Thursday, November 29, 2012

I read this the other day...

and I liked it a lot:

"if you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it". 

Friday, November 23, 2012

just when I was about to...


It's funny how life can be.
It's funny the way life can treat you.
It's funny how life can seem unfair.
It's funny how life's a bitch.
It's funny how life can laugh at your face and poke you in the eyes.
It's funny how it took me to several hours in two days to write the draft for this entry in my notebook. I was proud of myself and happy of what I finished writing yesterday but I'm not going to publish it. I'm writing what comes to my mind right now, fuck the draft! But I may use parts of it, I don't know. Most likely... maybe.

I sent emails to several hostels in Vilnius, Wrocław, Prague, Budapest, Zagreb, Bratislava, Hamburg, Zürich and München, Given the amount of emails I sent, I had a higher percentage of replies this time than back in 2010. And actually an even higher percentage of hostels interested in yours truly! Actually I saw that coming because in 2010 I had zero experience in hosteling, Now I do: I've worked or volunteered in hostels in Czech Republic, Poland, Guatemala, Estonia, Germany, Nicaragua, Panama and Colombia.

I could play a song for almost each moment in my life. My life could be an endless music video, a medley of thousands of songs.

I've been to a park with Paula near her flat several times before. It's full of cute little squirrles, but the damn creatures never come close to me, not even when I'm trying to give them nuts, only maybe once or twice. The other time I was alone walking my way through the park in question. I still had a few nuts from the last time we were there. I reached for them because I saw a squirrel not far from me. Next thing I know I had one climbing up my trousers and 10 seconds later another one in my other leg! In total I had 4 squirrels fighting for my nuts! (hahaha that sounded funny), then 2 little old ladies were offering me some booklets and I said "nie rozumiem polskiego" and smiled at me. That made my day. I just sat for more than an hour watching people pass.

I want to see the Tatra mountains. Paula told me that they have been there for thousands of years. Indeed that is true, BUT I won't be around for thousands of years.

Looking at the facebook page of one of the hostels that replied to my email, I read this quote. Maybe life wants to play a trick on me one more time because I started to think, a lot...

"I can't change the direction of the wind but I can adjust the sails to always reach my destination."

It's getting cold and will only get colder.

Monday, November 19, 2012

just like that

Just like that three years have gone by... just like that. When I started this I honestly didn't think I was going to make it this far. I never thought  I was ever going to reach far away places (from Guatemala) like, let's say Turkey.

When I was in my last year of highschool don Arsenio, probably the best teacher I have ever had, told us that instead of asking for a car as a graduation present, we should ask for a trip somewhere. For him, the experiences lived while travelling will never be taken away from you. A car... I had already one stolen. God res his soul, don Arsenio was (is!) absolutely right. I've lived more in these three years than in all my life before. I've had good, bad and terrible experiences. Some I would like to repeat. Some I would like to prolong. Some I would like to never ever go through them again in my life. Maybe at some point I felt they were terrible (and indeed they were) but looking back now, some turned out to be funny, some taught me something.

While travelling you meet a lot of people, whether you like it or not. You can learn from them if you want o, about their culure, they lives, about anything! But the best teacher is life, it can teach you a lot. Is up to us if we are willing to take the lesson or no. Some, I will never learn. Some, I hope I will some day.

When I left Europe a year ago I was so used to the cold that I was walking through Berlin wearing havaianas... in (early) november. After practically a year in the tropics where most of the time I wore only shorts, a tshirt and havaianas, coming back to Europe in the middle of autumn was an extreme change. I feel cold. When I left Tulum a few weeks ago it was 35°C. When I got to Brussels I think it was around 10°C. Right now in Warszawa is no more than 5°C and will only get colder... bbbrrrrrrrr.

A lot has happened in my life in these past three years. Some of the things affected me profoundly. They changed me in a way that I will never go back to be the same person I was when I left. I've been up and I've been down. I always try to learn from that but I'm stubborn and sometimes I cannot see the positiveness in things or maybe I just don't want to. Will I ever learn? I hope so! These lyrics are from a song that is one of my all time favourites: "but how many corners do I have to turn? how many times do I have to learn? / happiness, something in my own place. I'm stading naked, smiling and I feel no disgrace with who I am".

The roles have changed.

I wonder where will I write next year...

Friday, November 9, 2012

quick stop at the A-Flat

Not that I was having a bad time. I was staying with a good friend but I thought it was time to start heading east. One of the last night I was in BXL I met with Eddy whom I met in Tallinn last year. We almost met last year my last night in Europe but I didn't have credit to reply to his SMS telling him I was not going to make it. We waited almost a year to go out for one, this time in Belgium. And, one day after I left, I found out that Nathalie lives in Brussel!  I met her in Guatemala 4 years ago.

I was a bit hesitant about my first attempt of a long distance (is it?) hitchhiking. The route was not difficult and could be done in less than a day... or so I thought.

After altering the plans of going to the south of Germany I found someone to hitch to Berlin. I decided to head to Poland stopping in Berlin for a night or two. I've done this route a couple of time before in both directions (Utrecht - Berlin). From Brussel it was only ~150km more BUT I would have to go through Essen, Dusselforf, Duisburg, Dortmund and other cities. There are no petrol stations on the autobahn in that conglomerate of cities and I got stuck near Hamm last year. I didn't want that this time.

I always try to start hitchhiking as early as I can. This time I started not so early. Someone drove me to a petrol station near the Ducth border, near Turnhout. Łukasz, a very nice truck driver did most of the way. He even stopped in a supermarket and bought some food! Dziękuję bardzo!

The only time I had been in the petrol station before Magdeburg I got off one ride and practically immediately got into another. I was in Berlin a while later. This time didn't work quite as good as I had  expected and it was raining and it was windy and it was cold and only a few cars stopped and the few that stopped didn't want to take me. It was not only a couple of hours of asking the few people that stopped that I asked Cristofer, well more like showed him on the map where I was going. I was babbling the few words in Polish I know but he agreed to take me to the petrol station on the Berlin ring road. Like I said, I was babbling Polish and English when he said "something something Polski, Spanish". Eh! hablas castellano? We talked the rest of the way in Spanish, he was really happy to be able to speak it again. He recently moved back to Poland after 12 years of living in Alicante. He also invited me to his hometown. It was around 23.00 when he left me in Magdeburg. Very close to Berlin yet so far away. I didn't leave the place until 2.00.

I've heard about the A-Flat before. Some of my friends have been there. There was a sushi party there last year but it was the weekend I flew back to Latin America. The A-flat is a nomad base. I sent them an email before leaving BXL but well, it took me longer than planed to get to it. When I arrived I was greeted very nice, I knew no one but I felt very welcomed from the very first moment. Like when I stayed in Casa Robino in Amsterdam and Casa Bonita in Lyon a couple of years ago.

I wish I could've stayed  longer, the vibe is awesone but this time it was not possible. After sharing a meal we played a board game (which I'm still trying to understand) but I was exhausted, I was falling asleep while playing, maybe this was the reason I didn't quite understand the point of the game. At 2.00 I bailed, they continued the game in the kitchen. I had a long hitchhike in a few hours.

I like the idea of "sharing, adventure, convivality, fun and abundance". Everyone does a bit of anything. Sometimes there is a more variety of nationalities represented but not this time but I was the only one coming from the Americas :-)

The night I was stuck in Michedorf I noticed that between 85 and 90% of the cars were Polish or heading to Poland. This was the place I needed/wanted to go. It was tricky to get there. It took me almost an hour to find the bridge to cross to the other side of the autobahn but it was worth it. After maybe 30 minutes I saw two Audis A6 with British license plates, the drivers didn't seem British tho. They were going back (to the second) home, to Lithuania... driving through Warszawa.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I'm writing this post from my tablet. I've just installed the blogger app and I thought to try it by posting two quotes I like from two movies.

"Most people live life on a path we set for them, too afraid to explore any other. But once in a while people like you come along that knock down all the obstacles we put in your way, people who realize free will is a gift you'll never know how to use until you fight for."

"If you mix mashed potatoes and sauce, you can't separate them later (...) we cannot go back. That's why it's so hard to choose. You have to make the right choice. As long as you don't choose, everything remains possible."
From "Mr. Nobody"

quick jump to France

I'm not keen on meeting other Guatemalans while travelling. This is one of the rare ocassions. I saw on the hitchhiker's forum a post from a Guatemalan. This made me change my mind: another Guatemalan hitchhiker? We were supposed to hitch to Germany, she will continue to Romania and I would had continued to Poland. But in a very Guatemalan fashion, she changed her plans without telling me before and booked a flight to Romania instead. I don't mind people changing their plans but at least tell me before so I can think what to do.

One night in Gent to meet my friends Vanessa and Carlos (from Guatemala). I stayed with Vanessa in november of last year. Carlos, last (and only!) time we met was for the Gentefeesten of 2010

Griet, Claudia's friend, drove us the next day to a petrol station on the motorway leading to Lille. While she was driving, I discovered that the code for cars registered in Lille is 59. I asked an old man by the pumps and he took us all the way to Lille. Once there, a while later we met with Claudia's friend; Yoni.

Yoni and his girlfriend are a very nice couple. we didn't go out for halloween. We only drank a couple of beers and a couple of bottles of wine, I drank very little. Two other friend of them arrived and in total they drank...  a lot.

Lille is a very flemish city, I found it similar to Brugge but without the canals. The old center of town with cobblestone streets is a very nice area to walk around. Near Yoni's flat there is a flea market a few times a week, interesting things can be found and also cheap vegetables and fruits.

Hitching out was not as easy as hitching in. Going into town, the driver almost takes us to the flat. Thanks to rush hour he didn't. Leaving took more than one hour of standing in the cold. the wait was worth it, only one ride back to BXL.

I'm writting this entry while listening to Groundation. I'm sitting alone in a flat in the north of Brussel but my thoughts are somewhere else.

Back in the B

Finally the day of the flight had arrived. It's been almost a year that I had been in the tropics, in Latin America, in Cancun airport. Three months out of those 11 were spent in Guatemala. Half travelling and half... well, you know.

I didn't want to hitch to the airport from Tulum because I didn't want to risk missing the plane. Unlikely to happen but I played it safe and took the bus straight to the airport. Check-in was at 13.00, bus ride was 2 hours. I took the 9.00 bus so I could have enough time to call my mum in Guate before leaving. I couldn't call because I couldn't get online with my tablet. I borrowed someone's iPhone to send a couple of SMS I needed/wanted to send. For a change, when I showed my passport at the counter, they had to make sure that I was out of Schenguen for 90 days. Blah!

What laid ahead of me was a 10 hour trasatlantic flight. I'm not very fond of flying  but what other option did I have? It all went well. I tried to sleep as much as I could to not think about anything, mainly the flight itself, and I think I slept a lot but I didn't rest because when the crew turned on the lights to serve breakfast I still felt very tired and that I could keep sleeping.

Ever since I traveled in non-Schengen Eastern Europe and the Balkans, where it took me  at least one hour to enter each country, I get anxious when I'm about to enter a country. I even got anxious when entering fucking Nicaragua a few months ago! FUCK! Anyways, it took me 30 seconds go get into Europe. I think I broke my personal record this time.

I was back in BXL (Bruxelles/Brussel/Brussels). I walked to Wim's flat from the North Station hoping for him to be there. He was. In the afternoon we hitched to Hasselt because one of his friends was throwing a housewarming party. It was a costume party but of course I wasn't wearing any costume, I barely have clothes nowadays! The party was good but I was very tired and very jetlaged. I met with some people I knew. The next day we hitched back to BXL. It was nice to hang out with Wim. One evening we went to Kat's flat to cook and eat with some couchsurfers staying with her.

I'm back in Europe. Now it's time to find my happy place and be happy.

Friday, November 2, 2012

pollo al cabron / wasabiiiii

Only a few times have I sent a couchrequest with a week in advance. Tulum was one of those times. Browsing through the few profiles I found interesting I ran across Bumpei's profile. I started to read it and came to the conclussion that I wanted to stay with him. I was going to meet with André there. Bumpei agreed to host us. For those of you who doesn't know who's André, I worked with him summer of last year in Estonia. Staying with Bumpei and meeting with André after 1,5 years  was something else. It was the perfect combination.

This was my fourth time in the Yucatán penninsula but twice of those times I've only gone through. First time I stayed in Playa del Carmen, this time I chose the cute little town of Tulum. One point to its favor is the existence of a mayan ruin complex referred as Tulum ruins that is right on the seaside. To be honest, I wanted to visit the ruins since a long time and now I was finally there. The ruins themselves are far from being impressive, but what it's impressive is standing on the edge of a small cliff with a mayan temple behind you and the vast turquoise Caribbean Sea right under your nose. One other thing that made the experience great was that we got in for free!

Tulum is actually very small. You can walk through it  in less than one hour. We actually walked to the ruins, it took me and André about an hour and they're like 5 km away. Highway 307 going to from Chetumal to Cancun is the main street when it goes through town. Is where most bars/cafés/restaurants are located.

The following day, we hitchhiked to the nearbeach of Akumal, where if you're lucky  you can swim with turtles. I wasn't. Very small beach, very turquoise waters. Kinda crowed, but overall; worth to go.

For my last night in the continent, Bumpei made delicious sushi and another meat dish that, both were extraordinary. Some mojitos and later it was to go out for one.

Like me and André just proved, it's not goodbye but see you later...

See you sometime somewhere CARBONES!!!

Thumbing again

I think that what bit me when I was sleeping inside the truck were not mosquitoes...

So much for watching the sunrise. The entire night was raining on and off and whatever it was bitting me plus the million mosquitoes flying by my ears made sure I didn't sleep confortable. By 4.15 I finally got up and started to get ready. I thanked the firemen and I was at the bus station by 4.45 and end up taking the 5.00 bus to Belize City  which was good because I made it there very early. Taking the bus one hour later would have gotten me to Belize City one and a half hours later. I was getting my exit stamp almost at midday but Mexico observes daylight savings timeso it was almost 13.00. I needed to pee real bad so by the time I was out of immigration I saw my bus leaving. Some Belizean guy asked me something about something else and he offered me a ride to the turn off to Chetumal, the place I was going to get off the bus anyway. I walked towards the highway and asked a guy if he could take me and he took me to Bacalar. Each ride found in seconds.

When I arrived in Bacalar it was pouring. Actually started to rain when I was in te back of the pickup. After a while the rain stopped and perhaps 20 minutes later I was being dropped at the turn off to Buena Vista. The driver suggested I should take a "colectivo" to Carrillo Puerto, which is a bigger town and cars go slower, instead of waiting in the middle of nowhere where cars were going fast. I didn't take the colectivo. No one was stopping. I waving my arm at trucks, worked in Colombia, I thought why it wouldn't work here. It didn't, with trucks. I kept waving anything that was approaching and changed to the thumb sign when the car was closer. This worked! The woman that stopped, drove me to somewhere. Started to rain again so I finished making the "Tulum" sign inside a shop. Suddenly, I saw a pickup pulling over in front of me and the window rolled down. The woman showed me  my mobile that had fallen out of my trousers. I don't know how far was she but she drove back just to give me back the mobile. AMAZING!

It stopped raining so I walked again to the speedbump to start thumbing again. Luis, a computer engineer working for IBM drove me to Felipe Carrillo Puerto. I was know 100km away from Tulum. I had to walk a few kilometers to a good spot. I walked past where the main street joins the ring road to form again highwy 307 North. I was already thinking what would happen if I don't make this night, no one was stopping. It was past 16.00, actually almost 17.00. The sun was going down and I was not going to hitch at night. Maybe fro, a petrol station but for sure not from the side of the road. There was a petrol station some 500m away. I as thinking all this when a VW Transporter stopped, I got in and about an hour later I was in Tulum trying to call my couchsurfer.