PC168 Guatamala-

On The Road Again

Finally made it - after 3 and a half days including 40 hours travelling 17 buses 4 mini buses a taxi and a pick up. To Xela, Guatemala.

Sat - I took nighbuses to the ruins at Malinalco, then onto Xochimilco a large pyramid complex. Eventually to Acapulco and a nightbus through Sunday night to Puerto Escondido and an hour further to the hippy beach resort of Manzunte. Monday night. Stayed at Carlos Einstein's, where the seedy Carlos gives every girl a free foot massage. Nice beach though.

Tuesday went to nearby mangrove lagoon, and crocodile reserve. Bussed further south until Juchitan where I had trouble because the peasants had blocaded the road. Walked past the blocade, waited and waited, got a ticket for a bus, but it didn't turn up. Got a 4am bus and then woke up to find I was alone on the bus ,because it had broken down. Switched to another bus. Made it to Tapachula.

I had a 180 day visa and this was my 181st day then I looked at my passport and saw for some reason even though I know I arrived on The Festival of November 1st the date was the 28th of October so I had overstayed by 4 days. At the border I dodged the persistent money changers and prepared myself for questions about my overstaying and working in Mexico but, nothing he just stamped my passport.

I got through the confusion at the Guatemalan border and eventually after 4 hours got to Xela into the Gringo trail world (an indigenous town with literally 100s of Gringos walking around.)

First Impressions of Guatamala
much more of a travelers country than Mexico. More exotic and much less American and about half the price so many more backpackers and a hippy traveler scene. A hint of danger of theft but not as bad as I had anticipated. I still expect to get robbed, but maybe I won't. (The vibe seems to be all of the Central countries are OK, but avoid El Salvador.)

San Pedo, Lago Atitlan

Since then I spent a few days relaxing, speaking with lots of other travelers and aid volunteers to aclimatise myself to Guatemala. I traveled onto to Lake Atilan and the village of San Pedro where there is a hippy traveler scene. 30 backpacker hotels, 20 restaurants selling pancakes and backpacker food and 12 internet cafe. It's nice and I only spend $5-6 a day so I'm hanging around again.

Travel tip
Don't throw your old credit cards away. Keep them to make a "mugger's wallet". Put them in a old wallet, with some small amount of money eg. $1 bills, a photo copy of your passport etc. Always keep about $5 in your pocket to give to the mugger. If he wants more give him the "muggers wallet" and he might forget to look for your money belt where you should keep your real cards and passport.

Photos of climbing the mildly active Volacono Papacayo near Antigua here

Sun -

I went to Santa Lucia to see the Olmec stlye heads buried in the countryside.

Then up to Cobal and Lanquin and the waterfalls at Semuc Champay ..photos here

Then upto to Tikal ..I´ve seen so many ruins that they weren´t too impressive to me ..but we did see an raccooon killing a tarantula to eat ..here

Plans ..I'll see what happens I could travel in Central America and end up working in Costa Rica, maybe not although on the surface it seems normal there is something definitely sinister about this part of the continent less than 10 years ago soldiers were brutually massacaing 100s of thousands of villagers ... no wonder there´s high gun crime the whole culture must be traumatised by terror like this... and I want to stay alive

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