Finishing up at Tikal, I get the biked fired up. It’s running rough again, and I pull out of Tikal’s parking area. 2 or 3 kilometers down the reserve road the engine sputters again. I gingerly work the throttle to find a sweet spot, but it dies. I start the bike up a few times, but can’t seem to keep it running. This isn’t the best spot to break down. There is nothing for 30 kilometers, and on both sides of me is dense jungle. I realize that each time I crank the engine my battery is getting weaker, and that eventually I won’t be able to turn it over.
That’s when my heart skips a beat. Movement up ahead catches my eye. I look up as a jet black jaguar saunters out of the jungle less than 50’ from me and wanders across the road eyeing me. I swear I can see it licking its lips. My desperation to get the bike running goes up a notch or two. Camping here tonight may no longer be an option!
With only a few cranks left in the battery the engine catches, sputters, and finally settles into a low idle. I gentle manage to get more and more throttle without it stalling. At 5000 rpm I slip the clutch and get the hell down the road, anxious to put a few kilometers between myself and the jaguar if the engine dies again.
I spend the next 2 hours listening to every subtle change the engine makes, and before long I pull into Santa Elena, the mainland town that leads to the causeway and island of Flores. This is a modern city, with shopping malls, chain restaurants, and people driving nice cars. Other than Mexico City, I have not seen this anywhere else in Mexico or Belize. I later learn that a lot of European tourists frequent Flores, and this injection of foreign money has built this modern mecca.
I ride across the causeway and stop at the first nice looking hotel I see. The room is decent, with a great view of the lake, and parking in the lobby for the bike. I like Flores already.