I feel like I’ve gotten so far behind that it’s hard to catch up. Last I let it we were leaving Mexico for Guatemala. Unfortunately our internet connection hasn’t been great which is partly responsible for the fact that I am this far behind. Since I last wrote we have crossed into Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and now we are in Nicaragua. Almost home!! I’ll try to justice to the last couple of weeks on the road but it’s a lot and not that much to cover at the same time.
No matter how prepared you think you are for crossing a border there is always something that throws you for a loop. For example, when we left Mexico they made us pay a tax for a water pump we have on the bus that I didn’t list when I itemized what was on the bus when we entered the country. It wasn’t too expensive but it definitely took some time to work out. After that we crossed to Guatemala where there were a million guys trying to jump on the bus to “help” us with our paperwork in exchange for a tip. And no matter how many times you say no it is impossible to chase them all away. It didn’t help that it was the beginning of Semana Santa- Holy Week for Easter, so everything was busier than normal.
When we initially tried to get our permit for Guatemala, with the “help” from the guy who we couldn’t chase away they told us because we had a bus we could only get a three day permit and would need someone from the transit authority to ride with us to make sure we left the country and weren’t trying to import the bus. After much explaining in Spanish that we didn’t have a bus- we had a motorhome which in Spanish is a “casa rodante” the lady finally looked at our paperwork from Mexico and decided to check out the bus herself. Once glance at the inside of the bus she said oh I can give you a tourist visa for this. It still took forever to get the paperwork finished- which I did while Trevor waited in the bus with the baby.
We had parked the bus in a parking lot next to immigration on the advice of the guy who was trying to “help” us who vanished shortly after the immigration lady had agreed to give us our tourist visa. This parking lot was full of broken down cars and busses that were being imported into Guatemala for God only knows what reason- there were schoolbuses towing schoolbuses out of there. When we tried to leave after the paperwork was completed the parking lot attendant wouldn’t let us out. He kept saying there wasn’t enough room as he let smaller trucks and cars out. Eventually, I stood in front of the cars trying to get out, essentially blocking all traffic until he raised the gate to let us through. We still had to wait in the long line for fumigation before they could put our vehicle permit sticker on our window and we were officially in Guatemala. In total it took us six hours to finish.
We had plans to try and make it to Xela, in Guatemala, a city we hadn’t visited but is known for good Spanish language schools and a tourist scene. However it was several hours from the border and we certainly weren’t going to make it there after the exceptionally long time it took to cross. So we drove until it got dark and finally stopped in some small town that I don’t even know the name of. We pulled up the central square and asked at the police station across the street if we could park there and he said we should pulled down the a side street right next to it. There were five girls sitting outside their house there and like everyone else we meet they loved Aurora, brought her into their house and wanted to know if we were there to spend Semana Santa in their town. We decided we were safe enough for the night.
The next day we got up and headed to San Juan Comalapa to visit my friend Genevieve at Long Way Home, an organization building a school out of recycled tires and trash. This was where I had started