The Adventure Begins
Today was my first, real, slightly scary day of adventure on the road! Many, many firsts… It started when the people who run the hotel I stayed in last night were taking me to the bus station. They asked around and found out the bus had just left. They told me not to worry… they would catch the bus for me. And they did. Honking and yelling out the window, the bus pulled over, Jess jumped out, yelled ¨Gracias¨ and was gone.
I have never felt so tall, white and totally American in my life. There were about six other people on the bus. Six women under 5 feet wearing hand woven floor-length skirts in various bright colors with long dark braids down their backs. This was my first chicken bus.
Our bus honked constantly and wove in and out of traffic and stopped at least 50 times and eventually we made it to Panajachel. Or so I thought. I got off the bus and followed a sign that said to Panajachel. Unfortunately for me, we were not yet in Pana. Pana was the next town over, but I didn´t realize it until I had walked 3 km. I do not know how far that actually is, but with my backpack and the humidity, no sidewalks and desperately needing a bathroom, it felt ridiculously far. At some point I realized I should´ve stayed on the bus or caught a taxi at the top of the hill/mountain.
Too far down the hill to go back and not yet close enough to continue, I was in a bit of a pickle. Eventually a little miracle came along in the form of a 10 year old boy in the back of a police pick up truck. That´s right, a police man pulled over and told the little boy to tell me to get in. It was perfect. I got a free ride to the bottom of the mountain road in 10 minutes and from there the officer pointed me in the direction of the boat I would need to take to San Marcos.
Once I turned down the street, I met Roberto. We chatted about where we were from and where I needed to go. He asked if I was divorced, which I thought was a strange question. He helped me find a bathroom, a can of Coke, and the correct boat. He even put my bag in the boat for me.
I then proceeded to almost fall of the dock. The logs on the dock apparently aren´t actually nailed down. They are just sitting there. If you go to the edge, to say, get on the boat, they flip. Luckily, my cat like reflexes kicked in and I caught myself before I fell down in the boat. They didn´t have change for 100Q, so he told me he would give me change when more people got on.
I don´t think I would have been much less wet or sore if I had swam to San Marcos. Also, it might have been faster. Oh well. Eventually, I made it to the village, forgot to even ask for my change (AKA possibly scammed out of $6) and found my hotel in the jungle.
Once at the hotel, they did not have the reservation I had requested, but did have a room available. They also have an excellent organic/vegetarian restaurant in a grass hut in the jungle (there are no walls, only a roof) and I had a delicious plate of pasta, vegetables, and bread.
Today was a real adventure.