Puente Nacional


Through the mountains I go! My time in Puente Nacional was a great respite from the tumultuous climbs before it.  I arrived in town down a little dirt road speckled with stones, and across a river I was sure I’d be jumping into shortly.

puente nacional

I posted up at a gas station and tried to reach my host, but his phone was out of commission- no bueno.  The gas station was next to a motorcycle/dirtbike garage, and a few interested mechanics came out to take a look.  A few minutes later a cab pulled up with a family of five, and soon the kids were climbing on top for some photos.  The cab driver asked me what I was doing in town, and I told him I had a friend in town- Mario Martinez.

Cab Driver: “Mario? Mi hermano!”

He gave his brother a call and soon Mario popped out from a side street on his mountain bike to show me to the house.  The town and house reminded me of small town India, complete with cement floors painted red, and necessary mid day cold showers to keep from sweating to death-

When it did cool down, our first stop was to the town futbol court, where a basketball court doubled as a pitch for some 5 on 5.  Tonight was the local cops vs. municipal workers.  The action was fierce, but I was more interested in the arepas and empanadas cart- I was so famished from riding that my local tour of the town became a food tour!

arepas and empanadas

My next day was meant only to be a hike around the local hills and the river, but ended up through a piece of history.  Sadly my phone died, but I’ll paint a picture:

As we approached what appeared to be an old hotel, I saw a quick flash streak across the main foyer.  Two kids chased each other into a large hall, will midday light streaking through the high windows.  I entered an old country club, built some 50 years ago.

Flat white walls with green trim, and a well-kept marble floor which I would soon find out is perfect for a midday slide- Mario and I both saw the 2 old ping-pong tables with no one else in sight, and went toe to toe for the next hour.  Then…

Mario: “Want to go bowling?”

Me: “Indeed.”

On the opposite side of the building was an old-time bowling alley, which the 2 young kids we saw earlier running around attend to.  It was something like this:

old timey bowling

As I clumsily made my way from frame to frame, little dude would sit on top of the platform above the pins, jumping down after the pins settled to rack everything up again.  My old, white, and seriously wide bowling shoes squeaked and creaked as I bowled an 78-  While having a post-game juice, I sat on the massive window ledge to watch the mighty Antigua river push west.

antigua river puente nacional



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