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the travelling gringa roadshow (part II)

Dirt roads over the mountains don’t get a lot of gringo traffic and so we seem to attract quite a lot of attention wherever we go.

A rather ungraceful concrete roadside quetzal provides a comfy resting place for my bike towards the top of the long climb out of Rabinal.

As dusk approaches the daily task of searching out a place to sleep presents itself. Although, in general, I prefer to find a secret place to set up my tent in peace and quiet sometimes the best thing to do is to ask local people for permission to camp on their land. Towards the top of a long climb out of Rabinal, a collection of half a dozen buildings appears beside the road and we decide to approach the inhabitants in the hope we can camp somewhere near by.

A collection of giggling women defer the decision to a man who takes us to a half finished concrete block structure and tells we can pitch our tents in the gloomy interior. Glancing around, I am more drawn to an open area behind the buildings with a view overlooking the deep valley below. The man assents to our choice and we wheel the bikes up a steep path and lean them up against a pile of bricks waiting for some future construction. A nearby tap provides running water.

A sizeable group of children and teenagers watch our every move as we pitch the tents and organise ourselves to cook dinner. A couple of concrete blocks provide us with seating as we fire up our camp stoves in front of an eager semi-circle of eyes.

Morning breaks in our camp in a tiny hill top settlement.

A collection curious bystanders...

... who subject us to renewed scrutiny turn out to be...

... students at the school, the windowless shed which stands next to out tents. The teacher arrives and waits at the door to welcome her charges...

... who dutifully file into the class room and sit in their places. While we finish breaking camp we hear them chanting bits and pieces of information regarding traffic signals and modern methods of communication. It seems to me, however, that none of these kids needs much instruction on the use of mobile phones.

The kids are pretty keen to see any photos of them. (Photo: Silke Moeckel)

{ 1 } Comments

  1. Noel | February 26, 2011 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Anna, this is a great post. Gotta try those chocfruits!

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