We left the main road running parallel to the Guatemalan border and headed to Las Guacamayas to see the birds (macaws) the town is named after. Unfortunately, we learned upon arrival that the macaws are not around this time of the year.
I’m not sure where they go in the off-season because the climate is not cold. Perhaps they are figuratively snowbirds, heading for cooler climates. There was a large, three story bird cage with three scarlet macaws, happily feasting on some fruit. While they were beautiful, I felt a little letdown, not seeing them in the wild.
It continued to rain on us as we left town, seeing no need to stay. The road quickly deteriorated from asphalt to a rutted mess of mud and gravel. Our mud guards did a respectable job of keeping most of the muck off of us, however, Heather’s fenders didn’t provide as much coverage. She, her bike and gear were freckled with mud.
As we had wallowed in mud all day cycling, it was fitting that we found an abandoned pig farm in which to camp. It was a great find since the roof provided shelter from the intermittent rain. The howler monkeys were nearby, calling for more rain. The concrete stall floors were free of muck, only requiring a quick sweep to clear out some brush and dried leaves.
Apparently we were not as stealthy as we thought we were. After dark, a pickup truck full of heavily armed (assault rifles, shotguns and side arms) State Police showed up to investigate. At some point the owner had driven by and noticed some activity on the land. Probably assuming the worst (some drug trafficking activity) he brought the calvary.
Heather, fully fluent, did the talking while the captain thoroughly inspected our gear, tents and all the stalls with his flashlight. After they established that we were no threat, the police remaining by the truck broke their defensive positions and came over to investigate the gringo novelties. Heather explained that we arrived around dark and did not have any place to camp and we would be gone early in the morning.
The police and owner seemed to be satisfied that we were causing no harm or damage. After bidding us a good night, they returned to the truck. It sounded as if the owner was getting a ribbing as I overheard some laughing along with “gringos” and “touristas”.
Shortly afterwards, we curled up in our dry tents, happy as a pig wallowing in the mud.