Trucks at the border waiting to pass through
Time is pressing relentlessly onwards and it's with sadness that I am leaving Guatemala today. Guatemala is a really amazing and beautiful country and , just as with Mexico , I could have very happily spent much more time here ... but I have to draw a line somewhere or I´ll miss somewhere else further down the line in my plans. I would love to be able to say I´ll come back to Guatemala one day but with a world full of places yet to see I don´t know if I ever will. Looking to the future it´s very exciting to be hitting another new country as I cross the border into Honduras , where I will start by visiting the famous Mayan ruins at Copan. So then , its that time for some reflections on Guatemala. In a word - WOW ! - its been magic and I love Guatemala. The spectacular jungle ruins of Tikal & lakeside setting of Flores , the laid-back caribbean feel of Livingston , the gritty grimy reality of Guatemala city and then the tranquil colonial charm and architecture of Antigua.
I´ve climbed up three volcanoes - Pacaya , Santaguito and , trumping them all , the amazing hike up Tajamulco , the highest peak in Central America. I very much enjoyed a relaxing weekend at San Pedro with the stunning lakeside location at Lake Atitlan
and also the final week touring the Western Highlands with its more off the beaten track indigenous villages and a more traditional way of life. Then there was the three weeks of Xela life , half my total time in Guatemala , and what can I say ? - I really enjoyed my time there - the Spanish classes , the city sights , lots of trips & activities , meeting so many new friends and of course the great nights out - I´ll raise a glass to my favourite haunts of "Vino y Queso" and the inimitable "La Rumba" .
the border 1
.. from smooth Latin salsa dancing to 50-cent / Dr Dre to the cheese-fest of YMCA / Grease Medley before you´ve had time to sink a bottle of Gallo ... unforgettable :) . Then in wrapping up on Guatemala of course how could I fail to mention the chicken bus experience - I´ve grown rather fond of these brightly coloured beasts with their clinically insane drivers ... overtaking on blind bends with oncoming juggernauts , bone-shuddering potholed roads , 65 people crammed into a 45 seater bus is a walk in the park for these guys... and then there´s the drivers´ wingmen - who lug heavy rucksacks and goodness knows what else up the little ladder to the roof , keep tabs on who has paid what , order people to cram themselves 3 or 4 to a seat and pull in the new punters whilst hanging out the side of the bus.... you guys are the real chicken bus heroes. My only regret is not yet actually seeing a chicken in a chicken bus ! Adios Guatemala I wont forget you. Border crossing pics wil be posted after I actually cross over....