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Day Fourteen: Hopkins, Belize – Calakmul, Mexico

Submitted by on Thursday, 19 February 2009No Comment

Day Fourteen
Hopkins, Belize – Calakmul, Mexico
338 miles

We had a long day in front of us so we left Hopkins early to try to get to our destination at a decent hour. After about forty miles I noticed my bike wobbling a bit and I looked down at my front tire.
Lloyd signaled me to stop and I realized I had a flat tire. I had a slash cut on my tire and I thought maybe a glass. I was prepared though and I pulled my patch kit and on the side of the road we try the delicate surgery of plugging it for the first time. My freshman status showed when I wasted two plugs. The third one finally stayed on. It only took about ten or fifteen minutes to keep going.
About fifty miles later I noticed the bike handling funny again. The tire was halfway flat. The plug didn’t work. I plugged it again, put some air on it and this time it seemed a go. But it was not going to be the last time. Twenty miles later it was flat again. I was beginning to worry.
I had used a plug kit I bought at the hardware store instead of the BMW kit my bike had. I told Lloyd: “Let’s trust the Germans” The plug shape was different, I put in but there was a tiny leak. I out another one and it seemed to hold air. We were on our way.
Reaching the Belize-Mexican border was uneventful and as always we had to wait an hour to cross. We were so excited to have crossed that we kept on going and we didn’t exchange any currency. I was shooting for a stay in Xpuhil were I had researched a place to stay.
What I didn’t know was that the town was really small. There was only one gas station and no banks. Luckily I had some left over Mexican currency in my wallet and we were able to get some fuel. The next town was hundred and fifty miles away.
Contrary to the popular belief, the dollar is useless in small towns. The place I had looked over the internet (Rio Bec Dreams) was fancy and expensive but we couldn’t even pay it so it didn’t matter. The owner; a expat, was a jerk and the only help he gave us was telling us to go to marker 98 which had a camping ground but the road was not marked. We were on marker 145.
It was almost dark. Lloyd was irritable because he had run out of smokes in addition to the long day of riding. I wanted to see Calakmul but we didn’t have any money. All I could think was that I was going to loose the opportunity to see it.
We had two choices; either drive thirty miles to find the camping ground or drive another hundred plus miles to get to Escarcega. It got dark quickly and because of road repairs, the markers disappear after number 100.
My eyes were wide open trying to find the intersection. At some point there was a road and we turned in. It looked more like a jungle road and it definitely didn’t look like what I was trying to find. It wasn’t it.
Faith seemed sealed. We were going to have to drive to the next town. Right after I said that I saw the intersection and made the decision to find the place. The road was also the entrance to the Calakmul National Park.
The road came to an intersection. I wasn’t sure which way to take so I went to the left. About a mile later we got to a hotel. I asked about camping grounds. An American man told me it wasn’t there but to wait a minute because the kid who administers the camping place was there.
I explained we didn’t have any Mexican currency and if it was possible to exchange some at the hotel. It was late and the cashier was closed. They didn’t have any and worst of all I didn’t have any small bills.
I wanted to see the archeological site but without local money we would have to drive to the next town. The American man said he might possibly had change for a fifty. The only fifty I had, was in my bike, stashed. He didn’t give me the best rate but it was enough to get us through one more day. I said ok and proceed to pull the money out of the bike.
We followed the kid and got to the camp. The stars were bright showing us the way. It was a gorgeous set up in the middle of the forest, very rustic and very eco-friendly.
The shower was a bucket and the latrine style toilet was a first. It looked like a western toilet but it had two holes: one for urine and one for feces. After you take a dump you have to pour sawdust which is later convert to compost. We had home made tortillas and quesadillas for dinner.

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