Categories
equipment locations

Ciudad Guatemala

It was semana santa and the capital in an exceptional state. Processions filled the streets from the early morning hours until almost midnight. Accompanied by many musicians and some of the most dramatic and solemn music i have ever heard. The predominant color was purple, which symbolizes the penance during lent from what i understood as well as grief.

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On sundays one main street is closed off for motorized traffic for the event: pasos y pedales. Which reminded me on the time in jakarta with ¨bike to work¨ and the ¨car-free day¨, though that event was way bigger and the streets filled with people. In guate there is still some room that has to be filled with cyclists.

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The area around the central parque has the classic layout with the municipal building on the north and the cathedral on the east end.

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With its courtyard and the shiny blue dome.

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A guided tour through the national palace was a good way to keep practising spanish.

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When i went to the post office everything went smoothly. I had to explain the use of the bicycle parts and wait a while but was soon handed the package without having to pay any taxes.

The rapairs were a bit more tricky. I had never changed the freehub body as this was the first time i had to deal with a broken one. The process itself is easy, though i didn’t have the right tools with me. So i paid three visits to the nearby toolshop after trying in vain with the tools i had with me and once i was ready to remove the part, it turned out i needed a much larger allen key than i had expected from the instructions.

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It took a while longer but everything turned out well. I took the bike for a spin for the pasos y pedales event and am ready for the next attempt to cycle to El Salvador.

Categories
equipment locations postcards

Adiós Xela!

After another six weeks in Xela it was time to say goodbye. Here are some shots of the sights i was passing by almost daily. The “Pasaje Enriquez” at the parque central, once intended for exclusive shops, it now hosts mostly bars and restaurants.

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This flags within the park are taken down every evening. A process which takes four people quite some time and involves a lot of folding.

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A view from the central market building towards the cathedral.

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The courtyard of the “centro cultural: casa no´j”.

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and a view from the terrace of my house.

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I still have to pick up some replacement parts at the post office in Guatemala City and hope to fix my bicycle soon.

Categories
help music people

La hora del planeta

Earth hour receives a lot of valid criticism. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t created solely for the benefit that one hour without the use of electricity would have on our planet. It will just have an effect if people change their behavior after this hour in the long run. In Xela the lights of the central park were switched off and we met an hour earlier with around a hundred cyclist to go for a ride through the city. We met at seven thirty at the municipal theatre where only last week we witnessed the Jazz Festival.

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The route was explained to the riders as well as the hope expressed that Xela one day might turn into a bicycle friendly city.

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We even had a guy from the municipal traffic police on his scooter with us, who blocked off the street as we started and held back the traffic on junctions we crossed, so that we felt quite safe and could ride without need to halt at traffic lights. Thus even the kids in our group could enjoy the ride and most car drivers took the involuntary delay well and some people along the streets waved at us or started applauding when we passed.

Starting at eight thirty, there were no lights in the “Parque a Centro America” and artists were performing in different locations without the aid of electric amplification. The concert was illuminated with candles but around the square was still enough light coming from the buildings around the parque to keep the night away.

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The music was excellent and soon the empty space in front of the musicians was filled with people dancing. A really nice evening that changed the atmosphere of Xela. Although i didn’t feel alarmed after nightfall, there usually was not a crowd to be seen like this after dark: children happily chewing away on some candy, students from the university handing out glow sticks and grandma taking grandpa to the dancefloor.