Sunday, October 17, 2010

Into Guatemala!

Daryll writes:

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.

Guatemala Border
As we rode away from the border and into the lush green mountains, it was clear that Mexico was behind us.  The other striking difference were the trucks, buses and every other vehicle on the road that belched up thick black smoke while they plodded along.  Remember your yellow school bus; well all those buses make their way down here, get a new paint job and stay on the road when they are past their prime for North America.

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.
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  1. Wow - you actually put up a fuss for 20 pesos? That's like $1.63! Awesome :)


  2. We are on a tight budget, what can I say!

  3. Hi you guys, I'm a friend and neighbor of Phil Coderre's in massachusetts.(I bought his Gold wing Hidalgo that he rode to alaska and back)Where he met you daryll right? He told me of this adventure of yours and all I can say being so jealous is thank you for letting us all ride along with you and live vicariously through your adventures. So far I have gotten my twelve year old into the site and he now lets me know when there is new material for me to veiw. Thanks again and have a SAFE and great trip. Maybe we'll meet one day, until then take care.

  4. Angela Daryll
    I hiked up to the top of Santa Maria at night during a full moon it took 7 hours!!!

  5. Enginetek,
    Glad to have you on board. Yes, I have been promising Phil that I will visit him in Massachusetts for a while now, so hope we get to meet someday.

  6. Hi Cal,
    Thanks for the tips and email. All suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  7. So far so good. We took a different route thru Guatemala along the coast. That's where the wind was so strong it blew my bike over from centerstand in gas station parking lot! We stayed in a small local hotel in large village somewhere in Guatemala - nicest family and different setting than standard highway or tourist hotels. Kids playing soccer in street because almost no traffic - families out watching them, all ages and both genders kicking the ball all evening. Found memory of a peaceful pleasant community. Your tirp is bringing back good memories.