27 July 2009


Sharing the road. Sharing the bike.

26 July 2009


...the Wednesday of a self-propelled work week!

22 July 2009

Antigua, Guatemala

Parque Central

Another abuelo con una bici...too precious. My grandpa (Jajui) probably would've ridden a bike, if he didn't love his walks so much.

Antigua was Guatemala's first capital before a volcano did some damage and it was relocated to present-day Ciudad Guatemala. It is, therefore, a very antiquated city with a bunch of charm, and with that charm swarms tourists, and because of this increased security...a relatively safe place compared to, say Guatemala City. There are also a lot of ruins from churches, which makes for an adventurous walk.

Parque Central

This is probably one of my favorite fotos taken...tres, tres, tres!

Union Park

Guatemala also has a burgeoning unicycle culture brewing rooted in the efforts of an Antigua-local by way of Canada.

San Pedro, Guatemala

These tiny sidewalks...err, streets shared pedestrians, dogs, cyclists and...motorcycles!

Located along Lago de Atitlan, San Pedro is a gorgeous getaway, populated with indigenous and hip-igenous (Ex-Pats/hippies turned locals).

English...yes, a bit touristy.

Dirt paths were a common way to get from here to there.

Zunil, Guatemala

Cobblestone calles, perros de calle (so so many) & a bici. Home to the Mayan folk saint San Maximon (San Simon).

The Milkman

I saw this curiously fabulous bike contraption every morning on my walk to school. I finally asked its owner what the containers housed. His answer: "Leche vaca."

Each morning, thereafter, he greeted me with a, "Buenas dias, Senorita."

Cow's milk must be somewhat of a delicacy, since it was never a drink option during our 2-week stay.

(If I drank milk and lived in Xela, I'd totally buy from him!)

Xela mornings

Una hija...

Dos hijas!

There she was...

Intersection loco!

The only mujer I saw on una bici...and she was wearing a helmet and gear! I saw more females on motorcylces, than on las bicicletas.

Abuelos en Xela con bicis

Dianonal 2

Older men were the cyclists I saw most, followed by boys. I can count on one hand the number of women and girls I saw riding a bike.

Guatemala, as with most Central and Latin American countries is plagued with machismo. I believe this plays out in many aspects of a female's life, from family life, who raises the children, who supports the family, to even being able to ride a bike. Each week, la escuela gave us a paycheck to pass along to la familia we were staying with. We were told to give it directly to la mujer - the woman of the household, and not el hombre (if there was even un hombre in the house).

I'm reminded how far ahead our culture is compared to many in terms of the freedoms afforded to women. Last year a couple of my female students from Afghanistan would tell me how their father allowed their brother to have a bicycle, but not them. And this was coming from a family considered quite progressive, i.e. the girls were allowed to NOT wear their burqas to school, and wear jeans, t-shirts, etc. I tried researching to find out more about Muslim girls and bikes, but came up empty-handed, though I did find an interesting blog that posted info about a Muslim Ladies' Cycling Club in London. How fab!

Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala

Intersection of 5a Calle, 2a Avenida y Diagonal 2

Biking seems to be a popular form of transportation wherever we traveled in Guatemala...be it in the ciudad or pueblo. Even along the highway (CA 1). Helmets were not common. I was nervous as a pedestrian walking on the sidewalks, let alone riding a bike in the small, compact, irreverent-car-filled streets. The pollution was nauseating. We have so much to be thankful for.

Above is the intersection I crossed every morning on my walk to escuela. It was a loco intersection, at that!

The Maya Tour was by far the most common bike I saw on the roads.

Un nino y Diagonal dos...the calle I traveled often.

View from my third floor room...the neighbors own a bike!

Parque Central, Xela

The only other 3-wheeler I saw was a tuc-tuc. (The YouTube video is not mine, but 4 of us did ride in one in San Pedro, where we also spotted a Michael Jackson-themed tuc-tuc, complete with tunes blaring from its small interior!)

Diagonal 2 in Xela...walking home for the best meal of the day, almuerzo!

Bicis y llaves

02 July 2009

Irony of the day...

...riding my bike to the gas station to fill-up a water bottle with gas for the lawn mower.