands, to the tropical winding mist wrapped highlands. My mouth started to water as we approached rustic and simple villages. Their roadside trade of freshly picked pineapple, drenched the damp air, infusing it with an irresistible sweetness. Funny enough…my mouth is actually watering right now! As we climbed and wound higher in altitude, pine freshness replaced the tropical sweetness and we definitely enjoyed the drop in temperature that accompanied it. Truly a phenomenal ride! We stopped for a late lunch/early dinner and tried to connect via wifi to figure out where our list of lodgings were located. We had made the decision that we would only be staying here one night, so we fueled up and chose lodging 10 kilometers out of town.