07-Jun-2006 -- 14N 91W is situated in the country of Guatemala, in Central America, in the Department of Escuintla, in the Sierra Madre, filled with small hills, ending in the Pacific Ocean.
It lies in the middle of a cane field. It is surrounded by several major rivers which makes this terrain prone to flash floods from torrential rains. The CA-2 International Pacific Coast Highway and National Route 3 connect it to several highways in the country. This territory was the conquest of Don Pedro de Alvarado, after decimating the Zutuhiles, who in turn were descendants of The Pipiles.
The name Escuintla means “Cerro de Los Perros” or Dog’s Hill due to the natives raising pacas and tepescuintles (small mammals for meat consumption) which the Spaniards mistook for dogs. This region was converted to Catholicism by Franciscans. The soil is very fertile and almost the entire state is used for agriculture, primarily sugar cane, cotton, beans, corn, legumes, and fruits. Ranching is very common.
On the 6th of June we tried to find it but we were unsuccessful. As we turned in the direction pointed by the GPS, my heart sank while turning to the left and reading “Municipal Landfill”. I have never done anything of this sort before. Didn’t know what to expect; walking through the trash was not in my plans. We started too late; the road was too wet, full of huge puddles which could swallow our little car. We asked one of the neighbors if we could go through the road near his house, he stated: “You’ll never make it in that car Anabella.” We came back the next day, June 7th 2006.
Not fully convinced about the man´s words, we tried to make it through the road by his house. It looked good up until we came to a creek without a bridge. We saw a house full of small children, we stopped and Dennis commented to one of the ladies: Is always raining here, one of them said: Praise God for his blessings. We walked toward the children with a bag filled with Champurradas (sweet bread, almost like sugar cookies). We saw, that the lady was the grown up in that house. She was glad for the bread.
Doña Francisca gave us permission to go through the first farm, Finca Holanda. There was a farmhand grooming a horse: cutting its hair at the mane. We went across a little creek, using a narrow and long board.
Don Freddy and his crew were loading a trailer behind a tractor. They gave us a ride for about one Km to the next field.
Don Amarildo and Don Rafael were driving their cattle and caught up with us to take us across the river (kind of deep) on horseback. They also walked with us to the next river where they showed us a place to cross by waling over on a fallen Almond tree. The waters were rushing and very deep. They also advised us to mark our location so we could find the tree to come across on our way back. We did that by using a piece of burned wood as a place marker. We left the farmland and that was easy to maneuver in and went into the cane fields to find the confluence. In the photos, we were wearing raincoats not because it rained, but rather to protect us from the Afate (little fine hairs from the sugar cane plants which cut and scratch you as it imbeds into your skin.
While some of the people did not understand our purpose, even after much explaining, they were all very helpful and agreeable to let us cross their farms (4). They were fascinated by the GPS and our digital camera when they saw their pictures.