<%@ Language=JavaScript %> Guatemala
Public Speaking

 
 

GUATEMALA

We decided to do our regular run for gas (which required a bus ride with jerry cans to a gas station) and paper work (immigration at the airport) and, having spent our last Pesos on two Coronas, left Mexico bound for Guatemala.

Light winds brought us the 100 miles to Puerto Quetzal (N13.55, W090.48) right next to San Jose within two days. Entry procedures into Guatemala were the easiest we experienced on the whole trip: Anchorage can be taken at the navy base where ship papers and immigration is being handled in the same office within 10 minutes. Everyone was extremely friendly and helpful. Guatemala made a great impression on us - right from the beginning.

 

Cruising Central America

The story on how I sailed on a small vessel around Central America.
Go to the start.
 

From Puerto Madero (Mexico) to Puerto Quetzal (Guatemala)
With a bus via Guatemala City to Antigua (west of the city)

We had planned on using the fife days we were allowed to stay in the country for a trip in-land to Guatemala City and Antigua. The public transportation system via bus is well developed and the best way to experience local culture. Old American school busses have their second spring in Central American countries. They are being run on a private basis by a driver and a conductor who not only collects the fare while on route but also hangs out of the door and jells out the buses destination to attract more customers.

buxmx.jpg (42866 bytes)Busses are being packed with at least twice as many people as being built for, and everything imaginable can be brought on: We personally did not share a ride with any chicken or pigs but heard of these as regular passengers. While the conductor aside from his "Allez, allez, Guate, Guate" tries to fit four people on a bench intended for two, the driver's job is to race other busses to make it to the next buss stop ahead of them and pick up even more people.


Bus ride through Guatemala
with a cowboy-style driver
 

That's how we made it from the coast across a chain of volcanoes to Guatemala City where we found ourselves at unexpected heights and temperatures well below what we had brought to wear. Guatemala City is well developed, crowded, and gray. It reminded me a bit of Hong Kong. The total opposite to this was Antigua, which seemed to be a wonderful island in the middle of this third-world country. With the lovely character of a mid-aged Spanish town, it offers ruins, romantic streets and parks, old fashioned houses, and a flare completely different from the rest of the country. We stayed in a beautiful, romantic hotel with pool, hot tub, and sauna! A place to fall in love and the perfect location for romance. Looking out of our room's window over the roofs and chimneys in front of the dark triangle of a huge volcano, I decided that I have to come back one day.

Guatemala had a second challenge prepared for us: We had given our laundry to a housekeeping lady on the base who had agreed to hand wash (there are no machines) the clothes and return them the next day (so we thought to have understood her).


One of our favorite moments each day: A beautiful sunset over the calm sea
 

When we came back from our in-land journey and were not able to either find Dona Cata nor our laundry, a big chase for two bags of clothes began. Involving multiple navy officers (the only ones speaking English) who first did not know who she was, then did not know where she lived, I was eventually pointed to a house next to the base where supposedly a friend of her lived. Collecting everything I knew in Spanish, I showed up at his door and made him (or better his wife) understand my problem. She was the one who eventually told her husband to take me into town to Dona's house. What a journey: Being taken by a stranger into a remote neighborhood that probably had never seen a blonde person before. Nevertheless, we found her house and were told to return later as she had gone to 'the capital'.

My guide became more friendly and offered to take me again that night. We got our laundry that same evening. Mike was impressed by how far my Spanish was able to take us... So was I.

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2012 by Joh. Hennekeuser - Last update: 11-Apr-2012