So much to say, so much to say … my brain is like a glitchy GPS. I lived and worked for two-months on the scuba certification factory of Utila, an Island run by 20-something backpackers, before cargo shipping Cart-her back and traveling through the rain to see the ruins of Copán, on the Honduran/Guatemalan border.

Even though I learned the interesting – and slightly disturbing – fact that the inhabitants of the Mayan ruins buried their dead underneath their stone beds to use them as a barrier between themselves and Xibalba, the underworld, the ruins themselves were beautiful, but not as impressive as Yaxchilán, Tikal or others I’ve toured; although, I now have eight to compare.

The pueblo of Copán, however, is an adorable cobblestone street connected square that has attracted foreign investment with an excellent German (married to Honduran) brewery called Sol de Copán and an accommodating Hostel run by an American (married to Honduran) called Iguana Azul. There are also other WiFi cafes priced for tourists and street vendors peddling hand-woven Guatemalan-styled accessories.

About 45-minutes up and down a rocky dirt road with views that brought me to a stop was the Luna Jaguar natural hot springs. A well-worth-it visit from Copán. But pack a lunch.

Our 90-day Honduran visas expired on the 20th of June and we set out to cross back into Guatemala on the 17th. We arrived at the El Florido border, checked ourselves and our bikes out of Honduras and were prepared with the copies of our passports, motorcycle titles and licenses that we needed to cross back into Guatemala, but we were three days early! Little did we know, a Guatemalan vehicle permit cannot be renewed until the vehicle has been out of the country for a full three-months.

The problem was that we had already checked out of Honduras and would have had to pay another $4 per person and $35 per bike to crash for another few nights in Copán, which was just 10 minutes from the border. Fortunately, we were allowed to enter Guatemala. But, of course, without vehicle permits we wouldn’t be able to leave the country. So we stayed at Hotel Hernandez in Chiquimula, a town about 30-minutes or so from the border for three days. Fortunately the hotel was a nice refuge from the bustling city with secured covered parking, a pool and internet for 100 Quetzals = $13USD a night.

On June 20th we were back at the border for our vehicle permits, which tripled in price in the past month from 55Q to 160Q=$7 to $21USD. We took off for Cobán in the north central Alta Verapaz department of Guatemala. Malcolm went to do some touring and I moved in with my home-stay family and started Spanish lessons at the Muqb’ilb’e Spanish School, meaning hidden road, which was indeed true; note the school sign on the garage door below.

I really enjoyed my week of Spanish-only everything at the Muqb’ilb’e Spanish School. It's a great family run business, since 1993. Mom, Sandra, made us coffee for our break and her son, Jaime, was my maestro.

Fortunately, I was able to park Cart-her at the school under a tarp, which was an oxidation savior being that it rained every day. I had 4-hours of private lessons for 5-days, 3-meals a day from the super attentive abuelita Rosita and lodging for 6-nights at $150USD.

Abuelita Rosita and me and a market I stumbled upon while taking a job in Cobán.

Just miles from Cobán I went to the small pueblito of Carchá for a weekend trip to watch the rodeo and enjoy the annual fair, where I played the loteria – a bingo-esque game, where sadly I wasn’t the winner of a new fry pan.

Crazy costumed dancers and the vaqeros, or cowboys, from Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatemala at the Carchá Fair.

I’m currently in Lanquín, Guatemala right now and just spent the past three days near the turquoise pools of Semuc Champey, which are about 20-km off pavement, and, of course, it’s rainy season. And just to clarify ‘rainy season’, what they get here in a day or so is what San Diego gets in a year; thus, the breathtaking, sensory instigating lush green landscape … and, the muddy, rutted roads.

I stayed in a dorm at Las Marias – that I fortunately had to myself. It’s a stunning jungle enveloped posada on the river’s edge that also owns the Cuevas de K’an Ba, a Mayan Q'eqchi' title meaning "mole caves" … or some creature of that sort. Cave tours are just 40Q=$5USD and were well worth the ridiculously steep grades that Cart-her and I huffed up and squeaked down to get there.

The Semuc Champey pools and the Las Marias dock that served as an amazing wining and diving location ... along with the super fun river swing, of course.

For a ‘word can’t do it justice’ gist of K’an Ba, it involved wading and swimming through underwater river water amidst stalactites-n-mites whilst climbing rope supported ladders, being guided by hand-held candlelight and returning back to Las Marias in an inner tube down the tropical tree-lined river. But, as aforementioned, words aren’t thick enough to smell and feel and see this environment and my underwater point-n-shoot is still on Santa’s list.

Above the crisp swimming holes of Semuc Champey, there’s a short-n-steep stair climb up to the Mirador lookout.

Amusingly, a few backpacker boys decided to jump from the waterfalls into the lower pool that joined up with the river. It was just seconds until they were swept away by the rapids. Luckily, they grabbed a rock before being hurled into the boulders below ... and fortunately for me, I found a little lookout to enjoy my lunch and watch the rescue attempt unfold.

Back in the backpacker’s hostel stop of Lanquín, where English, drinking, hangovers and guided tours abound, there are the famous bat caves where you can watch the dinner rush hour as the bats flood out of the cave at dusk.

I’m heading back to Cobán today. Hopefully I can find a job or way to supplement my language immersion desires with some room and board. Wish me luck. 

Stunning drive between Cobán and Lanquín