No, there are no stories of fainting and yes, we are both safely in a new country – Guatemala. The exit out of Mexico was painless – cancel our Temporary Vehicle Import Permits and get stamped out of the country. To get into Guatemala, we had to have the bikes fumigated (they simply sprayed some liquid on our tires), passports stamped and have the bikes imported into the country. Both borders took about an hour (1 in Mexico and 3km later the Guatemala border) and was hassle free except for the Guatemalan Migracion officer who asked for 20 pesos (Mexican currency) to have our passports returned after he had stamped them – sounded strange so I simply asked for a “recibo” – he pulled a few drawers open, realized that I wasn’t budging as I knew that the tourist entry into Guatemala was free; he returned both the passports and motioned for me to go without insisting on the payment. I am sure there are going to be more of those scams to come.
I should have done this for the towns we visited in Mexico as well, but will try and give some background info on the towns we stop at. We are in Quetzaltenango and don’t worry, I can’t pronounce it either; however the city is also known as Xela (pronounced ‘shayla', the Mayan name) which is the second largest city after Guatemala City and is set among a group of high mountains and volcanoes, one of which, Santa Maria caused considerable damage, destruction and 1500 lives were lost after an eruption in 1902. Now a smaller volcano, Santiaguito, spews clouds of dust and ash on a daily basis and is considered one of the dangerous volcanoes in the world. Encouraging news as we are here for another 2 weeks as we chose Xela to do our Spanish immersion.