Central America

Uriya and “Goldi” in Central America.

Since I still had like half of the world to cross ahead of me, I have decided to do Central America. The photos I saw really attracted me to the jungles and the rivers, the culture and the history of the Indians, the Mayas, the Aztecs and the Incas.

So, here I am in New York City, looking to find a BMW R 1100 GS that could be suitable for this job, but I could not find one. What I found was a Honda Goldwing AspenCade, 1200, 1985. Color: Golden brown.
Immediately as I saw it, the name “Goldi” jumped on my mind and got stucked there. That was “Love at first site”. Not the right bike for the roads of Central America. But, who cares? On the other hand, the long distance from N.Y. to Guatemala City (3,500 Miles, 5,000 KM), did help me to choose Goldi. Is it my age? It’s going to take me at least 2 weeks for 1 way to get there. So what?

I sit on it and feel home immediately. Goldi and I found each other. First thing is first, music. I am searching a station in the radio, and here is the song “Golden Brown” of the “Stranglers” is playing. I think it’s the most beautiful song ever.

Listen on YouTube

I need to tune my mind to 12 hours of driving, 3 gas tanks and like 400 – 500 Miles (650 – 800 KM) per a day. There is a mental work to do here, with a daily plan of destinations and goals. This going to be tour with a race against the clock. Just for the fun of it.

I tune the radio. Janis Joplin is scramming “Cry baby”. Starter, legs forward, pleasure. My kids are back home and I am worry due to the bombs up north there. I call them. Roy is a soldier and Merily is a student. They are Ok Thank God. They are my anchor to the reality. I can fly anywhere, but without them as my base, I am worthless. Thanks to the “God of the bikers”.

I am driving south through Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina to Myrtle Beach, to Visit my childhood friend Sam Laniado. I spend 2 Nice days together with his wonderful Family. I was envy him for having a quiet life, and he envies me for being a bike wonderer. “How come that we always want what we don’t have”? Well, after all “Life is a sequence of choices”.

I continue going down south to Miami FL. Visiting my friends Sima and Alon. I am always on maintaining my social and friends connections.

I am at the desert part of Texas, heading west to the Mexican border. The heat is terrible and it’s 107 F, feels like 100 C. It’s like I am driving into the Sun. Goldi doesn’t care about the heat. He is just fine. Those were 2 days of an extreme heat that I have been cooked to “Well done”.

I am now at the border with Mexico near Brownsville Texas. Do I need a visa? I did not check that. I drive throughout the border, and no one stops me. I am in Mexico. I did not get an exit stamp in my passport. How come not an American nor Mexican police or customs stopped me for docs? Ok. I turned back to the customs officer and asked him if I need to get a stamp and to be checked. He said “No”, but still looked in the bike’s side bags. I did not know at the time, that it was my mistake not to get a stamp at the exit. It reminded me the sneaking into Egypt, although I did not mean to.

Mexico, I am in to the “Euphoria”.

On the way, I have started to imagine movies in my head, since I don’t have the stamp in my Passport of getting in to Mexico. I am convincing myself that “Everything will be ok”, and swallow the “The relaxing pill”, while doing plans B. C and D. “Just in case”.

I drink like 3 gallons of water due to the heat, and driving along the “Golf bay”. The roads are in a very bad condition. Tampico, Tuxpan, Veracruz and then to the “border crossing” into Guatemala in Talisman. That took me 3 days while I haven’t eat a thing but biscuits.

As we all know, there is no “bad” without “good”. The view makes it up for everything. From Tampico and down south, there are forests, rivers, lakes and much of beauty. A very productive cooperation between the “Nature” and the “Goddess of aesthetics”.

From Veracruz and south, there is a heavy warm rain. Pleasure. I follow a trailer track from behind due to the poor visibility. They drive like kites in the sky with a strong wind. No wonder that day I saw 3 accidents with trailers upside down. Soon the rain went away and the sun shined.

Within minutes, I was dry again. I follow the “shore line” of the bay down to Coyoacan, and from there south to Yucatan. On the way, I cross a chain of mountains and rivers. “What an amazing view”.

I took a night in Matias – Romero, and intended to arrive Guatemala City tomorrow evening. I go to bed with some concerns about the “Guatemalan border crossing” tomorrow.

I drive the good road direction Tapachula, approaching the border in Talisman. Just a few Miles before the gate, a bunch of young guys are jumping on me, offering me a help with the “border crossing”, concerning all of the documents work For 20 $, and a promise to lead me to the other side. They had nametags on them, as they are official workers. Since I knew I might face problems there, I picked up one on the bike, after I agreed with him, that “No crossing no money”. “Done deal”.

Here we are at the “Border crossing”. Hundreds of workers and people are at the gate, looking for work. I guard the bike while the kid went to stamp my passport. After like 15 minutes, he is coming back with a lemon face, moving his head from side to side.

“Problems” he said. “For 200$ I know someone that will arrange that for you”. I took the passport and ask him to guard the bike, entered the gate office to meet the “Troubles maker officer”. There she is, “Not nice officer lady” if to say the least, looked at me with an angry face. “How did you get into Mexico without a stamp in your passport”?

“What stamp? I crossed the border and no one talked to me”, I tried to convince her. Well, half an hour of talking with no results. The windmills of my mind are turning like turbo.

Ahhhaaa… I am leaning forward and whispering, “How many kids do you want”? I asked her. A big smile on her face. She wrote her mobile number on a piece of paper, pushing my passport back to me with the paper inside. I smile and thank her. The nightmare is behind me.

I am thinking about those places I want to visit: Atitlan lake, San Pedro de Laguna, Rio Dulce, Tikal, Smoke Shampay, Pacaya volcano, El Mirador, Park Central of Quetzatenango, Yaxha, Monterico, Chichicastenango, Antigua, and more……


“Everybody has a button. You just have to find it”. I jumped on Goldi full of happiness. “We are in Guatemala big baby,” I laugh aloud. Goldi’s 1200 cc are barking and pulllllll us away. The radio plays Latino music, and 4 days of tension fades out. A Mental orgasm.

I spend 6 month of work and tours in this amazing, wonderful, fascinating country. Goldi liked it too. After words, I drove back to New York, and then down to Florida again, sold “Goldi Wings” and kissed him goodbye. Thank you good friend for a wonderful year together.

Moreover, pls. remember: “Nothing happened when we are sitting home”.
Uriya Shai

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