Still Alive: Guatemala

Forgive me if I’m a little irritable, but I thought I was smarter than this. When I crossed into Mexico from Texas, the border guards didn’t stamp my passport or anything. Apparently they were supposed to, and since they didn’t, I was going to have problems crossing the border. According to the fast-talking guys who promised to get me through everything free and clear, now that I was through the Mexican post, if I went back to them to ask for a stamp, they would charge me a fine of $400 and detain me for five days while they investigated me. Or I could pay this guy $180, and he would get his friend in the office to give me an official stamp. Oh, I didn’t have $180? How abut $50 US and 100 Guatemalan quetzales ($14). Still a bit much? All right, they can do it for 500 Mexican pesos ($40). I should have just gone back and risked the detention and the fine, which I am now positive were entirely imaginary. But I paid the 500 pesos, and then Q100 for a cab, and another Q100 for a “tip” before he’d give back my passport, and then they finally quit bothering me and the cab took me to Malacatán. The result being that I’m in Guatemala, in a possibly legal way, and I don’t know what they’ll say when I go to cross through Belize to get back to Mexico, but either way I’m out what equates to $68 US or my budget for about a week and a half. I can replace the money, but that was going to be useful money when I got back. My cushion of fall-back cash isn’t as spongy as it once was. I’m angry tonight. Tomorrow I’ll probably be okay.

Because one way or another, I’m going to lake Atitlán. It’s a big lake surrounded by about thirteen old Maya villages with people still living the old-fashioned way and doing Maya things. And after that, maybe I’ll climb a volcano. But to get you up to date: after Teotihuacán, I took a three-day walk-and-hitch trip and met some extremely nice people, and then I went to a beach and got myself good and roasted, and now I’m here. I’m going to slow down a little bit now that I’m here. I’ve been rushing around way too fast and never being in the same place two nights in a row. Relaaaax.

File under: Year of Adventure, Still Alive · Places: Mexico, Guatemala


Anonymous

History

Sorry you lost some money. It happens. I could tell some good ones on myself, getting scammed in new countries. Hey, take care of yourself and come home safe! We will be happy to see you soon. Grandma

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Anonymous

History

Well you have a birthday coming up. Maybe that will help your coffers. We have been to that lake and visited one of the villages. For me it was a highlight. Glad to here all is well. Finally a little wRmer her. Snow is melting. I felt a touch of Spring in the air today. G. Pa.

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Anonymous

History

We have traveled to countries where passports were not stamped. I think, but do not know, you learned a good lesson and it only cost $68.00. Sunny today. What is your temp.

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Chuck

History

I don't have the patience or connection speed to bother writing another whole Still Alive post, but I am still alive, and just finished a walk of about a day and a half between Todos Santos Cuchumatán and Nebaj. Long, tiring walk; now I've got a cheap hostel where I can hose myself off. Not sure what's next.

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Anonymous

History

Never heard of those places but will look them up. Only come home if your longing for snow and cold. We have both coming at us again. Breaking all records.

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