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Livingston, Guatemala

It just got good.

We (just myself and Zack these days) worked our way to the little village of Lanquin, Guatemala. Way off the beaten track, but definitely worth the 3 hours on bad dirt roads from Coban. This place is amazing, complete with waterfalls and cascading pools, caves that go back for 3km, and even some untapped climbing potential.

We blew 3 days there, in a grass hut in a cow pasture, intending to head back to Coban and then bus it down to El Estor and onward to Livingston on the coast. But then, we heard about the secret back way.

Apparently, people had, in the past, come into town from the other direction over a series of unmaintained roads that weren't on any of the maps we had along. Others had left town for El Estor that way, with apparent success. No details were available though, as none of them ever came back. We're there!

First stop was Cahabon, a town remote enough that the sight of westerners is still novel enough to draw stares, pointing, and laughter. We stayed there for a day, and set the alarm for 2:45.

At 3:30am, we hit the road for what was possibly the most interesting travel day of my life. The locals head out for work at 4 in a series of 2 ton farm trucks. We hopped on the one that looked like it was heading the farthest out of town, and rode it as far as it would go.

The next several hours were spent alternately sitting by the side of the road in remote Guatemalan jungle, and standing inside or on the bumper of small pickups with up to 30 people in the bed. Eventually we hit the highway (also a dirt road, but straighter), and found a ride to El Estor.

28 Hours, 5 rides (one in a truck full of guys with shotguns), 50 miles, $2.50 not including room and board in Cahabon.

I'm in Livingston now, enjoying the Caribbean sun for one last day before heading back to Guatemala city and home.

permalink written by  Jason Kester on March 2, 2002 from Livingston, Guatemala
from the travel blog: Central America
tagged CertainDeath, HitchHiking, Adventure and BFE

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Dhahab, Egypt

Last anybody heard from me, I was about to hop a bus out into the Libyan Desert in search of an Oasis or two. I'm happy to report that I survived the experience.

Farafra, Egypt. Aptly named, and about the second most remote place in the whole country. There's a little village, a couple springs, and a bit of irrigation to expand the stand of date palms surrounding it all. Apart from that, it's just sand as far as the eye can see, Lawrence of Arabia style. I blew a day there, hired a jeep to take me out into the desert to catch the sunset, then made my way to a hotspring in the middle of nowhere to relax and check out the stars. Yeah, this will do...

Next up was Luxor and Aswan for a bit of Tomb Raiding. Wow. Nothing I can say would do the place justice. If you've been there, you'll know. If not, you need to go before you die. Now is a great time to be in Egypt. With the combination of the off-season, the US government recommending its citizens to panic, and the resulting weak Egyptian Pound, it's like a fire sale over here. You can rent a camel for $0.50 an hour!

I'm on the Sinai now, chillin' on the beach at Dahab, looking to do some diving, and maybe give some attention to my recently neglected suntan. My room costs $1.50 a night. I should be able to hold out about six years...

permalink written by  Jason Kester on June 5, 2003 from Dhahab, Egypt
from the travel blog: Middle East, 2003
tagged BFE

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