Border Crossing Adventure
Home, sweet, home. I came back to Guatemala yesterday. As per always, it was a long, exhausting, and extremely eventful trek. First, I went from San Cristobal to Palenque where I spent two days in the jungle with the howler monkeys.
The best word to describe my life right now is random. Once in the jungle, I found salsa dancing. Not just salsa dancing, but a live salsa band and at least three men who were excellent dancers. I danced barefoot again, but I paid close attention to the state of my feet. I think they’ve built up an immunity to dancing on concrete. After the salsa dancing, there was fire dancing. I did not participate in this performance, although it was quite amazing. Loved it.
From Palenque, I headed to Flores. The trip to Flores was especially, um, eventful. It started when they wouldn’t let me leave Mexico. I’m pretty sure it was a super scam, but the guard said I could pay or go back to Palenque. There are no ATMs within three hours and I didn’t have the requisite 262 pesos he required. Plus, no one else was asked to pay. Lame. I borrowed the money from a couple people on the bus and I was able to eventually cross the border.
Kind of. After leaving Mexico, we had to board a shady looking palapa boat and putter down a brown murky river for 40 minutes to get to Guatemala immigration. I got more nervous when they handed us life jackets on the boat.
Once we got through the Guatemala border we all began to relax a little. Although I hadn`t eaten in about 18 hours at this point, I was able to fall asleep on our rikety little van. I woke up when the van stopped only to find out we had two flat tires. The sun was scorching hot as we got off the bus; we only had one spare.
The back of the van had four tires, two on each side, so the driver left the back one flat. He needed the spare for the front. And of course, as luck would have it, one of the lug nuts was stuck. My new friend, Niko, that had loaned me money at the border, climbed up on the side of the bus and jumped on the wrench thing. It still wouldn’t budge.
I gave up caring and definitely gave up paying attention at this point, but eventually, we heard the lug nut turn and everyone started clapping. It was a glorious moment. Within moments, the spare was on the bus and we had re-boarded our fly-infested mini-bus with no air conditioning.
Three more hours went by in the bus, it had now been almost 20 hours of not eating, and finally we reached Flores! We found an ATM! We checked into the hotel (My new friends from the bus, all five of us went to the same hotel)! We were all smelly, tired, hungry and in need of laundry service. We split up to take care of our basic needs and met back in the restaurant a little later for huge postions of pasta! Then we walked around the entire island and passed out in our room by nine only to sleep for a lovely 12 hours.
Today I’ve spent all day swimming in the lake and/or laying in a hammock.
It’s all good.