Day 230. Monday 16th March. Semuc Champey to Coban. Guatemala.

Couldn’t wake up this morning. So relaxing and watching the birds flit in the trees above us through the roof vents.

We are only driving up the track about 250m to the scenic wonderland of Semuc Champey. I had never heard of it before but neither have many Guatemalans heard of Milford Sound..:)

On arriving at the entrance to the park, we are told it’s closed. Closed due to Covid-19!!! In the middle of one of the remotest parts of Guatemala and it’s closed. Jen remonstrated with the official for some time but you could see, he didn’t give a dam. Orders are orders and he wasn’t going to break them for a couple of tourists. So, it’s back the 24k’s to the main road. Now you would say, thats not far, but it took us several hours to get in and I can’t see us doing it any faster going out, because not only is the road, sorry goat track, so terrible but there are major roadworks with heavy machinery and blasting going on too. Some extremely steep climbs with Poki down to first gear and steep descents too. At one point it was so steep we have to go down to low ratio. 

In the photo above right, a little girl appears out of the jungle with discs wrapped in silver paper. They are chocolates and we can have 2 for Q10. I say no, we will take 3 for Q10. No she says 2 to 10. A hard nosed business woman but there was no sale. What a meanie I am..:). On leaving, she points to the camera and asks for Q10 for taking her picture!!! She’s all of 6 years old.

Arriving back at the main road there is a brand new super smooth sealed road all the way to Coban. 

Sarah and Tim have settled into a lake side camp site at Atitlan, about 200k’s away from Coban and they have sent us a WhatsApp message to bring them supplies to last for a while. With our next destination, Columbia closing it’s borders to some tourists, I can only see this escalating and we are probably better to just hole up for a while till the storm blows over. Guatemala’s not a bad place to do that. Lets hope there is good wifi there as I’m nearly out of reading material.

Coban is a bustling city with a confusion of twisting one way streets but no indication at intersections and the sat-nav making no distinction. We find a modern looking three story mall and buy a trolly load of groceries each for Sarah and us, to last us a week or so? 

Formerly a German settlement that was prosperous until the American government convinced the Guatemalan authorities to expel them during the 2nd World war, as they were Nazi sympathisers. While here they developed the coffee industry which still thrives. Our camp site tonight is a grassy area behind a sorting shed on a coffee plantation. There is no sign of any German efficiency here now though.

Tomorrow’s Instant coffee

It’s much cooler as we are at 1600m and a cool night is something to look forward to. 

Stay positive everyone.. 🙂

3 Comments:

  1. Hi Bro and Jen1. In Karamea before heading up Nelson way. Hope to cross to north island about friday but will depend on weather, bit rough in Cook Strait at the moment. Changed my flight home from 1 April to 29March because ANZ suspending direct flights to Adelaide from 30th. 80 Percent of international flights suspended. Enjoying the ride and company immensely . Glad your electrics sorted but think the virus issues will be with us for months yet. Getting back to NZ nay be a problem.

    • Glad you enjoying the ride. Haast road open? Towns and supermarkets closing down here. When people see us driving along they pull their shirts over their mouths. Paranoia not exclusive to Western society. Only 100k’s from Sarah but could takes us 6 hours!! Mountainous as.

  2. You are probably better of where you are than in many other countries. The UK grinding to a halt in accordance with the daily edicts of the PM. At least he has conceded that we can go out for exercise provided we maintain a distance from others. Sooner or later he will realise that we can’t carry on like this for very long and it might be more expedient to let people catch the virus and develop immunity so they can then get on with life.

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